Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Morning! My Name is Martha and I'll Be Your Worst Nightmare This Afternoon.

Betty likes most of her neighbors. They are a controlled bunch and generally very nice, but we aren’t really buddy-buddy with any of them. I learned soon after moving to California that this is the way it is here. We do the neighbor wave and make small talk, but maybe because of the close proximity of the homes, we maintain some sense of personal space.

(I'd like to apologize right now to the sour people across the street for aiming that strobe light right in your window, but it was pretty fun at the time AND we know you are the ones who reported us for having our garbage cans out too long.)


One thing we do, however, is vacation duty for many of the neighbors when they ask. Picking up papers, putting out trashcans, taking care of the dogs--it’s all good in the ‘hood.

This week Betty and family are in charge of the house next door as that happy family goes on vacation. Now, we’ve done this duty for this family before and for some reason, something always tends to go wrong when we are in charge.

There was the time the dog got hold of the garage remote control and we had to return it with bite marks on it.

There was the lost key.

There was the dog dish that disappeared.

There was the mystery of the open garage door at 6:00am.

There was the cabinet door that fell off in my hand.

It’s weird I tell ya! And when they come back, we sheepishly explain whatever weirdness occurred and they give us awkward smiles, look through slightly squinted eyes, and then slowly back away to go home and change the locks on their doors.

So yesterday I was sitting in my living room when I heard a large crash in their yard next door. I was eating a bag of Ranch Flavored Doritos and the crash actually made me stop snacking for a second or two. I figured the dogs had upset the barbecue or maybe knocked down a huge potted plant.

About an hour later (Betty works slow and it was a really BIG bag of chips) I went over with Evan to check on the dogs. When we entered the back yard I saw it: the glass of the patio table had broken into 50 million pieces.

There was no evidence of foul play. There were no rocks, no bricks; nothing had landed on the table.

The dogs were fine, but they were playing it cool and refused to talk about what happened.

We spent a lot of time cleaning up the glass. It was tempered, thank goodness, but it was everywhere--shot out over grass, over concrete, over the flowers. You get the idea.

I called HOB and told him about the mysterious shattering of the glass. He couldn't believe I was not able to figure out what happened. He kept pestering me with questions.


A SOMEWHAT UNRELATED BUT ENTERTAINING SUBPLOT:

So, I went into the garage to look for a push broom to clean up the glass and I heard a high-pitched voice say, “Hello! Hello!” I looked around and tried to locate the voice. I stepped towards the car and then back again. "Hello! Hello!"

I looked down at the mat I was standing on. I stepped off and then stepped back on again. “Hello! Hello!”

A talking mat! I looked for the battery, the on/off switch and found nothing. I tried it a couple more times. Then, I went back to the door that led into the house, placed my hand on the knob and heard the same high-pitched voice say, “Bye-bye! Bye-bye!” I tried it again and it said it again!

“Come in here!” I hissed at Evan who came right away. “They’ve got some trick mat that talks! Go ahead; step on it.”

He stepped on it.

No voice.

“Get off and step on it again. It will say 'Hello, Hello' to you," I said, imitating the high voice.

He gave me the beleaguered teenage boy “Why-do-I-have-to-have-a-crazy-mom?” look.

"Mom, please," he said.

He stepped. No sound.

“Try it again!” OK, OK. Maybe you have to do it lightly! Try it this way!"

I bobbed up and down and on and off the mat like a hopped-up trained pony or an aging Irish dancer refusing to give up in the audition for Riverdance.

Evan shook his head and headed for the door.

“OH! Wait until you touch the door knob!” I said, “You’ll hear it say ‘Bye-bye!’”

He rolled his eyes, touched it and nothing happened. I touched it and heard nothing.

"It's just not working right now," I said. "Maybe I did it too much. Maybe you have to wait a certain amount of time."

Evan looked at me and sighed, “Mom….” and shook his head.

When we went back outside to the yard and I heard the voice again. It took me just a minute to put it together. It had been the other next-door neighbor talking to her two-year-old grandson. It just so happened they had been near the garage door talking when I had been on the mat. Just by chance, her voice had corresponded with my actions in the garage.

No trick mat. No magic doorknob.

No credibility for the mom.


AND NOW BACK TO THE MAIN PLOT:

We finished cleaning up the glass and went back home, still mystified by the shattering of the glass tabletop.

I immediately looked it up on Google and it only took me a few minutes to find it.

I called HOB. “Good news!” I said. “Apparently Martha Stewart patio tables frequently and spontaneously burst into bits.”


It’s scary but true. I found about ten items on Google about it.

