Tag Archives: humor

My White Whale.


This, my good readers, is a Big Green Egg.

Actually – this is THE MR’S Big Green Egg – a Christmas present from Dr Sissy’s husband, Dr BIL, who has a serious Grill-mance going on with his own BGE (those in the know abbreviate it… because that is how cool they are.  I am probably not.)


I confess it took us 5 months a hot second to get up the nerve to tackle assembling the thing, but all of the other ILs that had received one in Dr BIL’s frenzy of  BGE gifting assured us that it was easy to do, and then we would instantly want to use it to cook ALL THE THINGS.  (I use “we” like a Royal We here, referring to me… because while The Mr tells many tales of his past outdoor cooking prowess, he has not demonstrated it to me in our 15 years together.  So long live Queen Keri, may WE ever grill on and on.)

Not going to lie – we fucked up the assembly in kind of the biggest way you can fuck it up.  (This time the “we’ actually means The Mr, but you know… whatever.)

BUT we got the severe underbite fixed eventually (not even kidding, it is like having a needy child,) and I was pressured to ready to get to smoking.

Here is the thing.  In my past four years of being VERY Reluctantly Suburban,  never have I EVER been so reluctant about anything as I was about this damn Egg.

In all my English Lit Degree nerdery, immediately named it Moby Dick…  it was my White Whale.

As it turns out, I am not great with fire.

No wait….that isn’t really it.

I am beyond unreasonably completely ginormously terrified of fire.  (Remember the Lantern Fest?  Yeah.)

See that pretty little Grill next to the White Whale?

That’s my sweet baby grill – the Charbroil Patio Bistro.  Hello lovely.    The Patio Bistro is PERFECT for highrise living – it is electric, but it isn’t one of those Foreman grill/glorified panini press/ why bother situations… it has an open grill grate positioned over basically an oven heating element.  GENIUS!!

I cook up a storm on that sucker.  And on my  flat top electric stove (So even! So clean! So safe!)

Then I settle in to watch the flames dance in my fire pit that burns giant cans of Sterno.

For reals… Keri no likey the fire.

I was the only girl scout in Troop 1062 to NOT get her fire badge.  In culinary school I LOATHED the gas stoves that everyone else adored. I have been perfectly happy keeping the Patio Bistro cooking along for the past 4 years, though we are now FAR from our 6th story patio and I could switch to something different.

No. Fire. No.

Except here is this damn egg.  And I have to fill it full of this fancy lump charcoal and light it on fire and get it going really well…  on my  back patio. ON PURPOSE.

There were some stops and starts, people.  And day drinking to calm my nerves (except then I was like “OH SHIT, now my judgement is compromised… am I fit to tend the flame!?)

And many, many, many, MANY calls to Dr BIL for advice, reassurance, moral support, (and even for drink recipes… because seriously, needed the booze. )

So I filled up the bottom with the charcoal and placed the little starter blocks around the pile, said a prayer and lit those puppies up.

Now it IS called a smoker…  so I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  But it was SMOKING LIKE HELLFIRE as it got going.   Like Whoa.  Like how did the neighbors not think the back of The Casa was en fuego, yo?

So I thought it was going good enough, and the smoke and the OPEN FLAMES were making me pretty nervous, so I set the plate set down inside over the  flaming situation, and then shut the lid and said a prayer (Ok, there was pretty much continuous prayer after I saw all that damn smoke.)

I threw open the bottom vent as wide as it would go, and (after putting the whole situation out from lack of air – stupid high altitude,) I pulled the daisy wheel off the top completely, (note how I use BGE terms comfortably now, like Elle Woods and legal jargon, amirite?)

EVENTUALLY, after panicking and cutting the airflow off several times resulting in having to relight, I got it to a good even temp and tossed on some Brisket and Ribs.

So. Much. Pressure.

I had The Mr… I also had the Mr’s parents.  That is a WHOLE mess of people from Texas to be around if you jack up your cook, yo.

ANDPLUSALSO, there are all of these horror stories on the interwebs about people who open their Egg too fast and cause a rocket like flame up that takes every hair on the top half of their bodies or whatever, and you know, there’s that whole “ SCARED SHITLESS OF FIRE” thing I have going on, so no pressure there, RIGHT!?

