Christmastime Indolence

A general sense of indolence takes over this time of year. For me anyway. The last few days before Christmas. Whew, it’s difficult for me to get it together. I’m usually ahead of the game, having gotten all my shopping, decorating, and wrapping done a week or so before, then I sit, plant my ass firmly on the sofa for three or four days. We all do it. The four of us (I’m including the dog here) all breathe in a long sigh of relief. The parties, the meetings, the lunches, the chaos if over. We watch Christmas movies, we eat cheese and crackers, we bake cookies, and we play board games, Monopoly, Risk, Bunny Kingdom, Gin Rummy, Life, you name it, we play it. And we sit, did I mention that we sit?

Yesterday, the day of the Winter Solstice, the day of our wedding anniversary, was our first official day of pure laziness. We did a lot of nothing. We didn’t strain ourselves, except maybe when I sat up quickly to grab the last piece of cheese off the charcuterie board before my husband. Our mothers both called us to wish us a happy anniversary. They asked what our big plans were for the day. Monopoly and Home Alone 1 and 2. Those were our big plans.

Today we watched Die Hard because yes it is a Christmas movie. Tomorrow? Who knows! Maybe A Christmas Story and Exploding Kittens. Maybe, maybe we will venture out at 8:00 pm, not showered, in pajamas, to look at Christmas lights. On Christmas Eve we might bake some cookies. We might bake them, and put them in festive tins, and deliver them to our all our neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Maybe. I wouldn’t want to overdo it.

Then on Christmas, well, I might not shower until after my second nap. But I’m sure I will shower, eventually. And steak and shrimp are on the dinner menu that day, which means someone, ahem, someone has to fire up the grill. 1, 2, 3, Not me!

I do love this time of year, the time of year doing nothing with my husband, our son, and our pup. We don’t take it for granted, of course. And we know that we are lucky. Not everyone can afford indolence this time of year, and ours ends on December 28th when we load up the family sleigh and head on a whirlwind eight-day vacation, but until then, well until then we plan on finishing Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, and maybe, maybe three or four more Christmas movies, you know, if we have the time between all the snacking and the napping.

Here’s to an easy holiday, enjoying family time, and napping. May you all have the ability to go forth in napping today!

Happy Holidays!

M.

Down in Lunch Lady Land

I just read an article about a lunch lady who threw away a piece of pizza in front of a kid because he had a $15 bill that wasn’t paid. My head wanted to shake so violently that I would end up seeing stars or birds, but instead of that, I’m here, on my blog, telling you a story. You see, my momma was a lunch lady. She was. True story. She was a myriad of other things in her lifetime too. She took other low-paying, menial jobs to support herself and her four kids, including: A housekeeper, a babysitter, and a bartender, among others, and for a little while, when I was in middle school and then in high school, she was a lunch lady.

I remember this because there is a distinct string of shame that comes from walking through the lunch line, with your “free lunch” card, seeing your mom doing the dishes in the back, waiting to see if she could catch a glimpse of you and give you a little smile, or maybe, if your 8th grade reputation allowed, a small wave. I remember people walking up behind me asking, “Missy, is that your mom making the rolls?” I’d tell them yes, because there was no point in lying, and some of the kids would laugh, and some of them would say, “Your mom makes great rolls.” And I’d smile. Cause she really did. And she was very nice to ALL the kids. In fact, she was too nice. She was often reprimanded for letting kids grab two rolls, or an extra slice of pizza. She never worked the registers, probably because she knew she could never turn a kid away, money or not.

Because there has always been a desire to turn kids away.

That sounds horrific doesn’t it. But in middle school, they turned kids away. In high school, some kids would go through the line twice. Once to get their own food, and once to get a plate for a friend. That’s a real thing that happened. And still does. And lunch ladies like my mom saw this happen. And lunch ladies like my mom threw an extra roll on the tray. Then there are the others.

In case you don’t know, lunch ladies don’t roll in the big salaries like they probably should. In fact, a quick Google search tells me that locally, in DeKalb County, Georgia, lunch ladies are making, on average, $13/hr. That’s $520 a week, before taxes. That’s if they have a full-time gig. My mom, and many like her, were part-timers, who would get there about 8 am and be gone by 1 pm. They were floaters too. Called wherever they needed to be, whenever they needed to be there. But let’s say, for the sake of this here blog, that a full-time lunch lady makes $500 a week, pre-taxes. Let’s also say she has two kids at home, and is a single mom. Whew. That’s not a lot of money. In fact, in most school districts, that lunch lady’s own kids would qualify for free or reduced lunch. Like I did when my mom was a lunch lady.