This one’s from Consumer Affairs:

Sounds of Summer: Martha Stewart Tables Shattering

The sound of shattering glass is one of the most piercing, frightening and recognizable sounds on Earth. For owners of Martha Stewart outdoor patio tables from Kmart, that sound is pretty common.

ConsumerAffairs.com has received hundreds of complaints about the glass tops of these tables spontaneously shattering, launching shards as far as 12 feet from the table. Almost every day at least one person files a new complaint and the complaints are strikingly similar:

"I was sitting at my computer when I heard this tremendous crash," said David Potts of Marietta, Ga. "I went outside to see what it was and it looked like my patio was covered in ice. It was the glass from the table top.

"I got a couple of slivers of glass in my fingers while I was cleaning it and here I am a year later and I can still feel pain in the tips of my fingers," Potts said.

Federal and state agencies and the various manufacturers and retailers involved either know about the problem and refuse to discuss it, or deny knowing about it.

Almost all of these spontaneous explosions of glass take place in the summer. Within the summer months however, there is no telling when or if your Martha Stewart table is the next to blow. Sometimes the table shatters two weeks after it is purchased. Sometimes it takes two years.


And so my blogging buddies, especially you with little ones, learn from Betty! This is not JUST a blog post! This is a Public Service Announcement! Check to see if you have one of these killer tables, look up the information online, and then get rid of that evil time bomb!!!

As for me, I'll be printing out every one of those reports and leaving the fifty pages of information on my neighbors' kitchen table. Maybe they'll see it before they step outside and see this:


85 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

Remind me not to have you watch my house when I'm away. LOL!

Those stories are hilarious! Spontaneous exploding glass and "talking" mats. Only you. LOL

June said...

I can envision your neighbors getting home.
"Ah, home! Let's have a drink on the patio. Oh, Betty left us some literature here."
Fixes beverage and heads for patio, drink in one hand, literature in other hand. Reading the Martha Stewart report, reaches without looking, to set drink on table...

Mr. Stupid said...

These were all hilarious. We had a few people ask to look after their homes. I wasn't left out of sight.

Smiles...

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Betty, you tell the BEST stories!!! Love your talking doormat...sounds like something that would happen to me...And the spontaneously shattering patio table? Just scary, that is! And really weird. But makes a FANTASTIC story! Love it all...Love, Janine XO

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

I just laughed so hard at the talking mat subplot!!! I would have thought the same thing, hahahaha.

Wow, you have a trusting neighborhood! I would never let any of my neighbors have a key to my house or check on my cats-ever.

Madi and Mom said...

Well BB you made me LOL so hard I need to redo the face paint. Holy Crow...I've never heard of a table exploding. The talking door mat story will be repeated many many times from yesterday forward. One's child does not let that type of story on Mom die!! Thanks for the LOL.
Madi and Mom

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Dang lady, you have crap luck. Is it bad I am cracking up so much right now? Oh...it is? I'd seriously like a report too when the neighbors get home.

That bit about the welcome mat? Hilarious and totally sounds like something I'd do! I'm not even kidding...

Lin said...

Oh My GOSH! We had the EXACT thing happen to our table!! And our neighbors table--when we were watching their house. Ugh.

They came home all huffy, asking what happened to the table and I was all "I dunno" and they were miffed. I think they didn't believe me that I purposely destroy their K-Mart table. I don't talk to them now anyway--who cares?!

Anyway, back to me.....my table just up and exploded too and it freaked my kids out who were home alone at the time (they are 14 and 16). What a MESS!! And it is a heavy mess too!

I think that tempered glass gets weak with the heat of the sun and the cold of the winter and then one day it just up and explodes. Isn't that weird???!

Peggy K said...

This is incredible!!! Wanna bet you don't get asked next year??? This is just about the funniest tragedy I've ever read!! Way to go, Betty!!!

Leanne said...

BETTY!!!!!OH BETTY!!! I don't even know what to say about this one (OH, and the sub-plot!) Oh, Betty!!!

Good Luck with the neighbors! (I can't stop laughing with this one. Oh, betty!!!)

BigSis said...

For real? You couldn't make up a funnier story. I LOVE the part about the "talking mat." It sounds like something that would happen to me. I think our IT people are convinced I'm crazy when I describe issues they never see.

Andrea said...

I LOVE your son's reaction to the talking doormat! Priceless!

~Tom~ said...

I am laughing so hard my sides hurt over the talking mat. That is just sooo something I would have happen to me. Glad I found your blog.

The Empress said...

Oh my gosh...do they get too hot from the sun??

That is dangerous, Betty!

Joe Cap said...