But I managed not to burn the house down, and also to actually keep the thing lit (after a few false starts due to my chicken shit nature,) and dinner that night was good.

So good, actually.

BUT –  I don’t feel the need to fire up the White Whale BGE every day and night…

The  guys of the ‘hood are all uber excited about it, so maybe I can get The Mr  hooked on smokin’ in the future, eh?

In the meantime, I would tell you not to call the fire department if you see a TON of smoke rolling up from the back of our house…  but we have some hot fire men, yo. 

So, better safe than sorry… Right?

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Corn Dog Shit Show


Just so we are clear, breading separation of this level = no longer edible to 5 year old

Being the ginormous food hog foodie that I am, I have always been very proud of the wide variety of food that Jr enjoys.

Until recently, that is.

If 4 years old was “the age of the questionable decision” (and oh, how it was,) then 5 is turning out to be “the age of the shrinking palate.”

Jr’s newest meal time battle cry has become “I don’t like that anymore.”

And people, let me tell you right now – mama ain’t down with it one damn bit.

After Jr tried to declare that carrots and broccoli (our last two approved true veggies) were now on his “do not eat list,” I went so far as to implement a “if you liked it when you were 3, you can’t unlike it now!” (Sorry, dude, but if 3 year old you would easily have eaten it, 5 year old you has to eat it too.  Because hashtag momlogic.)

Even with my MOTY rule in place, dinner time is substantially more hellish  eventful than it used to be.

Case in point, last night’s dinner… or as I immediately  took to calling it “The Corn Dog Shit Show.”

I gave Jr a prompt Heisman pose on his attempt to decide that he no longer liked the Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs that he loved as a 4 year old – because evidently vegan junk food is the hill that this mama decided was worth dying on.  Go figure.

Anyway, it worked and the kid decided that they were not only cleared for serving again, but actually his new-again favorite thing ever.  So for dinner last night when I offered a Corn dog instead of  the low carb Cheeseburger casserole thingy that The Mr. and I were having, his agreement was a level 2000 on a scale of 1-10.

Perfect, awesome, fantastic.  1 corndog, some grapes, and a yogurt tube (Simply Yo-plait ONLY, as he has decided that the Horizons tubes no longer meet his refined tastes,) coming up.

Except I wasn’t watching…. And if you overcook a vegan corndog, it blows up.

:::pause to de-corndog microwave:::

Round two is a success, and after a play session with the neighbor kid and a bike ride with dad, he was HUNGRY!

A corndog requires a 5-7 minute cooling time, which can be sped up by sticking the cooked dog back into the freezer. Skip this step and Jr’s delicious dinner becomes a molten mass of meat substitute lying in wait to scorch the taste buds off my offspring’s tender tongue.

All steps accomplished and we all sit down to din.

A third of the way through said perfectly cooled corndog, Jr decides to attempt to remove it from the stick, and half a blink later, it is on the floor, Potter has promptly wolfed it down, and Jr is has that pre-tantrum quiver in his lip.


I distract him with the yogurt tube and launch into emergency corndog prep procedure, cooking for 10 seconds, checking the temp, and going again – so as to produce a replacement that will be cool enough to eat PDQ, but not still a veggie-product popsicle in the center.

Just as the last grape goes into Jr’s mouth,  I sidle up beside him and hold out my microwaved creation, at the perfect temperature for instant ingestion.  Mom achievement unlocked.

The pride I took in this victory was far greater than any I ever felt in a kitchen – even when I made perfect puff pastry from scratch to ace my dreaded baking exam in culinary school.

We also had a quick lesson in pointing our corndog DOWN toward the plate if we are shoving it off of the stick, instead of pointing it up and firing it off of the stick like a cornbread-wrapped pop-bottle rocket.

One mealtime battle fought and won….  One food saved from 5 year old snubbery.   (Is that a word?  I am making it one.  I am the MF-ing corndog god… I can do that.)

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Attention King Soopers’ Shoppers – I apologize profusely if you were subjected to my shameless display of nostalgia and longing in the baby product isle this week.

It’s just this – my kid turned 5 on Sunday.


