Category Archives: Cap’n Firepants
My family does not trust me in the kitchen. Even the dog. Mrs. Pain in the Butt, our golden retriever, paces and pants every time I turn the stove on – just because I happened to set off the smoke alarm a few years ago while I was cooking. My husband is just as bad. Since I had never operated a gas stove before we moved into this house, he is convinced that I am going to blow us all up. This paranoia stemmed from the fact that, the first night we moved into the house, I placed a box on the counter next to the stove, inadvertently turning one of the dials ever so slightly. We woke up in the middle of the night to the distinct smell of gas. I try to tell him, “But I wasn’t even cooking when I almost killed us!” He does not find that reassuring.
The only family member that meets my rare trips to the kitchen with delight and anticipation is our bulldog, Wonderbutt. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he steadfastly clenches to the belief that I am going to give him food scraps while I am foraging for a Diet Coke.
And our daughter? Here is how confident she is about my kitchen skills:
My husband, who usually prepares breakfast in the morning, had to leave early one day, and reluctantly left it up to me. My daily breakfast is cereal, but my daughter is used to gourmet meals made to order by Cap’n Firepants. That morning, at 6:20, I went to wake her up.
“Hey, sweetie. Time to get up.”
“Umm. Daddy had to go to work early, so it’s just me today.”
“What would you like for breakfast?”
Silence. Then a hesitant, “You know how to make waffles, don’t you?”
“Well, I probably could. I think it has a recipe on the side of the box. But I think I would need to use the mixer (don’t I?), and that would take a lot of time. Plus, you know I’m not good at doing multi-step tasks early in the morning.”
She sat up, and looked at me.
“You. Just. Put. Them in the. Toaster,” she said slowly.
“Oh! Those kind of waffles! Sure, I can do that!” I said with great confidence.
“Okay,” she said, looking at me doubtfully.
“I can!” I said.
I marched to the kitchen to prove my point, thinking, “Geez, why can’t she just have a darn Pop Tart like every other kid in America?”
Oh yeah, because we don’t have Pop Tarts.
Another thing no one trusts me to do – the grocery shopping.
Beth died last night. She was supposed to die tonight, but my hard-hearted husband hastened her departure by going to bed early. Of course, he did not know that he was killing Beth by doing this. And the alternative would have just prolonged the inevitable. But still.
I had put off preparing for the death because I thought I would have more time. But Cap’n Firepants threw the zinger at me at our daughter’s bed time that he was pretty exhausted, and could I please read tonight? He stepped back from me a bit when I acted like he had just asked me to climb the roof at midnight and clean up squirrel poop. Generally, I jump at the chance for an extra night to read to our daughter. But I dreaded the chapter that I knew was next.
Cap’n Firepants reads a different book with Dimples, so he can be forgiven for not knowing that he had just asked me to walk into the Valley of Death. And, I am sure that he would point out that I was the one who picked the book in the first place.
It’s just that I did not realize that Beth’s death in Little Women would occur while I am still in mourning over the approximately one hundred and thirteen people who perished in Les Miserables. I am still reeling from that massacre, and the repercussions of its soundtrack, and now I had to add one more body to the pile.
Plus, Dimples and I had just recently had our class picture argument, and I was pretty sure that reading an entire chapter to her about the death of a beloved character was not going to endear me any more to her. She makes it a point to avoid sappy death scenes in books, and I had kind of tricked her into this one.
Of course, Dimples handled it much better than I did. She is not a middle-aged mother fighting depression and haunted by visions of Anne Hathaway dreaming a dream as she is dying in a filthy street in Paris. And, I think that it is entirely possible that she would be happy with all of the characters being killed off as I have probably referred to these paragons of virtue a little too often. (“Do you think Beth would complain if her mother asked her to clean the toilet? Do you think Beth even had a toilet?”)
Fortunately, she has not compared me to Marmee, yet. Because we all know how that Battle of the Moms would shake out.
So, at the end of the day I cried more than she did. And that night, I dreamed my dear daughter was in the hospital dying from the flu.
I try not to censor my daughter’s reading, but I’m beginning to think someone should probably censor mine.
