Monday, September 17, 2012

LAB vs. the Garbage Disposal (Version 3.0)

Last night my arch-enemy, the garbage disposal in my kitchen, fired yet another shot across my bow.  And scored a bullseye.  My kung fu is not strong.  The disposal started acting up on Saturday night when I shoved a cooler full of leftover ice down it after the Auburn game. And what self-respecting garbage disposal chokes on ice, for crap's sake?  The opposite side of our double sink started backing up in the ice incident, but eventually everything went down and I didn't give it another thought.  Guess you see where this is going.

Perhaps you remember my post last year about the sauerkraut geyser, which also contains the story of breadcrumb cement.  Good times.  I credit the fact that Jeff and I are still married to my unsurpassed skill at groveling for forgiveness.

But back to last night.

Due to Jeff's work schedule, there is a period of 7 straight days every 5 weeks in which he's home for dinner with me every night.  Other than these 7 days, we only have dinner together sporadically, if at all.  I treat these 7 days as the Super Bowl of cooking.  It's the Holy Grail of Gastronomy!  I spend quite a bit of time planning and prepping and shopping and cooking.  And I love it!

Last night was day 3 of the weeklong dinner blowout, and Low-Country Boil was on the menu (although in my family we call it Frogmore Stew).  As my Southern friends well know, Low-Country Boil contains shrimp, andouille sausage, fresh corn-on-the-cob, fingerling potatoes, onions, celery and copious amounts of Old Bay Seasoning.  I also toss in some Red Stripe beer and clam juice, but that's a trade secret!  Last night's batch came out like this:

 Smells like the Carolina Coast!

And you serve it like this:
I can cook, bitches!

Obviously, part of preparing Low Country Boil entails cleaning and deveining the shrimp.  I've cleaned a lot of shrimp in my time, so it only took me a matter of minutes to take care of a pound-and-a-half of shrimp and get it ready to cook.  A lot of people use scissors or a knife to devein shrimp, but I recommend a crab pick.  Works like a champ!  

When I was finished prepping the shrimp, I had a big, stinky pile of shells to dispose of.  I figured they would make the trash stink to high heaven, so I shoved them all down the garbage disposal and ran it for a few minutes.  Everything seemed fine.  Famous last words. 

So I made the meal, my brother Scott joined us, and we feasted like we hadn't eaten for days.  Because it was *that* freaking good! 

After dinner, we were all in the kitchen while I was washing dishes and Scott was getting ready to leave.  I noticed that the sink wasn't draining very well so I hit the garbage disposal switch.  It sounded  odd, but eventually the sink started draining a little better.  Jeff noticed and the following conversation ensued.

Jeff:  What's wrong with the sink?
LAB: It's draining really slowly since the ice yesterday.
Jeff:  Ice would have melted by now.
LAB:  Well, I also shoved a bunch of shrimp shells down it today.
Scott: *Looks at me behind Jeff's back and vehemently shakes his head "no" and then points at the trash can.* 
LAB: *Mouthing the words "Oh, Crap." to Scott.*

I figured I had choked the garbage disposal with shrimp shells.  I can't get in trouble for that, right?  The sink was draining really slowly at this point, so I hit the garbage disposal one more time and....nothing.  It didn't turn on at all.

Jeff:  I'll take a look at it tomorrow.
LAB: The sink's not draining at all anymore. 
Jeff:  *sighs loudly* I'll take a look at it now.  But I swear to God, if you did something stupid to're dead.
LAB:  I didn't do anything stupid this time!  I swear!
Jeff:  We're about to find out.
LAB: Want me to get a bucket from the laundry?
Jeff:  Nope.  Just hand me a plastic bag.
LAB:  Why do you need a plastic bag?
Jeff:  To put over your head.  So you can never break anything again.
Scott:  Oh, shit! This is awesome!  I think I'll stick around for a while.  I'll be right back, I'm grabbing a beer.
LAB:  Not helping, asshole.

After checking to make sure I hadn't blown a fuse, Jeff started taking apart the sink and Scott reached into the garbage disposal to see if he could find anything stuck in it.  Jeff continued to give me dirty looks.  He was clearly worried he was about to catch me doing something phenomenally stupid as usual. But I just *knew* I hadn't done anything stupid that would have broken the garbage disposal.  I'm extremely careful these days!  Because I really hate those damn "LAB, you're a disaster" lectures.

I figured Scott would pull out a handful of shrimp shells, which surely I couldn't be in trouble for.  Our heavy duty garbage disposal should be expected to handle shrimp shells, right?  I was confident I was going to be blameless for once.

