$32 Steaks and Roasts That Are Nine Months Old

We may only be two full days into 2011, but I’m just going to venture out on a limb here and say, “It’s been a pretty good year so far.”

Because by saying “pretty good year so far,” I really mean that we’ve done a lot of pajama wearing in this year, and sweet mercy!  We haven’t been awake at pre-dawn hours, which is always a good thing.

However, I have some suspicions that when the alarm blares it’s ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! signal in the morning, we’re going to roll over and wish for a rock to hurl at it, and we may regret all the people-of-leisure hours we’ve slept in until.

Our New Year’s Weekend really started on Thursday night, when we collected Ben and hauled him to our house for a night of merriment.  Ben and his family moved to Small Ranch Community at the end of the summer, which is seventy full miles of interstate away from Small Town, USA.  Needless to say, the boy and Ben haven’t seen a whole lot of one another since the tail end of August, so Thursday night was nothing short of a miniature class reunion, involving two classmates.  The boys tried to eat pizza on Thursday evening and failed miserably at it, because THE EATING!  It kept getting in the way of all the talking and the laughing!  For the first time ever, there were leftover slices of cheese pizza to be crammed in our refrigerator, because the boys were simply too wrapped up in playing and couldn’t be bothered to eat.  They then spent the entire night bouncing back and forth between dueling it out with wooden magic wands, timing one another to see who could run to the top of our staircase the fastest, screaming with utter enthusiasm over a Wii game, and throwing their heads back and laughing until their sides ached.  By the time they both gave up and went to sleep, it was almost 1:00 in the morning.

I had to work at the church office on Friday, so I hauled the two  little ruffians in with me, where they proceeded to run three miles in the church hallways, play endless hours’ worth of video games on the big screen in the youth room, and fold and launch at least two dozen paper airplanes.  At 1:30 Friday afternoon, they announced, with gusto, “This is the VERY BEST New Year’s Eve ever!”

At 4:00, when Ben’s grandparents came to collect him, the boys were looking a little beat down.  And a little haggard.  There were some bags beneath their eyeballs, and the giggles were slowing down.  They were tuckered out, but completely happy.

And listen, people.  Hubs and I had some MAJOR New Year’s Eve plans for Friday night.  We had all sorts of plans to wear flannel pajamas, hack into a summer sausage and a brick of cheese, pour some ginger ale over ice, plop ourselves down on the sofa in our family room, and watch a movie.  Or two.  But definitely not three, because think of the TIME COMMITMENT!  My adult-onset ADD couldn’t have handled it.

And then our friends Heather and Tyler called at 8:00 on Thursday night (which was the EVE of New Year’s Eve) and said, “Hey!  Our goal this year is to stay up until midnight and prove that we’re really not as old as we feel.  We’re trying to get some couples together for dinner at a swanky little restaurant downtown.  Are you and Hubs in?”

Yes, we were in.

Hook.  Line.  Sinker.  Flannel pajamas, be danged!

On Friday, after sending Ben home and shipping the boy off to Mam and Pa’s house, where he was going to have a slumber party with Sister’s two kids, Hubs and I dressed up in our New Year’s Eve finery, we ventured out into the one-stinking-degree-above-zero weather, and we met Heather and Tyler, Sister and Sister’s Husband, Amy and Jason, and Regs and Robby at the posh little restaurant downtown that Heather had suggested.

Of course everyone wanted the fish tacos, which I’d ordered at this swanky little hot-spot a couple of weeks earlier, and which forever changed my life.  I am hard-pressed to remember a more delicious plate of food than those fish tacos, but they were a Saturday Night Special.

And New Year’s Eve was Friday night.

And Amy cried out, “But this is how I lured Jason away from the big screen at home tonight!  I promised him fish tacos that were better than watching the Broncos win the Super Bowl!”

Saturday night, people.  Life-changing fish tacos are not served on Fridays.  Write that down.

Friday night turned out to be one of the best evenings ever.  The ten of us sat at a giant table, and we laughed for more than three hours, and everyone kept shouting out praises to Heather for sucking us all away from the dream life of being in our flannel pajamas at home, with a summer sausage and a brick of cheddar cheese.   If not for her and her desire to see midnight happen, we would all have been asleep before 10:o0 that evening.

With no fish tacos to order, I ended 2010 with a $32 fillet.

I know!

I’m still having panic attacks, major guilt and tremendous regret over that one!  But listen!  I read the description of the fillet, and I thought, “It sounds like utter Western perfection!”  And then I looked at the price and instantly shut it down!

Shut.  It.  Down.

Closed the door on it as an option for dinner.

And then Hubs said, “Get it.  It’s New Year’s Eve!”

And I said, “I shall not! I’m not going to eat $32!  Think of all the cute scarves  you could buy for that amount of cash.”

