Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Husband

A Nice Couple

Yesterday we ran some errands and did a little shopping in odd places. We didn’t buy anything of consequence. Then we went to lunch.

When H and I were at Goodwill – after going up and down a few aisles – a woman approached us and said, “You two make a nice couple.” I said, “Well, thank you.” She said, “No, really. You’re very good together.” We talked a few minutes and went on our way. I said, “Wasn’t that sweet.” H said, “She probably saw me grab your butt.” I said, “I’m just glad she didn’t see us at the deli the time you let that woman slice the salami too thick.”

She would have come away with a different perspective if she’d seen us on salami day. It’s impossible to judge anyone’s relationship in its totality when you only get a snippet. Heck, it’s hard for us to judge our own relationships when we’re in the thick of it. What woman knows if her 28-year-old husband will help her take care of her aging father thirty years later? Only years later can one look back and get a feel for how it all went: the good and the bad of it, the highs and lows of it, the stand-by-me-through-thick-and-thin of it.

When H and I were hanging pictures at my niece’s house, she said something very similar. After hanging a grouping on a wall, which required some effort to get everything just right, she said, ” I could hear you guys in the other room. You work well together and you’re so funny.”

This all reminded me of a documentary I saw about a hundred years ago. Psychologists claimed they could predict the potential success or failure of a marriage by observing couples as they tackled complicated tasks or projects together. It was interesting, but I think H and I would have been judged as “doomed to fail” back then. We’ve learned to co-operate… mostly, but not always. There are plenty of times when we still butt heads. I assume the couples who worked together smoothly on their projects did well in marriage, but maybe not. What do I know? Maybe the couples who co-operated and completed their projects without too much conflict bored each other to death after two years of marriage, and went looking for someone who would challenge them.

I do believe you can learn a lot about a relationship when people have to work together toward a common goal. Mostly about how they disagree with one another: do they do it respectfully, do they degrade their mate or bully their mate. But people change, grow, learn to work together, or not. I think common values are probably a better indicator of potential marital bliss than being able to complete a task without strangling your partner when you’re 25. Of course, it helps if he gets the salami sliced thin enough.

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Myrtle, Carb Bloat and Implant Boy

Myrtle

That’s our Myrtle in the front yard. It’s in its second bloom this summer. In January – when it isn’t in bloom – I hold forth on how and why we should prune it back: it was planted too close to the maple, just a few snips here and there. Then summer comes again, it blooms, the heart goes pitter-patter, and commitment wanes.

The Bloat

I’m not complaining or explaining, but I’m bloated with carbs. I admit that pretty much covers complaining and explaining. It is H’s fault, and I will not be moved from that declaration. He had to eat soft foods because of the implant, so that automatically meant that I had to eat soft foods. What is soft food? Pasta. Pasta is soft food. And so is a creamy broccoli-cheddar soup with a roux so smooth it slides down like liquid silk, not to mention that pulled pork tangent we went on. We are out of control in this house. I used to laugh at people who told me they felt bloated when they ate carbs. This week will not include: pasta, lazing on the couch with a book and a hubs that must stay still… or getting on a SCALE. No one wants me to shoot myself. Maybe a few people, but they don’t count.

Painkiller Recipe

H did beautifully with this implant business. He’s done it so many times, he’s a cottage industry all on his own. He breezes through these things like he was born to do it. I would still be making an ugly scene: fetal position, clenching pillow, low mournful moaning, occasionally high pitched. Why bother with these things if you can’t get some sympathy?  The dentist told him to try Ibuprofen and Tylenol. He said that Tylenol is wimpy, but when taken (short-term) in between doses of Ibuprofen, it makes a darn good painkiller. H did that for the first and second day and never felt a thing. The dentist gave him a script for hydrocodone “just in case,” but he never needed it. The boy aces this stuff.

This is what happens when we get old. We’re reduced to bragging about our recuperations. He gets bragging rights in this house.

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H Gets Another Implant

H got another dental implant this morning. I’ve lost count of how many this makes. The appointment was at 7:30 a.m. We were home by 9:15, and that included a stop at the grocery store for soft, fatty foods for him. I was stocked with soft foods, but I thought of broccoli-cheddar soup, and a baked potato with butter and cheese and maybe sour cream (the doc said fatty).

He slept in the car while I went in the store. I was only in there a few minutes, but I thought about how you’re not supposed to leave your pets or children in the car on hot days. What about a drugged-out-of-his-gourd husband? When I returned, he was sleeping like a baby, but not unconscious, panting or sweating profusely. The police were not called, and I didn’t go to jail. All in all, things worked out well.