Scott dug around in the disposal for a few seconds and then he got a strange look on his face. He pulled something out...but I couldn't get a good look at it.  He showed it to Jeff, and then Scott busted out laughing and held it up to me:

Crab Pick, anyone?

Things suddenly started to move in slow motion.  I was muttering "oh crap, oh crap, oh crap" and slowly backing out of the kitchen.  For a brief moment, Jeff was at a complete loss for words.   Then he looked at me, shook his head, made a loud sigh and turned around to start reassembling the sink.

Have you ever seen a man after he has just admitted complete & total defeat?  Like he knows he's in a winless situation that he can never, ever get out of?  Like he's in a spiral of suffering that will never end?  No?  I see that look on a regular basis in my marriage.

Scott headed out the door with the following parting shot: "I don't recommend you ask him to straighten the crab pick out for you.  You might not like what happens."

I've been trying to figure out a way that this isn't all my fault, and here it is:  When I was buying the shrimp at the grocery store, I asked the seafood clerk for peeled and deveined wild-caught raw shrimp.  But they don't sell it.  All they had available was shell-on shrimp, which I had to peel myself.  This whole situation could have been avoided if Kroger had just sold peeled shrimp.  Therefore...I blame Kroger.  The bastards!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boomer: Big Dog, Little Courage

When we adopted our Great Dane, Boomer, four years ago, one of the things that attracted me to him was that I figured no one would mess with me if I had a giant breed dog.  Yeah, right.  You may think I'm pathologically friendly, but you don't know the definition of those words until you meet Boomer.  And get slimed by his big, wet, jowly face.  It's all part of the experience.  He loves everyone, without exception.  And he shows his love by hammering the top of his head into your crotch.  You're welcome.

One of the things Boomer is definitely not?  Brave.  He's the biggest chickenshit Momma's Daddy's Boy on the planet.   He's afraid of basically everything.  Except strangers.  He freaking loves strangers.

Anything out of the "norm" sends him into orbit.  Which is why we have Doggie Diazapam at my house.  Valium: It's not just for overanxious career girls anymore.

Last weekend, Jeff was traveling and I was left home alone with the dogs, which basically guarantees that something ridiculous is going to occur.  Naturally, Boomer elected to used this opportunity to be a giant pain in my ass.  Because he can.

Everything was perfectly normal when I went to bed.  Marley was in her dog bed next to me and Boomer was camped out in the Queen-sized bed in the guest room, which he commandeered shortly after coming to live with us.  Also because he can.

Around 3:30 a.m., I heard him pacing up & down the hardwoods in the hallway.  Click, click, click, click. Stop.  Loud sigh.  Turn around.  Click, click, click. Stop. Loud sigh.  Turn around. This is Boomer's universal sign of distress.

I figured he needed to go out, so I got up and let him out in the front yard.   He did his business and we went back to bed.

Fast forward to 4 a.m., and:  Click, click, click, click. Stop.  Loud sigh.  Turn around.  Click, click, click. Stop. Loud sigh.  Turn around. Jesus, Boomer.

I thought may be he needed to go out (again), so I got up (again) and let him out into the front yard (again).  He didn't even get off the porch. Bastard!  Obviously he didn't need to go, so I opened the front door, and...nothing.  He wouldn't get off the porch and he wouldn't go back in the house.  Mexican standoff!

I've found myself in a lot of strange places at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, but standing on the front porch in my pajamas with a giant dog who won't come inside isn't normally one of them.  There's a first time for everything.

That's when I realized that whatever had Boomer spooked was inside the house.  Awesome.  Now we're all going to die.  It occurred to me at this point that I was glad (for once) that anywhere I go in our house I'm within 20 feet of a gun.  Is that Dueling Banjos from Deliverance I hear?

We were standing on the front porch like a couple of assholes and I held the door open while I decided what to do.

That's when I heard it.  Very faintly.  Chirp!  Boomer heard it too, and he jumped behind me and cowered.  Or at least his big ass tried to cower.

Oh, for Crap's Sake!!!!  Boomer was terrified that the smoke detector was chirping because the battery was low.  Jesus H. Christ.

I got a spare battery, dragged out the step ladder and pulled down the smoke detector.  After some wrangling, the battery was finally replaced.

Here's where I made a tactical error.  I saw the "test" button on the smoke detector, and figured that I'd hit it and hear a strong Chirp! verifying that the new battery installed correctly.  So I pushed the button.  What harm could it do?