So here I am, wondering how on Earth a lunch lady, whose kids at some point in their life have probably received free or reduced lunch, can take a piece of pizza off a tray while a kid is standing in line and throw it in the trash only to replace it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There’s like, uh, lots of things wrong with that, right?

First, there’s the wasting of food.

Then there’s the humiliation.

Then there’s the evident lack of compassion, either on the part of the lunch lady or, I suspect, the school, or the school district, or maybe just the cafeteria manager. But I do suspect, at least I want to suspect, that this is a top-down situation.

I don’t really think people, specifically lunch ladies, want to see kids go hungry. But I think, like most things, there is a lot at play here. First, we can’t discount racism. That would be dumb, because racism plays a big role in a situation like this. One racist lunch lady can ruin a whole school. One racist lunch lady can decide who eats and who doesn’t. Who gets shame thrown their way, and who doesn’t. In most of these stories I’m reading, and there’s a lot of them if you look, this is happening at schools where the population has higher numbers of “Non-white” kids. That’s what they like to say, “Non-white.”

Next there’s the thinking that it isn’t hard to get free lunch. Maybe the kid standing in front of the lunch lady lives in a household situation that would be approved for free or reduced lunch, but maybe his parents have filled out the proper forms. And sure, the lunch lady can shame the kid, in a roundabout way of shaming the lazy parents, either because they didn’t fill out the forms, or because they forgot to write the check, or because this week, there was no way for them to part with that $15. Pick your poison, either way it’s all coming down to shaming a kid who just wants to eat lunch. And that’s not okay.

Probably, what’s most likely happening, is that the school district is sending out nasty emails about cutting costs in the cafeteria. Cutting waste. Collecting payments. And the lunch ladies are taking it as a slap in the face, and passing that slap onto the kids. Top down.

I wish I had a solution here. I mean, in a perfect world we would feed the kids, then worry about the bottom line later. Wait, hmm, maybe that is the solution? Oh yep. It is. Always feed the kid. Don’t shame them. It only takes one time to say to a kid, “Hey tomorrow, unless your balance is paid, will you grab a peanut butter and jelly instead of a hot lunch? I’m sorry, it’s just the rule.” Listen, that kid will grab a PBJ the next day, because that kid doesn’t want to be shamed. Not now, not ever. Not by the lunch lady. Not by his or her parents. But the least we could do when his parents do shame him, is show a little compassion.

Be kind.

M.

The Poor Girl’s Grocery Store

My mom’s visiting. She flew in on Friday, and we’ve been enjoying catching up for the past two days. This morning over coffee I was making a grocery list for the week and she asked where I do most of my shopping. I told her Kroger, usually, but Target or Publix depending on my mood. Walmart in times of distress, like when I know I need that one kind of mustard and chain grease for our bikes. It’s a two-for. But I have to take a Klonopin before I go in, so there’s a trade-off. Anyway, I asked where she shopped and she said mainly Dillion’s (a local chain in Kansas, that might be loosely associated with Kroger), and Aldi. Then we both laughed.

My mom has been shopping at Aldi for so long she can probably tell you all the secrets you want to know. No need to join any of the 1,000 Aldi Facebook sites, where Xennial women talk about the AOS (Aisle of Shame, Shit, Stuff), and the peanut butter cups (which are shit in my opinion) my mom knows the real deal Aldi. I know the real deal Aldi. We’ve done our time at that orange counter bagging, rather boxing, our groceries looooong before Aldi’s was a “hip” and “cool”’place. In fact, it was incredibly embarrassing to be seen at Aldi when I was a kid, but of course if you saw a classmate there, then that meant their parents were probably poor too, so you’d just walk by each other and nod silently, then NEVER speak of the encounter. Oh, middle schoolers.

We’d usually go to Aldi at the end of the month, when the food stamps were gone, and it was scratch biscuit time. When it was that point in the month I didn’t care where the milk and hamburger meat came from, I just wanted milk and hamburgers. It was the odd times of the month where we would have “Food-4-Less” money, or maybe even be shopping the deals at the glorious new Price Chopper on Fourth Street, and she’s trick me, tell me we were going to Waymire IGA for the cereal on sale, and we’d end up at Aldi.

It was always too hot or too cold for me to stay in the car, so I’d have to go in, but first we’d have to dig around the car for a quarter for the damn cart. If we were lucky a family would be walking out and see us and ask if we wanted their cart, though that was rare. I must say it happens a lot more now, and on those rare occasions when I do go to Aldi, and I use a cart, I NEVER take my quarter back. And neither should you. Pass that cart off to a mommy struggling with some kids behind her. For fucks sake.

