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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Just Another Pain in the Ice

My wife and I play little games sometimes.

(And before you get all lubed and bothered, I don’t mean that kind of game. You’re not gonna hear about me putting her in fuzzy handcuffs, or us trying to bump uglies at a table in the back of Denny’s, or me strapping a carrot onto my nose so we can ‘do it snowman-style’. None of that, all right? Just forget it.

Of course, I won’t say that we don’t do any of those things — you know, in case that sort of thing would raise your opinion of me — but I’m not gonna write about it. So don’t get your hopes up.

Besides, I don’t even know where to buy a carrot-strap, anyway. Frederick’s of Hollywood? Stop ‘n’ Shop? Who sells shit like that?)

So, anyway, the games we play. I should also mention that these aren’t ‘mind games’, either. Well, in a sense, they are — you’ll see — but they’re not the malicious, important types of things that some couples engage in. We don’t hold the others’ parents, or past relationships, or shit like that over the other’s head. We’re not mean, or spiteful, or generally even snippy.

(Okay, so if I have to get up before ten am or so, I do get a little cranky. I’d tell Mother Theresa to go stick her head up her ass before I get my head on straight in the morning. And my wife can be a little grumpy on the other end of the day, if you keep her up past eleven or so. But for those thirteen hours or so in the middle, we’re just peachy. Couple of freakin’ lovebirds, we are.)

Instead, we’re mischievous. We play little games, just to keep things interesting, keep us both on our toes. I’ll give you an example.

(‘Cause otherwise, all this setup is just crap, right?)

My favorite thing we play is the ‘Ice Cube Game‘.

(And if I didn’t manage to clear out all you pervs earlier, I’ll say right up front that this is not the 9 1/2 Weeks ‘ice cube game’. So keep your goodies in your pants out there. This is not that kind of blog. Not today, anyway. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.)

Anyway, how the Ice Cube Game works is this: we’ve got two ice trays. They each hold something like fourteen or sixteen cubes, and they sit side by side in the freezer. They’re the only source of ice for drinks in the house.

So, the object of the game is to avoid filling the ice trays. And the rules say that if you empty a tray, you have to fill it. And so the goal is to use as many cubes as necessary for your drink, but not to use the last cub e in a tray. So there’s some strategy to think about here.

Clearly, when both trays — or even one tray, really — are full, there’s no issue. We simply don’t have the kinds of glasses that would need sixteen ice cubes all at once, so a full tray is absolutely safe. No worries there.

(Though I do often wish that we had those big mega-glasses lying around. Like a ‘yard glass’, or one of those beach-ball sized ‘scorpion bowls’. Who wouldn’t want a yard of margarita, or a custom-made scorpion bowl? How cool would it be to just dump six shots of every alcohol you have in the house into one glass, toss in a couple of pounds of ice, spritz it with some fruit juice, and settle in for the evening sitcoms? Now that would take the edge off a hard day at the office. It might force you to miss the next three days while you recover, but still — that might not be a bad thing, either. I think I’m onto something here…)

The challenge comes when the trays are half-full or less. Maybe I need six cubes for my glass, and I find the trays mostly empty. Fine. All I need is a few cubes in each tray — I’ll take three from each, and just hope to hell my wife needs ice again before I do. Or I’ll mostly raid the tray that’s more full, and just take one or two from the other. Whatever the situation calls for. You’ve got to be crafty to win at this game.

And I’ll say this: I’m a competitive person. I hate to lose. I’ll give 110 percent, and then dig deep for more, in order to win in some sport or game. But this game, the Ice Cube Game? Well, I’m sorry to report that my wife kicks my ass at this game. Regularly. With gusto. It’s not even close.

You see, she’s willing to go further than I am to win. Me, if I’m thirsty, I’ll go to the cabinet where we keep the glasses, and I’ll pick one out. Small glass for small thirst, big glass for big thirst. Pretty simple. So, I might need anywhere from three to eight cubes of ice, depending on what I’ve selected. Then, I go to the icebox to see what I’m facing.

I’m convinced, however, that my wife does it in reverse.

(Not a sexual euphemism, by the way. Didn’t I shoo you perverts off already?)

I think she goes to the freezer when she wants a drink, and then picks out a glass that needs just a couple of cubes less than what’s available. Or she eschews ice entirely. Or maybe she drops a few cubes down the sink just for the hell of it when she’s done, I don’t know.

All I know for sure is this — about three-quarters of the times that I dig into the freezer for some ice, I find no more than two cubes in each tray. Two. And more often than I would’ve thought possible, I’m staring at the ultimate screw job: one cube per tray. So if I want to have hot Pepsi, or I’m interested in drinking from a frigging shot glass, I’m fine. But if I want to actually use the glass that I’ve already picked out, the one I’m holding in my hand, then I’ve got to use the ice that’s there, and fill the fricking trays. Both of them, too. I don’t know how the hell she does it.

So, anyway, that’s our little game. Maybe you can play this one at home yourself. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck than I do. Or you’ll just buy a few more stupid ice trays and never have to worry about it so often. Hell, forget that — just get one of those fancy ice-making fridges, and be done with the whole sorry mess. Sure, the cubes end up tasting like plastic, but you’ll never have to fill a tray again. I think it’s a small price to pay, personally. Sure as hell beats going 3-159 in a game you play in your own damned kitchen. Even the Tigers had a better record than that.

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