So our neighborhood has flat covered us UP in food. It shows up when we’re not at home, it shows up when we are at home, it shows up when we are still in our pajamas at 1:30 in the afternoon watching “Ellen” on the YouTube (erm). And it has been epic. Ham, chicken wings, sandwiches, casseroles, soups, baked treats, bread, chicken salad, and paper goods.
(Seriously, if you are ever wanting to bring something in to people who are facing a Big Life Event, and are pressed for time or doubtful of your culinary talent, PAPER GOODS. I cried when a bag full of paper plates and bowls and napkins showed up. Cody also enjoys it because he gets to lick things off before we throw them away so the trash doesn’t get funky.)
(Also, never doubt your culinary skills. You’re just fine with it. Trust me. It’ll be delicious. And if it isn’t? We’ll all survive, I swear.)
Anyway, I find myself wistful for NORMAL stuff. Grocery shopping, cooking, the daily routine. Because this might actually go on awhile. After a weekend that was full of Awful, on Monday, Mama and The Grandmother and Cody and I walked into his room to find him dressed, showered, shaved, hair did, smelling fancy, and sitting up in his chair. You could have knocked at least two of us over with a feather. And The Grandmother weighs 73 pounds soaking wet, so I’m betting her, too. (She and I share zero genetic material, OBVIOUSLY.)
I got a “Hi Bear!” and some sustained eye contact (provided I got in really close and looked up into his eyes, but whatever…), Cody got some good lovin’ in, The Grandmother got a “Mom!”, Mama got a “Special Mom” and a kiss. Unprompted. So he still recognizes folks.
Daddy was objectively, measurably excited when he saw Cody, and made motions to pet him, so I helped him, and we all got a lot out of that.
Tuesday was a repeat. Today, he was sleeping the entire visit, but he had fallen last night (the first time in a couple of days) and had various medicines onboard due to that. I am much more at peace with things right now, and I’m hoping it’s not just because my Daddy recognized me. I’m hoping that this is real acceptance in my soul–I think hospice has done amazing things for us so far. He is clean, he is MARKEDLY more comfortable (and not just drugged out, as we are really trying to minimize his meds, but perhaps a more targeted approach to comfort rather than general sedation) and restful. I think we are regaining some dignity and quality.
I know where this train is going, and we’re not Pollyannas. The current state will likely not hold, but as we move to different stages (different “normals”), we need to figure out how to have dignity and quality in those, too. I think that’s what the whole point of hospice is.
Anyway, that was a long warmup to what I really wanted to talk about. My recent trip to Brookshire’s. (I told you, I NEED to get back into routine. So that you never, ever have to read what you are about to read, EVER AGAIN.)
So I went in to pick up a few things. And since our brains are addled right now, I am easily distracted.
I went to the meat counter to get some lunchmeat, and I saw this:
Yes. On the front row there, in the middle, for $4.00 per pound, we have a pork chop, stuffed with a sausage, wrapped in bacon.
Setting aside entirely the fact that cooking that thing properly requires a degree in some kind of theoretical physics (all three meats in the thing cook very differently, to different temperatures, at different rates, via different methods, so vaya con dios, there, partner…) I think we have now conclusively found the epicenter of “What is wrong with the American Diet”. Everything else merely points back to the Pork Bomb up there.
And then I went to pick up some milk. In the refrigerated dairy case. Where I saw this:
I don’t even KNOW where to start with this. 1. I didn’t know that pepper needed to BE refrigerated… 2. Let’s assume I have been barking mad all these years and have been doing it wrong. It’s PRE-GROUND BLACK PEPPER. Attempts at prolonging the freshness of that sadness are a lot like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 3. More likely, let’s assume I’m right, and this is one of those impulse-driven, “suggested pairings” that stores seem to do (like how you always find a few bottles of NyQuil with the kleenex and whatnot) rather than a reflection of proper food safety. How do eggs suggest a need for accompanying pre-ground black pepper???? Have I been doing eggs wrong all these years????? I always dash some salt in my eggs to relax the proteins and improve the tenderness, but what magic lies in the pre-ground pepper????
And that, good people, is why I need to get back to some kind of normal, because I got a little bit chilly as I stood there and pondered these mysteries while staring at store-brand ground pepper. In the refrigerated dairy case. And took pictures of it.