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1. He’d have to hitch a ride home now

2. If only I’d read the directions

3. What’s the worst that could happen?


For the most part, I’m a fairly reasonable person, I think. I can put up with a great deal of nonsense from two teenagers and a rather supercilious cat, all of whom reside with me in a sleek, modern condo a couple of miles from the beach.

I also have a resident spouse—at least he’s resident most of the time. We’ve figured out that a week or two apart every few months tends to ease the stress that can build up in a menagerie such as ours.

These temporary “apartnesses”, as we call them, normally come about after a period of she-asks and he-ignores. The latest one was caused by a worn-out garbage disposal. How it came to be worn out within a very few months is a question that could probably be best answered by my thirteen-year-old, who tends to dispose of science experiments as easily—and in the same fashion—as scrambled eggs.

My husband Jason knew about the problem before I did, but as is his custom, failed to mention it to me, and also failed to make any repairs that might have kept the machine operable.

I thought my words were, on the whole, quite moderate in tone.

“Jason, you son of a bitch! Why couldn’t you have told me about this before I tried to grind the cabbage?”

Jason, I have to say, did look a little sheepish; probably just a ploy to make me feel sorry for him.

“Well, I thought I’d get it fixed before you found out that Tim used it for, well, whatever it was. I was just hunting for some parts when you called.”

I pointed to the green, smelly, slimy bits that now decorated the kitchen wall and my new hand towels. With a firmly clenched jaw I shook my head, slowly, and asked, “What parts? Do you even know what you need? Did you read the instructions?”

I pulled open the drawer that held owner’s manuals for everything we owned, only to find that some of the green mess had found its way inside. I hesitated to touch it, being unsure if it was just cabbage or if some of the components might be frog innards or some caustic material. With Tim, you never could tell.

Jason as usual tried to defuse my growing annoyance.

“Now, honey, what’s the worst that could happen? We’ll just go buy a new one at the Dresser and Disposal Store if I can’t make it work.”

I concentrated on deep breaths, which wasn’t easy in that room just then, and said, “You will make it work, or an apartness is upon us for sure!”