Post 400/Arcilla Mojada…

To celebrate my 400th post, I give you real life nonsense. You know arcilla mojada right? If you order your clay from certain clay companies, it’s stamped right on the 50lb. box…

I mean if you speak spanish, right? You know when you go into a public place and there’s a small yellow “caution cone” on the recently mopped floor with the words “caution, wet floor” and directly below it says, “cuidado, piso mojado”. So, not to belabor the point any more than I already have piso mojado = wet floor and arcilla mojada = moist clay (or wet clay). Well, yesterday Sofia had her 3rd day off from school for the week because of weather and we were meeting my friend Vern for lunch. We all went to our favorite Thai place but the buffet was not up (I think their margins are so low that they simply couldn’t afford to prepare a whole buffet for the limited # of customers who would brave the roads). So we went to this Mexican restaurant in another neighborhood. After a rousing conversation about fairies, cel phones, texting and the failing educational system, I went up to the counter to pay and the man at the register (also our waiter) handed me a blurry (my glasses were back at the table) plastic card that was identical in shape and material to a credit card sans the impressed letters and numbers. He mumbled something that I wouldn’t have understood if he did speak english well and, against my better judgment, I decided on the spur of the moment to engage. My immediate thought was that the only thing I could use the blurry card for was as a throwing rib, so I said, “I’ll use it to throw with.” Of course, most english speaking people would have misunderstood and he looked at me puzzled. I said, I make pots and made the universal sign for “throwing a pot” and he didn’t know what that was either. Luckily, I can compensate for my inability to make small talk with quick access to obscure analogies that only I understand right on the spot and remembering that of all the spanish I do NOT know, I know the word for clay. So I figured I’m gonna make a bit of a breakthrough and the young spanish speaking gentleman may think twice before overtly making fun of my haircut to the other waiters and assuming that I don’t know what he’s saying. I say, “you know… arcilla”, and I pronounce it correctly with the double LL as a Y sound. He says, “Garcia?”. Now I’m thinking, well, in for a penny, in for a pound (fortunately I didn’t say that out loud) and I more loudly and carefully say, “no ar ci lla, you know arcilla mojada.” By now another waiter comes walking up and the first one is shaking his head and the other one gives him that “what’s wrong?”-look and he nods his head in my direction and says, arcilla, pronouncing it like it’s chinese or something. Now they’re both shaking there head with furrowed brows and I look at the second guy and say, “arcilla mojada?” He says, “garcia?” I say no, arcilla again. Now keep in mind that up to this point what is also racing through my head simultaneously is that I just said the word “moist” twice, coupled with a word that is apparently unknown, to two strange men and that of course reminds me of trying to speak Italian to a man in Italy about my grandfather but mistakenly using the word for boyfriend instead of the word for grandfather. But that story another time. Then I take my receipt and write arcilla on the back and show it to him…

He proceeds to get out his cel phone and I think he’s looking it up and the irony of a spanish speaking man looking up a spanish word on the internet is too much so I take my wallet out again and show him my business card which has a bowl on it. He gives me the puzzled look again and then I think, the word for porcelain has to be close to porcelena so I say, “porcelena” (pronouncing it por sell ay na), and he says, “ah porcelana (pronouncing it por sell on a) and I figure I’m home free. So I try one last time, porcelana y arcilla mojada, la misma. They both look at me and one says no comprendo arcilla. So I said thanks and returned to the table. I still cannot believe that an adult in any language could grow up without knowing the word for clay. I actually started doubting myself and looked it up when I got home and arcilla is clay. Maybe they were screwing with me but I can read people well enough to know usually and I’m certain they were for real. Moving on to other mysteries, the night before last, we were putting the bug to bed and I was reading her another Wizard of Oz book and Mom was there with us and downstairs was a loud bang. I didn’t think anything of it because our house is always making noises. Mom goes downstairs first and after I say my “goodnights”, I head down. The dog is in the foyer on a blanket and I walk into the living room and Mom says, “go look in the kitchen”. I thought, what did Sunglasses do now? So I walk in and see this (and like a true CSI, I did not alter the scene)…

