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Jennifer’s Wiener Hut

My gramma used to live on the top floor of a 7-story apartment building. I would stand on her balcony and watch the residents and visitors come and go from the parking lot below. I could also see the busy 5-lane road that served as her building’s address.

Across the street was a shopping plaza. It did not contain some of the busier stores in town, but there was lots of traffic that passed by. At the very front of the plaza was a tiny gas station, back when they still made them that way. It had two old-school square pumps out front. I believe it may have even been full service.

But you have to remember, this was probably 25 years ago.

The gas station closed and sat there empty for a long time. And that is when I developed my business plan.

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

I wanted to someday use that building to open Jennifer’s Wiener Hut. At the time, there were many restaurants along that road. And being at the front of the parking lot right near the street, I would have had great frontage.

I would have put a drive-thru on both sides of the building. This was pretty forward thinking for my age at that time, as I had never seen a Rally’s with that set-up. I would have had my sign be a giant hot dog at the top of the building that said “Jennifer’s Wiener Hut”.  It would be drive-thru or walk up only, no indoor seating.

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

I would have served hot dogs and sausages. I would have offered chips as sides. I figured I could offer almost anything on the menu as long as it didn’t require a fryer. (I’m scared of bubbling hot oil.)

My restaurant would be known for getting the cars in and out fast. (This would be an advantage of having a limited menu.) People with only a half hour for their lunch would think of my restaurant first. People who were in a hurry would be my target customer. Unfortunately, that would make for a rather crabby customer base.

It’s not that I think hot dogs are the greatest food of all-time. They are not. Although they are a great food choice for picky eaters at a fair or festival. And sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot.

Although, according to the book “Never Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog” (I used to send copies of this book out to stores at my old job), I am sacrilegious because I usually only eat ketchup on my hot dog (and sometimes onions). But, as my mom would say, “Hot dogs are just made of the leftover parts the meat companies can’t use for anything else”. So why should it matter what way I choose to consume it?

I love hot dogs the most because of the kitsch/camp factor. Hot dog advertising over the years is so cute and happy. Just picture the smiling, dancing hot dog with his friends popcorn and fountain pop on the drive-in movie screen. And think of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. (But that is a whole post of it’s own. Someday.)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

Over the years I have purchased items with hot dogs on them, and in the back of my mind I always thought maybe I would use them someday in my hot dog stand or as a decoration on the shelf that would go around inside my stand, up by the ceiling.

Hot Dog Towel

Hot Dog Towel

On Mackinac Island, there is a yellow hotel across the street from the Straits of Mackinac. It has a little hot dog stand in front of it between the street and the water painted up yellow and white, just like the hotel. I took a picture of it so that I could remember it as a model for Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

The gas station I dreamed of converting is long since torn down. But I still think it is a good idea. And because I would be the owner, I would hire other people to actually work in the hot, steamy, tiny kitchen. I would just beam with pride that I own a business with my name on it and am making money from it.

And if the hot dog stand didn’t work out, I could use the same name for a male strip club 😉

Bathtime

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I guess every kid has an issue with something. My son (“M” for the sake of the blogosphere) has an issue with the bathtub. As an adult educated in the laws and reasons of science, I do not understand it. But, I am not 18 months old.

Baths for my son started in the usual way—in a baby bathtub, in the kitchen sink. He hated baths at first. But we just figured that was because he was probably cold. He was only 5 lb. 11 oz. when he was born. And at three weeks old, we realized our furnace had been running inefficiently for some time. Especially because it died and we had to buy a new one.

Once the weather warmed up and our baby fattened up, things started to go better. Throughout the summer and into the fall, we moved him into the big tub. It was a fairly smooth transition.

In November of 2011, M had to get a tube put into his left kidney that went out to an external bag that we had to hang on his back. He had the bag through January of 2012. In that time, we gave him sponge baths. In the living room. My mom thought we should have given them to him in the kitchen sink. I stood by the fact that he was too big for that now, and might rip the faucet off or something. And, truth be told, I liked to watch TV while we bathed him. He got to where he hated this, and would cling to one of us (mom or dad) screaming, while the other (dad or mom) did the best they could to wash him as quickly as possible. (As it was winter again, we chalked it up to that he was probably cold.) Sometimes this ritual would be followed by changing the bandage over his tube site. It wasn’t oozy or anything. We changed it to keep it well covered and keep infection out. But it required much screaming (by my son) and anxiety (from the parents). That may not have helped the situation either.

A week after the tube was removed I was very excited to return him to a more standard bathing routine. I plopped him in the normal tub in about an inch of water and…he screamed his head off and stood up and clutched my shirt as if I was trying to drown him. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. In reality, it was probably only a few months.

I asked the pediatrician what she thought. She hypothesized that he was just so traumatized by having the same major surgery twice and being stuck with needles by strangers, etc. that it was bound to manifest itself in some way. A great idea with probably some truth, but not a help in revolving said situation. I asked for advice from family members. Sister-in-Law suggested I let him play in the tub without water in it. I did. He was fine with that. But somehow, that ease of attitude didn’t translate to being naked in the tub with water.

So, he was standing and screaming and clutching. Until, one day, out of the blue, he figured out that he could splash his foot in the water. His right foot, to be exact. Then the screaming seemed to stop. He began to hold on to the side of the tub and, while standing, splash his right foot in the water. So no more clutching my shirt. And he would splash his left foot sometimes now too. I can wash pretty much any part of him, and he doesn’t mind, as long as he can splash his feet.

You are right, this is a big improvement, except HE IS STILL STANDING UP! He holds on to the bathtub edge for support, and it gets all slippery with water and soap. He is leaning down the whole time to watch his foot splashes. With his head hanging over the edge of the tub. One time, early on, as he was doing this, I was sitting in front of him. All of a sudden he had fallen head first out of the tub and done a sort of somersault into my lap. Suddenly I had a wet, slippery baby in my lap. I put him right back in the tub and he was unphased. He went back to stomping his foot and splashing the water.

If I try to sit him down in the tub, he screams. I have bath toys floating around. He might try to step on one with his foot if it floats by, but otherwise he ignores them. Have you ever tried to wash a child’s hair when their head isn’t even inside the tub, but hanging over the edge? I try to rinse it out and I end up with wet knees and a wet bathmat.

I fell like, if we can get over this hump of him sitting down in the bath, we will be caught up to where we should have been by now. If we hadn’t of lost three months to the nephro tube and sponge baths. It does seem as though persistence pays off eventually with him. I know it did with him falling asleep at bedtime. Hmmm…Maybe I could avoid all this by just giving him a shower instead?

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