Sounds like you will have some s'plaining to do when they get home.
I am like you...it would have taken a lot for me to abandon my bag of Ranch Doritos...

Parsley said...

Oh no! Still, Betty, it's better than the GOAT stories I have from pet sitting goats.

Ever figure out the "hello/good bye"?

Mamma has spoken said...

CRAP! I just bought that same table this spring, but under that Country Living name.....
You must not be THAT bad of a house sitter if they still ask you to do it again ;o)

Old Kitty said...

Didn;t Martha Stewart spend time in jail for such a thing?? :-)

I am so so tempted to google this to see if you, Bossy Betty are pulling my proverbial leg! But because I trust you and all that you represent I shall take your word for it.

It's official folks:

Martha Stewart glass topped patio tables are LETHAL. (disclaimier - please don't sue me, I was only being a good BB follower!).

But I believe you a million per cent about finishing your yummy dorritos. :-)

take care
x

Christina Lee said...

Well isn't THAT a freak accident--dying to know how it happened!

Oh and I have an Evan too!

Sara said...

Five bucks says a mat like that actually exists!!!

Nezzy said...

Spontaneously shattering tables...heehehehe! Boy do I need a great laugh. I just wanted to thank you for poppin' in with your sweet comment and hoppin' on my blog. I've been so very ill that I've really had to step back a bit from the blogworld...but braggin' a little here...I've got the best followers, 'just love my blogsisters!

Please visit often, the door of the Ponderosa is always open.

Ya'll have a gloriously blessed day!

Double Wide Mom said...

and THIS is why I missed blogging so much. Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning!

Crystal Cook said...

HOLY cow! That is freaky! But also SOOOO hilarious! Especially that trick/talking/ actually a real person mat :)

I love your posts. :)

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Good to have a neighbourly spirit as it benefits everyone. tell me quick, is there really a talking mat??

Writing Without Periods! said...

Wow, that is extremely weird. I have a crazy neighbor who gossips so much it makes my head spin. And she used to have sex toy parties...ugh... she's 60. If her table shattered I would think it was the rath of the Gods :-)
Mary

Marlene said...

You win the award for most entertaining post of the morning!

May I be your neighbor? I'll risk spontaneous exploding tables, fake talking doormats and dog-chewed garage door opener remotes, even!!

baygirl32 said...

Too funny! I especially love the fact you took the hour to savour your doritos...

faye said...

I'm still chuckling about the
talking mat.
Another funny post to start the
day.. you can be my neighbor anyday.. just don't watch my house ..OKAY .

We had a patio door explode once.
But that was my fault because I had been using the weeder too close to the door.... it was several hours later before it burst, so I
didn't have to admit to anything....sssssh Bob still doesn't know....

DrSoosie said...

I will be sure to stay away from Martha and her combustible products. Maybe it got so hot the other day the glass shattered. my neice's window shield did the other day outside my house. Maybe some kind of ghost emerges when these people go on vacation and haunt the the house...just to keep you on your toes!

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Exploding tables and talking mats. You couldn't make that up if you tried. What a funny, delightful post today!

Debi

Betty said...

Good thing we don´t have those tables here. But you´re still a good neighbor, I think!

Lady Ren said...

Betty did you know that you are the funniest person I don't know!

The mat thing almost made me pee my dress.

I have a Martha S table from KMart which is random because that is probably the only thing I have EVER bought there- Mine is square and I've had it for FOUR years- Does that count?

Mike said...

If you keep hearing those voices know that there is medicine for that. ;)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

All of them hilarious, Betty, haha!!
You never fail to make me laugh with all of your stories!
Your son's reaction to the talking doormat loved the most!!
B xx

Joyful said...

Another great post! Funny and informative at the same time.

Pat said...

The thing is, they keep asking you back for more. Huh.

I like that talking mat idea. I think you should patent it. You'd make a mint. Well, maybe enough money to pay for the damages at your neighbor's house anyway.

Exploding tables. And that's NOT a GOOD THING, as Martha Stewart WOULDN'T say! LOL!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At least you will have concrete, printed evidence of the weirdness this time. Sorry the talking mat wouldn't cooperate, though.

Rebecca said...

I love it!!! Great story!! You always make me laugh. I've done a lot of house sitting and I always freak out right before the owners come home. How do I explain the mangled curtain rods? Will they really believe me when I explain that I found their 12 lb dog swinging, 3 feet up, by his teeth? But I have never ever had to deal with spontaneous exploding tables... You are priceless!! Thank you ;)

Laurnie said...

Your "side story" just made my day

Ms. Anthropy said...

