Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday Nights: Then and Now

I was never what you would call a serious party girl, but I did my share of going out on Friday nights in college and the year immediately following college. I mostly liked to go dancing.

Now I mostly like to stay home and go to bed at 9 p.m. But last night I went out. Like, out of the house! To a place with other people! It was not, however, exactly like going out on Friday nights used to be.

Allow me to present a comparison of Friday Nights Then and Friday Nights Now.

Then . . . 9 p.m. Time to have some pre-bar shots with friends and then get dressed in high-heeled boots and fancy club clothes.

Now . . . 6 p.m. Time to put the baby to bed and get dressed in clothing that does not have stains, holes, or other noticeable defects.

Then . . . Dinner? Who needs dinner? Have another shot!

Now . . . Dinner? Who has time for dinner? I'll get some potato chips and cheese at the dairy store when I stop to get cream.

Then . . . At the bar. Dance and drink, repeat ad infinitum.

Now . . . At the thrift store. Riffle through the racks of clothing and try things on, repeat ad infinitum. Then find some summer clothing for my oldest son and look for things for my husband.

Then . . . Move on to a new bar.

Now . . . Move on to a new store. The grocery store this time. As a special treat, I purchase some White Lightning ice cream, which I will not have time to eat tonight, because it is already 8:30 p.m. and I need to get home and go to bed.

Then . . . Arrive home after the bars close at 2 a.m. Drink copious amounts of water in an attempt to avoid a hangover, change into pajamas, and fall into bed, hair reeking of cigarette smoke. (Remember when smoking was legal in bars? Man, those were the gross, smelly days.)

Now . . . Arrive home at 9 p.m. Unload car, put away groceries, fold laundry, nurse the baby, change into pajamas, and fall into bed. No cigarette reek.

Then . . . Wake up at 4 a.m., vaguely nauseated and needing to pee. Drink more water. Go back to bed.

Now . . . Wake up at 4 a.m. to nurse the baby, can't fall back asleep.

Then . . . Get up for the day at 10 a.m. Go to Wendy's for french fry hangover cure.

Now . . . Get up for the day at 6:20 a.m. Go downstairs and make coffee while getting breakfast for the three-year-old and answering all his questions, changing the baby, nursing the baby, getting the fire started, sweeping the disgusting kitchen floor, and putting away some dishes. Finally drink coffee an hour after getting up.

So Friday nights aren't really as exciting as they used to be. On the up side, though, there is significantly less chance of throwing up on Saturday mornings. And I really hated that cigarette stank in my hair.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Cubby spent much of the day shouting orders like a tiny drill sergeant, doing exactly what he was told not to do, and then having screaming fits when he was disciplined for the aforementioned infractions. Three-year-olds are so very unpleasant sometimes.

Charlie soiled himself so completely that a total clothing change was necessary. While I was dealing with the mess, he rolled off the waterproof pad he was on and peed on the bedspread. More laundry.

Cubby decided to ride his wee four-wheeler thing down the slope by the clothesline. At the bottom, he flipped off and slammed his head into the stone wall there. He's fine, though now sporting an impressive lump on his thankfully extra-hard cranium.

I discovered that the top edge of the new stove heats up a lot when the front burner is on high. I discovered this when it burned a hole through my somewhat expensive and relatively nice fleece that I got as a Christmas gift from my parents and that I wear constantly. Though maybe not so constantly now.

Today kind of sucked. Tomorrow will be better.

A.P.D.--The Dreaded Kitchen Tasks Edition

I hate prepping pomegranates. Talk about a pain in the ass. I don't even like eating them that much, crunchy seeds not being my thing, but the MiL bought two when they were on sale around Christmas and I was sick of looking at the one that was still  in there.

I have a theory that pomegranates only sell around Christmas because that's the time of year people are all optimistic and unrealistic in their expectations of food prep. Holidays are like that. It's the one time people are willing to do things like make houses constructed entirely of edible materials or spend hours painstakingly decorating cookies to look like little snowmen.

The rest of the year? Forget it. Those cookies taste just as good without the cute little faces. And pomegranates are relegated to crisper drawers until they're discovered three months later.


So I de-seeded half of the pomegranate. The other half is still sitting in the refrigerator. I ran out of patience.

And while we're on the subject, I also hate pulling meat off the bone. I have to do this a lot, because home butchering means using every weird cut of meat and getting all the meat off the bones. So I spend an hour standing at the counter, up to my elbows in grease, with a dog dish for the nasty bits, a bowl for the usable meat, and a random dish for the throw-away bones, pulling off tendons and fat and cartilage and UGH. HATE.


Okay! Your turn, poppets! What's your most hated kitchen task?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

For Old Time's Sake

I descended into the Pit of Despair this evening to put away the jars of maple syrup I've managed to get sealed and to look for some more jars in preparation for the syrup that will be landing in our kitchen after the Big Boil is completed tomorrow.

