It was a dark and rainy morning, Mrs Wilderness made a nice 'plunger' coffee and I thought I'd have a piece of toast along with the cuppa (as they say in New Zealand.) I found two aging heels in the breadbox and both had what looked like the start of a lush green lawn appearing on them.
I was just about ready to start complaining when the wife said there was a new loaf in the freezer. As I chipped loose the brick of ice bread I noticed a package of "hash-browns with onion" patties. I figured the bread would have to be defrosted anyway so why not put one of the hash browns in the toaster? Yes, I've lived a sheltered life. So that's what I did in anticipation of a golden brown potato snack. It wasn't long before smoke started rising out of the toaster and circling its way toward the smoke alarm. I quickly flipped up the plunger and took the patty out of the toaster only to find it was slightly defrosted on the outside but still frozen on the inside!
So I thought to myself, "King" I said, the only thing to do is put it in the microwave and set the meter to "un-freeze" hash browns. I put the patty on a plate and into the microwave leaving it in there for one minute. When I took it out the patty was defrosted but also soggy, mushy and still raw looking! Think bath mat on Saturday night. I figured the only thing I could do now to get it brown (which is the purpose of hash browns) was to fry the damn thing in a skillet. That's when I got a non-stick fry pan out of the cabinet and put it on the stove element on high. When I thought it was hot enough I put the patty in the pan and turned down the heat.
Now you have to understand that burning the Teflon on a non-stick fry pan is the quickest way there is to kill a bird... the fumes are deadly to them. By the way, we have a pet Rainbow Lorikeet parrot named Bart. I'm busy cooking the patty when the pan starts to smoke! The temperature isn't that high so I don't know why the hell it's smoking, but it's smoking! Two feet away from me, Bart the bird is on one knee mumbling something that sounded suspiciously like the Catholic Church's "Last Rights" and giving me a dirty look at the same time. It was the first time I'd heard a bird actually coughing? especially with some sense of urgency.
I immediately take the pan off the stove and open the door to the laundry where the window is open and a strong gale blowing through. The fumes quickly disperse; Bart recovers somewhat, looks at me, shakes his head and staggers away. That's when I notice it's about 3 degrees below zero in the house. Now I have to turn on the gas fire to warm up the house before all three of us, Mrs Wilderness, Bart the bird and I, catch pneumonia.
Checking on the skillet, I find, at long last, the hash-brown is greasy but done. I decide it's as ready to eat as it will ever get so I finally sit down to enjoy my hash brown, which, by now, looks like a cross between a hockey puck and a sanding block, with my cup of coffee. That's when I realize the coffee is so cold there's a thin layer of ice on top. Some days just aren't meant to be.
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