“I’m just letting you know that Friday is going to be a Whole Day of No Obligation for me,” I informed my husband a couple of days ago.
He raised an eyebrow as if to imply that, in the World of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, every day is one of no obligation. Since he was cooking dinner at the time of this announcement, I could somewhat see his point. However, I do actually perform some household duties on a regular basis, and have been feeling the need to boycott all of them since late October when daily obligations to family, home, and work seemed to have kicked into high gear.
“I am going to read all day in my pajamas. I might even not brush my teeth.”
“Okay,” he said. This is the same “okay” I get when I tell him I have a really great idea I have for a new invention, like bras that have interchangeable cups because no real woman has two breasts that are the same size. One of these days, I will divulge a particularly unique inspiration and he will leap up and respond, “By George, that is the most brilliant thing I have ever heard!”
So far, that day has not happened.
Despite my husband’s lack of enthusiasm for the project, I must say, that with the benefit of advance warning for all involved, including my 10-year-old daughter and the two Butts (our dogs), my second Whole Day of No Obligation has been a success.
I completed two books, and when my daughter bounced onto my bed complaining, “I’m bored,” I stifled my motherly/teacherly instinct to tell her that this would be a good time for her to clean her room, knowing full well that I would then be obligated to make sure the job was completed to my satisfaction – and I was not going to fall into that trap – and said, instead, “I’m sorry, but you will just have to entertain yourself as today is my Day of No Obligation.” And then I continued to read my book as she silently retreated. And I fervently hoped that she would not interpret that to mean, “So, go start practicing to be a serial killer who, when caught, will claim that you would have led a legally productive life if you had not had an erratic, selfish mother who refused your every wish and desire just so she could finish reading her book about serial killers.”
It is possible, I suppose, that I will have to reap the consequences of my DNO’s in the future. But, I think all in the household will agree tomorrow that their lives are much better for having given me a brief respite from laundry, entertaining, dog-bowl filling, and the general multi-tasking usually required of me on a daily basis.
Oh, and I did end up brushing my teeth. You’re supposed to enjoy your Day of No Obligation, and that is difficult to do when you have sticky teeth and a stale tongue.
Before you read on, in my defense, I would just like to say that trying to fight depression during the Christmas season, especially when you are a teacher, takes Herculean strength and not a few brain cells. Plus, I was a bit pre-occupied with the world ending and a few other things.
One more party. Last night, we had one last Christmas party to attend. And I was so looking forward to being done with them all.
The entire Firepants family was invited to this one. I had inconveniently scheduled a hair appointment right before the party, but I had planned ahead to make sure we could head over there as soon as I was done. White Elephant gift bought and wrapped. Dessert prepared. Address Google mapped.
Before my appointment, I reminded Dimples that she needed to find a “dress-up” outfit and something to use to roast marshmallows before I returned home.
(If you are new to my blog, I must inform you that I have an overactive Dorfenbergerthalamus that overheats and explodes if I am late to anything. This may seem random, but it’s a pertinent fact.)
I arrived home 40 minutes before the party.
“Dimples, do you have your dress-up outfit chosen?”
“I thi-in-n-k so.” This took 5 minutes to sort out.
“What about the marshmallow roasters?”
“No. I told Daddy, but he hasn’t found anything yet.”
I strode to the pantry and grabbed some barbecue forks.
“O.K. It’s going to take about 15 minutes to get there. Is everyone going to be ready to leave in 10 minutes?”
Cap’n Firepants spoke up. “Yes, I’ll probably be ready. But we’re going to need to stop on the way to pick up some beer.”
“What?!!!!!!!!! You’ve been home for 2 and a half hours. Why didn’t you get beer earlier?”
“What was I supposed to do, take Dimples with me to pick up beer?”
“So, now you are going to take all of us to pick up beer?!”
5 minutes later – “Oh, I forgot I had some beer. So, we don’t need to stop for it.”
“Thank God!” This was not sarcasm. I was truly appreciative that we would not lose minutes picking up beer. My Dorfenbergerthalamus was beginning to smoke.
5 minutes later – “O.K., everyone. Let’s go.”
