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“What’s going on down there?” Sabra yelled from the bedroom to me in the kitchen.
Sabra is a sound sleeper, pretty much oblivious to the world from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. unless one of the animals is distressed. If one of our cats starts hacking up a hairball or if one of our dogs starts pacing like they need to go out, she wakes up instantly. I’m a log when I sleep, especially if I have my good ear in the pillow. Our dog Buzz has figured this out and if the call to nature arrives in the middle of the night he wakes Sabra up who in turn wakes me. If I, on the other hand, wake up with food poisoning and start vomiting uncontrollably in the bathroom only a few feet from our bed it doesn’t even rank one rapid eye movement.
The noise that woke her up in this case wasn’t an animal but me putting away dishes from the dishwasher. As I’ve detailed in the past, Sabra is a virtual crime scene investigator when it comes to our house. I don’t dare sweep dirt under the carpet, she’s on to me faster than Sara Sidle to a blood stain.
I generally wake up around 6 a.m., feed Buzz, make coffee and read the Des Moines Register for a half hour. Then around 6:30, I make breakfast, which typically is toast, sharp cheddar cheese and a few pickles. On this particular morning, however, we were out of bread and cheese so I decided to go to my fallback repast: a bowl of cereal.
I don’t consider myself a picky eater– I’ll eat about anything, even sushi (if it’s cooked) or vegetarian (if you add meat)– but I do have my quirks. One of these peccadilloes is that I like a certain size and shape cereal bowl. The bowls we have as part of our dinner set are shallower than a Republican’s commitment to family values. This leads to milk sloshing out of the bowl or conservative politicians like Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump and, most lately, Arnold S.
Back when I was a bachelor I didn’t have two dishes in the entire cupboard that matched and I liked it that way. If you have dinnerware for eight, what do you do if you have a party of nine? With my method you just stop by Goodwill and get an extra place setting and no one is the wiser as nothing matches.
On my recent fishing trip to my brother’s house, I noticed that his bowls had the requisite steepness to the side but were incredibly tiny. I took one look at them and found a mixing bowl. I set the bowl on the table next to Dad, and his eyes grew wide. As I’ve documented before, Dad’s vision is about gone but he could still detect the large bowl I set down next to him. It’s also hard to catch him with a practical joke, but I got him this time.
During that fishing trip, by the way, I found out that it runs in the family. Brother Brad starts his day without fail with a large Diet Pepsi, but it can only be purchased at a certain convenience store. On the way to the store I couldn’t help but notice we passed several others and asked why he didn’t go in one of them for his soda. “The straws are too narrow,” was his reply.
“I’m putting the dishes in the dishwasher away,” I hollered back to Sabra, waiting for the other shoe to drop: in our household no good deed goes unpunished.
We don’t normally use the dishwasher but a couple nights earlier we had a few people over for dinner, and Sabra decided there were just enough dishes for about three-fourths of a load. Sabra is nothing if she’s not frugal and she decided to wait a couple more days before actually turning the dishwasher on, hoping to do a full a load. Not wanting food to get dried on to the dishes she carefully washed each one before putting them in the appliance.
So what she knew and I didn’t was that the dishes were technically “unwashed,” and I had to put them all back into the washer. The ones I was unsure of, I took upstairs and hid in my office.