Hysterical!!! We've had 2 shattering glass table tops, though Martha had no hand in them. (wind) Don't know about you, but it took forever to get all that glass up. Most of ours was in the grass.

Liz said...

You must live in a cursed neighborhood! Are the Ranch flavor the only type you like?

blueviolet said...

It's like anything associated with you has potential to be struck by devastation! lol

gayle said...

That was so funny!!! Our niece is watching our house and she doens't have a key!!!

Together We Save said...

Great story... very funny!!

Sonora said...

HAHAHAHAHA! I love the part about it taking you awhile to get back there to check it out. I can't believe those tables do that. At least your neighbor can't blame you. Oh the part about the talking mat. Oh I laughed so hard. It sounds like something I would do! Your stories are awesome!

Talli Roland said...

Ah haha! Betty! I'm just amazed they keep asking you to look after their house.

You have the best stories!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Good Heavens Betty!
You certainly do keep life interesting! LOL! I loved the subplot story!

Kazzy said...

The talking mat threw you under the bus! I hate losing cred with my kids!

Aging Mommy said...

Oh Betty, this post is absolutely hilarious from start to finish! The part where you were trying to convince Evan your neighbors had a talking mat just killed me.

As for the table well corrupt designers I guess breed corrupt tables, although I do really love her cupcake recipe book :-)

Feeling Just Right said...

Betty, you absolutely always make my day! I love the workout you give my facial muscles! :D

Talking mat!! Haha!

I am so impressed that you cleaned up all that glass! No one I know would do that while watching someone else's house. Are you meant to do that? Really? Why? I guess because you're too nice.

I loved this post!

Katie's Dailies said...

They really do make talking doormats! The Halloween ones scare the crap out of me.

But then so do exploding tables!

Ann said...

I had 3 of those glass tables, each one of them blew over during storms and shattered, what a mess. I finally gave up on the glass and have a very sturdy one made out of something that won't break.
Too funny about the mat, at least you figured out why it wouldn't talk to your son.

Noelle said...

The talking mat killed me... :) And if I were to buy that Martha table I have NO doubt it would blow up on me...

Thanks for a great story!

Ally said...

What a story! I think I did read something about that with those tables. Years ago I did an ad campaign with KMART where we gave shoppers free patio tables and chairs. I wonder if they did something to make up for the fact that half of the winners probably now have busted tables. And that voice you thought was the mat! How funny!

FourthGradeNothing.com

Michelle Faith said...

Ha! It was so nice of you to clean it up! I don't think I would of. I love the part about the talking door knob...do you feel like a knob now? Hahaha!

Lourie said...

I would officially retire as house watcher if I were you. LOL at the "talking mat" Hahaha. That is really weird about the table tho...I mean the fact that it can spontaneously burst like that. Crazy.

Joann Mannix said...

That has got to be the funniest story I have ever heard! I can just see you eating the Doritos and jumping on the mat. Oh, my sides hurt!

That Martha, she is just pure evil. And those tables were probably made by the little kiddies in the sweatshops.

Dreamfarm Girl said...

The mystery of the talking mat and doorknob was perfect....I can just see your son shaking his head.

slommler said...

This is why I don't have pets or plants and I don't subscribe to a newspaper. I lock the gate and off we go!! Neighbors do not have to be involved...ever! LOL!!
Hugs
SueAnn

LittleSilkDress said...

LOL @ the mat story. LOVE IT and can totally see my mother doing the same thing. And since I seem to be so much like her, I guess that means I can see me doing it, too...

Thanks for the patio furniture warning! We've been looking for some and will be sure to stay away from Martha Stewart glass tables!

Joanna Jenkins said...

And your neighbor STILL keeps asking you to watch their hours :-)

The Martha Stewart table thing is kinda scary and kinda funny at the same time. Good idea printing out all the reports.

Love your blog!
jj

Copyboy said...

only you can make a spontaneous glass explosion hilarious. BTW...are you gonna laminate the reports? Just in case you have a spontaneous exploding water pipe.

roxy said...

Love this post, Betty. Great story and sub plots. Capital LOL. I want you as my neighbor and house watcher big time! Yet, I have about a zillion kids, so I never go on vacation. My house is completely wrecked anyway. I would challenge whatever glass and cabinet voodoo you have going on to cause more damage than has already been done.

roxy said...

Love this post, Betty. Great story and sub plots. Capital LOL. I want you as my neighbor and house watcher big time! Yet, I have about a zillion kids, so I never go on vacation. My house is completely wrecked anyway. I would challenge whatever glass and cabinet voodoo you have going on to cause more damage than has already been done.

Jimmy said...

