HUMOR – Wishing you a Merry Christmas and plenty of tater tot casserole

Merry Christmas all! I hope 2023 was a good year for you. It didn’t start out well for me. Ever since early 2020, I’ve had the feeling that I’m running from something. And last winter it caught me…COVID. I couldn’t be sure until I took the test, but I knew something was wrong because there was chocolate in the house and I didn’t feel like eating it.

I learned an important lesson from the experience. It isn’t enough that you read the instructions, you have to follow them too. I won’t go into details about where I went wrong with my first test because it involves swabbing my nostrils and you might be eating lunch while you read the paper.

Suffice it to say that when the result was negative I didn’t trust it because of the swabbing mishap. When I took the second test I followed the instructions carefully. Then I spilled the testing solution all over my dining room table. There went my dream of being a lab technician.

With my third test, I made it all the way to the step where you set the timer for 10 minutes. There are times when I feel like the universe is taunting me and this was one of them. I’d set the electric timer on my stove and a mere two minutes had passed when the power went out. I’m not making that up. There was no way to tell when my time was up. But at some point the test read positive so I decided that whether or not I actually had COVID, it was easier to assume I did.

I was vaccinated so my case was mild, but I was worried about my cat. I’d read that pets can catch COVID but that you shouldn’t put masks on them to protect them. I think my cat would agree. Luckily he didn’t show any symptoms so I didn’t have to swab his nostrils.

In other news, we had a minor explosion in our home. One morning there was a boom so loud I jumped. I couldn’t tell where it came from so I wandered around the house expecting to find a mess somewhere. And I did, but not until the next day when I opened the freezer. Everything inside was covered with a frozen, tannish foam. Just as I was telling my husband there was something terribly wrong with our freezer, I noticed a can split in half on the bottom shelf. I’d purchased a soda the day before and put it in the freezer to cool quickly. Then I promptly forgot about it and had tea. When my husband asked what was wrong with the freezer, I said, “Uh…it really needs cleaning.”

I met a fellow writer from Connecticut a few months ago but we didn’t get off to a good start. She asked me if there was any truth to the crazy rumor that people in this part of the country eat something called tater tot casserole. I was stunned. She seemed like such a nice person too. But how could I trust someone who’s never eaten tater tot casserole and didn’t sound like she ever wanted to? I’m generally pretty tolerant of people’s flaws and we’ve become friends online. But if she ever visits I know what I’m making for dinner.

I probably shouldn’t do any baking for her though, not after the shocking discovery I made in my cupboard a few months back. I came across a recipe for an oatmeal apple cake and decided to make it for some visitors. I didn’t notice until the cake was in the oven that my baking powder expired in 2011. There goes my dream of being a baker too.

Here’s hoping your dreams come true in 2024. And best wishes for good health, a clean freezer and plenty of tater tot casserole.