"Blog: The sound your thoughts make when they splatter onto the page."-Nate.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's All BUSY-ness

Do you ever look forward to Monday just so you can recover from the weekend?  I feel like that has been me just about every weekend since we moved to Iowa.  Life is so busy up here, which is strange to me, you would think coming from a big city, here would seem simple and slow….but absolutely not.  It’s like every moment must be filled with one chore, obligation, function or SOMEthing after another. I’m not complaining about all of it, staying busy has probably kept the homesick monster at bay a little.  However, I am an island kind of girl at heart.  The vision of a perfect moment is kicking back in a hammock somewhere warm, sipping a drink and watching the world move just a little slower. 

This past weekend was no exception.  Of course there were all the Halloween festivities…which btw, we will be trick or treating on a much different scale next year.  30 kids in the wind and cold getting on and off a trailer is just a little more chaos than I care to voluntarily expose myself to.  I would take much more delight in watching just my 2 boys running from house to house excitedly trying to fill their bag.   The neighborhood that we are in right now does a block Halloween party every year.  A couple months ago, they had a neighborhood potluck.  At this party we were told Halloween was off the hook and so much fun.  Everyone got into it.   SO...last minute my husband and I threw together cave man and women costumes, complete with ragged clothing, teased hair and dirty faces to go along with the boys dinosaur costumes. We set off up the driveway with my cute little T-Rex and Triceratops roaring a loud and constant roar behind us (yeah, that wasn’t a costume choice I regret…sarcasm.  I think their roar started Wednesday when they got the costumes and didn’t stop until Sunday). We headed to the party thrown by bunch of people we don’t really know. We walk in and of course we are the only adults out of 30 or more that dressed up.  Needless to say, once food was ate (I made these really cute white chocolate covered strawberries that looked like ghost and crème filled pumpkin cupcakes….yummy) and the trailer ride was done, we headed home early.  It actually worked out that we didn’t have that want to stay and play, we had our biggest BBQ order to date. 

Guess now is a good time to explain our little income supplement (that really hasn’t supplemented anything).  While living in Texas, my dad taught my husband the way around a BBQ pit…not these gas or dinky charcoal grills, but a real Texas smoker.  Ribs to brisket to beer-butt chicken, fish, oysters, and pork…you name it, we have probably smoked it (on the pit…not rolled up in paper : ).  Not such a big deal living in the Lone Star State, but up here is the land of the gas grill, so we thought we might be able to market some good ole Texas brisket with southern sides.  We take orders during the week for the following weekend.  We smoke the briskets the night before and have it cut, packaged and to your door by 11:30 either Saturday or Sunday. It hasn’t really taken off how we would have liked, but we get a few orders here and there that basically pays for whatever we decide to do on Sunday while watching the football game (BIG Texans fans, and they definitely don’t air the games on local channels up here….we usually head to a bar with Sunday Ticket at noon on Sundays, classy).

When we first started, it was just the meat…but people kept asking if we had sides.  So we expanded to potato salad, coleslaw, pies, sausage and my personal favorite, jalapeno poppers.  I have been in such a “learning how to cook” kick, that I am even making the buns that go with the brisket from scratch. I'm still trying to nail a couple recipes to perfection, but it will come.  I made my very first, from scratch pie just a month or so ago, and already they aren’t bad.   We have our own seasoning rub that I make in bulk as well as a secret BBQ sauce.   I’m pretty proud of how our culinary skills have blossomed.
Well this particular weekend we managed to get orders for 2 ½ briskets (and they take about 10-12 hours to cook), coleslaw, potato salad (my dad’s recipe), a pecan pie, sausage, 2 dozen jalapeno poppers and 2 batches of homemade bread.  I stepped in the kitchen around noon on Thursday and felt like I didn’t step out until Sunday morning.   Along with the things I HAD to make, for some reason, felt the urge to try two new recipes, Pecan Tassies and a variation of the poppers.  Cooking and trying new techniques in the kitchen has become one of my favorite new pastimes, so it’s not like I am complaining.   Yesterday I tried my hand at jalapeno cheddar challah bread (from scratch of course….one day it occurred to me that anything you can buy frozen or pre-made in a store or restaurant, can be built from the ground up at home, and I think that is pretty cool.) Today was garlicky spaghetti with meatballs, a French loaf turned into the best garlic bread I have ever put in my mouth, and a variation of my apple pie.  Some other from scratch recipes I have tried…chicken pot pie, Ragu Bolognese, caramel apple cheesecake, baked potato soup, smothered pork chops and several kinds cookies, just to name a few.  If you would ever like a recipe for one thing or another…I will be happy to share, just ask.

The brisket business might be in danger of sputtering out before it even really gets started….Nate is done with his fall semester on the 17th and will almost definitely be going to work full time. Depending on the hours he gets, it may be too much to do both.  He has had a phone interview for a safety position at a hospital (Methodist), which is phenomenal because it’s kind of middle of the road in the leap from Physical Therapy to Occupational Safety.  From what it sounds like, it went well.  He is 1 of 4 out of over 50 candidates for the position.  We should be finding out soon if he made it to the next round…a face to face interview with the guy that called him.  From there, he will get interviewed by a panel of 4 or 5, plus background checks.  You would think he was going into the secret service or something.  Even if he does score the position, it doesn’t start until January.  So we are still in the process of figuring out what to do in the meantime.
We have found an online school that offers a Masters program in Safety that he is looking into.  If it is recognized by all the places that matter (employers, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, ect.) then that is awesome and he will be starting that in January.  Right now he is taking Abnormal Psych, Behavioral Psych, General Chemistry and Physics….and acing them all.  Genius. I am so proud of my husband.

So that’s kind of an update of our life at the moment.  I’ve got to throw a few of these out every once in a while to let you know just where we stand on the path to our future. 
Right now, I’m going to kick back, drink some wine and relax.

Tomorrow brings a new day and with it unpredictable directions.  So close your eyes, take a deep breath and embrace what may come your way.

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