The day I brought Petey home from the hospital, we also brought home a bunch of stuff.
We had instructions and prescriptions. We had unguents, lotions and a couple of pairs of ugly, strangely-fitting yellow socks (Who was the foot model for those things anyway?). We also carried a big box full of gifts from his amazing, generous co-workers at Duke.
When I was 4, my family went to a Christmas party. The adults were in the living room, and the kids were in the rumpus room. I was just getting ready to go to the restroom when a surprise visitor showed up. It was Santa Claus!
You should have seen me. I was trussed up like a Christmas goose.
I wore a tent-sized apron, and next to my latex swathed hands was a spray bottle of Clorox Clean-up. My hair was tied back, and my glasses were acting as safety goggles. The only reason I wasn’t wearing a face mask is because I freak a wee bit when stuff covers my mouth and nose. But I was drawing infrequent, shallow, nervous breaths.
A couple of days ago I received a note from my niece, Susi:
“Can you do an article on green bean casserole? For 10 years I have been making it and for 10 years it does not turn out. Now it's a running joke to everyone that I'm going to bring this casserole that no one eats. This year is the year for me, I can feel it.”
So I asked The Kid if there was anything I should include in this week’s column; Thanksgiving with an emphasis on food safety. My little chef wrote this informative discourse:
“This holiday season, please don't kill your family.
I recently received a master’s degree at Duke.
It’s not really that impressive. It was obtained at the medical center, and the degree was in survival of the long-term hospital visitor.
Petey’s been a patient for a while at Duke. Every day he’s getting a little better, but for now, this is his home.
We’ve had dogs, hermit crabs and even a pet rock or two. But there is a standing rule -- no rodents allowed.
That’s because two giant, voracious mice already live here — Petey and The Kid. They can never, ever, get enough cheese.
Maybe it’s the dump truck-sized dog, or maybe it’s the two weird looking old people that live here, but in all the years we’ve owned our house we’ve had a cumulative total of about six kids come to our door, trick-or-treating.
I’ve got ’em all snowed.
When my mom is planning a special dinner, she asks me to prepare it. When I make it for Petey, he thinks he must have been a very good boy.
The thing is, my twice-baked potatoes might impress, but couldn’t be easier to produce.
I’m not a fan of Hemingway.
Growing up, I was something of a tomboy, and I still enjoy climbing the occasional tree. But Papa’s work is so testosterone-drenched that by the time I finished reading one of his short stories I’d have a 5 o’clock shadow, and need to get my prostate checked.
From start to finish it was a complete exercise in too darn much. Kroger had 10 boxes of Barilla whole wheat pasta on sale for $10. So I bought 10 boxes. Then I made dinner for Petey and me, using an entire 1 pound box. I don’t know what I was thinking.
As a kid when I was sick, my mom did the coolest thing. When we went to a drugstore to fill a prescription, my mom would buy me a small treat. Usually I would pick colored construction paper.
As an adult, I keep this tradition alive. If anyone in the family is sick, a small token for the patient is added to any medicine purchase.
It’s a fashion term. If in early September you’re sweltering in suede boots, turtlenecks and sweaters, you might be rushing the season.
As much as I love our Bull City, summer here is a Dante’s circle. I’m over it and yearning for fall by the day after Memorial Day. Summer is hot and sweaty, but the fall’s a smorgasbord of delights.
Orecchiette is a small, round, cup-shaped pasta. It means “little ears” in Italian. I don’t see it. I think it looks more like a stocking cap for Hipster Barbie.