Sorry. Okay so once we were in the store my job was to immediately start scouring the aisles for boxes so we could transport our groceries home. I’d take my time with this task, because it meant I could hide in cubby holes, and look out for someone I might know. By the time my mom was finished shopping our cart was full of Moreos, and Skadittles, and Capri Fun. All the sorts of horrible knock-off names you could imagine! Oh no, I’d think, what if I have friends over this weekend and my mom asks, “Do you guys want Oreos? And then she walks into my room with Moreos?! #KillMeNow

At check-out time I’d run over to the orange bagging counter, which seemed to be much higher back then than it is now (probably cause I was a kid), and I’d sit, grumpy and scared, until my mom paid for our knock-off taco shells with her monthly allotment of government food stamps. Double whammy!

The cashier would throw our food into the cart crazy fast (some things never change) then ask my mom if she wanted to BUY bags to bag her groceries. My mom would laugh! Hahaha, pay 10 cents for a brown paper bag, I don’t think so! Then she’d motion toward me, my boxes stacked all around, and smile. We’d pack our groceries into boxes, then load our 1972 Dodge or maybe the 1979 Chevy Nova up, and I’d race the cart back to the corral, to link it back to the one in front of it, and take that damn quarter. Whether it was ours or not. Man. Those were some days.

My mom says the Aldi has changed a lot now. They have more “German” foods, and they sell a lot of good produce. I agree, then I blow her mind by telling her about Lidl! 🙂

So what does this all mean, Missy? Not a damn thing. I suppose this post just goes out to Aldi. To their fair prices and their unusual business model. But it also goes out to all the middle school kids who grew up on Fruit Tarts instead of Pop Tarts. Who sat on those orange counters, and asked for the key to the locked bathrooms. The ones who peered through the two-way glass to get a glimpse of “the back office” just to pass the time. To the box getters. The cart wranglers. The quarter gangstas. We’ve come a long way, babes.

M.

Ding Dong Chicken

Whenever I miss our old home in Charlotte, North Carolina I start to crave Ding Dong Chicken. For those of you who have never experienced the awesomeness that is Ding Dong Chicken, follow me down this rabbit hole, you won’t be sorry. I first discovered Ding Dong Chicken at a local place in Uptown Charlotte called Pinky’s Westside Grill. This is one of our favorite restaurants in Charlotte, but we have a rocky history together.

The first time Jerimiah and I met for lunch at Pinky’s we ran across it while we were exploring Uptown not long after we moved to the Charlotte area. At the time we lived one county over, in a small town called Denver, NC that lacks any real places to eat good food. There were the local favorites like the Mexican place by Aldi’s or the Sports Page, but if you wanted one-of-a-kind, cool, new food you had to go to Charlotte.

Jerimiah had just started his new job and was making the 40 minute drive into Uptown everyday. On Fridays I would sometimes meet him for lunch, once school started and Jackson was securely in his fun, safe kindergarten class all day. These occasional lunch meetings were good for both of us. At the time I was considering applying to grad school in Charlotte, he was just learning the area, and we had started to think about moving into the city. We originally stumbled upon Pinky’s because of the VW Beetle that sits on the roof of the place. We liked the outward appearance of the place and we just knew the food would be tasty.

But we didn’t go that day, we went somewhere else. It wasn’t until some of the people at Jerimiah’s office were telling him he had to try Pinky’s that we actually went in one day. On this particular day it was spring, and just starting to get warm outside. The restaurant was full, which is normal at lunchtime, so we opted for the outside patio so we could get seated immediately. We don’t normally sit on patios, so I was feeling a little off already. Then there was the fact that it was our first time there, there were so many options on the menu, and I’m not great with options, and the fact that I could see inside and it looked cool and fun, and we felt banished to the patio. I dunno, I guess I am saying I let all these things get to me when I ordered, so I did what a naive person does, I sorta freaked out and ordered something I wouldn’t normally order: A tuna melt. Even Jerimiah looked at me and said, “Tuna?” Like, I don’t even really eat tuna, ever. I shook my head frantically and handed the menu back to the server. A few minutes later my tuna salad sandwich came out, along with Jerimiah’s awesome-looking turkey burger and I quickly resented my decision. I was mad at myself and at Pinky’s. But I didn’t give up.

Below is a sample of their menu, maybe you can see my frustration.

So the next time we went to Pinky’s we waited for a table inside. We soaked in the fun, cool atmosphere. We asked the server what to get. And she said, “Anything, as long as it is Ding Dong Style.” Well I had no idea what that meant but I said, “I’ll have the Ding Dong Chicken!” And my life was transformed.

