Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday Party Time!

I woke up to the alarm Saturday morning. I shaved, showered, dressed and then left for an 8:00 a.m. massage appointment. Nobody was there, so I listened to NPR, waiting in the light rain.

I finally got bored and took out my phone. I found a message from Margaret, my therapist, saying she’d spent the night in the hospital and would have to reschedule. She had called when I was in the shower and that’s why I missed it.

So, I went to Kroger’s for a few things, then Westborn for some veggies. I only made one impulse buy, some yellow summer squash (mine are weeks from being ready to pick). It rained off and on through the morning.

I stopped at Home Depot, still on the hunt to replace my Shark Navigator cordless sweeper. They didn’t have any (neither did Lowe’s when I checked last week). Disgusted, I went to Meijer’s and they didn’t have any, either. Is it a coincidence that mine quit vacuuming up the dirt and now nobody sells them anymore? I think not. Worse yet, I recommended it to my brother Carl!

I ended up buying a cordless Electrolux sweeper.  We’ll see.

I got home and got to work. I put together the sweeper (it has to charge 24-hours before using) and set it on the charger.

Then I made an old familiar favorite: cucumbers and onion salad. But, I kicked it up a notch (I hope) by adding about same amount of sliced radishes as I had cucumber slices.

I used the manoline to cut the cukes and radishes to 1/8-inch slices.  Then I thin-sliced a medium yellow onion.

I warmed up two cups of white vinegar, one cup of water and 1 1/2-cups of plain white sugar, stirring until the sugar fully melted.

Please note: I don’t remember my Mother doing this, but most recipes I’ve seen for this call for dried dill. But I didn’t have any dill (dry or otherwise) so I skipped it.

I dumped the warm dressing (you must do this while it’s warm, BTW) over the cucumbers, radishes and onions and stirred it up. I set the bowl out on the butcher block to cool. It eventually will go into the fridge until cold. You are supposed to let it marinate at least one hour, but I like it to rest overnight.

Then I went outside and watered all the container gardens, front and back. Back inside, I stuck the stove grates into the dishwasher just to fill it up. I am out of water glasses. Living alone, this happens a lot. The dishwasher doesn’t get completely filled up, but I run out of silverware (or something).I added the soap and turned it on.

By then, it was after noon, so I decided to take a nap before heading out to Yanessa’s first birthday party. When I woke up, I shaved, showered and got dressed (again).

Then I loaded the truck with my big present and a large gift bag from Michelle at work. She had a family wedding and couldn’t come, so I volunteered to deliver it for her. Funny thing was my box was huge, but her bag was heavier!

Then I headed out to a small park in Melvindale. And when I say small, I mean like, street parking only, small. I ended up parking a block away and then having to carry in my awkward big box first and Michelle’s heavy big bag second.

Vicky had secured the only pavilion and had two rented tents set up as well, in case of rain. But, miraculously, it never rain again! The place was already packed with Puerto Ricans (Vicky’s mother’s side), Ecuadorians (Vicky’s father’s side) and Mexicans. For a long time, I was the token white guy. Vicky and Yanessa hadn’t arrived yet, but fortunately Vicky’s Mom was there. So, we hugged and she started introducing me to people as “This is John. He works with Vicky. He made the cradle.” And everyone would go, “Oh, yes, that John!” So, I used that afterwards with everyone I didn’t know.

I spent a long time sitting and chatting with Yanessa’s great-grandfather on her father’s side. I think he saw I was lost and took me under his wing. Finally the guest of honor arrived and the party got started.

Vicky had gotten one of those people who roast a whole pig in a trailer unit. He was family (of course). I think I have this right: He was Daniel’s (Yanessa’s father) sister’s fiancée and he had the slickest barbecue rig I ever saw. I talked to him about it and it was made from an old propane tank (like for a house propane tank) with a motorized spit. It had two chrome chimneys and a hydraulic system to open the otherwise too-heavy lid. I should have taken a photo, but I didn’t think about it at the time.

My only quibble was that it was propane-fired, not wood. But, the pork was excellent. There were an assortment of all kinds of side dishes. I settled for the pork, a Krab pasta salad and two helping of the yellow rice with pigeon peas (my favorite Puerto Rican dish).

The kids were mainly busy playing in one of those air-inflated jumping things. Until it was time for the piñata. It took forever for them to break it, but they finally did. I took a gazillion photos of that, trying to catch the exact moment the candy rained down, but I still missed it.

Next came the cake ceremony, which followed the whole Sesame Street theme. 

People started leaving, the rental company came and deflated the jumping thing and started taking down the tents. I checked the time and it was almost 7:00 p.m. (the party was from 3:30 -6:30 p.m.) I had stuck around to watch Yanessa open my present, but I finally decided maybe that was something that happens back at their house. So, I made my goodbyes and headed home.

Everybody wanted me to take some leftovers, but I declined. Except, Vicky asked if I had tried the fried plantains in vinegar. I admitted I didn’t even know what they looked like, so she put some in a plastic cup for me.

Back home, I changed clothes and started a load of laundry. I watched a taped DIY show and then checked Facebook. Apparently the presents were opened and I missed it! But, thanks to Karlita and Kristen, I have some photos. 

There also was a great video of her riding it, and I “shared” it on Facebook, but I cannot figure out how to download it and put it here. :(

I dirtied up the clean mandoline by cutting up the three yellow summer squash (1/4-inch slices, this time). I fried them in butter, salted them and ate them for a late dinner. Fanatastic!

I stayed awake long enough to hang up my clothes and then hit the hay. I was beat!


  1. It will be a family heirloom that will be talked about for years to come! Great job and great craftsmanship.

  2. Looks like it was well received. How did you know how big a one year old would be?

  3. @ Carla: Or a pain in the butt thing they have to store or sell in a yard sale once she out grows it, LOL!

    @ Jake: I actually just had to guess. I was really concerned I made the distance between the head and the short back way too big (I was trying to allow for a diaper) but it looks like she fits.