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It was time to go to the chiropractor – a part of my week to which I aways look forward. I feel soooo good after a visit to Dr. Ryan and so it is no effort to make the long drive to his office. But I got into my car – my relatively new car – and turned on the key to absolutely no sound at all. No click. No whir. No nothing. The battery was dead. Why was the battery dead? Because there just has been no battery invented, to my knowledge, that stays charged when the dumb driver leaves the key turned to auxillary for a couple of days.
Of course, Mr. Fix-It wasn’t here. In fact, he wasn’t even in the near city. He was two hours away. I called him on his cell phone and he asked what all men ask: “Why is the battery dead?” And I actually thought about spinning a yarn of an alien spaceship that landed in the front yard and sent out weird electronic waves that killed every battery in the area…”I KNOW dear. That’s just crazy isn’t it? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes!!” But I didn’t. I told him the truth and took my lumps of typical male explanations on how I must be more careful and observant about taking the key out of the ignition. Which I should.
We discussed my options, including an attempt, on my part, to roll the car onto the driveway next to my son-in-law’s sporty Monte Carlo that is visiting us on vacation due to a blown head gasket (I’m pretty sure that’s worse than a dead battery) – problem being, that the Monte Carlo’s hood is the equivalent of a slab of granite and can only be lifted by a pair of Olympic weightlifting champions. My fate was sealed to pedestrianism, 40 miles from the doctor’s office and 25 miles from any semblance of civilization. My friend pointed out that I could call the insurance company and make use of the ‘roadside assistance plan’ for which we pay. She was so logical in her reasoning, “It’s what you pay good money for!” However, I was experiencing a twinge of that sin that has brought down complete societies in one, fell swoop…..Pride. I did not want to have to drag some poor schlub all the way out to the boonies for a 5 minute job required by a stupid female who doesn’t pay attention.
Now, there is nothing more inventive or creative than a woman in trouble. If the government would just put a group of women in a room and tell them that the national debt will cause chocolate to become nonexistent by the end of the year, within two weeks, those women would have the debt paid off, the credit card cut up and Washington, D.C. employees eating mashed potato sandwiches from sack lunches. So when I discovered a car battery sitting on a work bench, my little brain began to form a plan.
While the Monte Carlo hood is granite, a car battery is a close second in weight. Those suckers are heavy….and dirty…and oily. I donned a full apron to protect my clothes, which added a floral accent to my situation, and tried to lift the square box. It did not budge. I quickly figured out that one must emit that same “arrrhhhh” that weightlifters’ grunt at the point of assuming full impact of a heavy object in order to make it move. I did so, and lifted the battery into my arms, struggling on buckling legs to transport it in front of my little Nissan Versa. Realizing that I could not hold the battery and bend over to place it on the floor, without dropping it and sending acid all over me and my pretty, floral apron, I looked for a “stand” on which to place it. Fortunately, there was a stack of boxes of canning jars and so this acted as my table on which to place the battery.
Next, came the job of opening the hood and as I had never done that to this particular car, I had to get a flashlight and then use the engineering skills that I don’t have, to figure out how-in-the-world the latch worked. Of course, it couldn’t be just a simple latch. No. It had to be one that had multiple levers that acted in concert with the movement of the main clamp, which had to be pressed in a direction that made absolutely no sense. Finally, getting the hood up, I couldn’t find that little stick thingy that holds the hood in place. I searched everywhere, with the blood draining out of my arms while I held the hood above my head to keep it from slamming down on my body for someone to discover the hideous picture of a car that had eaten its owner. That engineering skill, that I don’t have, whispered to me to find the hole in the hood and then trace that directly below to the frame where the stick had to be in order to fit into the hole. I searched and searched on the hood for that recepticle and probably looked directly at the little stick thingy, clamped across the hood, at least a dozen times. It finally screamed at me, “I’m right here, stupid!!!” and I managed to support the hood.
Then came the scariest part: Electricity. I had the jumper cables ready, and I knew that black went to black and red to red and that black is negative and red is positive which is soooo confusing since in the business world, black is positive and red is negative (just try to run a bank account in the red and convince your bank that’s a positive thing – well – yeah – the government does that). I carefully placed the clamps on the posts of the two batteries, gritting my teeth in expectation that I was about to arc weld the frame of my car to every steel component of the motor. Surprisingly, there wasn’t even a spark and when I turned the key in the ignition, the car started!!! I did my best imitation of a “goal post dance” and wanted to growl like Tool Time Tim. Yessss! I might as well have invented the automobile with the sense of achievement I felt.
And speaking of a sense of achievement. I discovered something rather wonderful this week. Most of you are probably not as ancient as I, and probably don’t remember Dannon’s Fruit On The Bottom Yogurt. That was a staple for me throughout my college years. I would go to the student union cafeteria and load up on cups of Dannon Apricot and keep that in my little frig for late nights at the Art Barn or studying for a test. But Dannon Fruit In the Bottom Yogurt went away. There was something about that yogurt with the tart chunks of apricot and the lumps of yogurt that burst in your mouth between smooth and creamy spoonfuls. Anyway, the other day, in making yogurt, a brilliant idea hit me. I have tons of apricot jam made from the bounty of Sir Flying Ace’s apricot tree. I put a couple of tablespoons of that jam into the bottom of my yogurt cups. Then, in my pan of warmed milk, I added vanilla and stevia to flavor the milk and then did my usual adding a little warmed milk to the starter, pouring that mixture back into the milk. I poured the milk and starter mixture over the jam into the cups and placed the cups in my yogurt maker. Oh my gosh!!!! When cooled in the frig and then gently mixed to bring the fruit up from the bottom, that yogurt tasted exactly like that which I ate in college. It is wonderful. I have now tried it with homemade strawberry and blueberry jams as well.
But to beat everything, I was out of buttermilk the other day and on a whim, decided to use that yogurt instead, for a batch of pancakes for Mr. Fix-It. I sustituted exactly the same amount of the fruit yogurt for the amount of buttermilk I would have used. Mr. Fix-It has said that he wants me to make pancakes that way from now on. They were amazing. So here is my recipe. I am sure that you can use just plain yogurt the same way, but that fruit really made some wonderful flapjacks!! One note: The yogurt must be live culture. The blended yogurts and those with additives won’t work.
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp soda
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
chopped pecans (optional)
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl with a whisk, beat together egg and yogurt until smooth. Add baking soda and mix. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth. Add vanilla and butter. If batter is too thick, add enough water to give it the consistency of hot pudding.
Pour batter onto a hot, well-oiled griddle, heating to around 350º. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cook until brown and turn to cook the other side.
Serve with butter and syrup. Good eatin’!!!
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