Listen, I know this sounds nuts. Like Missy, a damn chicken sandwich can’t change your life, but if you’ve been following this Popeyes v. Chick-fil-a thing, you know it can. PS… Had the Popeyes sandwich, and yeah, it’s awesome. Way better than those Chick-fil-a sandwiches dripping in closeted homophobia and kindness. But still, neither are better than the Ding Dong Chicken at Pinky’s. Allow me to introduce you:

What is that, Missy?! It is a marinated and grilled chicken breast, free from antibiotics and all the gross stuff. It is smack dab between a yummy sesame seed bun (though your bread options are immense, even gluten-free if you are one of those nutcases). Then it is topped with crunchy peanut butter, sriracha, and coleslaw. It is important to know that everything is topped in coleslaw in North Carolina. I’m not a fan of coleslaw, but this one is a cilantro-honey slaw, and it’s amazeballs.

So what do I do now, that I live so very far away from my Ding Dong Chicken? I make it at home, duh! Here’s how I do it, if you want to try it yourself.

10 Easy Steps to Homemade Ding Dong Chicken

  1. First you go to your favorite place to get chicken breasts. Mine is wherever they are on sale that week, usually Kroger. Then you buy your meat. Then you marinate your meat in either a Thai marinate, or in Teriyaki. Both seem to give the flavor you are looking for.
  2. Then one evening, while you are trying to do a bunch of things, remember that you have that chicken you are marinating and you have to cook it that night or it will go bad. So run outside and fire up the grill.
  3. Keep the dog away from you by shouting, “Get back, asshole” whenever he approaches. Throw a ball if need be.
  4. Once you think the grill is hot enough (because your thermostat thing has been broken for like seven years) throw the marinated chicken on the grill.
  5. Close the grill, throw the ball, and continue to spray paint that bookshelf you bought at the Goodwill. Remember to only spray paint in the grass because you can just mow it. Don’t do it on your deck, lest you accidentally get your thrift store patio furniture covered in white chalk paint. You realize you paid more for the paint than you did the actual shelf, right? Nevermind, what’s the dog licking on the ground by the grill?
  6. Check on the chicken. Ohhh, it smells good. Okay, flip it.
  7. Go back to spray painting. Should you be using a mask? Are you getting a little high off this spray paint? How do people get high off it? Is that called huffing? Is that how people get high really quickly? What was the K2 stuff someone was talking to you about the other day? Hey did you get crunchy peanut butter at Kroger?
  8. Yell for your kid or partner or cat to bring you a platter so you can put the chicken on it to take it inside. Abandon the bookshelf, you will finish it before the next hurricane comes through.
  9. Plate the chicken. Here is where you can really let your personality shine. Do you want to use your nice Fiestaware? Or do you prefer that plate you got to help you with portion control? No, that one will just depress you. Just use the platter.
  10. Spoon out some crunchy peanut butter that you found in the back of the pantry (scrape off the marshmallow fluff that is stuck to the top of it, or don’t your call, might be good). Then grab the sriracha from the fridge and squirt it over the top. About this time other people will start to walk into the kitchen because the smell is so good. Your partner may say something like, “What did you make?” Take the platter, grab a knife, yell something about how you are the only one who has any damn sense in this house, and run into the laundry room to eat your Ding Dong Chicken in peace and quiet.

Oh yeah, add coleslaw if you live in North Carolina.

You’re welcome.

M.

Independence Day

The Forth of July is my favorite holiday! And not because it means American independence. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that we have independence, but some days I am not really, Ra, ra, go America! In fact, over the last three years I have been way more, What the actual hell, America? than ra, ra, but I mean come on, man! Trying not to get political here. You get what I mean.

I love the fireworks! There I said it! I love the fireworks, and the swimming holes, and the yummy treats, and the feeling of sweating through your tank-top as you sit in your camping chair and talk to your friends about good times, and watch the kids throw smoke bombs and light sparklers, and eat that cake made with strawberries and blueberries, and listen to Lee Greenwood. It just brings back so many awesome memories. Memories of cook-outs, and summer days on the softball field, and camp-outs in the the backyard, and slumber parties, and that glow that sort of follows you around all summer long. That’s it, probably. The Fourth of July is the epitome of summer and there are the big booms!

So go forth today and have safe and happy fun! Remember what today means to our country, sure. But more importantly, remember to light at least one smoke bomb, just to keep peace with your inner child, or maybe just to keep the ghost of George Washington at bay 🙂 #BoomBoomBoom

M.

Mornings with Missy

Hey y’all! It’s been a white-hot minute since I was in the closet. Literally. I have been stressed and busy and out of town and out of mind and all the things. Hoping to get back on track soon. Meanwhile, here is a 10-minute vide about all the important things in my life right now: Bear claws, Duke’s barking, my recent hair cut, the fact that my husband is a wizard, professional wrestler Ric Flair, and the state of Georgia. Enjoy! Also, here is a link to the Sweet Treats in case you are inclined to pay for some: https://www.riverstreetsweets.com/product/classic-gift-box-of-pralines-and-bear-claws/praline-and-bear-claw-combination-gifts

Love you guys!

