I must be a squirrel

Before those of you who know me fall down laughing – I admit it. I am also squirrelly. I say odd things at odd times and forget if I’m going forward or backward. I’m out of underwear. That’s okay, the laundry will wait until tomorrow. Having proved my credentials, on to proving my assertion.

I’ve decided I must be a squirrel because it is October and I’m acting like a squirrel. I’m throwing out old nesting materials and bringing in new. Each month local charities collect clothes and other items to sell in their resale stores. Many months go by with nary a donation. But in September, October and November their donation bags are overflowing, sometimes with extra bags and boxes alongside.

The past two winters I was not well and did not do my annual file exchange. Usually, I remove the ending year’s files into my “keep just in case I get audited” box. Then I shred documents more than three years old and recycle them. Since I had a work break recently that project is finished. The shreds filled six paper grocery bags.

Other evidence of my squirrel genes lies in my freezer and cupboard. Outdated food is out and new is in. This often involves something I avoid in warmer months – cooking.

A few weeks ago my daughter gave me a bag of yams, I think. I never could tell yams from sweet potatoes. These had reddish skin with yellowish-greenish insides. During the first week I baked three. Even though the color was yucky, they were yummy with butter and salt and pepper.

Realizing I’d never eat them all before they turned to mush with a rash of white spots, I decided to bake them all at once. I piled them all on a baking sheet and stuck them in the oven. After they baked and cooled I peeled and mashed them without toppings. They filled four 2.5 cup freezer containers.

A couple weeks ago the same daughter suggested we stop at the grocery after my doctor had just given me caffeine, alcohol and driving restrictions for my vertigo. I walked into the grocery store holding on to my daughter’s arm looking like she had just rescued me from the local watering hole. Spying the fall veggies I had a brilliant idea. I’d make my first winter pot of root soup.

My daughter agreed. Why? If I could barely walk alone, why would she trust me with sharp objects? Thinking somewhat sanely I bought the smallest rutabaga and turnips I could find. I staggered my way out of the store feeling proud of purchasing good, healthy food. I’ll not mention the frozen fruit bars that were also in the bags.

Once home, sanity prevailed and I let the veggies sit in the refrigerator until I could walk without holding on to the walls and even walk the ¼ mile round trip to my mailbox.

Two days ago, I decided I could handle a knife safely and began chopping vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, celery, onions all went smoothly. I peeled the rutabaga and turnips with no more trouble than any other year. Chopping now, that’s another story.

I started with the same knife I had been using for the other vegetables. It went in just far enough to get stuck. After I tried wiggling the knife and cursing, the rutabaga finally released the knife. Solution – get a larger chopping knife. Oops, same results. Trying to release it was more scary knowing what this knife would do to my fingers and other body parts if it slipped. Finally, the rutabaga took pity on me and released that knife too.

What to do? I went to my arsenal, er, cutlery drawer and pulled out the heaviest weapon. “Okay, rutabaga, you are only three inches wide and this blade is eight inches long. It is time for you to surrender.” I gently placed the middle of the blade on the rutabaga, one palm on the back of the blade’s pointed end and the other on the handle. Using my substantial body weight, I pressed down. “Take that, rutabaga!”

Soon it and the turnips joined the other vegetables in the pot. I filled the pot with water and all sorts of seasonings and set it on my largest burner. Soon I had delicious soup that warmed my insides. I ate a good size bowl that day and the next. Then I filled four more freezer containers and added them to the yam stockpile.

If this doesn’t prove that I’m a squirrel, let me add one more fact. I eat nuts every day and peanut butter several times a week.

© by Sharon Dillon, October 17, 2014