And Sister leaned over and said, “Just one good scarf, actually.  Two if you get them on sale!”

And that’s when Heather boldly announced, “I shall live on the edge tonight!  I am getting the $32 fillet!”

And so that is how it happened, people.  Peer pressure.  Utter peer pressure, which your parents always suggest you avoid.  I simply caved, and I ordered the most expensive dinner I’ve ever had.

Go ahead and say it.

“Get out much?”

People, Subway sandwiches are just not that pricey.

Whereas the $11 fish tacos of a couple of weeks ago have haunted my dreams ever since, the $32 fillet was JUST A GOOD STEAK.  I didn’t weep over it.  I wasn’t inclined to lick  my plate clean.  I didn’t want to rush home to post on Facebook:  “BEST DINNER EVER.”  It was a steak, and the steak was good, but I can say with genuine honesty that I’ll never order it again.  It just wasn’t worth it.

Clearly, I am reverting back to my ways of being a cheap date who orders the $10 chicken fried steak at most restaurants.

The guys in our group, though, had no qualms about prices on Friday night, and OH MY LANDS!  They all pitched in and ordered the million-dollar appetizer of oysters on the half-shell, and then they proceeded to slurp them down and yell things like, “Dang!  I think I cut my lip on the shell!”

Oysters on the half-shell make me puke a little.

Actually, they make me puke A LOT.  I dislike them horrendously.

There was absolutely no chance that I would have cut MY lip on the shell that night.

More than three hours later, our group decided to venture out of the restaurant.  Some headed home to release their babysitters and don their jammies, like senior citizens do.  And some of us were brave enough to hit the very late show with Heather, as she said, “If I don’t go to the cinema RIGHT NOW, I will just go home and go to bed, because that is what old people do.  I have to keep doing things, so I can stay awake!”

So that is how we wound up at the movie, True Grit.

Because I am a senior citizen who apparently lives in a cave in the backwoods, I had no idea what the flick was about.  None. I hadn’t seen a preview for it.  I hadn’t read a single review.  I had no idea which actors were in it.

And really?  All of that was probably a good thing, because I’m not sure I would have ventured in to see it, had I known what it was about.  My friend, Nicky, has always had her standards for movies, and I adhere strictly to those standards as well.

1.  No loss of limb in the movie.

2.  No animal cruelty in the movie.

3.  No human torture in the movie.

Nicky and I will see anything that adheres to those three rules.

True Grit broke them all.

I should have realized that things were going to go downhill quickly when the giant knife was slammed down on the table and separated a fellow from all of his fingers, with no warning whatsoever.  I was unprepared for it, people.  I didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t have any notice to cover my eyeballs.

And this is when I leaned over and hissed at Heather, “Nice movie!  You’re never picking one for us all again!”

My official movie review for True Grit is this:  It breaks my movie-going rules.  It is apparently a remake of an old John Wayne movie, which I didn’t even know until we had gone home and Hubs began talking about the OLD True Grit movie.  (Because I have seen exactly zero John Wayne movies.  See movie rules above for the reasons why.)  There are also a lot of shady characters in severe need of some major dentistry in this film, and I wanted nothing more than to shout out to Jeff Bridges, “TAKE A SHOWER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!  AND COMB YOUR HAIR, MAN!”  But that was life in the Wild West.  And, with that said, let me also tell you this:  The plot was incredible. It sucked me in.  I loved the story line, and I loved the little fourteen-year-old girl who was the star of the show, and I wanted to be as emotionally strong as she was.

You’ll just have to make your own decisions about seeing it.  It was a good movie, but the West was wild, long ago.  Heather commented at one point, “This is why I praise Jesus that I didn’t live in the late 1800s in the West.”  I’ll just add that if I did have to live in that period of time, I would have wanted to be a princess in a castle.  Or a duchess in a castle.  Or even the queen of some country.  Because honestly?  I think those girls had regular access to big tubs filled with hot water and rose-scented soaps.  And also?  They had dresses that they could twirl in, which no one wore in the Wild West while they were riding horses in hot pursuit of outlaws.

After the movie finished, Heather leaned over and asked, “So?  Do you guys want to come over for another movie tomorrow?  Maybe we could rent Nightmare on Elm Street or something!”

When Hubs and I got home, it was 11:42, AND WE TOTALLY STAYED AWAKE TO WELCOME 2011 IN!

It was the second time I’ve done that since becoming a parent.

Clearly, it was a major accomplishment on my part!

I did TRY to go to bed at 11:53, but Hubs yelled out, “SEVEN MORE MINUTES!  Don’t give up now!  Push through the pain!  Stay awake!”

And so I did.  I stayed awake until the clock in the living room chimed twelve times, and then I crashed.