Do you know what happens when you press the "test" button on a smoke detector?  It goes off.  Like fireworks.  Flashing strobe lights and Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!  Like the freaking 4th of July in my kitchen.  At 4 a.m.

Obviously, this did not sit well with Boomer.  He took off like a flash, careening into everything in his path.  One circle around the house.  Two circles around the house. At this rate, I wasn't going to have much house left when he was finished.

One the third circle I was able to tackle him and corral him in the kitchen.  And I have the bruises to prove it.  I spent the next half hour laying on the floor with him saying "It's OK, boy. It's OK, boy.  It's OK, boy."  He probably still doesn't believe me.  I made a very big production of picking up the smoke detector, carrying it to the back door and putting it outside.  That seemed to help calm him down.  Slightly.

Around 5:30 a.m. I finally got him back on his bed and I went back to my room.  Another crises resolved!  Guess now I can claim yet another ability has been added to my arsenal of critical life skills.  LAB: Defender of chickenshit giant breed dogs against the heinous threat of a dying smoke detector.

If you're considering getting a Great Dane for home protection, I suggest you consider another breed.  A Chihuahua, perhaps.

 This is not the face of a killer.

End note:  We were warned when we adopted Marley that Dalmatians are one of the most high-strung breeds of dogs, but do you know what she was doing during all the commotion?  Sleeping.  That's my girl!

Monday, September 10, 2012

"War Eagle" might be an overstatement at this point

Spent an awesome Saturday afternoon watching the tragic Auburn game at a local watering hole with my two favorite partners in crime: my brother Scott and our drinking companion Molly.  The tailgate trifecta!

About an hour into the game, I looked into the beer cooler and told the bartender that he needed to restock the Smirnoff Ice.  I'm nothing if not helpful.  He checked the back of the bar, and then told me that there wasn't any more. Cue violins for this tragic turn of events.   And then he said he'd be right back, and he ran across the street to the store and bought more for meI freaking love this guy!

I drank from noon until 3:30 p.m., and ate lunch, and when I was presented my bar tab it totaled $19.88.  That's right - less than $20!  Either the cash register was broken, or I got the drinking bargain of the century.  Or both. Guess who still gets free drinks from hot bartenders? *This* girl!

What bartender in his right mind wouldn't want to provide complimentary beverages to this crew?

 I blanked out our last names on the name tags so some 
of you assholes can't track us down & stalk us.
You know who you are.

Losing with grace, people.  The Auburn way.

Molly and I decided after the game that we all needed to go to the liquor store.  It was the obvious choice.  Scott was driving, but it wasn't too hard to convince him. What could be more charming & delightful than two drunk women in their 40's stumbling through the liquor store? Not a damn thing.

As we left the bar, three different bartenders thanked us for the "entertainment".  Ummm.  You're welcome.

We headed to the liquor store and when we got there I walked in and grabbed a cart, at which point Scott jumped in front of me and said:

Scott: Whoa, whoa, whoa.  What are you doing?
LAB:  Getting a case of wine.
Scott: While Jeff is out of town? I'm not sure I want to be a party to this.
LAB: He gave me money to buy a case of wine.
Scott:  Uh huh.
LAB:  I swear!
Scott:  Oh, hell.  Whatever.
LAB:  *Thinking: Jesus, it's not like I'm loading up on flavored vodka again.  I already learned that lesson.*

I bought my case of wine.  And some Smirnoff Ice.  And Scott helped me unload it at home, which was my goal in the first place.  #winning

The 2012 football season is shaping up to be ugly for Auburn.  And possibly uglier for me.  I may be watching the SEC Championship game from Passages. I hear Malibu is lovely in the fall. So there's that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Monkeys v. Doorknob

Jeff was home this morning while I was getting ready for work, which almost never happens.  After watching me overflow the glass while pouring a Diet Coke, then roll around on the floor playing with the dogs, then trip and walk into the door frame, he said the following:

Jeff:  You're more of a disaster than usual in the morning.  It's like watching a bunch of monkeys trying to hump a door knob.
LAB:  Two things.  First of all, that's a quote blatantly stolen from the movie Dodgeball.  Second, thank you for providing me with my new personal motto.  "LAB:  Better than a bunch of monkeys trying to hump a doorknob".
Jeff:  You're welcome.  I think.

