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Tag Archives: health

The house where food goes to die

“Uh, this says pink grapefruit juice.” My friend said skeptically, holding out a container filled of brown liquid, a clump of growth in the center.

We were at my parents’ vacation home upstate, looking for something edible in the closets that would save us a trip out in the cold. My friend had no way of knowing that the house is used intermittently, and my parents are notoriously bad at remembering to throw anything away. It’s funny because whenever I’m here, I think I clear the old stuff out, only to find more the next time we come. This is the house where food comes to die.

“Yeah, sorry. It’s just old. Be careful what you eat here. The last time I was here I grabbed a bag of chips dated 2001.” I didn’t mention the four year-old cream cheese I once found that should have been donated to science.

I pulled a random box of cookies from the cabinet. “Let’s see. Not too bad… They expired in 2010.” I pulled down another box and grimaced. “2009.”

Box by box, we systematically emptied the place. It became a game to see if we could find anything that wasn’t expired. The closest was a jar of peanut butter dated August, 2013. The oldest was a refrigerated jar of jelly dated 2003.

During our rummaging, one of the kids sauntered in. “Oooh cookies!” He exclaimed, eyes wide as an Oreo.

My friend and I immediately grabbed the box. “No!” We both screamed like he was about to touch fire.

Oreo eyes now looked like they had been dunked and might start to drip.

“Sorry!” We both quickly apologized. “They’re bad. They could make you sick.”

He looked at us skeptically. In his eight years, he heard many questionable reasons from adults as to why he couldn’t have a cookie. This was just another to add to the list. He left empty-handed, but full of suspicion.

Just then my husband walked in holding a bag chips, his mouth chewing.

open at your own risk...

Open at your own risk…

“Hey,” I said slowly. “Where’d ya get those?”

“Up there.” He pointed to the cabinet.

Uh oh.

My friend and I exchanged a look.

“Um, they might be a little old.” I said, grabbing the nearly empty bag.

“Expires, March, 2013.” I read.

He shrugged, unimpressed. “Tasted fine.”

It was the exact same thing he said to me every night when I asked how dinner was. Apparently my superior culinary skills have dumbed down his expectations so that even expired food is agreeable to him. I didn’t know whether to be horrified or thrilled. I think both.

Later, we of course went out for dinner and purchased some fresh snacks for our stay.

I have no doubt that I will see them again for years to come.

Sometimes, you just got to take a shot

“Get your shoes on. We’ve got to go.”

This is the way it has to work. No explanation. No sweet talk. All business.

My three boys casually ignore me, focusing on SpongeBob.  Sometimes, I really want to wring that sponge.

“Ahem!” I say loudly. “Let’s get a move on. Now!”

My “Now” sounds like it looks, all exclamation points, but amazingly, they don’t hear it that way and slowly amble toward their shoes.

“Where are we going?” my oldest asks, but I brush off his question.

“No questions. Time to go.”

My two youngest race out the door.

“So where are we going?” My oldest persists, and because he’s eleven and has showed progress and maturity these past couple of years, I tell him.

“Oh.” He says anxiously, eyes wide.  “Do they know?” He gestures toward the happy faces climbing over each other in the minivan.

I shake my head no.

“Can I tell them?” He asks, eyes glinting.

“Wait till we’re closer. The less crying I have to hear the better.”

He nods happily. We’re in cahoots now.

During the seven minute drive, the secret spreads like a low hum across the car, reaching my youngest as we pull in, his eyes alight with panic. While the other boys wait, I patiently try to coax him from the car.

“Come on,” I plead. “It’s so quick. You didn’t even cry last year.” Uh, except for the half hour preceding it, of course.

He backs away, deeper into the third row.

Realizing negotiation was futile, I not so patiently pick up his flailing, twisting body and carry him. Once inside, he calms some, until the doctor appears smiling, with his Tweety and Sylvester tie and a syringe. It is a semi-creepy combination.

Oldest boy goes and takes it in arm like a pro.

Middle boy goes and barely bats one of his ridiculously long lashes.

Youngest boy… where is youngest boy? Sigh.

I pull him out from under the patient table and talk gently to him as he struggles to pull away. I show him how happy his big brothers are and he kicks at the doctor. I promise him treats when he’s done, but he is like a rabid baby bear covered in butter in my arms.

Finally, I restrain him enough for the three seconds it takes the doctor to insert the needle and it’s over.

My boy takes his time breathing heavily, recovering from his experience. “See, it’s really not that bad,” I coo, petting his curls. “It’s over so fast. You were very brave.”

He looks up, baby brown eyes still moist with tears, and utters two words full of indignation, “Toy store.”

I nod in agreement.

“Then treat!”

The kid may not be good at taking shots, but he’s certainly good at calling them.

Just hold still. This won't hurt a bit.

Just hold still. This won’t hurt a bit.