I want one of those mats but not the table, and since it really wasn't the mat I'll get neither.

Enjoyed the post Betty.

Muthering Heights said...

Oh my goodness, this is the craziest thing!! Thank goodness no one was hurt!!

Senorita said...

This was a great post, I thought it was hilarious !

Dogs always misbehave when I dogsit.

Susan Fields said...

Okay, I've got you beat. Two summers ago our neighbors asked my daughter to watch their two dogs. She went over one afternoon and said Gracie was sleeping and blocking the door to the laundry room. I thought that was strange but didn't think too much about it until I went back at dinner time and found Gracie dead in the laundry room and Cocoa trapped in there with her. Now THAT was a hard phone call to make.

A few weeks later they watched our dog. Our dog was a stray and the vet couldn't tell if she had been spayed or not. He said we could either cut her open and see or just take our chances and see if she went into heat. Well, we took our chances, and of course she went into heat while we were on vacation! Needless to say, that neighbor doesn't ask us to swap dog-sitting duties anymore. :(

Shan said...

Thanks for cracking me up. Fynn seemed to find all the mat hopping to be a good motivator to get her boogie on.

I imagine what it would be like to be the neighbor... if it were me, stuff like cabinet doors falling off and tables spontaneously shattering would be embarrassing. Like you'd be thinking, "What kind of crap do these people *buy*?!?"

Ca88andra said...

I checked - I don't have one of those tables - I'm safe! :-)

Kitty Moore said...

The 'talking mat' is going to have me giggling to myself for days!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Leave it to Martha Stewart! A spontaneously exploding glass patio table.... it's a GOOD thing!

Good luck with that explanation!

Daisy said...

First of all, the talking mat story---HA HA HA HA HA HA! That was hilarious!

As for the exploding table--YIKES! I'm glad no one was hurt when it happened. Good luck with facing the neighbors when they come home. ha ha ha!! :-)

The Retired One said...

The patio table wasn't the only thing that cracked up....I did when I read your story unfolding...so funny...but good thing no one was near the thing when it happened! Goodness!

Venassa said...

Your stories always crack me up. But that is insane about the exploding table. How bad would that be if you were using the table or even near it at the time

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I cannot stop laughing. You really need to write a book. I'm just wondering why your neighbors continue to have you watch the house when they leave :D A talking mat, I love it. This post really made my day, seriously, really!!!

KleinsteMotte said...

Can sound vibrations create glass to shatter?Why is it just Martha's tables? I love you post! The humour is powerful!

Brian said...

Contrast this with a very similar patio table I bought at Target once that survived flying off the roof of my car at 55 mph because I had used cheap bunji cords to strap it down.

Brian said...

Thinking a little more about the cause of the glass shattering, and having experienced something similar when I once shattered a sliding glass door while attempting to drill through the frame to add a security peg, and having just wikied tempered glass, I surmise three possibilities or perhaps mutually-contributing factors: a) inadequate heat-strengthening of the glass itself by the Chinese factory (probably in a well-intentioned gesture to save energy), which left the glass with uneven static stresses; b)cracking of the edge of the glass during the cutting into a circle -- the highest stresses are at the edges and this is where failure typically begins due to an edge defect; and c) if the glass fit tightly into the metal frame of the tabletop, and especially if there were screws or jagged edges or seams that pushed into the glass, it is possible that unequal rates of heating or cooling (depending on the time of day and cloud/wind changes) could have caused the frame to squeeze down even more (due to differences in the coefficients of thermal expansion, which is always something to consider when attaching different materials to each other), precipitating failure of the weakest spot in the edge of the glass. Given that the shards flew quite a distance, this suggests to me that there were indeed high stresses uniformly applied to the perimeter of the frame due to thermal gradients.

prashant said...

Those stories are hilarious!
Contextual Ad Network India

Julie said...

I am laughing so hard. You're not going to believe this but we gave a glass table just like that to our neighbors when we moved out to the country!! Think I ought to tell them??

And the door mat...well it makes sense to me, Betty! wink wink

KLZ said...

That is ridonkulous.

10 bucks says it was Evan making those welcome mat voices all along. Kids these days.

Stacey said...

I suppose if the neighbors didn't like how you were house sitting they'd quit asking. The exploding table is freaky. But the sub-story was hilarious!! I'm sure your son was looking at you like you had two heads!

Emily and Dallas said...

I just found your blog, and my first thought was, "Oh, this must be one of those fictional blogs." Ha! Too funny to be true! Thanks for sharing.

CRAZYMOM said...

Sounds like David Potts from Marietta Georgia was setting himself up for a nice little lawsuit. His finger hurts a year later? ha!