This implant is the third thing he’s scheduled in a month. Remember the two MOHS surgeries? The first MOHS surgery hadn’t even healed before he got the second one. I had no idea he was scheduling like this until we were in the midst of it all. It’s kind of like a roller coaster. Once you’re on the ride, there’s no getting off. He said he wanted to get it all over with. He promised me that this was the end of any appointments that involve cutting, stitching, extracting or implanting. Of course, he was under the influence of drugs when he said that.

I texted my son a photo of his dad with a plastic zip bag filled with crushed ice that was shoved inside a lady’s stocking and tied around his head.

Son: Expletive!!! (one that mother’s don’t allow)

Son: At least the black eye is mostly gone

Me: I know. He’s sleeping… probably for the rest of the afternoon. He made all these appointments a week or two apart. I didn’t know until they started.

Son: LOL Yeah, sounds like him. An efficient sadist he is. Or is it masochist? He enjoys efficiently hurting himself.

Me: Masochists like to inflict pain on themselves or for others to do it. Sadists like to inflict pain on others. Dad’s a masochist. I’m a sadist.

Son: Now I will NEVER forget.

Me: I will be sharing this text.

Son: 🙂

Why fatty foods? The doctor said that fatty foods release endorphins that make us feel good, and it will probably help him with the pain. Or maybe make him feel good about the pain?? I don’t remember them telling me that on any of the half-dozen other implants he’s gotten, but I realized immediately the truth in that. Who doesn’t know that mashed potatoes and gravy make you feel good, and  ice cream and chocolate pudding.

Fat + Sugar = HAPPINESS.

He has enough implants in his mouth to buy a new car, but they are great, better than real teeth. I comfort myself with that when I look at the bill. The dentist said he needs a night guard. He said, “I told him that before, but he didn’t tell you, did he?” Nope. He said, “He won’t remember any of this. Tell him he promised you a new car.” The new car is in his mouth, Doc.

Obesity and a Weird Text

This is what I find every morning when I flip open my chair. A little Carolina Wren likes to hang out there at night and chow down on sunflower seeds. Maybe he’s the one who pooped on me twice this week. Good luck, don’t cha know?

Yesterday, H had his second Mohs surgery, and hopefully the last for a while. There’s a second waiting room where, after their surgery, the patients wait while the doctor checks the removed tissue to make sure she’s gotten all the basal cells. That’s where I wait for H. A half-dozen men were in there. Not a single female patient. Men are more likely to get skin cancer than women, but usually there’s at least one woman.

On the way home, H asked, “Did you notice that all those men…” I finished his sentence, “Were overweight?” He said, “Yes, they were huge.” And they were. They were all about H’s age, and they were startlingly overweight. Their legs were too large to keep them closed. Their shorts were tight, and everything was on display. H said he didn’t notice that. 🙂 A couple of them couldn’t fill out their forms by holding the clipboard on their laps because they didn’t have laps. They had to lean over to the table at the end of the couch. It was awkward for them. One man was panting after taking only a couple of steps. I’ve never seen so many people struggling with obesity in one place. You would have thought we were in a bariatrician’s (healthcare provider specializing in obesity) waiting room. Obesity is an epidemic in this country.

I got a weird text last night. This entire text is his.  I did not text back. I hit delete, but only after sharing it with you.

Messaging on this thing is a pain in the ass.

Let me tell you a few things about myself so you can decide if you want to run.

I only drink when the time calls for it. Used to drink a lot back in the day, but not really my thing anymore. I do smoke cigs, but would love to quit so just give me a reason. I do smoke weed but only at the very end of the night after my day is over. I’m self-employed HVAC and I have two big dogs that are sweet as can be so you must like big dogs.

Oh and I’m 5’9 1/2

F*#k wrong person.

I do like big dogs. That’s a place to start. Right?

My niece’s closing is today. We’re meeting her at the house after the closing. There will be wine and cheese to celebrate. I’m so happy for her.

The Kids and Update on H’s Mohs Surgery

Let me take care of some leftover business first. I forgot that I’d even taken a photo of the Mediterranean Baked Chicken recipe that I wrote about in the last post. This is what it looks like. I also forgot to mention that I substituted halved chicken breasts for chicken thighs. I don’t think I could make it as a food blogger. 😦 It’s a good thing I don’t mind sharing my business. I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

Anyway…

My “adult” kids are in New Orleans, my son and his wife. The grands are at their other grandmother’s house. My DIL texted me a photo of my son standing on a bus. She said that he gave up his seat. I guess this has become a family thing. His father never sits when a lady is standing, so neither does my son. He ran into a bit of a problem when he was working in NYC. When on the subway, he would always offer his seat to any lady who got on after all the seats were taken, but he said they sometimes looked a little skeptical. 🙂 I guess it’s a Southern thing, or maybe an old-school thing, or maybe it’s just a NYC thing.

