Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hot Oil

I was probably about 11 or 12 when one of my brothers taught me how to make pan deep fried french fries with fresh potatoes. Pan, oil, stove, potatoes. What could be simpler?

It was an awful lot of work for a few minutes of artery clogging awesomeness. It was worth it.

I haven't made french fries in this way in over twenty-two years.

I have scars that are reason enough for that.

Typically, about half-way through cooking the fries, the oil would need to be changed out. There's not much that will turn you off fresh french fries than bits of black burned stuff sticking to them.

We would pour the used, gross oil into a container, usually a juice concentrate can or something like it. It was a simple procedure, but one that needed to be carefully done.

I was in the middle of this when for some reason, perhaps my hastiness to cook more french fries or maybe a shaky arm, I poured hot oil on my hand.

I remember my thought process at the time. The kitchen had been recently upgraded and one of the rules was to not put hot pots or pans on the counters. It went something like this:

Ow. Hot.
Put the ow things down.
No pans on counter.
Put oil receptacle on the counter. No rules against that.
Pan. Stove.
Not on hot burner.
Stare at Mom.

It seemed like I was looking at my mother for an eternity. I don't know why I didn't say anything to get her attention. I didn't even walk over to her. I didn't cry. I don't know what my face looked like, but it was probably something along the lines of calm shock.

On the inside, I was screaming.

When my mother finally looked at me, she assessed my expression (whatever it was) and asked me if I had burned myself.

I nodded.

She told me to wash my hand with soap and water.

I proceeded to do so with cold water.

Over the next half hour or so, I was impressed upon by my mother to alternate the application of cold and warm water baths to my burn. The cold to stop the burn, the warm to increase blood-flow to the area so it would heal faster. At least, that's what I recollect.

The cold water was wonderful.

The warm water felt like I was dunking my hand into molten lava.

I ended up with a blister the size of a mouse or a large cockroach on my left thumb. I couldn't bend my thumb or use it in any meaningful way. I was careful with it for several days, knowing that bursting it would result in more pain and possibly infection.

In spite of my best efforts, I did pop it while trying to open a car door. I'm most likely blocking the pain of that moment.

And so, I have a couple of small, hard-to-see scars on that thumb.

The internal scars seem to have lasted longer.

I still cringe when thinking about making deep-fried french fries.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Dog Bite

I was lying in bed last night, and my brain wouldn't shut up.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Ahhh... just find a comfortable position and sleeeeeeep...
Brain: Hey! Guess what?!
Me: No.
Brain: Guesssssssssssssssss....
Me: Ugh. Noooo..
Brain: I'm not tired! Yay!
Me: Well, the rest of me is. So, shut up and turn off.
Brain: We should totally get up and fill in those egregious holes in your novel!
Me: .....
Brain: You haven't played Diablo in, like, 2 days!
Me: It'll still be there in the morning.
Brain: I just came up with the best blog idea!!
Me: Sigh..
Brain: No, really! You're going to really like it.
Me: Fine. What is it?
Brain: SCARS! No, listen. It'll be epic!
Me: Actually, that's not half bad.

And that is the story of how my tired body gave into my insane brain. I'm going to write, installment-wise, about my scars. Again.

I don't remember how old I was when this experience occurred. The fogginess puts it somewhere in my 7 to 10 years.

I was the Animal Queen. Either my family named me that or I wished they had and I called myself that in my head.

I devoured everything I could read, watch, hear, experience, observe about animals. When I wasn't pretending to be various animals (funny and embarrassing story, that), I was informing everyone around me about the things I'd learned. I was the resident expert, at least in my residence.

I could identify which spiders were harmless and which were dangerous. I didn't mind picking them up in my hand (the harmless ones) and carrying them outside where they would escape the murderous intentions of my family.

So, if I wasn't afraid of a creepy spider, I certainly wasn't afraid of some old lady's cantankerous dog.

My mom was visiting a lady she knew. The reason escaped my self-involved pre-adolescent mind.

This lady had a dog, probably a terrier of some sort. One of those little dogs that my husband not-so-lovingly calls "yap dogs".

I wanted to go outside and play with it.

The lady said I could but not to pick up the dog because it hated that and would probably bite me.

I agreed, already laughing at the lady's warning. Somewhere in the mysterious depths of my mind I was thinking, "I will tame this beast and he will love me and let me carry him around because I am an expert in animals and he will sense that and everything will be magical rainbows and a chorus of animals will sing heavenly music!" Of course I felt I knew this dog better than his owner. She was a silly grown-up lady who saw her dog as a mere pet. I was the Animal Queen who saw him as the majestic diminutive little Lord of His Manor that he was.

So, I pet the dog a few times, until my anticipation of animal magicalness got the better of me and I picked him up.

I think the dog got about 4 inches off the ground before he realized that he hated me. I don't remember any kind of warning from the dog; a growl or attempt to escape. Though, I may have been hearing a chorus of heavenly animals and missed it.

The carnage may well have resulted in the dismemberment of my hand at the wrist. I think I actually saw red. Probably because I was bleeding profusely.

A trip to the emergency room left me with my hand intact and a bandage around my wrist.

I now have two scars on my right wrist, almost two inches apart, probably the exact space between that tiny canine's canines.

I'm pretty sure that event helped enforce my cat-person tendencies and my "yap-dog" aversion.

My identity as the Animal Queen, however, stayed intact.


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