M.

Who do I look like, Princess Di? RIP Princess Diana.

Vibes

I love Instagram! Love it. I mainly love it because it allows me to share pics and jokes, man I love a good joke, without actually logging onto Facebook. I used to love Facebook, until my friends and family lost their ever-loving minds. One day they were fine and normal, sharing recipes and baby photos, then the next day they became political strategists. Then the next day they were physicians, deciding that vaccines were bad and that “late-term abortion” means that a woman gives birth to a healthy child at 40 weeks gestation, and then the doctor shoots the baby in the head, while the mom yells, Do it! and sticks a needle full of that good, Mexican meth that was smuggled into El Paso on foot, into her arm, then has sex with the doctor so she can get pregnant again. #GodsPlan


As great as Instagram is, sometimes it fails me too. Like yesterday. I was scrolling my feed, just a scrolling and scrolling, looking for some funny VD Day memes, when I ran across this super-cute, ultra-hip t-shirt (it was an ad) and it had pretty flowers, and pastel colors, great font, all the basic, basic bitch stuff that I love. My eyes were immediately drawn to it (Facebook really knows how to target ads.) I was like, “OHHHHHH, it’s cute!” Then I read the words.


Here’s the thing. I love good vibes. I mean, who doesn’t? If I could live on a beach with Matthew McConaughey, a sack of some really primo weed, and a pitcher of bottomless margaritas all day, every day, I would. No. I actually wouldn’t, for three reasons. 1. I don’t smoke weed. 2. I can’t handle my tequila and 3. He’s waaaaay too active for me. But I like to think it would be Good Vibes Only, right? Right.

But I know myself. And I know my friends. And I know my family. And I know, for the most part, how people operate, and well, it’s not all good vibes all day, everyday. In fact, some days are made of really shitty vibes. Really sad vibes. Really upset vibes. Crazy-busy, justneedaminutetobreathe vibes. Also, my-kid-just-threw-cereal-on-the-floor, I’m-hiding-in-my-closet, and might-stab-my-boss vibes. I have all those vibes. I give all those vibes. I see and hear and feel, all those vibes, from everywhere, everyday. And while it isn’t awesome, sometimes it is necessary. Because sometimes when I’m Good Vibes Only and my husband or my son or my friend is throwing out some Feeling-Super-Overwhelmed-Today vibes, then maybe I can help. But if I’m all, Nah, dog, Good Vibes Only, then maybe they will be less likely to come to me for help. Am I making sense?

I’m not saying this isn’t great. I’m not saying that we should stop sending out good vibes or accepting good vibes, or even anticipating mostly good vibes. I’m just saying, we can’t always live our lives in a Good Vibes Only way. And we shouldn’t be expected to. And we shouldn’t be frustrated with ourselves, or our people, on the days when good vibes are not possible.

I guess all I’m really saying is, I will take you, I will love you, I will listen to you, I will hug you. I will take all your vibes. The good, the bad, and the stabby. And I hope you will do the same for me.

And listen, if that shirt would just change one letter, I would buy it today!

Sending some good vibes your way, y’all, cause I’ve got some to spare today.

M.



That Time I Threw French Fries at My Husband’s Head

I like to make mad fun of those FB quizzes that people share. Not the BuzzFeed ones that tell you which Disney princess you are, those are legit (Belle here). I mean the ones that you fill out about yourself in order for others to learn more about you. I guess they are more like surveys, either way, I started doing every single one that I saw in my newsfeed in a hipster, ironic sort of way, like haha, I’m filling out this stupid thing. Then I got addicted to them. So, there’s that. It’s like that one time I was making fun of people calling their partners “Boo” so I started to ironically call my husband “Boo” and now that’s his name. He legally changed it. No he didn’t, but I do want him to, so I don’t look foolish.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mccarricksean/which-disney-princes-are-you
You know you want to know which one you are. I bet you’re an Ariel… or an Ursula.

Anyway, the newest survey that popped up was a relationship one (for V-Day, which we call VD Day ’round here because we suspect a lot of VD is passed around on V-Day. Also not to be mistaken for D-Day or for Hep-B Day, which are also holidays we celebrate. Not because we have Hep-B, we just swear off certain restaurants that day.) Jesus, this is getting off track.

One of the questions was: Which one of you is the “Angry one”? Or something like that. Immediately I was like him, duh. He’s so impatient sometimes. Then I was like, Hey Missy… impatience and anger are two different things. Then I was like, Hey Missy, remember that time you threw French fries at his head? Oh yep.