In other news, I found my first gray (American spelling, thank you very much) eyebrow last Saturday. What. The. Hell.  I was surprised, since I have very few gray hairs at all.  At 44 years old, I still have "virgin" hair.  No chemicals, no color.  I won the genetic lottery when I was born and I've been abusing it in every possible way ever since. You have to really be looking for the grays to even see them.  So I was somewhat shocked to have one in my eyebrows.  I plucked it and figured that would be the end of it.  Until this morning.  I found three, count 'em...three! more gray eyebrows.  Two on the right side, one on the left.  For some reason, I find them much more offensive than the ones in my hair.  If I keep plucking them, eventually I'll have bald patches in my eyebrows.  But if I pencil over them, I'm afraid I'll look like Cruella de Vil. What's a not so gently aging girl to do?

I'm trying to age gracefully.  I tried Botox last year.  Once. Didn't like it.  And Jeff, who I didn't tell I was going to try it, kept saying "Why do you always look surprised?" until it wore off.  I think it worked a little too well on me. It froze my forehead which was not a problem area for me quite efficiently, but the two tiny vertical lines between my eyebrows that I wanted to get rid of didn't disappear, they just got further apart.  Guess I'm destined to always  be #11.  Or Roman Numeral II.  Screw it!  May be the gray eyebrows will distract attention from the vertical lines.  I'm putting this in the win column.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet Becky (she's not a squatter)

Now that our garage renovation is well underway, Jeff and I are gearing up to finally (finally!) get started on my new kitchen.  Can I get a W00T! W00T! up in here?!?!?!

Jeff asked me to make my wish list, which was extensive, and we got together last night to go over it. After reviewing my list (none of which was vetoed, thanks to Garage-Mahal currently under construction in our back yard) we had the following conversation:

LAB:  Do you think we should show the contractor The Cube when he comes to look at the kitchen?
Jeff:   What the hell is "The Cube"?
LAB:  You know, the big square in the middle of the house with the bathrooms and closets that we're renovating after the kitchen.
Jeff:   The Cube? 
LAB:  Because it's square.
Jeff:   You named it The Cube?
LAB:  I just said that.
Jeff:   You're a moron.  Who names sections of their house?
LAB:  Ummm.  Me?
Jeff:   It was a rhetorical question, you dope.
LAB:   What's wrong with The Cube? It's catchy and it makes sense.
Jeff:   If you're going to give it a dumb ass name, why don't you just call it Becky?
LAB:  Huh.  I didn't think of it.  But you're right.  Becky's a much better name.  Becky it is, then.
Jeff: Oh Sweet Jesus.

I know some of you guys were wondering what I was thinking when I let Jeff build this monstrosity behind our house:
 The left side is where the lift goes, so we'll be able to park 
6 cars  under cover on our property.   Because what 
2-person family doesn't need to be able to park 6 cars?

Side view.  I don't ask why.

What I was thinking when I let him build that monstrosity was: Hells Yeah!  I'm about to get a kick ass kitchen (...and bathrooms ...and closet).  It should all make sense to you now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This? Is how you start the football season (except for the loss)!

You might be wondering how I fared for the rest of the evening after 7 hours of tailgating prior to the Auburn game last Saturday.  Just fine, thank you.  The game proved to be less fun than the tailgate (since we lost), but there were certainly some bright spots.

#winning...even when we're losing!

Let me begin by saying that I love me some Clemson fans.  Classy, friendly people both before and after the game.

Except one.

I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, whom I’ll call Blondie.  Based on her attire, I assume she was a Clemson fan, although she pretty much just cheered for whoever was playing offense. Go Team(s)!  Blondie appeared to be shitfaced overserved.  

This picture isn't out of focus.  That's how she really looked.

Blondie was struggling a bit with her wardrobe.  As you can see, her shirt didn't quite meet her skirt.  And the problem was compounded by the split up the back.  Which would have been fine, but she refused to sit down (even when asked), so we spent all evening looking at her plumber's crack.  I see London, I see France...Blondie's got no underpants.  But then it got worse.  She started struggling with the tag in the back of her skirt.  That little tag kicked her ass for 2 straight quarters. She kept trying to tuck it in, but it kept popping back out.  So she did what I'm sure made perfect sense in her mind.  She pulled the entire skirt down to mid-thigh level, and then yanked it back up.  That's right people, she mooned us.  Full-on butt crack just before halftime.  See that nice lady sitting behind her?  She reached back, grabbed my hand and said "Ohhhhhh.  LAWD!"  It was beautiful.  For some reason, her husband appeared to be less offended by it.  You know how you see a traffic accident on the highway, and you don't want to look, but you can't look away?  That's what the remainder of the game was like for us.

Here are a few other nuggets from the game:

I have no explanation for this.