At first I jumped to some false conclusions and then realized it really was a Holmes-ian problem (or maybe a Colonel Mustard-ian) but the dog didn’t do it and she was out in the foyer sleeping. So after about 10 minutes of astute deductive reasoning, the best case answer to the murine seppuku (harakiri) is that Mom left the bread knife precariously balanced on the edge of the sink and the mouse in question ventured out from the fulcrum enough to cause it to tip quickly so that the mouse fell to the floor immediately followed by the knife which subsequently landed on his mouse noggin. Excuse the description but this is detective work, the mouse flailed a bit before conceding to the grim reaper of the fields. But, and I hate to be accused of conflation, what are the chances of a mouse actually infesting my kitchen and killing himself? I’ll tell you, it’s about the same chance as finding a spanish-speaking man who doesn’t know what arcilla means? After lunch Vern gave me this beautiful print which I now need to frame…

Here’s a digital picture of it that’s better for looking at on the computer…

Last but not least, Rand and Linda sent me a bunch of photos combining the events of organizing the beer cooler and trying out the camera on their new phone. They sent me a bunch of shots but I particularly like this one of Rand using the beer glass I made enjoying a nice cold one while becoming a nice cold one inside of his newly organized cooler amongst his many many darling brews…

And here’s a shot of the previously much disheveled cooler…

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16 Responses to “Post 400/Arcilla Mojada…”

  1. meredith@whynot Says:

    with all that said- could you teach my mice this trick?
    and the phrase- your ain’t going believe this sh*t comes to mind.
    and about the clay- there are many folks who just don’t get what we do.

  2. ron Says:

    Okay that was hilarious about the ‘dialogue’ at the restaurant.
    Now what about this mouse business?? Dude that is weird.

  3. Judy Shreve Says:

    Jim — really a mouse who commits hari kari in your kitchen and non spanish speaking spaniard both in the same post. Too funny!

  4. judi tavill Says:

    Ok…the first part had me confused and laughing…please no that moist and dank pretty much set me off into the heebeegeebees like nobody’s business…
    Than the mouse(I just accidentally typed moist…dang)photo.. phot has me seiously laughing and shaking …I don’t even know why… it would normally make me gross out but…OMG, the scenario of how it happened is hysterical…
    The cup and print are wonderful but they were completely overshadowed by the 1st 1/2…
    HAPPY 400th!!! (doubtful that there is anything else you will EVER hear that about…although…perhaps ETSY sales…)

  5. Kern-Kern Says:

    My Mexican colleague also does not know the word arcilla or any other Spanish word for clay. What an amazing mouse incident.

  6. Tracey Says:

    you are insane! We watched the Wizard movie last night, it still freaks me out and I still fall asleep as soon as Dorothy lays down in the poppy field. I really think someone else was laying in poppy fields when they wrote that thing!

  7. Connie Says:

    Wow!! What a night and a funny post!!

  8. cindy shake Says:

    Because I was laughing out loud and then said “holy cow!” Both Daddy-O and Gus came to see what I was Holy Cowing about! Gus, loves to solve a good mystery and votes that the mouse committed suicide!

  9. kyle Says:

    thats one hell of a mouse trap you have there…

  10. Michele Says:

    we had a dead mouse under our kitchen sink this morning… but he died in the conventional way, a trap laced with peanut butter. yours is the best mouse story i have ever read… i don’t think disney will use it in a cartoon although tim burton might be interested. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. ang Says:

    maybe you should have tried ‘ceramica’ ??? sounded a fun convo though, i do the same when peeps hand me something with tiny writing on it hold it as afr as possible from my eyes and squint neither works of course but i do try :)) love the dagger shot!! and the cellar this time of year lots to choose from ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. Brian Says:

    I guess you’ve found more proof that suicides increase around the holidays.

  13. That Guy Says:

    As usual, an amazing and funny story.
    I also find it amazing that kids can’t make it to school, yet have no trouble going out with their parents for lunch. who seem able to get wherever they want to go. Getting to school doesn’t seem to be a big priority.
    China and India are coming, and this country is in big, big, big trouble.

  14. Kristen Wanczyk Says:

    So funny! Maybe your clay supplier could answer the ‘arcilla’ mystery. I’m curious to know how they came to that choice of word. As for your former mouse, if he had any accomplices, they’d be smart to move along to another less deadly home. haha!

  15. Eugene Hon Says:

    No blood on the bread knife – this is a case of who done it. A CSI and or FBI mystery for sure. The Vern print is truly amazing – it is incredible how vibrant red colours create a two -dimensional spacial illusion on screen. 400 hundred very funny and fabulous story telling moments.

  16. Peter Says:

    Laura says that the solution is in the song “Three blind mice”… I’m not quite sure what to make of that… Is she inferring that the dead mouse blind? Was it attacked by two other blind mice? The song mentions cutting off a tail with a carving knife…, I suppose that it is possible that the knife missed the main target!?


    Happy Christmas!

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