This story started a couple weeks ago. Our 25 year old granddaughter Ariana called and asked if we would host a family picnic? She’s in a serious relationship with this neat guy named Josh. (I know, what are the odds of having 2 Josh’s in a rather small family?) Ari and her Josh will be making me a very young, hip great-grandma around New Year’s, 2017. Josh’s mom and Ari’s mom, our daughter Shannon, have never met. Ari and Josh thought the perfect place might be our house for an informal meal of, “getting to know you, getting to know all about you!”
|Josh & Ari, happy in 2016…|
I thought this was a splendid idea. Only gonna be about 10 of us. We had to find a date that suited everyone which proved to be the 4th of July. So me and my ever present stash of swiped notepads from every hotel I’ve ever stayed in started making lists. Chores around the house that needed to be done. This was complicated by 10,000 pounds of river rock that had been delivered in the middle of our new driveway last Saturday. John put edging in the front of the house while I was in Italy, but wanted me to choose what kind of stone to use. I did most of the shoveling of rock into the wheel barrow. John dumped and smoothed it out. My arms were shaky, and my legs felt like jello for days, but it’s done. Newly edged rock has nary a shrub, perennial, bonsai, dune grass, or ornamental tree as of yet. But still looks pretty darn good. At least now the driveway can be used for parking and my Jeep is back in the garage. Crossed one item off my list.
Being married forever, it wasn’t necessary to assign tasks. We just know which one of us are doing what. I’m the duster, window washer, mopper, and in charge of most of the food. Hubs is the yard man, vacuum dude, and has a (small) say in the menu. Ah, the menu.
|We’re usually on the same page. Sometimes tho, we’re not even reading the same book…|
Some kind of meat (undecided) on the grill, and baked beans, John’s department. Potato salad, veggie slaw, fruit salad, and stuffed Rice Krispie Treats are up to me. I thought perhaps boneless pork chops or ribs. John decided on smoked pork butt for pulled pork. And there lies the rub.
I waited until Friday to get groceries, which is late in the week for me. John wanted to buy the pork butt on Saturday so he wouldn’t have to freeze it. As I was reading the newspaper this morning, John was rattling off spices required for his pork rub. Which needed to go on the butt ASAP when he got home. Giving the pork all the time needed to marinate or whatever before heading to the smoker early Monday morning. Since he has this bizarre affliction and is not able to spot a gallon of milk in an otherwise empty fridge, I decided to help out while he was on the hunt and gather task of finding the perfect hunk of hog. I envisioned my 2 shelves which hold all my spices, all over the counter. Yet John wouldn’t be able to find the half dozen he needed.
|I was just trying to help…|
With recipe in hand, I got out garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, sea salt, coarse pepper, cayenne pepper and sugar. Please note, I listed sugar last. It’s vitally important to the story. Sigh. Besides these ingredients, measuring spoons, a spoon to stir, a 16 oz. anchor hocking glass bowl with lid. Which had a sticker on the lid written in sharpie pen stating, PORK RUB. Yeah, I did that for him. Measured out the 1/4 C. Sugar, leaving it in the measuring cup, but placed it in the anchor hocking bowl. Why, oh why, didn’t I just mix up the batch myself? I’ll be asking the exact same question for the rest of my life.
|All the spices needed for the rub down…|
John waltzes in the house, giddy with anticipation. Hauls out the pork butt which is the approximate size of Rhode Island. Did I mention it’s a party of 10 on Monday? When I can tear his eyes away from that big hunk-o-hog, he notices all the appropriate spices, bowl, spoons waiting patiently on the counter. “You got everything out for me? Thanks!” Naturally I didn’t think any more explanation was needed. Our 6 year old grandson, Graham could have had it done in minutes, had he been able to read grandpa’s writing. I walked in not one minute later and Hubs is already furiously stirring spices. IN ANOTHER BOWL. “Um, why are you using a different bowl? Did you see the bowl with the measuring cup and sugar in it already,” I asked incredulously? Still stirring with feeling he says, “the recipe calls for the sugar as the last ingredient. I needed another bowl to put all the other stuff in first!” Just kill me now. Are you fricking kidding me? Apparently not. The counter now looks like Michigan’s sandy shoreline, smattered with spices of all colors. Smells good though.
|Hubs gets a little crazy with his measuring…|
John unwraps the butt and proceeds to fastidiously pat rub everywhere. I sigh, turn around and walk away. After finishing his task at hand, he shows me the plastic container (containers now number 3 to make a one-cup-bowl-of-rub) holding the leftover. “Where should I store this?” I bite the inside of my cheek (hard) and answer, “why didn’t you use the glass bowl and lid I had on the counter for you?” He comes back with, “it doesn’t have to be stored in glass, does it?” Shaking my head I answer testily, “Well, the plastic container will smell like pork rub through eternity, and I had a big old sticker on the lid stating, pork rub.”
|He’s always been a messy cook…|
Hubs stashed the spices everywhere but the right shelf (extra credit for his attempt though). In his eyes, a job well done. Next trip to the kitchen I notice a puddle of spices in the sink, along with the original bowl, lid, and his second mixing bowl. The counter where the Rhode Island butt got spanked with spicy rub was pretty clean. The floor underneath this rubbing ceremony now sported 2 T. (yes folks, that’s tablespoons) of pork rub on my gel mat rug. No doubt it would be edible and tasty.
|Bare feet feel especially good walking on these spices…|
A bit later Hubs announced, “I’m getting hamburger out of the freezer. I’m hungry for chile.” I hear the microwave, cupboard doors banging open and closed. He has not yet asked where the beans, petite diced tomatoes, or V-8 juice are, so I assume he’s getting stuff ready to make tomorrow. Then I hear a fry pan. “Hon, are you making chile tonight? It’s 7:45.” His comeback, “there’s nothing to eat and I’m hungry.” I mentally start (thrashing the snot out of him) going through our fridge. “There’s a big leftover pork chop, beef jerky, and those barbecued little smokies you like. Or make a grilled cheese, Denver or a salad,” I said, now bleeding from a nasty bite wound in my other cheek.
|I think this looks self-explanatory…|
So here’s the deal. Our house is small. Our kitchen is small. I need to keep them tidy. If there is an errant spoon, grape tomato, bag of chips, or grain of salt setting out, the whole kitchen looks messy. John barbecued these little smokies in a small crockpot 3 days ago. After eating some, he unplugged it, leaving the crockpot on the counter, grabbed the insert with remaining smokies and stuck it in the fridge. Three days later, the crockpot skeleton still lingers, decaying on the counter. While doing dishes, I grabbed the insert out of the fridge, dumped the leftovers in ANOTHER ANCHOR HOCKING BOWL WITH A LID. Washed the crockpot insert and lid and returned them to their natural habitat (the pantry closet shelf). When what to my wondering eyes should appear? The little black crockpot nestled in the crook of John’s arm. On its way back to my kitchen counter. “Why are you getting the crockpot out?” I ventured, hoping I said it without too much venom. He looks at me as though I’ve grown a third eye. “To heat up the little smokies,” he says happily. For real? Yup. You can not make up crap like this…
|This is the result of John putting wet tea bags in the garbage…|