We’re reading Lisa Gardner. Have your read her? We’re on the Tessa Leoni series. Really good.

H had his Mohs surgery on Thursday. The doctor got everything on the first try, and made a nice and clean closure. He has to get another basal cell removed on Wednesday. His doctor is fantastic.  His face has been carved up so much, but you can’t tell. Impressive. It takes about three hours because after the doctor removes the offending tissue but before she closes, you wait while she checks the removed tissue to make sure it’s clean around the edges. If it’s clean on the first try, she closes and you go home. If it’s not, she takes some more tissue, and you wait some more while she checks it again. It’s a long process.

It’s hot and humid today. You feel sticky as soon as you step out the door. It’s as if someone gave the Weather Gods a calendar, and said, “Look, it’s July.”

June was beautiful. I miss you, June.

Mohs Surgery and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Mediterranean Baked Chicken Recipes

H’s regular dermatologist removed several basal cell carcinomas (BCC) for him a couple of weeks ago, but he has to have Mohs surgery to remove two more from his face later this week. This is an ongoing project. They will continue to pop up as long as he lives. I can’t believe I haven’t had this problem. I grew up on the beach, water skiing, swimming and on boats every summer, and I’m a redhead. Okay. I used to be a redhead.

I tried two new recipes this week, both winners. I adapted each of them only a little, but I’ve made links to the originals. One was stuffed pork tenderloin from Chaos in the Kitchen. I got the tenderloin on a special for only a few bucks. I would show you a pic, but mine turned out a bit messy. The stuffing was falling out all over the place. I made a little too much of it, but it tasted great. I altered the recipe a little, sautéing the spinach with garlic before stuffing the loin. I also altered the time, because it needed a little more cooking. I should have used my thermometer.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients
• 1 pork tenderloin
• 1 oz dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped
• 3 cups fresh spinach, washed, dried and sautéed with 1 clove of minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil
• 4 oz goat cheese
• 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 sautéed with spinach, 1 for stuffing)
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted about 5 minutes @ 350F
• 1 tsp rosemary, minced
• 1 tsp thyme leaves, minced
• zest of one lemon
• salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup basil pesto
• 2 tbsp oil or butter
• 1 tbsp honey
Instructions
1 Preheat oven to 400 F.
2 Cut a deep slit lengthwise on the tenderloin from end to end without going all the way through.  Open the tenderloin and pound out as flat as possible.
3 Sauté 1 clove garlic in a little olive oil for 1 minute. Add prepared spinach and sauté until wilted: about 1 to 2 minutes.
4 Combine mushrooms and next 10 ingredients (including spinach) in a bowl.  Spread mixture over pounded tenderloin and roll.  Tie with kitchen string.
5 In an oven safe heavy skillet, heat oil or butter and honey over medium heat until browning but not burnt.
6 Brown tenderloin on all sides.
7 Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 30 more minutes.
TIP: You can make the stuffing ahead so preparation goes faster at dinnertime.

The second one was Mediterranean Baked Chicken from The Clever Carrot. Don’t you love that name? It was easy as pie and very tasty. I changed the time on this one because I like the veggies a little more done. I also added a red bell pepper to the vegetable combo and some whole Kalamata olives in addition to the chopped ones. I also think eggplant would be good in this. This recipe is pretty healthy. Bonus.

MEDITERRANEAN BAKED CHICKEN

Ingredients
Marinade
• 1x 14 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, juice only
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped
• 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Bake
• 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
• reserved artichoke hearts
• 1x 14 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
• ¼ c. roughly chopped Kalamata olives and some more whole
• 1x 8 oz. tub marinated bocconcini (mini-mozzarella balls), drained
• salt
• freshly ground black pepper
Garnish
• ¼ c. roughly chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp. basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Kitchen Notes:

Save extra artichoke juice to drizzle over the finished dish for flavor.

You will need a roasting pan at least 13½ x 11 inches or larger.

Substitutions:

Swap mozzarella for crumbled feta and can add bell peppers or mushroom, etc.

Use cannellini or Great Northern beans.

Homemade Veggie Wash, Home Project Update and Smoke Detector Goes Rogue

We managed to get two rainy days in a row. It’s just what the lawn doctor ordered. Everything is green and lush again. It looks like a rain forest outside our kitchen window. Isn’t rain an amazing thing? See there. I used the amaze word, but it truly applies.

