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!

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