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I usually end up doing some grocery shopping on Sunday. (Saturday, too — no I don’t have my shit together. Are you judging?)

Anyhoo, my neighborhood grocery store is always jam-packed. Sometimes there are only a few carts left, and I often end up playing bumper carts with some overzealous shopper who is dumb enough to be in a hurry on a Sunday.

This week, because I needed a few specialty items, I ventured south to the fancy-pants supermarket. The one that’s carpeted and has sushi chefs. The one I can no longer afford to shop at.

Seems like I’m not the only one. I had no problem scoring a parking spot right up front. Carts? Lots of them. People? Not so many.

But we’re not in a recession! There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move on.

First and foremost, let me apologize to the vegetarians. This is a good reason to be one. (Though the big food poisoning scares recently have all been from veggies …)

It’s finally summer in this frosty wasteland, so it was time for a barbecue! Saturday being the solstice and all, it seemed like a perfect time to celebrate the fact that I can walk outside without socks or a parka.

Also, because of this post over at Smitten Kitchen, I was dying to try my hand at some baby back ribs.

So on Friday, I went to Home Depot and got myself a rib rack and picked up a few things I needed to make a killer rub and some baked beans. The grocery store had nice-looking baby backs. The kids were whining and begging and throwing tantrums. I pondered for a minute just grabbing four racks and being done.

But. But there’s a butcher on the end of my block. I felt like I always take the easy way out — and my experience in Ireland taught me that butchers have merit. Everyone goes to the butcher for their meat there. 

So I schlepped the kids out of the car yet another time and waited for the meat man to go get four intact racks from the back.

They were vacuum-packed, but they looked fine to me.

As he showed them to me, Myles’ face lost its color. “Mom?”

“Yes?”

“What kind of  ribs are those?”

“Um, pig?”

“Oh.” Relief washed over him. “I thought they were people ribs.”

I guess maybe I should have considered that foreshadowing.

On the way home from work on Friday, I hummed along with the radio, looking forward to rubbing those racks to get them nice and tender for our cookout. At home, I mixed up my rub — anchored by a smoky spanish paprika — and asked Ed to cut open the packages and rinse the meat.

I was just about to pour the first cupful of spices onto them when the smell hit me. At first, it was a little rotten-eggy. I made an emergency late-night call to consult Lynn. She assured me that though a little gassy smell is sometimes normal, stinky meat is either about to turn bad or already has. As we chatted, the smell got more pungent. I started lighting candles and spraying air freshener. Ed noticed that the use or freeze-by date on the package was two days ago. GROSS.

By the time we fled outside to get some air, my house smelled like STRAIGHT CORPSE. Dead, decaying meat. We wrapped them up and put them in the fridge. (I wasn’t about to throw $60 into the garbage.)

Saturday morning, I took the slabs of stink to the butcher, who assured me that he often sells meat that is 10 DAYS PAST THAT DATE. Dude, what is the date FOR? So much for the local butcher.

Anyway, I went back to the supermarket and got new ribs. I rubbed them down and smoked them for three hours. 

I, however, was too traumatized to really enjoy them. Fortunately, though I told all my guests the story, they didn’t feel the same way. Judging from this plate of bones, they were a hit.

And here’s an irresistible shot of summer (we couln’t pry that bone out of his hand for anything):

Sorry, everyone. I’ve been busy. I haven’t even looked at this site in a week. I haven’t added the amazing book I just read, and I haven’t talked about how great it is that it’s summer and I get to see Myles every day.

I’ve been blogging over here a little bit, but not even doing that as much as I’d like. But this site is prettier. And it’s mine. And I miss having time to describe poop debacles and wax poetic about reality TV. (Speaking of which, Stephanie won Top Chef! And fan favorite! Which just goes to show that you can be a nice person and still kick ass in the kitchen.) Oh, and I miss the written swear word. I can’t do that on the paper’s site.

I’ll try to do better. But things look like they’re going to get crazier around here, so I’m not promising anything.

Maybe I’ll log on just to type in some cuss words. I know you guys won’t mind.

It’s amazing how fast memories slip away — things that seem so significant when they happen. It’s a good thing The Geek has an institutional memory! Because now I can use his Ireland journal (which for now basically consists of bullet points to be elaborated upon later) to supplement the bits and pieces left in my swiss-cheese brain.

Like this juicy little tidbit:

Myles got strep throat our second day in Dublin. He woke up at 6 a.m. with a spiking fever and a telltale murky voice. Ed got up with him and navigated his way to a clinic to get him seen and get some penicillin. (Again — totally my hero.) After just a few doses, Myles was feeling much better. He was supposed to take the medicine for seven days.

In Dingle, outside our room in the guest house above the pub, we were delighted to find a little refrigerator. We were worried we’d have to buy a cooler to keep his medicine cold. So we stuck that, along with some milk for the baby in the fridge.

The next morning at breakfast, this couple walks into the dining room, looking like they’d just been dragged from the bottom of an empty Guinness fermenting tank (they smelled like it, too). I delighted at the fact that Simon was in full screech mode — I’d laugh like the Wicked Witch of the West every time I thought about how that sound must be piercing their bloated brains like a hot knife through butter.

We’d get our payback.

After another night of debauchery, said couple showed up to breakfast looking just as rough as the previous day. We had figured out by now that they were staying in the room down the hall from us — I’m pretty sure theirs was the only other occupied room on our floor. They had learned their lesson and sat as far from us as possible.

When we returned to our room, I went to retrieve Myles’ medicine. I was about to pour out a dose when I noticed the bottle was almost empty. Much to Myles’ delight (Irish penicillin apparently doesn’t have that oh-so-appealing bubble-gum flavor), someone had downed about four fluid ounces of his medicine.

Eeew.

On our third morning, we had the delight of discovering them passed out on the floor outside of their room.

I guess staying in a room above a pub did have its down side. But if I had to choose between weird (but mostly harmless) drunks sleeping on our floor and having a pub downstairs or the opposite, I’d do it all over again.

Next time you’re lifting the 2-year-old into his booster seat and you notice that his diaper is a little, you know, cockeyed?

CHANGE IT. RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Don’t wait until he’s eaten two tacos and a pile of chips and has disappeared upstairs for a while.

Because then? Then you’ll smell him, still forgetting about the diaper situation. And you’ll take off his shorts, be grossed out by the poo smeared on his thigh, clean it off, put clean pants on him and put him down.

And you’ll find him, minutes later, stepping on what at first appears to be one of the many shiny rocks laying around your upstairs.

The smell will hit you just as you notice his toes are SQUISHING that rock.