So here’s the thing. Jerimiah grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic dad and somewhere along the line decided it was best not to be that sort of guy. So he’s not. And honestly, it is rare that he gets “angry”. In fact, he stays so calm sometimes, when I really want him to be angry, that it makes me angry. Then I act out. The French fry throwing was not any of that. It was though, the first and only time I completely understood the term “Seeing red”.

Let me set the scene. I was about five months pregnant. Throughout the whole first trimester I had been so sick, like vomiting-everything-I-ate sick, that I lost 20 pounds! For real, the quickest weight loss ever! You should try it. No, just kidding, not really, I think, uhh, if you are not pregnant, that is an eating disorder. So you can imagine my delight and surprise when in the second trimester I could go back to eating whatever the hell I wanted. I became, very quickly, addicted to Sonic hamburgers. Yeah. Yep. That Sonic. With the crushed ice. So pretty much every day I stopped by Sonic and got myself a hamburger. No cheese, lettuce and mayo only. Sometimes I got fries.

One particular day off from work I did not want to drive all the way to Sonic, so I asked Jerimiah to pick me up a burger on the way home. He obliged and got home to a STARVING me, about 6:00 pm. Now, Jerimiah has this habit of saying he will be home at a certain time, then not being home at said time, and this was one of those instances. He said he would be home at five and he was not home until six. So things were not going well when he walked in the door.

BUT, he had my burger in hand, along with an order of fries, so I simma’d down, now, and waited patiently for him to hand it over. He asked me if I wanted a plate, of which I said yes. I refuse to eat a burger from a box or a bag or a sack or anything else. I only eat on plates. He walked into the living room, where I had been holed up on the couch all day watching Dr. G, The Medical Examiner (because for some reason when I was pregnant dreaming about death was soothing) and he handed me my burger and fries… on a paper plate.

Hmm. At first I didn’t realize it. He handed me the plate, the styrofoam kind, that sags a little from hot food and the weight of a large Sonic fry, and I immediately tore into my burger as I bobbed my head back and forth trying to keep my eyes on the television as he walked DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DAMN SCREEN.

“Hey, man, have a seat,” I said, taking another bite.

He rolled his eyes and sat down at the desk in the corner to check his email.

Mmm. That eye rolling sorta got to me, but I let it slide. Because, I’m so sweet. Belle. Sweet. You know.

Then I sat up to put the plate onto the coffee table and it banged against the table and sort of crumpled a bit, as styrofoam plates do. And I was like, Hmm, this is not a plate. So I said to my husband, “This is not a plate.” And he turned to me and said, “Yes it is.” And I said, “No. It’s a paper plate.” And he said, “Actually. It’s made of styrofoam.”

And that’s the last thing I remember.

Apparently, and later the details did come back to me with a bit of clarity, I lifted my burger off the styrofoam plate, and launched the plate, full of fries, directly at him. It hit him in the head, because I was a heck of a third basemen, and he sat, stone-faced, while the fries fell onto the floor all around him. Then he turned back to the computer, as the dog ran over to gobble up all the fries.

I continued to eat my burger, in silence, while I watched him not looking at me. Then I said, “Why are you not eating?” To which he said, “I’m not hungry anymore.” To which I said, “You fucking better eat, dude.” And he said, “Nah.” Then he slid his plate to the edge of the desk.

What happened next, I don’t really have an explanation for, except that again, I was pregnant, for the first time, and I guess, hormones? I had never done this before and have never done it since, but I stood up, screamed a bunch of not-nice words toward him and the scared-out-of-her-mind dog, and turned to go to bed, but not before punching the wall, that was literally, for real, made of cinder block.

I sat in the bed for a few minutes, crying and holding my hand to my chest, while I used the good hand to finish my burger. Waste not, want not. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep and woke up the next day feeling better than ever. Except for the near-broken hand. That’s fun to explain to the doctor, when she really is like, “Did he hit you?” and you are really like, “No, I punched a wall because he served me food on a paper plate. Styrofoam. I’m sorry, it was styrofoam.”

You’ll be happy to know, that four months later, I gave birth to a healthy, happy baby boy who doesn’t, as of yet, exhibit a propensity for Sonic or punching walls. And my husband never left me. He also didn’t eat his burger, he threw it away. And that has always plagued me, because, I would have liked to eat it.

Be nice to your partners, y’all. And to pregnant women.

M.

Below is the actual FB survey that I filled out this morning, that made me remember this little “paper plate” incident, as we like to call it… Enjoy.

Ok couples it’s almost Valentine’s Day!