The area where the canning jars live is off to one side and not under the light. I used to have a trouble light hanging there so I could see in that area, but someone (AHEM A.) took it and never returned it. So I had to make do with a flashlight. I was looking specifically for bale-top jars, which I prefer for the temporary storage of the syrup before I put it in the more modern standard Ball jars for long-term storage.

I saw a bale-top jar in a decrepit old box and pulled it out. And then I nearly had a heart attack, because in the weak light of my flashlight, I could see something moving inside it.


Yup. It was indeed a bat. We used to have bats around all the time, thanks to the nursing colony of hundreds that called our attic home. White nose syndrome is probably responsible for the fact that those bats have essentially disappeared.

Except I guess they didn't entirely. SURPRISE!

The bat in the jar wasn't dead, but it didn't look very healthy, either. I left it there. I figured if it was healthy it could get out on its own. And if it dies, it's a lot easier to dump it out of a jar than pick it up with my hand.

Finding a bat weakly crawling around in a jar is pretty high on the list of things I do not want to see when shining a flashlight around in the world's creepiest cellar.

Could've been worse, I guess. At least it didn't fly out at me.

And now I'm going to have nightmares about that.

Over the Edge

A. left our house at 7 p.m. last night to bring something up to Jodi's house to gather sap. Two hours later, he and Mr. Jason arrived back covered in mud after struggling mightily in the muddy farm lane to not get the lawn tractor they were using to get the sap out of the woods stuck. They had 200 gallons of sap.

Yeah. Two hundred gallons.

And then!  Despite the total darkness and howling winds, they started up the fire in the evaporator.

I think we can all agree they've crossed the line to Total Crazy.

A. has various courts and other work things today, so he left Mr. Jason out there last night boiling sap. I have no idea how long he did it. He stayed here last night, obviously, and is still asleep now, though I'm sure he'll be up shortly to continue a very long sap day.

Two hundred gallons. Jesus.

And speaking of sleep! Charlie slept through the night last night. And is still sleeping now.

Someone sound the trumpets.

He fell asleep at 6 p.m., showed no interest in nursing at 9 p.m. when I tried, and just . . . slept and slept and slept. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. convinced he would be awake anytime, but no. Still sleeping. Crazy. And holy SHIT, such a relief.

Not that I anticipate this is his new schedule or anything, but who cares? I slept seven whole hours last night! YEE HAW.

Oh, and my new stove is supposed to be delivered in a couple of hours. That means I need to pull out the old one and clean behind it, because God knows what's back there. It won't be anything good, I know that much.

And the beat goes on . . .

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coming Up . . .

This is the year, duckies. The Year of the Home-Corned Beef.

I've been talking about corning my own brisket for St. Patrick's Day for about three years now. And then it's a few days before St. Patrick's Day and there is no brisket in the process of corning, so I once again buy one at the store like a commoner.

THIS year, though, I have the brisket out and defrosted already. The MiL actually bought me a jar of corned beef spices from Penzeys a couple of years ago (although most recipes call for pickling spice, which is available at pretty much any grocery store). I found a recipe. I've considered all the various available receptacles to brine the (ENORMOUS) brisket in.  All I have to do now is . . . well, do it.

It's actually stupid-easy, as long as you get your ass in gear five days before you want to eat it. So I'll let you know how the end result compares to the store version.

I fully expect the store version will be found sadly lacking when compared to the home version, as is ALWAYS the case.

And in related news, I will be cooking this beef on a brand-new stove. I bought a new range today. Yes, they're called "ranges" at appliance stores, although no one I know uses that term in real life. I bought a new one because our old one is OLD. Probably about forty years old, in fact. It was one our neighbors replaced when they re-did their kitchen. They had it sitting in their garage, awaiting disposal, right when the previous stove in our kitchen caught fire.

Literally. There was fire. And we discovered that the electric stove was hardwired into the electric system. Not plugged in. Hardwired. And THEN, when A. tried to cut off the power to that wiring so he could cut the wires without electrocuting himself, he couldn't. Even turning off the main power switch to the entire house didn't do it. When he cut the wires, there were sparks.

It's a miracle he wasn't electrocuted.


We got an outlet installed so we could plug in the neighbors' cast-off stove. So convenient as a short-term solution!

And there it stayed. For six years now. It's rusted. The clock doesn't work. The timer doesn't work. The knobs pop off, despite repeated attempts to glue them with super-strong adhesives. The oven handle comes off on occasion. The oven temperature is about 100 degrees off. It's not even level, so anything baked in the oven is always uneven.

Finally I decided I was through with it and I bought a new one. Pretty much the same as the old one, but it will be new and not rusted and crappy. I hope. It's supposed to be delivered on Tuesday. I'll let you know how that turns out too.

Exciting things in the future, obviously.  Stay tuned.