I had the great fortune of having last week’s days off run into this week’s days off, thereby giving me a four-day weekend. It was really nice to get caught up on some things I had been putting off for a while – namely, cleaning and laundry.
I also completed some other tasks I had been putting off. For example, I sorted the potatoes that we had dug a few weekends ago. I put all of the little ones into a box to use without being peeled, all of the nicked ones in a basket to be used before they go bad, and the perfect ones in the basement for use later this winter.
Of course, there were a few bad potatoes in the bunch. Soft and smelly, they were scenting the room quite pungently. There is something about a rotten potato that just lingers in the air in a really bad way. Let’s just say Scentsy won’t be coming out with a wax replica.
Then I moved on to the horseradish. My husband enjoys horseradish sauce, so we planted some a few years ago. This year, we dug a decent-sized pile of roots, so I dumped them in the sink and began to wash them.
I’ll never forget the first time we tried to make it. We peeled a big pile of roots and put them in the food processor to grate. When they were finished, I opened the lid and peered inside. I was immediately hit in the face by a wave of Hell-fire that took my breath away, seared my nostrils and caused Niagara Falls to burst forth from my eyes. That stuff is hot.
And it never got better. My nose was all stuffy, so I couldn’t breathe. And my eyes? I simply couldn’t get them to stop watering. Kind of like the day I pulsated the dried, hot peppers in the food processor in an attempt to make crushed red pepper flakes. The microscopic dust particles from the peppers got into my mouth, nose and eyes, and I suffered for hours then, too. I guess there are some things that you just shouldn’t attempt at home.
Anyway, I figured I would prepare myself a little better this year. When I cracked the lid on the food processor, I would step back and allow the first wave to dissipate, and I thought a bandana tied around my nose and mouth should ward off any additional trauma. Good thinking, right? Not so much.
The bandana kept slipping off of my nose. When I reached up the first time to replace it, I must have gotten horseradish juice on my face, because my eyes began to mildly sting. Later, as I carried the grated root toward the jar it was to go in, wisps of horseradish vapor curled around my mask and up my nose. That was all it took. The pain really started in my eyes. Then came the tears, followed quickly by the stuffy nose. Not my idea of a good time.
Next year, I’m going to try swimmer’s goggles. Oh, and maybe a painter’s ventilator. If the vapors can get through that, I’m beat. I don’t even care how it makes me look. It can’t be worse than the bloodshot eyes and swollen red face I have been sporting thus far.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at email@example.com.