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December 23, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Busy and Brine

A really busy day today. Lots of things that we've just been holding off on for a while has really piled up and made a difference today. It started with a problem that John and Fezzik and I have been ignoring for a good month or two. That was the fact that Fezzik is so dirty he's smelly. Poor pup.

We hauled him into Borax and took him to Mutt Puddles, a self-serve dog wash place with lots of tubs at about waist level. There were four other dogs in there, all being tackled by their respective families. Everyone looked like they were having fun. Fezzik didn't want to go up the ladder into the tub, but after we got him in he was quite tractable. We took a good half an hour to just brush as much loose fur out of him as possible, ending up with a whole trash can filled with his undercoat bits. When we were done with that we turned on the water, got out the shampoo bottles and went to work. Three bottles of shampoo later Fezzik was a whole lot sudsier and a whole lot less oily. The shampoo, given a little time and help, got everywhere, and when we rinsed him off, he already looked a bit better. Conditioner, another rinse, and the high-speed air dryer later, and he was a fluffy, tired, and very clean dog. The high-speed dryer doesn't heat the air, it just blows the water off his fur, and I covered his ears and eyes with a towel when John was near his face with the thing; but it got nearly all his other fur damp dry. Much better than the sodden mass he was when we were first done.

When we got back into Borax, Fezzik just lay down and took a nap while John and I went through a slew of errands at Eagle, Target, and Albertson's. We managed to get all the food we thought we needed for the next few days, a gift for a dice game the Goodell's had proposed for Christmas after dinner games, and a few decoration things we could use for The Night. The weather was sunny and warm and Fezzik gradually dried as he slept in the back of the truck. It was warm enough that I wanted to nap as well.

When we got home, there were three small packages waiting for us. One was a gift from Keely! Surprise! Another had a quote that Carl had once given me, so I assumed it was a gift as well, though it was labeled for Fezzik. Those went under the tree. The third was a box from Levenger! Hoorah! It was my eyedropper pen. It's a pen that's filled with an eyedropper and the body acts as the reservoir for the ink rather than some rubber bladder or other mechanism of holding or filling the pen. This one is a modern eyedropper. Most modern pens have some other method for filling the pen, as they don't require another piece of equipment to do the job. The coolest thing with this pen is that the body is made from Plexiglas, so I can actually see the ink level, and the clear body holds more ink that seven normal European cartridges, so it's not about to run out soon. The tip is a bit scratchy, but I now have ways and means to fix that. It is, however, a new pen that uses an ancient mechanism for filling and I really, really like it.

I really like the simple mechanisms. I guess the quill is the most simple. Nothing to it but dipping it a lot. But this is next. No real mechanism at all, but unscrewing the top and filling it. There is a rubber washer on the top so that when it closes it is water tight, but that's as fancy as that gets. The nib is two-tone, gold and platinum, and the pen itself is somewhat pricey. It seems very solidly built, however, so I think it'll last me a good long time. It is very cute and very fun to play with.

John went to the bathtub with the turkey and a big, purple bucket. Cold water and a weight later, the turkey was submerged and thawing. While it was thawing I ended up rumming another batch of dried fruit for a fruitcake. It turned out that I had bought pretty much twice of every dried fruit I needed, other than golden raisins, and I'd bought a lot more crystallized ginger than I needed. I'm going to have to make gingerbread with studs of crystallized ginger, someday. Anyway... it all went into the same airtight container as before with the zest off a lemon and an orange, and it all looked a bit keener for larger chunks of ginger and the paler gold of the lighter raisins this time around.

When I was done with that, I mixed up the brine for the turkey in our five gallon stock pot and heated it up to dissolve the sugar and salt. The whole thing then went into the cold garage to cool down while we waited on the thawing of the turkey. One of the things we'd bought at Albertson's was another serving of chicken wings. So I stuffed those into the toaster oven and let them toast until they sizzled. Then we ate those with the last of the red cabbage salad.

Finally, we watched my copy of Face Off. It's been a while since I'd seen the movie and I really loved it. I loved it this time as well, the whole thing from the way it's set up to the way it finishes and all the bits and pieces of very Hong Kong style action that happens all the way through. It got me thinking about an angel and a demon who swapped Vessels in the midst of a job... That was very interesting, indeed, to think about.

When it was done, the brine and the turkey were ready to meet. We put the turkey into the pot butt side down, gradually, into the cold liquid and it *just* fit. Barely. The whole thing was then covered and stuck in the cold, cold garage (there is still snow along the north side of the building) and let it stay out there. The salt and the cold should keep any bacterial considerations at bay. It needs to brine at least six hours, so overnight should be okay, and we'll turn it in the morning.

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