Wonderbutt is coaxed into the Kitchen Corral. Mrs. P.I.B. gives us the panicked look she gives every time we leave. Armed with our required and optional party supplies, the Firepants family exits stage right.
10 minutes later, as we are flying past the airport, a sudden realization hits.
“Oh, crap. I forgot the White Elephant gift!” I exclaim.
To his credit, Cap’n Firepants, instead of letting the expletives fly, says, “Do you want me to turn around?”
I won’t list all of the options that rattled through my brain, but they included stopping at a convenience store and grabbing a can of Pringles or wrapping up the marshmallow forks in a car mat.
“Yes-s-s,” I reluctantly whisper as I sink deep into the seat and wait for my Dorfenbergerthalamus to go nuclear.
“Don’t worry, Mommy,” Dimples assures me from the back seat. “According to my Girls’ Book of Glamour, it’s best to be fashionably late to a party. Twenty minutes is ideal.”
Yeah, tell that to my Dorfenbergerthalamus…
Despite all of my Googling expertise, the pile of things that I just don’t understand keeps getting higher. I am pretty sure that I know less now than I did when I was 10. I mean, back then, I actually had to hold on to information for lengthy periods for pop quizzes and exams. Now, I discard any facts that are not vital to my present survival.
Today’s list of things I don’t understand:
- Why large things that protrude from your head are more appealing than small, unobtrusive things that can be covered by a fashionable hair style. Every time she sees my husband, Cap’n Firepants, our elderly friend, MILlie, complains to him that her stereo headphones will not work. He explains that the end needs to actually be plugged into something that makes sound – instead of dangling down her back. She says that she does not want to plug them into something; she just wants to walk around with them on, so they will help her hear better. (I tried to get her fitted for a hearing aid last year, but she refuses to wear one.)
- Why my husband insists on being loyal to a car-maker (let’s just call them “Frod”) who keeps selling him cars with transmission problems. After he got stranded, and they finally admitted there might be an issue (despite the fact that he brought it in 3 times before and there was “nothing wrong”), and then they proceeded to keep it for a week without offering him a rental car, I asked him if he still planned to go back there for his next car. “Well, they did fix it,” he stated.
- Why Google cannot help me find someone to help me fix my husband. Not that kind of fix. Just fix his blind allegiance to an automobile manufacturer who has not once returned the favor.
- Why I keep shoes in my closet that are agonizingly painful to wear, then forget the damage they did to my foot the last time I wore them, then stupidly choose to wear them to work one day, not realizing until I am at work that I have made yet another dumb wardrobe decision, make my way through an excruciating day with blinding pain, then come home, take off the shoes, and put them back in my closet without even a sticky note to label them as “Shoes That Cannot Be Worn for More Than 5 Minutes without Completely Hobbling You for the Next Week”.
- Why Dimples takes 90 minute showers, and she does not even shave her legs, yet.
- Why Twitter sent me an e-mail inviting me to use it more often (I never use it; I just signed up for it so I could get a Pinterest account) and then proceeded to suggest that two people I would probably like to follow are Tyra Banks and Snooki.
- How I can explain to Twitter, in 140 characters or less, all of the reasons that I will never follow Tyra or Snooki.
- Why one of my students gave me a very nice gift today, then ran to me after school and said, “Oh, don’t throw out the gift bag because my mom wants it back.”
Why Wonderbutt decided to grab, out of all of the sections of the newspapers spread across the kitchen table, the Obituaries. And dragged them, relatively intact, out to his Poop Pen.
How a Firepants Family Thanksgiving Goes Down:
The week before:
- Cap’n Firepants buys a 75 pound turkey that will be eaten by approximately 6 people.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants begs to go to a restaurant.
- Cap’n Firepants says that he loves to cook the Thanksgiving meal. It’s just the cleaning he does not enjoy. There is an implication there that Mrs. Cap’n Firepants does not like.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants begs to go to a restaurant.
The day before:
- Cap’n Firepants buys his favorite pecan pie from Bill Miller’s, and starts preparing items for the meal.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants despairs of going to a restaurant. Once the pie has been purchased, the wheels have been set in motion.
