Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ghost cat ...

Tonight I went into the kitchen for a glass of water and saw a dash of black fur snake around the corner and move out of sight. I rewound my steps again and again trying to recreate the visual.
The combination of late-night shadows, a jutting door jamb and a hunk of black plastic on the bottom of the refrigerator made it seem like something my brain might have stewed up.
But it was so real! I saw the texture of the fur.
Listen. Orin died about a month ago. It was horrible and sudden and deserves more words than I'm giving it right now. The gist: He was a cuddly little lover who used to put his little paw on baby Chach when she sneezed. We called him Empathy Cat.
So when I saw the swish of black fur, I assumed it was Orin. And when I remembered Orin was dead, I thought it was his ghost. I'm like this. Here's how I prioritize theories: 1. Supernatural; 2. Everything else.
After staring at the ground and walking in and out of the kitchen about a dozen times, I finally explained myself to Chuck.
He gave me a look, his face shifted a certain way.
"... but it wasn't a mouse tail," I explained, reading his mind. "It wasn't thin like that."
He stood half in, half out of the kitchen and explained that he had seen a mouse fairly recently on the front porch. It was nibbling at some leftover bird seed following The Great Bird Feeder Assault By Bad Birds of 2017.
Cut to an hour earlier when he came home from work and mentioned that I'd left the front door open.
Cut to winter when the bottom of our storm door got stuck on a snow pile and fell off, leaving a mouse-sized gap straight from the wilderness to our inside scrap heaps.
"I'll go get traps," he said.
I turned on the TV to create the illusion of a high-traffic area, just in time to catch Melissa McCarthy say "... like a mouse caught in a kitchen!" on some dumb sitcom.
I shivered. I ran upstairs.
Chuck returned later with the details the variety of mouse traps available to a human at midnight, then we went back downstairs to watch Season 2, Episode 9 of "Game of Thrones." While Joffrey's domain was under attack, so was our kitchen. Less than halfway into the episode we heard the trap snap. Chuck took the trap outside and I squealed under a blanket. Animal Allies, for the record, has this adorable litter of little kittens with the cutest faces right now.
Here we go again.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Meals al fresco, lord of the literal flies through No. 14 ...

Meal No. 13 was doubly important, as it was a dinner al fresco as well as a hotdog of Instagram. #summergoals
It's been weeks since the night when an attempt to eat outside was thwarted by a swarm of nasty, salmon-loving flies who circled cartoonishly above our plates. We unset the bistro table faster than you can say "every time a fly lands it pukes on whatever it landed on, according to nature." Turns out the salmon was thicker, meatier than any of us really like anyway, so.

We tried again a few weeks later. On this occasion, we had received a bunch of bok choy from our CSA. I brushed it with a mix of butter and spicy-spices, then we grilled it on both sides and hot diggity dog was that amazing. We also roasted the radishes and turnips and again attempted salmon. Here's what I've learned in our third year of getting mega-loads of vegetables: If you can't use it in a salad, juice it. And if you can't juice it, grill it. (I italicized this because it's closer to a bit of needlepoint wisdom that should be captured on a throw pillow.) We also had salmon because we're basically one-meat ponies. Also: on Saturdays I eat gluten. Actually, Fridays, too.

Perfect Duluth Day turned 14 so we went to its birthday-slash-all you can eat coleslaw party on the patio Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake. One local hero downed more than a dozen coleslaw shots, sometimes sloshing the ramekins with beer to make it go down more smoothly. I missed this part, but was able to get the fever of the flavor on The Snapper. Me, I just had a bratwurst with raw onions and mustard and a noticeable absence of relish and sauerkraut. Anyway, there were also baked beans and coleslaw -- either creamy or vinegar-y. I opted for the former. Meanwhile, Chach really latched on to the word "Tavern" and can't stop talking about the concept.

We had plans to surprise Chach with a Family Fun Day trip to the local parking lot carnival. Last year she liked it so much, she rage barfed pizza all over the back seat when we told her it was time to leave. (This year she contends that she had to poop last year, and it had made her extra cantankerous.) Anyway, we went back to Sir Ben's for dinner because Wednesday was such a mega-success, palate-wise. I had a tomato-pesto sandwich that was right on and we accidentally sat under a speaker, which was blaring a live, in-house musician playing violin alongside recordings of pop hits from all the decades. Think: "Final Countdown." Chuck called it "violoke." The server turned down our speaker, so I was finally able to hear the crunch of my own Kettle Chips in my head. We might eat every meal on this patio until December.