H finished sealing the driveway, and what a gorgeous job he did. It was a bit of an undertaking. I wouldn’t suggest it for anyone without a lot of sticktoitiveness, but we have a pretty large driveway, and it had cracks that had to be filled. That was the hardest part. H said rolling on the sealer wasn’t hard at all. The cracks are still visible, but not nearly as much as before, and the sealer minimized their ugliness. Two thumbs up on this project.


Do you remember when I had that awful fruit fly problem a few years ago? What am I thinking? Of course you remember. What else in the world do you have to do but file my fruit fly dramas away in your memory bank. Anyway, I saw a couple of them zooming around the fruit bowl a couple of weeks ago. Then a couple more… and a couple more. These guys don’t know when to quit. They especially love bananas. I read once that they lay their eggs in the banana peel – gross – and that washing the bananas when you bring them home from the grocery store helps prevent infestations. Okay!!! I’m on the detail. I went the whole nine yards and bought some natural veggie wash. H went even further and bought one of those mesh domes to put over the whole fruit bowl at Marshall’s for a couple of dollars. The veggie wash was more expensive at $4.49 a bottle. I decided I could make my own, which I will do when I run out of the store-bought veggie wash. Here’s a recipe if you’re having problems with those pesky fruit flies.

Super-Simple Veggie Wash

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup cold tap water in a spray bottle

Mix, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse with tap water before cooking or serving.

Source: Organic Life

OMG The smoke detector just went off and scared the bejesus out of me. Those endorphins jumped to attention. It made a few piercingly loud beeps, and then it shut the hell up. Maybe it’s battery time. Do you remember that story about a family who was saved from a fire in their home when a gift-wrapped  smoke detector went off under the Christmas tree. I always wondered if that was an urban legend.

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…nothing exciting to add…

Things have been kind of regular around here lately. We’re back to “normal.”

H decided he wants to power wash, fill the cracks, and seal our aggregate driveway.  Have I mentioned this before? Because he started power washing it weeks ago, then came rain, then my niece’s move, then more rain and then vacation. So he’s trying to make progress. It’s a long and tedious job. The power washing (hopefully) is the most time-consuming part. You cannot imagine how stained that driveway is/was. The neighbor down the street sealed his last summer, and it looks good. He told H what to buy for the job. So… time will tell, probably lots of time, because rain is expected the next three days.

I’m in the midst of reading a horribly graphic book. A couple of the descriptions are a little strong even for my taste. It’s a James Patterson book, The Murder House. As usually happens in Patterson books, a serial killer is on the loose. This one has a penchant for spearing his victims. I haven’t read Patterson for a while. I’d forgotten how unsettling his novels are sometimes. I had to skip over a small part of one passage. What a wuss. But sometimes you just don’t want to put something in your brain that will roll around up there for years. I’m not generally attracted to happy-ending type novels. Well, I do like happy endings, but only after half the characters have been revealed to be intrinsically evil, betrayers of some variety or other, or end up on a slab in the morgue. Then I want to know who dun it, and I want justice. I do love a good psychological thriller, and Patterson knows how to write them, but don’t go there unless you can take it.

I haven’t read a happy-isn, relationship-type book for a very long while. I don’t like them much, but I decided to try a “beach” book for poolside reading on vacation: Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand.  Three women, two ex wives and a widow, arrive at a cottage on Nantucket, believing they are there only to spread their newly dead (ex) husband’s ashes in the ocean off Nantucket. Unbeknownst to them, he’s left his beloved cottage to the three of them, a place they’ve all spent time with him. Not the most plausible story, I admit. They arrive on the tiny island with varying amounts of luggage – literally and figuratively. He was a famous chef after the fashion of Anthony Bourdain. He was a handsome, edgy, troubled, bad boy, the type for whom women love to derail their lives. It was one of those what-if scenarios, and it was easy reading for public places. I watched young girls doing cartwheels on the beach and looked for dolphins simultaneously without dropping a stitch in the story. No one was speared… except metaphorically.

Beachin’ It

from the balcony

I spent the last few days getting ready for vacation. The kids are coming the day after we return, so I didn’t want to leave the house in its usual chic disarray. That means that I wanted them to have a clean bathroom and towels.

It’s beautiful here. Our weather is supposed to be in the upper 70s/low 80s. I know these are not swans, but I had to give you a toilet shot of our hotel towels. Only the best! for you!!