The day of:
- Cap’n Firepants begins to cook the turkey, cleaning the kitchen as he goes along.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants is thankful that she has married the greatest husband in the world, and that her anti-depressant seems to be kicking in.
- Wonderbutt waits in the kitchen for delectable bits to be dropped on the floor.
- The Globetrotters (the cousins, not the basketball team) arrive.
- The kitchen sink backs up, upchucking disgustingly dirty water into the ice machine and all over the kitchen floor. Decidedly unappetizing.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants begs to go to a restaurant.
- Wonderbutt tries to help by licking up the dirty water.
- The plumber is called, and valiantly arrives in record time so he can charge us time and a half and another half for working on a holiday. About how much it would have cost to go to a restaurant.
- The kitchen sink is fixed.
- Wonderbutt refrains from eating the plumber.
- Thanksgiving dinner is saved, and only twice as much cleaning needs to be done.
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants strongly considers feeding the leftovers to Wonderbutt, but is slightly concerned he will explode, forcing her to clean the kitchen for a third time.
The next day:
- Mrs. Cap’n Firepants begs to go to a spa.
“Are you channeling Michael Jackson?” Cap’n Firepants asked me this morning.
Those of you who know me well would agree on the hilarity of that suggestion – since I am, first of all, a 44-year-old chubby white girl and, more importantly, have about as much rhythm as a washing machine on the spin cycle. The Cap’n was not hallucinating, however.
“Oh, you mean this black glove on my hand?”
“Yes, that is what I mean.”
“That is my special heat-resistant glove, designed to protect me from burning my sensitive skin while I create a masterpiece of a hairdo with my new, super-duper curling wand.”
“O.K.” He bent his head to study the remote control in his hand – or to hide his smirk of doubt.
I waved my special heat-resistant hand at him in what I assumed to be a gesture akin to telling him to “Beat It”, and prepared to give myself lovely spiral curls that would be the envy of anyone addicted to the Home Shopping Network Hair Care website.
You actually don’t have to know me well to be aware of the fact that I am hopeless at doing hair – mine or anyone else’s. This is probably why I am obsessed with Donald Trump; I secretly identify with him. I have had one successful hair triumph in the last year, and that resulted in a different kind of disaster, so I haven’t even attempted to repeat that event.
But I stupidly walked into Ulta yesterday to get some lipstick and ended up walking out with a large stick for curling my hair. Since today was Sunday, and my presence in public was not required, I decided it was the perfect day to experiment.
I would like to give you a few words of advice if you attempt to curl your own hair using a special heat-resistant glove. Firstly, it helps if you put the glove on the hand that is actually going to be making contact with the hot end of the curling wand – instead of the hand that is clutching the barrel, safely out of harm’s way.
I learned that when I did my first curl.
Hint Numero Deux: “heat-resistant” does not mean “heat-proof“. If it takes you ten minutes to wrap a tendril of hair around the wand, then you will probably start feeling the heat through the glove. And you might then drop the wand on your foot, which does not happen to be wearing a heat-resistant glove, and then you might say some words that will amuse your husband, who is surreptitiously spying on you from the bedroom as he pretends to be watching football.
And the third hint: just because it is called a curling “wand” does not mean you are suddenly a wizard at Hogwarts. Unless you are Ron Weasley trying to to wield his useless, broken wand. So, don’t point it at yourself unless you want to start vomiting slugs.
Surprisingly, I made it around my head with relatively few third-degree burns and no slug-inducing mis-spells. I examined “The Woman in the Mirror”, and I limped out into the bedroom to model for Cap’n Firepants.
“I like it,” he said.
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously, and almost asked, “Do You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’?” But Cap’n Firepants does not tell me he likes something unless he means it. It can be devastating when we are about to go somewhere, and he says that my hair style is “not my favorite”, but at least I know his rare compliments are heartfelt.
So, now that the Cap’n thinks that I look like a “Pretty Young Thing”, I have given the heat-resistant glove and its Miraculous Wand a place of honor on our bathroom counter.
This may be the start of something “Dangerous”.