Who asked who out? 
Straight up, we got drunk at a house party then made out a little then he was all, “Wanna go on a date.” So… mutual? 

Do you have any children together? 
One living human son. One living non-human son. Two non-living daughters, one human, one non-human, and at least three to four “scares” along the way. One time, no shit, a “psychic” approached me at work and told me I was pregnant with his kid. You guys! I was not. She was wrong. 

What about pets? 
Duke. He’s a shithead and we miss Bentley every day. 

Who said I love you first? 
He did, but it was during sex so I think it was an accident. A “sexident” if you will. Like when you are climaxing and shout out, “I want to marry you!” Never happened to you? No? Weird. Y’all need to have better sex. 

Who is most sensitive?
If he’s being sensitive, then I’m like buck up, Buttercup! If I am being sensitive he better leave my ass alone. We alternate. 

Where do you eat out most as as a couple? 
Another sex question, ohh, I like it. He eats out a lot. Just realizing now this is not a sex question. La Unica, the Mexican joint down the road. They smile when we come in and say, “Hola friends, we’ve missed you!” 

Who’s older? 
Him. Not going to say any more about that. 

Who has the worst temper?
I want to say him. But, I once threw a plate of French fries at his head, then slammed my first into a cement wall because he served me my food on a paper plate, not a “real” one. So… In my defense, I was real pregnant at the time.

Who is more social?
No. 

Who is the neat freak?
I am. But I don’t actively make the house neat. So I spend most of my time complaining about how the house needs to be neat, then blaming him for my lack of motivation. 

Who is the most stubborn?
Him. He once tried to give me a high-five in a restaurant, I refused, and he sat with his hand in the air for fifteen minutes, until I relented because people were looking. 

Who wakes up earlier?
Him, because: Job. On the weekends, it is me. 

Who is the funny one? 
Smart jokes, him. 
Fart jokes, me. 

Where was your first date?
Metropolitan Steakhouse, which sounds waaaaay fancier than it is. The tables were lit by candles, and that is it. Literally could not see each other or our food. Which is probably why I was able to put down a monstrous amount of food without him knowing. 

Do you get flowers often?
I used to hate flowers as a gift, mainly because of the connotation that the man did something wrong when he brought them home, so he never bought them for me. Then one day I was like, you know what, I want flowers. Mainly because I realized my husband doesn’t do anything wrong. So now I get them on special occasions and not special occasions and I can appreciate them. #Adulting

How long did it take to get serious?
Probably about a year. But it took us five years to get married, so, we are both sort of “take your time” kinda people. 

Who was interested first?
Him. I mean, who wouldn’t be interested in me?! Look at me! 

Who picks where you go out to eat?
Jackson usually. 

Who is the first one to admit when they are wrong?
Me, but also him. Depends on who is actually wrong. Either way it doesn’t happen often. I apologize for things that are not my fault and he knows it is best just to say sorry. 

Married? 
For long enough now that I will be granted half his retirement in the divorce. #Goals

More sarcastic?
Him. (Eye roll)

Who makes the most mess? 
Him. (Eye Roll)

Hogs the remote? 
We throw it at each other because no one wants to pick. Then we end up just turning the tv off and talking. 

Better driver?
Him (Eye roll) 

Spends the most money? 
The Arabian Sheik that lives in our house. So, me. 

Who is smarter?
Math? Him
English? Me
Everything else in the whole world: Jackson 

Did you go to the same school?
Fo shiz. We met when we both worked on our high school newspaper/yearbook. He was a photographer and I was an editor and he was my workhorse. I could always count on him to get his work and my work done. We didn’t date until we were 20, but I knew by then he’d always take care of me. 

Who’s better with a computer? 
Jackson 

Who drives when you are together?
Him, unless we need to get somewhere like in a flash. Then I drive and he just closes his eyes and waits to arrive alive.

Charcuterie Board Etiquette

If you’re like me up, until recently you had no clue what a Charcuterie Board was. Well, gather round kiddies, I’m gonna tell you all about it. See back in my day we called a charcuterie board a “cheese and meat tray” and more recently, at two am on a Saturday while I sat on the toilet gripping my stomach, I screamed to my husband that I shouldn’t have eaten all those “weird-ass cheeses and meats on that wood plank”. Which is to say, it goes by many names.

Picture this: It’s a warm, sunny day in Saluda, North Carolina and I walk into an ultra-hip restaurant with my friends and family and a hankering for some cheese. A thin man with a wicked-sweet porn star mustache and uncomfortably skinny jeans approaches our table, and I ask, “Y’all got cheeses and stuff?” And he’s like, “Uhhh…” So I say, “You know, cheeses and like, things” as I make a shape like a board in front of me. Then he says, “Ohhhh, do you mean a charcuterie board?” And I’m all, “Maybe…” Then he winks and says he will take care of me and I’m nervous because I think that might be a sexual suggestion and I’m not into mustache rides… from a skinny dude. Turns out he meant he would bring me meats and cheeses, because the next thing I know this fancy-ass board is placed in front of me, and Boom! I am introduced to the world of charcuterie.

Charcuterie is a French word, duh. (If you couldn’t work that out, then I just can’t help you, it’s above my pay grade.) It roughly translates to “cooked meats” like bacon, ham, sausage, and a bunch of real fancy, French-ass meats. (Side note: The person who prepares a charcuterie is called a charcutier, which means “pork butcher” successfully rendering me a butcher. Which has always been a life goal.) Basically it is shelf-stable meat, right? Forcemeat, emulsified sausages, brined meats that, eaten in large quantities, cause gastrointestinal cancer, as well as diarrhea (see above).

Then there are the cheeses. Oh Cheezus Christ, the cheeses. There is aged cheddars, and goat gouda. There is gorgonzola and stilton. There is asiago and brie. Stop it right now, I can’t take it anymore! I LOVE cheeses!

Whew. Sorry. That was inappropriate and uncalled for, but you know, necessary, in a get-all-your-burdens-off-your-chest sorta way. Thanks for listening. I owe you one.

So I decide, Missy, you can be fancy-ass too. You too, can host a party and have a charcuterie board. It can’t be that hard to do. And so I did it, in these 18 easy-to-follow steps.

Step One: Get a board. This step took me seven months. Listen, I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell, Missy? I just Googled it and I can have one at my house in three hours.” But listen, like most great ideas I get, I sorta, kinda, forgot what I was doing. Sure, I looked on Amazon as soon as I got home last summer, and even placed a couple of boards in my cart for good measure. And whenever I was bored or needed to shop I would look at my boards and picture what kind of cheeses I wanted to try. But I never pulled the trigger. Meanwhile, I did move on to step two.

Step Two: Get some favorite meats and cheeses. This was simple for me because I already knew two things. 1. Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheese is the best aged cheddar on the face of the planet and I will fight anyone who disagrees and 2. I don’t like hard salami.

Step Three: Invite friends over for a charcuterie.

Step Four: Convince them there will be wine too and tell them to stop asking you questions about the food, they will get fed, look, are you assholes coming or not?

Step Five: Go to Harris Teeter in a panic to get olives.

Step Six: Yell at your husband because you told him to get “fancy-ass beer” to go with the “fancy-ass cheeses” and then roll your eyes when he asks what the hell a “fancy-ass beer” is. “SOMETHING LOCAL!” you scream as you slam the drawer closed when you realize you have nothing to cut cheeses with. (I’m taking the high road here and not including a joke about “cutting cheese”.)

Step Seven: Google “How do you cut cheeses” and find that you need special cheese cutting utensils.

Step Eight: Drive to TJ Maxx. They have everything.

Step Nine: Buy the special utensils, a new wallet, three new dog toys, Christmas ornaments on clearance, two new toothbrush heads, and a llama painting.

Step Ten: Get home and realize you still don’t have an actual fucking “board”.

Step Eleven: Eye the trees in your backyard suspiciously. You have that old hand sander that you bought yourself for your 35th birthday. You could probably make a new board in the next three hours.

Step Twelve: Resign to use a big “platter”.

Step Thirteen: Start to cut up the cheeses and meats, realizing that you have no idea which utensils works for which cheese, abandon the utensils and saw at the bricks of yellow and white until they are start to crumble all over your counter.

Step Fourteen: Call your friends and tell them you have a horrible migraine and you can’t host the party. Send sad, sick emojis and promise a kick-ass party to make up for it.

Step Fifteen: Cry in your bathroom while you eat the crumbles of cheese from a ziplock bag.

Step Sixteen: Six months later happen upon a charcuterie board at TJ Maxx, snatch it up quickly and run to the register before you forget what you are doing.

Step Seventeen: Run over to Trader Joe’s and buy five bricks of aged cheddar, some asiago, some other cheeses that sound yummy, ham, salami, and some soft goat cheese. Get crackers.

Step Eighteen: Pull out the board and all these cheeses at your Super Bowl party likes it no big fucking deal and you do this all the time. You don’t label anything, or make it look fancy, least your friends think you have lost your mind. But you know, you kinda wish you had more time to plan.

Actual fucking cheese and meat tray at my Super Bowl party this last weekend. No one ate the goat cheese. I will get better. Or not.

Enjoy.

May you live your best charcuterie li(f)e.

M.