Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... I married a funny guy...
What an interesting Fourth of July weekend!
It all started on the drive home from work on Friday. Grace was in a great mood because she was going to get up the next morning and get a ride to meet her boyfriend and go back to his parents' home near Philadelphia.
I interrupt this regularly scheduled story about my Fourth of July Weekend to give a testimonial about today's common core math...
Earlier in the week, Grace had asked Cheryl and me if we could drive her all the way to boyfriend's parents' home so she could surprise him. I mentioned that I did not want to drive three and half hours up and three and half hours back on the first day of the long weekend. She insisted it was only two and a half hours each way.
After much discussion of the matter, we decided it would be better to let boyfriend know that she was coming and meet him at the last rest stop before leaving Maryland going into Delaware (about an hour and fifteen minute drive from our home). Grace thought that this arrangement wasn't fair because boyfriend (I can't even say his name... and I like the kid) would have to drive nearly three hours and we are only driving one!
Okay, I am no math major but let's do a world problem... if a parent leaves with a daughter and drives one hour and fifteen minutes to meet boyfriend and that same daughter's boyfriend drives three hours to meet same daughter, the total driving time for all parties involved is... If you guessed four hours and fifteen minutes, you are correct. When I pointed this out to Grace, she just mentioned something about approximations.
Back to my originally planned story about our Fourth of July weekend...
The day before Grace left, on my drive home, Cheryl called to report that it was a rare night when everyone was going to be home. No practices, no games, no babysitting jobs, and no meetings. Cheryl announced that nobody was going anywhere and we were going to just enjoy each other's company.
In principle, that is a great idea. The fact of the matter is that we do eat dinner together almost every night. We either eat before everyone runs off to their various events, or we eat when everyone returns home from their various events. We have been doing this for years.
Practically speaking, once the meal is over, we're done. How did Cheryl plan on keeping everyone in the same room without cell phones or iPads. I had brought home some steaks and once they were grilled, we are talking 15 to 20 minutes tops for eating. Clearly, Cheryl had not thought this plan entirely through. It did not matter to her though, we are hanging out together and having fun come hell or high water.
At that very moment, I had a stroke of genius. What is the one meal that will keep everyone together for hours.
If you are from Maryland, you should know the answer to this question.
What is the one meal that all Marylanders know will last well into the night?
If you have never been part of a Maryland crab feast, it is kind of hard to explain. The crabs are the stars of the show but not exactly the main course. You either eat them before the other food, which is typically burgers or dogs... usually not something as great as steak but that was what we had planned before I hatched my brilliant plan... some corn and potato salad.
Admittedly some folks will have the corn and the potato salad and just the crabs but that is wrong. You have to have some main meat course to fill you up. Crabs do not ever fill you up. You get tired of cleaning them before you ever get full from the crab meat.
Cleaning a crab is a work of art. Our kids were taught at a young age and once they got past the age of four, it was every man for himself. My position on this was made clear to the kids at a very young age. You eat what you clean... do not look to me to shell that bad boy for you... I am not your grandfather. You are on your own kiddo.
And heaven help the kid that didn't properly and completely clean all of the meat out of the crab because that was just wasteful. We used to check every pile of discarded shells to ensure maximum crab intake. We only have so many and if you can't do it right, step away from the table! There will be no wasting!
There are several effective ways to clean a crab but only two strategies for eating. The best method is to eat as you go. Each tasty morsel goes from the crab to the mouth. The second method is to make a pile and eat it all at one time at the end of the picking. This method requires patience... which I don't have. In fact, we only have one stock piler and that is Noah. The risk you run with stocking your crab meat is poachers. I hate poachers. They sit away from the table and then swoop in to check on the goings on... Oh, let me have just a little taste!
NO! You want some, you get your hands dirty!
Poaching crab meat in our house is a hangable offense.
While I am at it... another pet peeve of mine is when people pick a crab out of the pile to feel how heavy it is... and then put it back if it feels light. Eat what you touch... don't leave the light ones for everyone else. How is that fair?
Anyway, crabs are delicious! So delicious that our kids are willing to sit and eat them for hours.
As luck would have it, I passed a woman selling live crabs on the side of the road. I asked her how many I could get for eighty dollars, which was all the money I had in my wallet.
Thirty. Oh yeah, did I mention that they are not cheap! This also explains why we used to monitor our kids' discarded piles.
My crab lady hooked me up with some beauties. Typically, I don't cook them myself, but this was just another opportunity to bond with the family. A little beer, a little sea salt and a lot of Old Bay. Old Bay is the mother's milk when it comes to crab eating. You douse them in it when you cook them and you keep a pile of it for dipping. Some people use vinegar for dipping but I only like vinegar when it is saturated with Old Bay!
Needless to say, our crab feast was a huge success. We sat around the table until about ten o'clock. No phones and no iPads. The fact that our hands were full of crab goo ensured that nobody touched their devices.
Honestly, the rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. When the Fourth rolled around, Grace was with nameless boyfriend, Matthew and Noah were visiting at friends' homes and my mother went out to dinner with my sister in law. Cheryl and I found ourselves home with nothing to do.
Wait a second... WAIT ONE SECOND... we found ourselves at home on the Fourth of July with nothing to do. Can you say fireworks?
Yeah... neither can I.
We had an all American Fourth of July meal... sushi (Cheryl's choice) and watched a movie.
On the one hand, we enjoyed our quiet time together but on the other hand, I really missed having the kids around.
It got me thinking that next year, I am going to do something that will keep the kids home on the Fourth of July. Wonder what I could do?
Hmm, if you're from Maryland, you should know the answer to this question.