Drunk Guy Quote of the Day: “That Clemson fan was being a dick, so I threw a pom-pom at him to start a fight”.  Because nothing says “I’ve got huevos grandes and I will make you my bitch” like tossing a pom-pom.  I should note that he was also wearing a giant necklace of gold beads with a medallion that said “Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game” while trying to start said fight.  So there’s that.  

Drunk Text of the Day (from a member of my group who got lost in the 75,000+ people in the Dome): "Sitting on bench.  Find me."

Best Quote from a Stranger:  "Ma'am, you don't have to keep coming here and paying me $3.50 for bottles of water.  See that water fountain right next to us?  Use it to refill."  Duh.  I would have figured it out eventually.  But thanks to the pizza vendor who clued me in (after $21 of water).  I was trying to sober up to get us home.

Departure Quote of the Day (from my pal Chappell, who I last saw in person around 1992):  “Today was fun.  See ya in 2032”!  Well played, my friend.

And one final gameday gift, just for ya': Camo hat with bottle opener on the bill, people.  It was going to end up on my head eventually. It was inevitable.  You're welcome.

 Oh, Dear God.  Why?  Why? Why?

Monday, September 3, 2012

LAB vs. Tailgating (I kicked its' ass)!

My brother Scott scored us tickets to the Auburn vs. Clemson game at the Georgia Dome last Saturday.  Since the game was in Atlanta, we had a lot of friends who were also headed to the game.  Most of our pals were taking MARTA (the local subway system) to the game, but our tickets included a parking spot so we decided to host a tailgate for everyone. 

As with many Southern girls, I tend to get a little excited when I'm hosting an event.  And by excited, I mean bat shit crazy.  We were expecting about 10 people and we tend to make new friends as the drinking day goes on (I'm nothing if not pathologically friendly), so I figured I'd bump up the numbers a little.  This is what I considered a reasonable amount of food & drinks to take with us to the game:
  • 72 Bud Light
  • 24 Corona Light
  • 24 Mike's Hard Lemonade
  • 12 Smirnoff Ice
  • 2 Jugs Margaritas
  • 2 bottles of Champagne for mimosas
  • 1.5 liter bottle of Ketel One vodka
  • Water, cranberry juice, orange juice, assorted soft drinks
  • Sliced limes and oranges
  • 12 Beef Tenderloin sandwiches (Jeff grilled the steaks the night before - he's the best!)
  • 24 Ham & Cheese mini-sandwiches
  • 15 chicken salad croissants
  • Mustard, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce
  • Cheese tray with crackers & beef summer sausage
  • Assorted chips, brownies and cookies
  • 1 pound Twizzlers (it's a family tradition)
  • And no tailgate is complete without Advil and antacids, so I threw those in there as well.
In addition, friends chipped in pasta salad, an additional 12 beers (Miller Light), more chips and dessert squares. 

This was after my first beer run (before I decided it wasn't nearly enough).

For those of you who are math-impaired, that's 108 beers alone.  Oh, WHAT!?!  It's not like that's a lot.  Quit judging me.  And I'd like to mention that two different guests asked if I had any wine, so obviously I was understocked.

I knew three of these people prior to Saturday.  What can I say?  Strangers love me!

You may think that it seems excessive, but here's my Post-Tailgate Booze Inventory: 10 Corona Light, 1/2 jug Margaritas, 1 bottle champagne, 6 Mikes' Hard Lemonade, 2 Smirnoff Ice and half the vodka (although I think a handful of Bud Light may be left in Scott's cooler).  I freaking love my peeps!  I'm pretty sure we could have wiped out the entire supply, but I quit drinking at 6 p.m. to make sure I'd be able to drive home at midnight.
This is my Auburn pal Chappell and my new friend Madison.  
Chappell claims we haven't seen each other for 20 years,
but I don't see how that can be true since I'm only 25 years old.
In other news, the battle with my arch-nemesis, the port-a-potty, continues to go in my favor.  I was able to "hold it" from 11:00 a.m. when I left my house until 6:45 p.m. when we entered the game.  I'm sure my bladder is eventually going to rebel, but for now...#winning!

Tomorrow's blog post will feature: enjoying stadium seating two rows behind a drunken butt flasher, pom-pom throwing fistfights, Jimmy Buffet's unfortunate twin, how beer makes a separation of 20 years feel more like 20 minutes, and why, even with a couple of hundred of dollars of food on the table, a free Chick-fil-A sandwich is irresistible (even though I really hate their politics).