I had lots of funny, pithy things to tell you about, but I left my notes at home. I do remember seeing a man leaving Kroger as I was entering. He was carrying a huge box, and he was on his phone. In his official CIA voice, I heard him say, “The chicken is now in my posessiln. ” I’m sure someone at home was preparing to feed a lot of people, and the chicken was an integral part of the plan. He wanted to ease that someone’s mind.

I’m using H’s new laptop. He’s sleeping, and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to get my hands on it. Pretty fancy.

My niece came over for a visit on Saturday. I’m going to love having her close by.

So I’m on vacation, but that doesn’t mean I left my crazy dreams at home. I just woke from a dream about H. H was having an affair, a long-time affair. He told me about it and wanted me to meet her and accept the whole thing. See, that right there is how you know it was a dream. He took me to her condo that had a splendid view of a harbor dotted with sailboats. She was lovely and  younger than us, and she had lots of plants in her condo. Then I noticed a coffee table that was mine. I thought that H had taken it to Goodwill. Then I saw other things that were mine. Her condo was filled with my cast-offs, only they didn’t look like cast-offs. They looked nice, y’all. She had not only stolen my husband, but she’d commandeered all my stuff, and it looked better at her house than mine. I remember thinking that I would adjust, I would forgive H, but I also thought it would be very hard. I realized I was one of those women who thought her husband would never do this.

My favorite love-to-hate television couple are now a real-life couple. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are engaged. For over a year, H repeatedly asked me, “How can her husband stand it. It’s obvious she’s sleeping with him.” I would just laugh because I couldn’t imagine her with him, but H called this one a long time ago.

I’ll be poolside with a book in a few hours, and walking the beach a while after that, and having dinner at a favorite restaurant this evening. I love the beach.

My Niece’s Move, My Brother’s Knee Surgery, H’s Niece, My Cousin, Doctor Visit

I’m at home today, so I thought I’d jog the blog muscle a little. Our life has picked up the pace recently.

As they come on the market, we’ve done a few drive-bys on houses in my niece’s price range, and we’re helping her move the last of her things to her storage unit on Saturday. It’s amazing how much easier it is to move if you have the time to do it. She started early since she isn’t waiting for a close date on another house. We helped her last Saturday and the Saturday before that. We finished before noon both times. A few big things remain: a wardrobe, sofa, washer and dryer. They will be a little awkward, but shouldn’t take long. A friend of her’s will help H, and H has ramps and a dolly and a hand truck, and straps. He is very good at this. My niece is so much fun to be around. I will be glad when she finds a house. She’s as picky as I am. So…

My brother has severe arthritis. One of his hips was replaced 17 years ago at age 53 (he needed it long before he did it). The other was replaced 14 years ago. They both need to be replaced again. Both of his knees are shot, so his doctor asked him where he wanted to begin. He chose his left knee. That was three weeks ago. He and H are the same age. My brother seems so much older.

I went to Marshall’s a few days ago, and hit the jackpot on tops. That never happens. I’ve complained that I don’t look like I’ve lost any weight. My DIL and niece both told me that my clothes were too big. I hate to buy clothes while I’m still losing, but I have nothing that fits and we’re going on vacation soon. I think I went a little crazy because when I tried things on in the dressing room, I could see a big difference. Not there yet, but progress. It felt good. I found white and black linen pants in my closet that I didn’t take to Goodwill, and that was helpful.

H is making noises again about climbing to the top of the huge tree in the front yard, and getting rid of a bad limb. I over heard him telling my son. It’s too high for him to reach with his pole trimmer.

We ran into H’s niece in Marshall’s. That was a delightful experience. I haven’t seen her in years. She’s as beautiful as ever, inside and out. H’s sister-in-law is turning 80 soon, and she invited us to a dinner for her. She told us that H’s 82-year-old brother (her father) injured himself while on a ladder replacing a window on the second floor. The window was resting in the frame but not attached when it fell, shattered and cut him badly in several places. There was an ER visit. It must run in the family.

A cousin I haven’t heard from in years called me yesterday. We caught up on family that I haven’t seen in ages. She told me that one of my cousins, while working on the roof of his barn, fell and broke his pelvis, one arm, and a few other things. His cell phone was at the top of the ladder. He had to climb back up the ladder to call for help. His recovery was lengthy and laborious. Can you imagine?

I went to my doctor Tuesday. She was pleased because I’d lost another 10 pounds since my last visit. A new nurse was shadowing the other nurse to learn the routine. She was showing her my info in the computer. She quickly went down a list of things, and all I caught was “fall risk assessment.” It made me feel old for a minute, but I know how much better I feel. I think it’s my cousin’s, H’s brother’s and H’s fall risks that need assessing, thank you very much.