Fly me to the moon. Not.

By Carolyn Marsh | Dec 04, 2009

A conversation about mattresses over Thanksgiving dinner made me wonder just how long it's been since I bought one. Pretty long, I guess, as I learned some things I didn't know.

My host and hostess had just bought a new foam mattress to replace their 4-year-old one, which had two hollows in it where they slept. When I asked why they didn't turn it over, they -- and everyone else at the table -- told me that mattresses aren't manufactured to be turned over any more. Who knew? For years I've kept a little index card taped to my mattress telling me to turn it over from side to side. Six months later I flip the card for the next time, which is top to bottom. And I can turn the mattress myself. Perhaps I will have to add my bedroom to the museum complex that is my kitchen.

Next I learned about pillow-top mattresses. I got a little confused at first, thinking muffin-top was meant (what you get when a woman wears low pants and a cropped top when she really shouldn't). My friends with the pillow-top mattress think they might be able to turn it over, as it is pillow-top on the bottom (or perhaps it is pillow-bottom), except that it is two feet thick and weighs about half a ton. They dismissed the idea of a crane next to the bed or a hoist in the ceiling but are checking on a regular basis for hollows.

Getting older is like driving a used car: You never know what is going to go next. For the past few weeks I have had an abnormal craving for scrambled eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast. Sunday seemed to be a good day for such an undertaking. Unfortunately, I apparently had not brought my decision-making abilities to the kitchen with me.

Let me tell you about beurre noir. I'm sure most people think it has its origins in haute cuisine, but I am fairly sure it was born of a lack of attention. I'd laid out the bacon in the pan -- and here let me say just a little about the bacon of today. First, I would rather not like it, as I love pigs and was not at all surprised to read in the newspaper the other day about how smart they are. To tell the truth, I thought everybody knew that. I have also discovered, in my bacon craving, that it is not what it used to be. I don't miss the eyes, the little bits of bone or gristle that you used to have to poke out of the slice before you could eat it. I do miss lean bacon and the way it crisped up. I've even splurged on center-cut bacon in an effort to re-create those halcyon days, but some center-cut bacon is even fattier than regular bacon.

So here I am tending to my under-achieving bacon in one frying pan. In the other, which I have completely forgotten, the butter for scrambled eggs is burning to black. Having no interest in getting rid of the black butter and starting all over again, I dumped my eggs in the pan and watched with interest as black butter laced with little flecks of egg flew everywhere. By the time I had sorted that out (actually the eggs looked very chic seeded with burned butter), the bacon was getting black in its turn. And I'd forgotten the way bacon fat splatters all over the stove, making a nice addition to the butter-and-eggs already in place.

I had of course totally overlooked the toast. Toast -- bread, as was -- has been an issue for me ever since Arnold stopped making Bran'nola several years ago. When I called to ask why I couldn't find it anywhere, the Arnold lady said it had been discontinued. When I complained (according to the place mat at a local Chinese restaurant I, born in the year of the Goat, am always the first to complain), she couldn't give me a reason, let alone a good one, but did allow as how thousands of people had already called to voice their displeasure. Then she tried to tell me that another Arnold product was almost the same. It wasn't, of course, and nothing I have tried since then has been.

Whatever poor substitute I am using at present was sitting in my little GE toaster oven (I can't find a new toaster oven that doesn't look as though it will make breakfast for you and then fly you to the moon and back, so I keep a sharp eye on eBay, where I have found three old GE toaster ovens already, the other two having been distributed to other members of my family), and by the time it was toasted the eggs and bacon were a little past their best-by date. I laid everything out nonetheless (I hate the way cold butter tears up a piece of second-rate toast) and went to get my tea, only to discover that I hadn't even plugged the kettle in. Maybe I'll try again next weekend. Or maybe not.

Getting cash from an ATM machine always gives me the giggles. The first instruction is to type in your password, which shows up on the screen as XXXX. The next instruction is to press OK if this is correct. I'll say no more.

Carolyn Marsh is communications director for the Picker Institute in Camden.


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