This was a weekend that started out with great intentions and ended up with a Bailey’s and coffee on the deck and a major headache. I entered a contest for a 24-hour short story competition. I was primed, I was ready, I was full of ideas. The sub-plot of the story was mailed to me at noon on Friday and I was excited to get started on filling out the story details. While finishing the things I had to do in the office before facing a blank page on my computer crap started coming down the shoot like a herd of excited ewes on a roller coaster.
The pool filter backed up yet again spewing diatomaceous earth all over the outside and the interior of the pool. This caused the filter to clog as well as the external mechanisms so after several hours in the ninety degree afternoon sun and chemical assistance, this seemed to be under control. Then the dishwasher, full naturally, stopped in mid-cycle and wouldn’t drain. I placed a quick call to the appliance repair shop with a promise that someone would be out later in the day. Home ownership is highly overrated, trust me on this. Save yourself, really, rent, and let the landlord be responsible for the headaches.
Pool organized and back at the blank page on my computer I decided I’d better get the banana pudding for my other half’s birthday party on Saturday ready to go, so upstairs I went. I had bought three nice ripe bananas two days before that were now starting to look decidedly overripe and not usable. Okay, grabbing my keys I headed to the market to pick up new bananas and some low-fat milk for the pudding. All good.
I got home and got the banana pudding layered in the lovely glass bowl with the rew ripe bananas and cookies. Lacking only the whipped cream, I went looking for the container I’d purchased with the original bananas only to find that my other half had finished it off with the bread pudding from the night before. Once again, I put on my shoes, painted a large “S” on my chest, grabbed my keys got in the car and headed to the market for whipped cream. Topping on, pudding in the refrigerator, I sat down once again at my computer and stared at the blank page. It’s now 4:30 and time to get dinner ready. So far I had the first line, which was excellent if I do say so myself, and with extreme optimism hoped it will have company before they admitted me to the rest home.
I got dinner on the table and the dishes washed. It was now 8:00 and I was too tired to write so decided to try for the following morning. I had until noon. The birthday party was to be around 2:00 so I figured I could pound out 900 words way before that. At this point I felt a well written paragraph would be a miracle.
Just as I got myself situated in the pillows on the couch with my feet up the phone rang. My neighbor two doors down had to leave town unexpectedly for a family emergency and was wondering if we could watch their new cocker spaniel puppy for the weekend. As it was a family emergency, and they had watched Miss Boo the Queen of cats for us, I said fine, being assured that the puppy was paper trained and didn’t bark all night. My other half was not exactly thrilled about this, sorry can’t use the exact words, and Boo was looking for any door marked exit. They were leaving the following morning, the same day as the party, so I offered to pick up Lulu, really, I know, and bring her to the house to save them the trouble. Sucker is no longer just an adjective for me, I believe it’s actually permanently tattooed on my forehead.
I picked up Lulu who was sweet and complacent for the two driveway drive back in the car. I opened the front door setting her down on the ground to close it behind me. From the moment her paws met the tile that three pounds of flesh morphed from a sweet little puppy into a wild animal. First she tore through the top-level of the house at breakneck speed leaving a trail of pee in her wake. Under the bed, around the bathroom and flying past the two startled humans (us) in the hallway made her way down the stairs lifting her leg at every possible opportunity while screeching like she’d just been pinned under the wheel of a semi.
Racing after her she continued expressing urine at an amazing rate (can one bladder really hold that much) until she reached our leather couch on the second floor where, apparently having expressed on the liquid in her little body, she left a final deposit of a more solid nature in the center of the cushion. After all this she went behind the TV and sat there panting. I’m amazed she had enough fluid left to create saliva. Getting her calmed down and settled in our spare room (that has flooring but no carpet) I laid down the supplied pottie pad, and in a last act of defiance she placed her two front paws on the pad and squatted on the floor behind it.
Subsequently, after cleaning up the aforementioned trail, getting the rest of the meal ready for the party later in the day you needn’t be looking for my submission to the 24-hour short story contest in the winner’s section. I will, however, on request, share the first sentence. It’s quite good.
Stuffed Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb boned and flattened – ask butcher to prep (5-6 lbs.)
1 slice rustic bread crusts removed (about 1/2″ slice)
2 1/2 oz. chicken livers, trimmed
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
2 slices bacon
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large white mushrooms
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 tsp. fresh
1 Tbsp. capers finely chopped
1 tsp. hot paprika
2 Tbsp. olive oil plus 2 Tbsp.
1 1/2 cups chardonnay
1 Tbsp. lard
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup vegetable stock (can use chicken)
In food processor place bread chunks, livers, bacon and mushrooms (stems removed and quartered) and pulse until medium fine. Put in large bowl and add sherry, garlic, parsley, chives, rosemary and capers. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 415 degrees. On cutting board lay lamb out flat. Place filling in long row down center of meat. Roll meat up to encase filling. Tie tightly with kitchen twine. Mix together paprika and flour. Use as rub and massage into outside of lamb.
Place garlic in a row in bottom of baking dish. Pour olive oil over the top. Place lamb over garlic and oil and pour chardonnay (or any dry white wine) over the top of the meat. Drizzle additional 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake at 415 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue cooking for another 2 hours basting frequently.
Transfer to a cutting board and keep warm.
Spoon off oil from pan juices. Transfer remaining juices to a small saucepan being sure to scrape bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and cook over high heat until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Pour over sliced lamb on warmed serving platter.