The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be Resourceful. . .

 Yours truly, checking the grill late in the afternoon of  (American) Thanksgiving Day.  A single-breasted navy blazer completed the ensemble when we finally sat down to supper.

Our oven finally died in the midst of pie-baking late Wednesday afternoon this week, the day before Thanksgiving.  For a few moments, as my wife dialed various appliance repair people at 3:30pm, it seemed like the traditional Thanksgiving meal would need to be postponed by a few days until a service man could squeeze us into his schedule. 

Then it occurred to me that we had enough charcoal from this summer left in the backyard shed next to. . .   our Weber grill.  Voila!  Problem solved, and everything had a slightly charbroiled flavor yesterday evening, Thanksgiving Day, which was a delicious change of pace.  It's not often you get to save the day like MacGyver (as played by Richard Dean Anderson long before he starred on the Battlestar Galactica reboot)!  1980s pop culture and bad TV references aside, the point is that a guy should, within reason, use his resources and mental faculties when those occasional unforeseen events occur that life occasionaly drops into our laps. 

Anyway, Christmas has arrived a few weeks early here with us.  Turns out the old (electric) stove required a control panel part that needs to be special ordered and is expensive enough that it made more sense to purchase a new stove.  So, we've now got a plumber scheduled to reconnect an old gas line and have purchased a new gas stove (gotta love Black Friday sales at Sears), to be delivered next week.  That was our somewhat unusual, but no less happy, Thanksgiving Day. 

At the moment,  it's about 11am on the Friday morning of a long holiday weekend here in the United States.  I'm listening to Norwegian jazz online via Norwegian State Broadcasting (NRK), sung by a male vocalist in a style reminiscent of the young Chet Baker. American jazz standards that have been translated into a West Norwegian dialect of all things.  The Grand Duchess and Young Master have gone a callin' for the day to visit an aging relative.  The house is now still, I've made another mug of coffee, and all is right with the world.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Another useful skill a man ought to acquire by the time he leaves home is knowing how to set a table beyond the bare bachelor minimum of a castoff microwaveable plate, plastic cup, and utilitarian spork.  In our house, I'm the one who sets the table most evenings and for special holiday occasions too.  Recently, the Young Master has started assisting me.  Whoever he one day marries or sets up house with will appreciate it as my mother remarked a number of times during my own formative year while showing me how to do various domestic things like set a table, wash and fold clothes, genuinely make a bed (with all of the necessary tucks and folds), and iron dress shirts.

 Black Friday 2014 style, including a 20+ year-old navy and cream L.L. Bean Norwegian fisherman's sweater, from a time when they still sold the genuine 'Made in Norway' article.  I bought and began wearing this long before I had any idea that people actually wore sweaters like these outside Norway or the rest of mainland Scandinavia.  I've observed Swedes and Danes in very similar items when in those countries during the winter.


Glenda Moore said...

Another Fabulous installment! Beautiful table + Yankee (Southern?) ingenuity! Your posts always resonate with me.

Your mama was right, of course. When my mama was sick, my daddy stepped in with the instructions to us kids: "Leave mama alone, she's sick, what do you need?" He'd sit at the sewing machine and mend ripped clothes, get all the cooking done, make sure we were all presentably dressed & hair combed before leaving the house, etc.

He made sure my three brothers were properly educated in household duties such as running the sewing machine, cooking, along with the usual "manly" duties of lawn-mowing and trash-emptying. There were four men and three ladies in our household, and before every meal my daddy would stand at the head of the table while my three brothers would hold the chairs & then seat my mama, my sister, and me. Then the four men would sit down together. Reaching as far back in my memory as I can, I don't remember any meal where this didn't happen.

Daddy made learning household duties fun for my brothers. For instance, he had them make all kinds of fanciful pancake shapes for breakfast, like his favorite "silver-dollar pancakes" as he called them, bunny rabbits, and the like. My brothers' wives have always thought my daddy to be one of the greatest guys on the planet.

My favorite vocal jazz groups are New York Voices and The Real Group--The Real Group is from Sweden, of course! Thanks, as always, for your fabulous blog!

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you! I'm a tarheel disguised as a yankee (raised north of the Mason-Dixon line).

Best Regards,


Glenda Moore said...

Ah, yes, I think I remember your having written something to that effect. Your grandparents, or maybe just your grandfather was/were of Southern extract? Happy holidays to you & yours.

guy said...

There must be an unwritten rule of domestic appliances that they decide to break down at inopportune moments. We have had the house boiler die on us on Christmas Eve just before hordes of family descend on us and the dishwasher giving up the ghost on another Christmas. I have also had a puncture late at night on the motorway coming back from a school concert in the middle of winter. The car was full of grandparents and children. When the repair man arrives he asks for the magic wheel nut key. I look at him blankly never having heard of such a thing. After a few phone calls it was found on a shelf at home some 30 miles away. It was a long night.