This ‘aint a Three Hour Tour

The big news for me this week, is after almost a month stuck at home with family, I’m sick of cooking. No, like really! When Thursday rolled around and our take-out plans fell through, I almost cried. Mystery Thursday were supposed to be someone ELSE cooks, or we get take-out. We were going to get Sports Grille‘s Family Meal Deal, but it’s only offered on the weekends, so, resigned, I foraged in my freezer. I pulled out some Trader Joe’s tamales, some leftover Jamaican Spicy Beef Patties, reheated leftover rice, made some black beans from the can and called it a day.

The highlight of the week was seeing my grandson Wyatt for an early Easter egg Hunt on Friday. I hadn’t been able to see him, up close and personal, for a couple weeks but since he was leaving for North Carolina the next day, to see his other grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins, A.J. decided it was silly for me not to see him. He arrived in his Sunday best, saying “This is the best day ever!” He had a great time finding the 11 hardboiled dyed Easter eggs and 30 plastic eggs hidden around our backyard.

I changed his clothes (he said he was uncomfortable), fed him Spaghettios for lunch and Zeke and I took him down the trail to look at the stuffed animals neighbors have placed in the trees for children to find during their bike rides. The trail is a couple blocks away from our house and Wyatt kept asking “When am I going to see the animals?”

I said “Wyatt, you have to be patient. Do you know what that means? Sometimes we have to wait a little bit for things.”

This made me think of all of us in the pandemic. It’s been so hard to be at home, to not go out as we used to, to not be able see our friends and family and to self-isolate. But, we too, have to be patient. Of course, it’s not the same when what you’re waiting for is within sight and a couple blocks away. We have no idea how long the pandemic will last and if the world, as we knew it, will ever go back to normal.

The other exciting news our family had this week was that Lauren, my oldest stepdaughter, got into University of Florida’s LLM program for getting her Masters in Tax Law! Yipee! We cracked open the proscecco (although that’s not been that different than every other night the last month) and toasted her acceptance. Now we have to adjust to the fact that we’ll have a Gator in the house. Zeke noted she’s graduated as a Seminole, soon to be a UM Cane graduate, and now UF. Go Gators!?!

Eloise, Wyatt and Lauren.

I finally got up the nerve and stepped on the scale. I was relieved to find I was the same weight before COVID-19! About five pounds (at least) from where I want to be, but still! I consider this a minor miracle, given the stress eating, boredom eating, take-out food and excessive wine drinking that’s been going on.

When I mentioned this fact to Zeke he said:

“Well, then we need to cut out this” and pointed to his wine glass.

“Are you crazy?” I said. “You are NOT taking away my wine!”

I told him I attributed not losing weight more to eating ribs, pizza and pasta than my wine drinking. I’ve been mixing up the Pinot Grigio with Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Sparkling, with a little Albarino thrown in for good measure. I get bored drinking the same wine all the time.

Speaking of wine, Total Wine has a great method for getting your wine. You order and pay online. They send you an email when your order is ready to be picked up. You drive to Total Wine, park in one of the designated spots and text them the spot you are in. They will then bring out your wine, stick it in the trunk and you’re set to go. No contact whatsoever and you’ve got a week’s worth of wine that will probably last you three days.

The other new thing we tried was DIY pizza. I had a gift card for Farinelli 1937 in Coconut Grove that I wanted to use. I called up and ordered one pizza special (Truffle pizza $30) and one do-it-yourself pizza (prociutto with arugula $14). Zeke picked them up and brought them home. They give you everything you need to make your own pizza, including the flour. We had a pizza stone which we heated in the oven, while we held the Truffle pizza on low. Our do-it-yourself pizza turned out awesome! I liked it better than the twice-as-expensive Truffle pizza. This isn’t as easy as take-out, since you do have to cook and clean up yourself, but it’s worth trying.

Another big hit was ordering the Family Meal Deal from Sports Grille. For $50, you get a rack and half of ribs, pulled pork sliders, French fries, Cole slaw, macoroni and cheese and Texas toast. It fed six of us with leftovers, so it was a good deal. The Mac and cheese, however, was straight up Kraft from the box. Pick-up was curbside.

Other DIY Miami Restaurants:
Eating House has Pasta Kits. Pollo Tropical has Citrus Marinated chicken. Nave in Coconut Grove has $25 pizza kits. Coyo Taco in Coconut Grove has a Family Pack from $25 to $34. Chug’s Diner in Coconut Grove has Meal Kits for $60.

I’ve been cleaning religiously every morning, the countertops, knobs, light switches etc…

“You know I read this article on MSN,” Zeke told me, “You’re supposed to let the spray sit on the counter for at least 10 seconds before wiping it off. And, when you wipe with paper towels, you need to keep folding it over for every knob, so the germs aren’t transferred from one to the other.”

