I should post a plaque on our wall that says, “If you want it done right, ask Richard. If you’re willing to wing it, ask me.” In preparation for the visit from Sweet Mary and Big John, I asked Richard to clean his shower and tub. I knew he’d do a good job, as he does on any task he tackles, but I wasn’t prepared for the sight that met me as I passed the bathtub cleaning-in-progress. There knelt Richard with the usual chemicals and cleaning supplies one would expect to see -- and an open tool box.
To the casual observer, this may have seemed excessive. I hadn’t asked him to remodel the bathroom; I had only asked him to scrub the tub. Well, you know how any job you begin can become what Richard calls, “the infinite regression of steps.” It seems that when Richard started the cleaning, he noticed that the water was draining slowly. This led him to diagnose the problem as a need to remove the hair that clogged the drain, which required a screw driver, needle-nose pliers, and maybe several other tools; hence the need for his tool box. I’ll tell you that tub is clean, right down to the bottom of the drain.
While Richard wallowed in hair balls, I cut huge bouquets of hydrangeas and arranged them in a vase on our hearth. I was so proud of the wealth color from our garden that would greet our guests that I was moved to write a bit of poetry in honor of the occasion.
Is there anything as opulent as
A bouquet of fresh cut flowers,
Especially when you’ve grown them
In the garden in your yard?
My pride lasted about an hour when all the blooms started hanging their pretty heads. I had put in plenty of clean well water, and the air conditioner was keeping the house at a reasonably cool temperature; so, what could their problem be?
I consulted the infinite wisdom of the internet and found that I should have burned or boiled the ends of the stems before placing them in water, and then misted their delicate heads. It was too late for the burning or boiling, but I did give them a good misting. Our guests were greeted by soggy, droopy blue and pink pom-poms instead of the opulent arrangement of my dreams. Who knew that any cut flowers needed to have their capillaries heated before taking a cool dip? At least the hydrangeas on their bushes were still stunning for our visitors’ arrival. And, to welcome them, we did have the wonderful aroma of bread pudding wafting out of our oven.
We began our repast with guacamole and chips and chorizo and cream cheese stuffed jalapenos. Richard followed this with one of his sensational salads. I contributed a pork tenderloin with a brandied cherry sauce and orange zest flavored butternut squash. We accompanied this with a colorful array of caramelized onion, yellow pepper, one of our homegrown zucchinis, and a ripe, red tomato. Richard had also run down to Tellico Grains Bakery for one of their wonderful artisanal breads. We finished with the bread pudding with a bit of bourbon and butter sauce. Good friends and good grub, you can’t beat that with a stick.