How the actual eff was the kid in this picture, which CLEARLY happened just a blink ago, now 5 full years old?
I have been a damn mess pretty much my whole life the past week or so – reminders of his completed babyhood have been everywhere.

As I cleaned out some toy bins to prepare for the onslaught of superhero crap birthday gifts that would need storage, I stumbled on this old friend:
This is Pocket Bert.  Toddler Jr loved Bert so much that we had Bert in varying sizes – Pocket Bert got his name because he resided in the pocket of the diaper bag, there to comfort and amuse Jr at a moment’s notice.  Oh how he loved Pocket Bert so.

:::pause to make Pocket Bert do a dance while humming  “Doin’ the Pidgeon.” :::

Sniffle.  Whimper.

Andplusalso, stop what you are doing and behold this picture of his tiny baby cuteness that TimeHop threw at me this week.  (Well, don’t stop what you are doing – keep right on reading the awesomeness of Reluctantly Suburban, but pause to take in that smoosh.)

I can’t even so much that I can’t even EVEN with that one.  All of them, actually.  I can’t open TimeHop without a box of Kleenex stationed next to me.

So it was inevitable, I guess, that as I was grabbing some groceries this week, I found myself at the end of the isle of baby products:
I knew I shouldn’t – but I ventured in.

There it all was – tubes of diaper cream both awesome (Purple Desitin) and pointless (Butt Paste,) and gas drops and washes for tiny people with sensitive skin.  Jars of liquid fruit and veggies, delicious little “puffs,” and the Baby Mum Mums that I used to order by the case from Amazon since the stores weren’t carrying them then (oh sure NOW you have them, King Soopers.)

Bottle parts and teething rings and liquid gold Jr’s expensive special formula…. Itty bitty, teeny tiny diapers that used to be too big for him in his first few weeks of life.

It was that last thought that got me – that was in the first few weeks of him and I…  we were together in his nursery, high above the busy city below, figuring out all of those crazy products and what we needed to do…  now there has been 5 years of him – and of me as his mom.

BOOM – grocery store ugly cry. Waterfall of tears.  I could almost hear the PA announcement  “Wet (and sloppy, and crazy) clean up, isle 16!!”

I walked the length of the isle slowly, taking it all in and having a good cry (if there is a “good cry” to be had in public, FFS, Keri.)

Then I went and got him a new Super Friends straw cup and a box of the shortbread cookies shaped like doggies that he loves so much and collected myself (kinda) before checking out.

Then, for some reason, the Catalina coupon dispenser shot this puppy out at me after I paid.

Diaper coupon.

But my son is 5.


“Wet clean up near the crazy crying lady at the U-scan.  Bring Tissues.”

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Another Monday in the Burbs

We’ve all been there.

The family is gone/sleeping/miraculously quiet for unknown reasons and then you hear it.

That repetitive noise that signals distress in your abode.

Maybe it’s a chirping noise. Or dripping.  Or tapping. Or air whooshing.   It’s something – over and over again, and now you are tasked with finding the source of the mystery noise.

Working away at the kitchen table yesterday, my ears caught a repeating noise – so faint I thought it was a drip in a far away bathroom (seriously – in The Treehouse I would have known where that was coming from instantly, but not with three floors of potential origins spread out for me to search through,) and got up to investigate.  Master and  hallway upstairs bathrooms were drip free, as was the main floor laundry, kitchen, and bath.   The ceilings all looked dry….  At the top of the basement stairs I heard the noise again, louder this time.  Was it a drip, or was it a chirp?  (I panted and wheezed at the top of the stairs for a moment resting contemplating this question.)

Bathroom, windows and ceilings all seemed dry – leaving only the utility room.  As soon as I opened the door the noise sounded again.  It was a chirp, not a drip, Not a fire alarm battery chirp, it was lower – Potter wasn’t losing his doggie mind yipping and running all over the house in desperation to escape.  On the contrary, he was sitting on the sofa watching me run up and down the stairs, having himself a doggie blast.

It was an alarm of some sort.  But beyond narrowing it to that little room, I couldn’t pinpoint the source. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Bouncing off the furnace,  leading me briefly toward the unused whole-house-humidifier, before sending me back toward the radon mitigation piping.


I did what any grown-ass woman does when she can’t figure out what’s wrong with something.  I called my dad.  He didn’t answer, so I left a message and went back down to keep investigating.

