The Case of the Missing Detergent, the Tell Tale (Operation) Heart and Turn of the Screw

Something weird is going on with my Laundry Detergent lately.

It seems like I’ve barely run to the store to buy a jug, when it’s mysteriously gone again. While I love my housekeeper Isa, she isn’t very good about writing down the cleaning supplies we need in the near future. This usually leads to me having to drop everything to run to the grocery store and buy detergent, or worse yet (if I’m out all day) leaves me with a basket full of dirty clothes.

I was buying the Jumbo size of Detergent, to alleviate this dilemma, but I got the feeling it just encourages her to use more detergent, since it seems the supply is endless. I recently read you only need two tablespoons of detergent per load to clean clothes and extra detergent is just a waste of money that irritates the skin. We use Tide with no dyes or fragrance (Zeke is allergic) and it isn’t cheap.

So I changed my detergent-buying philosophy the last time and bought a small container of Tide, thinking the petite size might discourage reckless usage. Imagine my dismay when, four days after I purchased it, it was empty and left by the front door as a reminder we needed more. I looked at the jug and it said the concentrated formula would do 32 loads. There’s no way Isa did 32 loads in two days. Maybe she doesn’t know it’s concentrated.

This Tide does 32 loads. But it didn’t.

I texted Isa, asking her if she knew why we were going through detergent so quickly. Texting is best since she doesn’t speak much English, nor I much Spanish; she uses Google translate to read my texts. She said:

“Good question. Every time I come there’s a load of Rachel’s clothes in the dryer.”


So, she was implying Rachel was using up all the detergent. The problem with this theory is that Rachel moved out two weeks ago and I bought the Tide after she left. So mystery, unsolved. Also, I’m starting to re-think my detergent buying ways. Detergents are mostly water and the jugs made of plastic seem a complete waste of space and money. We now know, only 10% of what we put in the recycling bin actually gets recycled. I’m thinking of trying some detergent tablets I saw on Instagram, that you just throw into the washing machine; no jug needed. They also eliminate the need for measuring.

This same day of the detergent dilemma, I was babysitting Phoenix (who still won’t let me put him down) and found the little plastic heart to Wyatt’s Operation Game on my white tablecloth. Since I didn’t have two hands free to put it back in the box, I left it in a bowl above the game in the Family Room. When I returned to the Family Room, the heart was gone. I checked the Operation Game. It wasn’t there either, so asked Isa:

Donde esta un pequeno corazon in la family room?

in my bad Espanol.

I was pretty impressed with myself for remembering the word for heart, since I took French, not Spanish, in High School and my vocabulary isn’t muy bueno.

“No, no, no!” said Isa, shaking her head and giving me the impression she thought I was talking about a gold locket or some other kind of jewelry.

I wanted to tell her it was just plastic, but that’s really out of my Spanish vocabulary pay grade. It’s so small, she probably thought it was trash. I could probably get another one on E-bay, but don’t want to spend ten bucks, plus shipping, on a plastic heart, so I guess we’ll just skip the cardiac card in the Operation Deck.

Then, I went into the kitchen for lunch and discovered a teeny, tiny metal screw that Zeke had stored in a plastic take-out container, was gone. Actually, the whole container was gone. The screw went to the light over the stove and Zeke couldn’t get the other one out so he’d put it there. Oh well. I thought it was a lousy place to store the screw, at any rate. I didn’t even mention the screw to Isa, because enough already!

I was going with Woodland Wonderland for my table setting. The wood chargers were cut from a tree in our yard.

I had my sisters Kelley and Elise over for dinner Saturday night, with their respective others.

I guess it was still Mercury Retrograde, because there were more failures awaiting me. There was a half a large Pork Loin in the freezer I planned to cook. Last time, we grilled the other half and it was tough as a boot. This time, Zeke suggested cooking it in the Crock-Pot with mojo and sliced onions, which is exactly what I did. I made fresh mojo and cooked it a couple hours and, again, it was tough as a boot. I didn’t want to serve it for dinner, so we picked up Wagyu Skirt Steaks at Josh’s Meats after lunch at Sports Grille.

We’d just come from lunch, but they had quite the spread at Josh’s for lucky customers. There was grilled Wagyu meat, little tacos and delicious sandwiches with soft bread, steak, cheese and caramelized onions. I don’t know if they do this every Saturday, but if they do, count me in!

The rest of the menu was: Poblano Chili Souffle, a delicious Salad with greens and jicama Elise brought and a loaf of brown bread. Kelley and John brought Snapper Ceviche and I served Tostones with sour cream and caviar, my favorite appetizer at my friend Martha’s house. The ceviche was delicious, the tostones not as good as my friend Martha’s, which are homemade. I’d try to make caramel ice cream, but it ended up tasting burnt, so dessert was Fudgy Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream (Haagen Daaz) and toasted pecans. It was freezing that night, so we also made a fire and S’Mores.

I figured it was less about the food, than the company and the effort.

The steaks were tender and flavorful. I served them with Chimichurri we got at Josh’s and everyone enjoyed the Poblano Souffle (except Kelley, who can’t eat eggs). It’s one recipe I can’t give out, as I was sworn to secrecy by Veronica, an excellent cook who gave me the recipe with a non-disclosure agreement. Earlier in the day, I walked outside and a little hawk flew from my neighbor’s house to mine, sat on the black gate and looked me straight in the eye, before flying away. Of course it made me think of my Dad and that he would be happy his daughters were getting together for dinner.

Liking lately: Wordle, The Lincoln Highway (book) and The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window (Netflix Show) and The Ting Tings (band).

I bought a larger jug of detergent this time and Isa has taken it into her hands to solve the mystery.

Tide, labeled.

I’m not quite sure this is going to do the trick.

They call me quiet But I’m a riot Mary-Jo-Lisa Always the same

That’s not my name That’s not my name That’s not my name That’s not my name.

The Ting Tings

Up Next: Superbowl Buffalo Dip or Pickled Eggplant

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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