“So, do you want to start doing the cleaning?” I asked.

“No, I’m just letting you know what I read,” Zeke said.

Yeah, thanks. Likewise, when I’m cooking, he has a tendency to look over my shoulder and make recommendations. When I boiled salted water to put asparagus in for Easter dinner, he pulled out the steamer.

“Steaming is a better way of cooking asparagus,” he informed me.

“Do you want to cook then?” I asked.

No, he didn’t. He just wanted to tell me how to do it.

Easter was a small affair, with just Zeke, Lauren, Rachel, Emma and myself. We had a Publix spiral-cut ham, biscuits, asparagus with lemon sauce, sweet potato soufflé and fresh pineapple salad with raspberries. No one had room for dessert, but we have plenty of leftover ham.

My big outing this week was to CVS for my medicine. I know I should’ve had it delivered (since medicine is an essential need, CVS will deliver it) but I didn’t get my act together in time, so I just went to pick it up. There were signs posted at the entrance saying customers were required to wear masks. I had my mask on and surprise!, so did everyone inside, from customers to staff. In Miami, this kind of compliance is a minor miracle. After picking up my medicine, I ventured into the hair coloring section to look for a tip kit for my hair, which is getting darker by the day. None of the kits looked familiar to me, from when I used to do my hair, so I gave up and went to check out.

The cashier was situated behind a plexiglass window, with a narrow slot in which to slide items. This made it hard to scan some of the bigger items, like my Epsom salts. I had a question about a BOGO, so the manager came up to check on it. He had gloves on, but no mask and stood inches away from me. Likewise, a customer in the checkout lane next to me had no mask on.

“Aren’t people supposed to be wearing masks?” I asked my cashier.

She couldn’t understand me, because of my mask, but finally told me, yes they were.

They are calling these people covidiots and I’ve encountered more than my fair share, like the skateboarder who passed Zeke and I on the sidewalk when we were walking, then doubled back and passed us going the other way. We were near Epiphany Church and hopped up the hill to evade him. He almost seemed amused at this, like he was getting his jollies out of scaring these old people. Some millennials are calling the coronavirus the “boomer remover”. Thanks millennials.

I’ve been looking around my house and noticing things that need to be fixed up and organized, so I ordered a drawer organizer and rubbermaid storage containers for my kitchen and hangers for my closet. My housekeeper has a very specific way of folding my underwear, so I took out a pair to figure it out so I could replicate it. It may be a Marie Kwondo thing, I’m not sure.

Besides that, I REALLY miss my housekeeper Isa. Big, fluffy orange hairballs from our cat Eloise have started accumulating around my house. These, Isa normally took care of with her huge, industrial strength vacuum cleaner. I don’t even have a vacuum cleaner, so I’ve been trying to make due with my dust buster, which I recently ordered on Amazon.

Speaking of Marie Kwondo, I haven’t read her book but did read an article online that said to start with organizing your desk, specifically with your pens. She said, oftentimes, pens we have on our desk are just junky, give-aways, not pretty or fluid pens that “spark joy”. I looked at mine, and sure enough, my pen holder was filled to the brim with crummy pens I’d picked up from one place or the other. I went through each one, testing how it wrote. If it didn’t write easily or hold a good memory for me, I tossed it into a pile for the Vets of America.

They aren’t collecting items now, but I will have a big bag when this whole thing is over. One thing I was going to donate, but decided not to, was a white cotton tablecloth that belonged to my grandmother. It had a lot of rips and holes in it, but I decided I may as well sew it while I’m watching T.V. As I sat in my rocking chair watching The View, the lacy tablecloth draped over my lap, it reminded me of a doll of a little old lady sewing lace, my grandmother had brought me from Brussels.

Other projects I’ve been doing: I made applesauce out of apples that were getting wrinkled, made quick pickles out of a cucumber and made more homemade ricotta. I’ve also been saving the bottoms of Romaine lettuce, celery, scallions to grow in the kitchen and the top to a pineapple to plant. My garden’s looking good and I had a UF Journalism student (Carla) come over to film it for a student project. I talked about how it’s been comforting to have gardening as therapy in the pandemic, as well as a practical source of fresh food for my family.

Alcohol sales are up a lot, Tiger King has a new episode and people apparently are having weird dreams during the pandemic. I had a dream the other night that I went on a cruise with my sister Kelley and sister-in-law Becky. As we got on board our cruise, we were surprised by some friends that had come along for the trip unexpectedly. I’m not the Dream Doctor, but I have a feeling that means we’re all on this crazy ride together. We thought we were going for a three hour tour, but it turns out we’re all stranded on this desert island, for who knows how long? But it’s nice to be here among friends.

Up Next: What to do with Easter Leftovers and Foods to Fight Viruses

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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