Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hotdish on a Saturday November 19, 2011

RATHER THAN DWELL on a single topic today, I’m going to serve hotdish. You know, this and that all mixed together to create this Minnesota-based post.

  • First off, if you follow my writing regularly, you know that I hang laundry outside. But even I’m beginning to wonder about my obsession. When I hung freshly-laundered towels outside Thursday morning, the outdoor air temperature stood at a bone-chilling 17 degrees. Yes, the towels froze nearly instantly. My fingers did not; I worked at a rapid pace. And, yes, the towels were dry when I pulled them from the line at 4 p.m.
  • Our proposed 2012 property tax statement arrived on Wednesday. I nearly fell over. The taxable market value of our property plunged $30,000 to $50,200. If this keeps up, the value will be lower than the price we paid for our house in 1984. The interest rate on our loan then was 10.75 percent. No typo, folks. Nearly 11 percent. (The loan was refinanced to 8.5 percent and paid off early long ago.)

Even though our proposed 2012 property value dropped $30K, our taxes will apparently increase by 12.6 percent or $72. Now tell me that makes sense? There’s a story here; I simply need to figure it all out.

  • If you dye your hair with an over-the-counter product and don’t use the same color or brand you’ve always used, beware. If your hair shows tinges of orange during the dying process, you should panic. This happened to me once.

Wednesday night, with a new color and a new product, the dye appeared white on my head. I do not need white hair to replace my gray hair. But this time I did not panic, trusting that the color would magically transform to the promised “tiki hut.” It did. Whew. I will not need to fire my hairdresser.

  • Back to the money thing. Every time I go to the grocery store, I walk out shaking my head. I cannot believe that I just paid $80 for groceries that fill only two bags.
  • After 10 months of placing cardboard over my living room windows because I didn’t have window treatments for my new windows, I am happy to announce that I have purchased grommet-top panels, the same ones I was eying, oh, about 10 months ago. It is a good thing I waited so long. I got them on sale.

The panels are bold and colorful and unlike anything anyone would expect to find in my home. This is proof that even I can occasionally emerge from my conservative shell. I expect the panels to be in place by Thanksgiving. (Yes, I will post about them here and show you photos.)

  • My 17-year-old made his acting debut Thursday evening as Dr. Thanatos in the Faribault High School production of Teenage Night of Living Horror. When I heard the name of the play, I laughed. Those teens won’t have to act, I thought. Wrong.

Consider dressing like a Zombie if you attend the FHS play. Here's one of the 25 Zombies from the production.

If you live anywhere near the Faribault area, you have two more opportunities to attend this horror genre production. (Don’t bring young children.) Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday. Word has it that if you arrive tonight looking like a Zombie, your ticket price will be discounted $1. No official confirmation on that…

FEEL FREE to comment on any of the above. Let your voice be heard.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling