Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cast Iron Skillets and Flip Flops

My husband loves to fish. Really loves to fish. Many of you have heard him say, heard me say it or read my writing on when the season is over, 'I'm going fishing.'

And, he does. Most every weekend. He leaves on Fridays after school and then comes home late Saturday.

This weekend was no exception. He got home around 11:30 p.m. after getting off the water around 8 p.m. He picked up Whataburger for the drive home (I mean, what else do you get when leaving Port Aransas and coming through Corpus?). I, on the other hand, ate beef fajitas and amazing guacamole at a friend's house.

Recently, I counted 14 fishing poles in the garage. Wait, excuse me, fishing rods. Don't get me started on those little plastic drawers full of bait and hooks and line and other fishing necessities. There's waders and boots and things that hold rods that go around your waist and gloves and special scissors. My hobby of taking care of my skin through all sorts of creams and treatments costs significantly less than this fishing thing. (Insert G commenting, he brings home food for his family.)

Maybe all marriages don't have the spouses 'count' items and believe me, I don't do it out of spite (there were those days of where there might have been a bit of anger keeping track of athletic shoes, belts and socks and khaki pants and coats and ties), but sometimes I can't help myself. I usually count when I'm frustrated about our overall money situation or when I know some big expenses are coming up. Or, I count when I drive home from work one day and see a new fence being put up at my house and I have been wanting butcher block counter tops in the kitchen and there isn't the dollars. Well, there you go. 20 years of marriage and 21 years is only weeks away.

Why am I suddenly compelled to count? An expense we have coming up is the girls' 8th birthday party. Initially, the plan was a glow-in-the-dark bowling party and then, I discovered that is around $20 a kid and you get a slice of pizza from the bowling alley kitchen, a couple of hours of bowling and some Sprite. With plans of around 10 girls joining my girls for the party, I'm counting that $200 plus is not money well spent. Oh, you also get one bowling pin for friends to sign. A second one costs around $20 more. Yeah, we can't share that pin.

Instead, we decided on the ever-familiar, what we always do, party at home. And, we are getting our glow on. I didn't come up with that -- the wonderful invitation creator at Etsy did. For only $1 a printed invitation -- because, really, I'm going to print off on card stock -- we are rolling. I'm looking for the cake maker -- a glow-in-the-dark looking cake is not on the shelves at HEB nor is it in my baking wheelhouse. A dear friend is lending me black lights she already owns (most of you can guess who this friend is) and I've put in an order with Amazon Prime for some lipgloss that glows (hopefully, there are no cancer-causing toxins in there) and black headbands that we are going to paint and have glow.

We also made a trip to Wal-Mart. And, by we, I mean, Camille and I. The other Adams' weren't having it and really, can you blame them? Our intent was to find nail polish and hair gel that glows in the dark.

(If this were a drinking game, all forms of 'glows in the dark' would have you a bit tipsy now. Probably drunk by the end of reading this.)

We didn't find those items. We did find glow-in-the-dark fabric paint, glow-in-the-dark rings,  and glow-in-the-dark sticks (same friend who has the black lights suggested renting a cotton candy machine and making glow-cones. We won't be renting the cotton candy machine. You can buy that stuff bagged up. But we have the sticks!) We also bought black plastic tablecloths because according to Pinterest, you can flick and fling glow-in-the-dark paint on them and hang 'em up for a true glow-in-the-dark party experience.

The big find? 10 pair of neon-colored 98 cents flip flops. Come on, people. Can you see the craft? Can you feel the excitement? Can you understand the usefulness of flip flops? Can you acknowledge this is a much better go-home goody bag gift that can be used by the recipients? Can you hear the parents thanking me for another cheap pair of flip flops that will break in about, hmmm, 15 minutes of wear?

And, can you think of anything better representative of this time of year than flip flops? We all have too many pairs, but never enough. We've them in all colors and styles. Some have height in the heel. (OK, I don't. I don't get the platform or wedge or heeled flip flop. I also don't have sparkly ones.) Some are leather. Some are brand-name (my girl Tory makes a solid pair and they go on deep discount sale at the outlet mall every once in a while). Some are more athletic-y than others.

But they are all flip flops. I wear flip flops to the pool and beach. Rarely, and I mean, rarely, will you catch me wearing them outside of those two places. My fancier flip flops (because that's an oxymoron), I do wear around a few more places, but I always do feel like my feet are touching the dirty ground. Hey, it's summer. I do walk around barefoot -- including down the street to my sister's house. OK, judge me.

Camille and I went to Wal-Mart after we spent about three hours at our community pool. It's a great pool. It is rarely crowded. Sometimes, we even have it to ourselves. Yesterday, we went (remember, G was fishing) and there was just one other family. Today, there was a group of teenagers (the mom of two of them -- twins -- came by later so I got to chat with her. She's a Baylor grad. Loads to discuss.) and then, later another family we know came to swim.

Hanging at the pool (I didn't have on a bathing suit. I'm not that ready for summer) is nice. It's easy. You bring snacks. You fill a Yeti with rose. You read. You get a little color.

I didn't realize we had been there so long until G called to let me know he was home from HEB (bless him) and was making fish for dinner. Yes, he caught some this weekend. The cost of rods, equipment, gas, Whataburger, etc. was worth it because I didn't have to make dinner. Talk about a fourth part gift.

Now, when G makes dinner, he makes dinner. And, uses multiple knives, plates, skillets and pots. Spices, oils and vinegars are also in heavy rotation. Tonight, we had the fish, zucchini and tomatoes, brown rice and arugula salad. If you are keeping track, or counting, that should be two skillets and a pot. Nah, he used three skillets, two pots and three cutting boards. Two large knives, several forks and spatulas rounded out the utensils. Bowls for breading the fish. Yes, plural.

Counters were covered.

But you know what else? The table was set. Food placed out. Dinner served. Nice.

Obviously, I cleaned up the kitchen. He took the girls outside and I loaded up the dishwasher. I hand-washed some dishes that didn't fit in the dishwasher. (The pots and skillets and cutting boards take up a lot of room in the dishwasher. I know they don't belong there, Martha, but I'm a working mom, alright.)

I also scrubbed out the cast iron skillet. It was the skillet used to pan fry the fish. Olive oil and butter, plus the flour mixture he used to bread the fish clung to that skillet bottom. Nothing that a hot water bath and good scrub can't remedy.

Yeah, I counted the pots and pans.

I also counted the dinner served. I counted the four people around the table (Chris gets home in about a week).

As corny as this will read, I can't be more truthful. I also counted my blessings.

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