Then I saw it. The pressure gauge on the radon system was a perfect U shape –even on both sides.  Not good.  One side should be higher (BTW – I am not a radon system expert – it says this very clearly on the pipe.)

Damn.    Off I went to Google to find a solution, and spent the next hour or so checking breakers and cords and switches and such, while the faint chirp taunted me from downstairs.

I noticed the switch on the outside of the house by the fan was in the “off” position, so I flipped it to “on.”

Nope. Nothing.


Daddy came over with his trusty tool bag,  poked around inside the house and out, but we couldn’t find anything.   Clearly the fan had gone kaput and I needed a new one, so he loosened the coupling on the top and bottom and pulled the fan and it’s housing out from its spot in the piping –  and stopped short.

“OH!!!  That’s your problem right there Ker-bear!”

I peered in.

Fairly fresh dead squirrel.

I jumped exactly nine thousand and two feet into the air while yelling a slew of strung together swear words that made no sense and included the Big F at least twice.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have dropped the F-bomb in front of Mom and/or Dad… that number may have actually doubled and moved on to the second hand yesterday. (Sorry Daddy.)   Of course I am always level headed and never over-react, so this was totally shocking behavior from me (where is the sarcasm button on a keyboard, anyway?)
We dumped the deceased offender into a hefty-bag for disposal at an alternative location, and surveyed the fan inside the now empty housing.

He had eaten the wires down to NOTHING – he’d even taken chunks out of the metal fan.  “Probably electrocuted himself” observed my dad, poking at the tiny nubins where the wires once were.

Internal conflict was rampant.  No one likes to think about a fluffy little squirrel diving down a pipe sticking several feet up off the top of a roof- plunging down into a slick-sided abyss he has no hope of escaping, then thinking “oooo – toasty in here though, and look – stuff to ea-AHHHHHHH!!!!”

BUT – that little douche killed my fan, and killed it so well that I have to pony up the almost 200 bucks to get a new one and then strap it to the side of my house.  So I kinda don’t feel that bad.  Except that I had to carry a little wrapped up parcel away and have a dumpster-side service before hucking him in, hoping he cleared the tall side of the receptacle and didn’t fall back down toward me seeking revenge from beyond the grave. (Yep.  I clearly have a very realistic idea of what goes on in the mind of a squirrel.)

We are 4 years into this suburban adventure –and as I have previously confessed, I’m pretty well soft on the place at this point.

But I have my moments, people. This shit didn’t happen in the city. I know I am sound bonkers but I maintain that city animals are smarter than wildlife in the burbs.  The squirrels in the city are scrappy and mildly suspicious even in the parks where picnic crumbs and  bulging trash cans demonstrate the usefulness of the humans around them.

Suburban squirrels are always wandering in  and getting caught SOMEWHERE.  Like many things in burbs, they are just too trusting and friendly for their own good.

Don’t even get me started on the damn geese out here.

Oh – and fun side note – that chirping noise?  Wasn’t even the radon mitigation.   As my dad pointed out – those systems aren’t actually equipped with a “squirrel electrocution alarm.”  The water sensor on the floor below the water heater needed a new 9 volt.

So, to make a long story short (WAY TOO LATE,) water sensor needed more power, squirrel needed less.

Just another Monday in the burbs.


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Put the liners down, ma’am. Just Sayin’.

Let’s say your dog scratches hell out of the leather sofa (more to come on that, because BELIEVE when I say I have some lessons learned about it,) and you are tasked with dealing with that situation.

Let’s also say you are on your second trip in one day to the store for various leather treatment/color/conditioning supplies. It MIGHT be best to just concentrate on selecting and purchasing those supplies, and not grabbing anything else you might be needing outside of that task.

BUT – if you decide to grab said other things, at least do it AFTER you have selected the leather supplies, or you might find yourself deep in thought in front of the shoe polish, absentmindedly tapping a box of panty (cringe) liners up against your chin. You might also be so startled when a clerk asks if you need help finding anything, that you gesture wildly in the direction of the polishes with said liners while explaining your lack of “cordovan polish” understanding.
If all this happens, it will NOT result in the answers you seek.
Just sayin’.

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