Thursday, May 27, 2010


By Allison Adams 10-13-08, submitted to The Greeneville Sun 10-14-08

In 1990, Bill and I welcomed our second baby to our small world. Now four persons beneath our roof, my husband commemorated the occasion by buying a brand-new, stainless steel, four-slot, pop-up toaster. He thought it was important that everyone’s slice of bread have it’s own slot.

He thinks about stuff like that.

In 1992, we welcomed our third baby to our small world. When he realized there was no such thing as a five-slot toaster, Bill agreed to adjust and compromise.

He’s pretty good about stuff like that.

In 2007, our no-longer-new, not-so-stainless steel, four-slot, pop-up toaster gave up the ghost. And so one Saturday morning, I set out to find a suitable replacement toaster for the one I had just thrown away.

I like to conduct a thorough interview of any potential new appliance before making a purchase. You know – turn knobs and dials, press buttons, open and shut doors. If something can be slid, I like to slide it. If there are attachments, I like to attach and detach them.

Very early in the appliance interview process, I realized I would be replacing our former four-slot toaster with a toaster-oven. I loved the versatility of a toaster-oven. A toaster-oven would eliminate the need for me to surgically remove my beloved big bagel from a slender slice slot. It also opened up a whole new world I call “PPR” (Personal Portion Reheating).

Yes, a toaster-oven made perfect sense for our family.
I concluded my appliance interviews and made my selection in less than an hour. The winner: A basic, but efficient, Black and Decker toaster-oven.
Bill was glued to a football game on TV when I returned with our new toaster. I unpacked it, and made a public service announcement:
“Attention! We’ve got a new toaster!”
He managed a wave in my general direction, but he never took his eyes off the TV. I waited patiently for a commercial break, and eventually he wandered into the kitchen to take a look.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“What do mean, what’s that? Its our new toaster!”
He stood and stared at it for what seemed like forever before he turned to me and asked,

“Where is the slottage?”
“The wha…?”
“The slottage. Bread slots. Where are the bread slots? Where do I insert my slice of bread for toasting?”
Well. In no time I threw on an apron, channeled my inner Ron Popiel, and enthusiastically launched a full-scale infomercial demonstrating the versatility of our new toaster-oven. I explained the different, easy-to-use features that allowed one to adjust the setting to toast bread, bagels, or rolls. I introduced the “top brown” selection on the toaster dial, which made thing like heating cheese toast a breeze. I showed him the handy, slide-in tray one would use for things like heating a mini French baguette, or warming a piece of pizza, or baking a chicken pot pie.
“Imagine if you will,” I said, “the efficiency in heating just this small space for a chicken pot pie, instead of heating a whole, great big, conventional oven!”
“Looks very complicated.” he said. And then he just stood there and stared at the toaster-oven for what seemed like days, until finally he spoke again.
“Where does the bread slice pop-up?” he asked.
“Honey – it doesn’t pop-up, or out, because there’s no slot.” I explained.
“Then how do you know when its done?” he asked.
“The toaster-oven just automatically shuts itself off.”
“The bread doesn’t pop-up or out? Does the toaster ding?” he asked.
“No, dear. You just have to open the little glass door when its done toasting, and slide the bread out.”
“No ding?” he asked.
“No ding.” I confirmed.
With that, he heaved a huge sigh, and sulked back to his football game on TV.
Its been a year now, and I really think he’s beginning to come around.
Last Saturday morning I came downstairs to find him standing like a zombie in front of the toaster-oven. His arms were limply outstretched. In each hand, he dangled a slice of white bread, gingerly pinched between his thumb and forefinger. His head was cocked ever-so-slightly to one side.
I approached him cautiously, gently removed the bread from his pincers, slid the slices on the toaster rack, shut the door, and pressed the start button.
When the bread turned to toast, the appliance automatically shut-off, and I presented him with the finished product.
And because marriage is all about adjustments and compromise … I said, “Ding.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Question Mark

The Question Mark

By Allison Adams / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 05-16-10

Why is it so hard for a momma to get her teenaged son to tell her what’s going on in his life? Why does it seem like the more I ask, the less I know? Why can’t I ask a simple question and get a simple answer?

Me: Where have you been?

Him: Didn’t you know?

Me: Do you have any idea what time it is?

Him: Is it suppertime?

Me: Why are you late?

Him: Am I late?

Me: What have you been doing?

Him: Don’t you remember?

Me: If I remembered, why would I be asking?

Him: How should I know?

Me: You expect me to answer that?

Him: Is the Pope Catholic?

Me: What did you do at school today?

Him: What do I usually do at school every day?

Me: Why can’t you just answer the question?

Him: Why do you ask me that every day?

Me: Do you have any important things for me to read or sign?

Him: Can you be more specific?

Me: Do you have any notes from your teachers, or written announcements, or permission slips, or anything I need to read that might help me know what’s going on in your life?

Him: Do you expect me to know the answer to that off the top of my head?

Me: How are your grades?

Him: Don’t you want to be surprised?

Me: Would it be a good surprise?

Him: How do you define “good”?

Me: You know what your father and I expect of you, don’t you?

Him: Is that a rhetorical question?

Me: Is there anything I should know?

Him: Is that a trick question?

Me: Do you have a handle on your class work?

Him: Don’t I always?

Me: If I knew that, why would I ask?

Him: How should I know?

Me: Why are you so defensive?

Him: Why are you interrogating me?

Me: You call this an interrogation?

Him: Are you serious?

Me: Is there any other way to get information out of you?

Him: Is it necessary for you to always give me the third degree?

Me: Do I have any choice?

Him: Why can’t we just have a normal conversation?

Me: Will that ever be possible?

Him: Do you expect me to predict the future?

Me: Would you pass me some Tylenol?

Him: Do you have another headache?

Me: What was your first clue?

Him: Did you know 90% of all headaches are categorized as “stress headaches”?

Me: Where did you learn that?

Him: What do you think I do at school all day long?

Me: How am I supposed to know?

Am I alone?