Here it is! A post so chock fill of stuff it took two whole days to get written. Okay, really, I was just too tired yesterday to post, but it is chock full of stuff. So, let’s get to it. Our final BBQ post, aptly titled, Birthday BBQ wrap up: Locking it down.
So, when we last gathered here at the JMD blog, there was this tropical disturbance thing to deal with. Mom Nature and I were not getting along. Still, as you know, the cooking proceeded apace.
How’s the weather?
I awoke Sunday morning unable to see. Because, at 5 am, there’s no sun. Unfortunately, even at 8 am there was no sun, as the rains continued.
During the morning and part of the day, many people phoned me. My refrain was pretty much identical: If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t worry. There’s no pressure to come.
Towards the early afternoon, the rain stopped. Sure, there were puddles everywhere (some mini-lakes, actually), but the downpours had ceased.
For how long, I wondered. Still nervous about Mom Nature, I elected to continue to set up in the house instead of the patio. As you’ll find out later, that was not my best decision.
So, my BBQ’s are always planned to a pretty tight schedule. I have been refining that schedule over many years.
However, it is precariously balanced. A single vibration can make the whole house of cards tumble. At a little before 3:30 that day, I got my first vibration.
Elder nieceling and her out-of-town friend show up. Now, she is bringing me pulled pork, a vast quantity of it, so I cannot truly be mad. But, I feel the tremor in my soul. I sense a disturbance in the force.
In other words, I am sure my schedule is going to be shot. As if on cue, shortly afterwards, another guest shows up. Still half an hour early. Oy.
As it turns out, everyone starts showing up on time (or close to it). I am flummoxed. Is it the weather? Are people coming earlier than normal because there is a hole in the clouds?
Whatever the case, I am caught up short. I begin a frantic effort to get all my food out and cook the remaining stuff (burgers, dogs and sausages).
Stuffing? I’m staying!
Remember my set-up decision due to the weather? Yeah, that turns out to be bright.
For some reason, perhaps because it is my actual birthday for a change, I have a full turnout. All of my family except for the younger nieceling. My next door neighbor, their daughter and her three kids. My friends from all over and more (younger) kids.
All stuffed in my house because I doubted Mom Nature and didn’t fully set up the patio for eating. Unfortunately, that also meant I was grilling on the patio, too.
I might have been able to pull out the grill at that point, but the back area was partially a lake and I envisioned the grill sinking into the depths (possibly with me by its side).
So, the few guests that did sit outside got blasted by grill smoke. Yeah, not my best logistics. Ah well, I just pretended those were tears of joy I saw in their eyes.
Pulling the rug out from under me
It’s been nine years since my house was completely remodeled. In those nine years, I’ve had time to see those things that have been done well (ceilings, paint, kitchen, bathrooms) and those that haven’t held the test of time.
Chief among the latter group is the carpet. Nice, thick white carpets. Love the texture, softness and color. Irritated by the rolling of the carpet due to (most likely) poor adhesive placement under the carpet.
So, I joked in my party invite that people should not worry about eating indoors with messy BBQ food. They would only help me replace the carpet.
Silly me, they took me seriously. As regular readers know, I am rarely serious, so this came as somewhat of a shock.
After all had left, I looked forlornly at the several stains on my carpet. I have to give my guests credit, though, for the variety in both shape and color of the stains is impressive.
Despite my fervent desire to actually replace the carpet, I am too anal to just leave those stains. A little specific Googling brought up this answer to “how to clean stains on white carpet”:
1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon dish soap, water
The directions then said “spray the area liberally”, but since I just mixed it in a measuring cup, I just poured it on the spots. I waited 5 minutes and “blotted” it with a clean towel.
Crazy! It actually worked. Heck, I might even try this on some older stains!
Can’t you take a joke?
So, another joke I put in my invite email was that, since I was holding the BBQ on my actual birthday, people could finally bring me presents.
And, once again, these people who have known me a whole, long time missed the joke entirely and brought me presents.
What am I going to do with these people?
Of course, the presents were excellent. The cards were excellenter. It was a wonderful cap to a party that I pretty much messed up logistically, but did really well socially.
My next door neighbors (they of the burned out of their home three weeks ago) showed up with an awesome cake, appropriately orange and blue) and my Sister brought a tres leches cake. Oh, my poor waistline.
Everyone seemed to have a really good time and they all stayed for a good while. Finally, the last few people left. I joined them as they exited so I could pull the recycle and trash out front for the next day pickup.
And that’s when the day really ended with a bang.
Key to success
I waved goodbye to my friends and the little ones and went back inside.
Or, I would have, but the bottom door handle was locked. I never lock that handle. Ever. I just use the deadbolt.
Now, just who and why someone turned that bottom lock while they were leaving will remain a mystery. The real issue is that I was outside my front door without a key or a phone.
Why? Well, for Pete’s sake, I was just taking out the trash. Duh.
I was able to flag down my friends and they made some frantic calls to their roadside service companies. No one knew if they actually handled door lock-outs, but I appreciated them trying.
I suggested we should just try a locksmith and eventually that’s what they did. In the meantime, I was able to feed even more guests, as 10 days of rain had created ample breeding areas for small, flying biting things.
While we were waiting, my next door neighbors rolled by. They were headed back to their temporary lodging. It is the height of irony that we were going to exchange spare keys with each other at the party, but I guess we all had so much fun no one remembered. D’oh!
Finally, the locksmith showed up. He said he would try to pick the lock first, but, if not, he would have to drill it. I tell him “Do what you have to, since my wallet is behind the door.”
Of course, he needed to drill. That’s just the way these things always turn out. I paid him, sent him and my friends on their way and went back inside, now too tired to do either eating (I hadn’t eaten since breakfast) or cleaning (a mound of items and stuff needed my attention.
The deadbolt worked fine, by the way.
The next day (yesterday), I got all the cleaning, food packing, recycling and resetting and storage done. Then I went to Home Depot and got a new lock for the door. I always purchase a whole set, handle and deadbolt, because I prefer one key for the whole megillah.
There you are. The final BBQ post. Birthday BBQ wrap up: Locking it down.
See you all next year!