Big Billy – What a crock

If ya ask me, it’s Minnie’s fault, really. She got me this shiny new Toronto Maple Leafs glass for Christmas – one of them big ones with a handle and the logo etched right into the glass – and ever since hockey started back up, it’s the only glass I’ll use for anything besides tea.

So Saturday morning I go to the fridge to get myself a big glass of pop and as I’m reachin’ Big BIllyup in the cupboard to get my new favourite glass, my elbow hits the corner of the range above the stove, which causes my hand to knock into the cupboard all sideways and holy cripes, before ya know it, about three or four of the glasses are all wobbly and about to fall out on my head.

I caught the Leafs glass in mid-fall, but my arm hit the bottom of the shelf and bounced all the glasses up in the air. What came next was basically an avalanche of anything you could drink out of. Pop glasses, beer glasses, them big plastic pop cups from Wendy’s, plastic Tim Horton’s travel mugs – all of them spilled out on my head while I tried to catch them without droppin’ my Leafs glass. Nothin’ like a Niagara Falls of glass pourin’ out of your cupboard into your face to wake you up in the mornin’, eh?

Now, normally, somethin’ like this ain’t a problem. I’d just sweep up the broken glass and hide the pieces in a box in the basement or somethin, and never mention it again. It’d be like the glass went into the witness protection program or somethin’, no questions asked. The odd time when that happens and I have to cover my tracks and Minnie realizes there’s one missin’, what I’ll do is, I’ll blame it on the dog. How did the dog get up on the cupboard? she’ll ask. I know, eh? I’ll say, and that usually makes the problem go away.

But when I looked down at the three or four smashed cups and glasses, I knew there was no way I was gonna be able to cover it up as easy. Right there, in three pieces next to the toaster, was the coffee mug Rosie gave Minnie for Mother’s Day when she was five. Now, it’s not goin’ too far to say that mug is one of Minnie’s favourite things in the world. If the house caught fire, and Minnie had to start grabbin’ stuff, she’d grab the kids first, then probably that mug, then me. In that order.

Well, I said to myself pickin’ up the chunks and lookin’ at them, it’s not as bad as it coulda been. The other three I broke were glasses and they smashed into so many pieces they basically turned into sand. But because the mug broke in three big chunks, they could all kinda fit back together pretty easy. So as long as I could get them to stick, I might be able to put it back together.

Thank cripes Minnie was gone with Joan for the day. I had a brilliant idea to fix it, but it was gonna take time. A few years ago, Cyril started makin’ his own plaques with sayin’s on them – like buddy in the mall sells – the kind where it’s made of wood, sorta carved out or burned at the edges, with this thick, clear epoxy that goes over the whole thing and keeps cards or pictures or whatever in place on the plaque.

I didn’t remember exactly what he used, so I went downstairs and tried to whip up my own solution, because I was sure if I glued the pieces back together and then covered the whole thing in that clear epoxy stuff, that mug’d be good as new. I mixed together some carpenter’s glue and what was left in an old can of varnish. I dipped each of the pieces of the mug in it and tried to fit them all back together.

Then I remembered, the stuff’ll take forever to set on its own, but Cyril said if ya can get some heat to it, it’ll dry a lot faster and hold a lot better. Well cripes. Now my hands are covered in this stuff, and it’s all sticky, but I take the mug and run all the way upstairs with it, put it on the edge of the bathroom sink and get out Minnie’s hairdryer. I musta been there 15 minutes and nothin’ was really happenin’. It wasn’t hot enough, and, I realized I’d be stuck there holdin’ the dryer on it for a couple of hours for it to work, and since there’s a good chance I’d be in the mood for a salami sandwich before then, I needed a new plan.
So I came back downstairs with the mug and that’s when it hit me. Right there on the counter was the crock pot slow cooker me and the kids got Minnie for Christmas. Brilliant, I says to myself. I carefully put the mug in the cooker, plugged it in, and set it on high. Problem solved. I figured I’d come back in a few hours and take it out, good as new. I started to get that good feelin’ ya get when you’re about to get away with somethin’, like there’s a smirk in the back of your throat.

So I finally got my glass of pop in my Leafs mug, and went in the room to watch the sports highlights from the night before. One thing led to another and before ya know it there’s a Steven Seagal movie on TV and I forget all about the slow cooker and nod off a little bit.
Minnie’s yellin’ wakes me up, and when I run out the kitchen, there she is, scramblin’ to unplug the crock pot.

What in the hell is this? she says. Oh, she was wild.

Turns out the heat just melted the varnish and glue into a bubbly, sticky soup, with three chunks of broken mug stuck now forever to the inside of Minnie’s ruined crock pot.
So I guess what I’m sayin’ is, on top of everything else, now I gotta go without stew for a while, too.

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