And I didn’t wake up until 8:00 Saturday morning.

And I stayed in my pajamas for a whole lot of hours on Saturday, while Hubs and I completely gutted our refrigerator, dismantling all the shelves and drawers and scrubbing them to a glossy, heavenly glow.  Hubs asked, “Are you doing this because of that episode of Hoarders you watched last week?”

People!  The boy and I watched Hoarders one night last week, and it was an episode featuring a woman who hoarded food, ON TOP OF hoarding material things.  Her house looked like a landfill.  She had to walk on top of debris that was piled three feet high on all of her floors.  There was not a single square inch of flooring that you could see.  It was literally like crawling through the landfill.  But then!  OH MY WORD!  She hoarded food, and she had to use duct tape to keep her refrigerator shut, because the door wouldn’t close on the amount of stuff she had in there!  At one point, the cleaning crew pulled out a drawer that was so bad, one of the cameramen actually ran outside to throw up in the yard.  The woman had a beef roast in her fridge, and she said, “Oh, I think I bought that about nine months ago.”

Nine months earlier, people.  And it had been in the refrigerator all that time.  NOT IN THE FREEZER!

Hubs tuned into the episode a little late, but he kept shouting out, “Burn the house down!  Just burn it to the ground and start over!”

Hubs and the boy and I were gagging just WATCHING the episode!

And that is how I came to spend the greatest portion of my New Year’s Day morning in my pajamas, scouring my fridge.

And when the fridge was done, Hubs and I ripped into the pantry.  We discarded boxes of cereal that just had enough Frosted Flakes left in them for one bowl.  We tidied up.  We organized.

AND ALL OF MY LABELS FACE THE SAME DIRECTION, ONCE AGAIN.

Order like that makes me grin with happiness.

It’s a sickness, people, but I adore a pantry where all the labels face out, and where the boxes of food are all lined up, according to size.

Hubs was such a good soul to spend HIS New Year’s Day morning helping me out.  His only requirement for such hard labor was this:  He shut down my fantastic housecleaning play list on the iPod that I made last week for motivation to scour things, and he put on AC/DC.

Loudly.

And my ears nearly bled, but I let him listen to Angus squeal his guitar while he dried refrigerator drawers and checked dates on yogurt containers.

And then I yelled, “Hey!  I think I bought that roast NINE MONTHS AGO!”

And we broke down into hysterical giggles.

Maturity is not a goal of ours for 2011.

After the fridge and the pantry were clean enough to please Martha Stewart AND the Queen of England, I had to trade my flannel pajamas for real clothes, as Hubs and I hit the shopping center for six million dollars’ worth of groceries.

And then!

We watched The Lord of the Rings with the boy, who has been asking — Nay!  BEGGING! AND BEGGING HUGE! — to watch it.  That poor boy of ours. Hubs and I have always been a wee bit strict with what he sees in movies.  (No loss of limb.  No animal cruelty.  No human torture.  Among other things.)

But land sakes!  Hubs and I caved, and we borrowed Tyler’s DVDs, and I sat down to see The Lord of the Rings for the first time ever in my life.  Hubs was the only one in our family who had seen it before.

Let me tell you how it went, people.

Basically, I spent the entire show asking these questions:  “Is he a good guy?  Is HE a good guy?  Is he a bad guy?  Is that guy good?  Or bad?  Is that guy an elf?  Or a dwarf?”

And then do you know what?  The boy leaned over the arm of the recliner and said, to me, “Mom!  Stop!  The guys in the black capes on the horses are bad!  The guy in the white is bad!  Everyone else is good.  Dad and I will tell you if any other bad guys show up on the screen; just quit talking!”

And Hubs grinned and said, “It’s been kind of hard to hear this show with all of your questions.”

He saved himself by adding, “But I love you.”

Well then.  It is very hard to keep the characters all straight in The Lord of the Rings,  people.  Very hard, indeed.  Plus, it is obscenely LONG.  And I think I had Restless Leg Syndrome settle in before it was all over.

And also?

I’ve walked around the house all day today whispering, “MY PRECIOUS!”

And no one thinks I’m funny.

(Is anyone utterly bored with this post yet, seeing as how we’re more than 2700 words into it?)

But here!  It’s time to talk about Sunday, and I can do that quickly!

We slept in until 7:30 today, which we’ll regret tomorrow.

And we went to church.

And we came home.

And I put my flannel pajamas back on.

And we ate lunch.

And I scrubbed our shower down.

And the Denver Broncos were on the TV.

But they lost.

And now it is time to fix dinner.

The end.

Happy New Year’s Weekend, people.  Welcome to 2011.

Tomorrow reality will settle in, when we have to wear something other than flannel pajamas.

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