September 7, 2023

Friday fun-day, tailgating with the Iceman, & a purposeful pantry purge

We packed a lot into Labor Day weekend. I chilled at the pool. (sniff, sniff - the pool is now closed for the season. Imagine the things I can accomplish inside my house without pool-side relaxing as an option?).

I don't babysit on Fridays this year. One family already requested the Friday before Labor Day. I was underwhelmed at the prospect of ALREADY losing a Friday off. 

The week prior, Mini and some of her friends drove to New Buffalo, Michigan - only a 40 minute drive from Notre Dame, to her roommate's lake house. The parents fed them lunch and they chilled on the beach. 

Mini explained that they had time because it was 'silly week.' She was surprised, if not frustrated, that I didn't get it. Silly, as in syllabus. In other words, because it's a new semester the real work hadn't started yet. No exams, just reviewing the prof's expectations. Apparently my generation was not hip to the available acronyms or abbreviations that make life fun and keep parents guessing. 

I reminded Mini of my Friday availability in case another beach day was in the works. She doubted it would happen. Then, Bam - she texted to say they were heading to the lake again the Friday before Labor Day and I was invited. Oh, MAN. 

The next morning, I told the mom I sit for that I really wanted to scoot off to the lake. She said she'd make other child care arrangements. Yippee. 

It was a perfect beach day. I called my good friend Dee Dee in Texas, the one I used to babysit for whose hubby played on the Bears' Super Bowl team, and we chatted for my entire hour and a half drive. Later that day, Coach texted me to say that there was a clinic manager position open in the same town where Dee Dee and hubby live. Imagine? The high school kids might be a tad upset if we moved. 

The girls enjoying the water.

It was delightful to hang with Mini, her friends, and the other mom. To top if off, I enjoyed a get-caught-up phone call with Delilah on the drive home. Traffic? What traffic? It's amazing how traffic is much less annoying  when I'm yukking it up with a good friend.

On Saturday Kevin and I drove to Notre Dame. If you're counting, I got to see Mini two days in a row. 

Mini's roommate's parents were hosting a tailgate. We brought food, but there would be no Gumby and no almost running people over for a parking spot. *I cannot believe how many Gumby related posts popped up when I searched for these. 

My tailgate is scheduled for Sept. 23rd. Get excited. We parked across the street at Saint Mary's, where I went to college, and walked to the tailgate field. 

As soon as we parked, the hostess with the most-ess texted me. Well, not sure 'most-ess' qualifies here because on this 92 degree day, she was in need of a bag of ice. Could we bring one? Coach and I looked around. Crap. We'd just paid $30 to park in the lot and we were already carrying 7 layer taco dip, pumpkin bread, and cookies. Where would we score a bag of ice and how would we get it to her tailgate approximately 2 miles away?

The Grotto, a beautiful
 place to stop. We opted
to stop on our way TO our car when
 we weren't weighed down by ice.
I dumped the drive-home cold drinks out of the small, hard-sided cooler in the trunk. We weren't attending the game, just socializing beforehand.

Coach ran to the hotel on the edge of Saint Mary's campus, filled a plastic bag and the small cooler with hotel machine ice, and we began our trek.

We'd contemplated bringing my buggy stroller to assist us in getting our food there, but we'd decided that we could manage without it. Dang, that buggy would've been a handy ice delivery assistant. 

The ICEMAN. He delivers.
We traded off carrying the various bags and the heaviest cooler. We'd just passed the Grotto on the edge of Notre Dame's campus when a guy in a golf cart stopped and asked us if we needed a ride. Shocked, I looked over both shoulders to see if he was talking to me. 

In all the crowds, hooray for us for looking the most pathetic. We sped away to the tailgate lot in the golf cart with our save-the-day ice. I feel like Coach should be called Iceman from this day forward. (this was specifically for Nicole, HI, NICOLE because of her love of all things Top Gun).


Brace yourself. 

I heard it too. Something 'stirring'. I grabbed a stack of brown rice bags that I store behind my mixer. The brown rice looked more like wild rice. Hmm. Why are there black specks in here?

The next bag caught my attention, because the black specks were MOVING

The noise? Rice weevils moving around inside bags of rice, as if the rice was being stirred. So many. SO MANY. I'd never heard of a rice weevil.  We disposed of LOTS of rice and pasta. The internet says not to stock up on rice or pasta or cereal. 

Thank your lucky stars that
 I'm not sharing a video. 

The internet doesn't live with a small we-eat-a-lot army. 

At this time of the school year, when last year's babysitting money went to pay Ed's tuition and to buy Uncle's car and I haven't worked (well, not for pay anyway) all summer and we don't have my backup income to lean on and I've had lots-a-mouths home over the summer . . . well, this a crappy time financially to empty out the pantry. 

A sad and unusual
sight in my pantry.

Did you know rice weevils come INSIDE the rice when you buy it - as larvae? Then they can get out of the unopened rice and make their way into other boxes of flour, cereal, pasta, and rice. 

I've had better Sundays. 

The pool beckoned and Coach dealt with most of the weevil destroying. I will be dealing with the restocking of the shelves. Slowly. 

I pretended life wasn't all that challenging while reclining at the pool reading Jenny Lawson's hilarious book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Really timely title, don't ya think?

Tell me you've never dealt with rice weevils and I'll remind you to count your lucky stars. Favorite or new abbreviation/acronym?  


Bijoux said...

No, I’ve never had the unfortunate experience of rice weevils. That’s disturbing! I’ve had flour bugs though (not sure if they’re considered weevils, but equally disgusting).

My oldest daughter introduced me to the word, ‘sus,’ a few years ago. Short for suspect/suspicious and I use it now.

mbmom11 said...

Sorry about the pantry! The beginning of the school year is a financial stretch for a lot of people , including me. - all the fees and club dues and gas. It used to also be babysitting fees.And I don't get paid until the end of September.
And Mini is lucky she doesn't go to my school- work starts day 1.
I think you have a real name in your post.

Nance said...

Good for you taking Fridays off. You'll appreciate it so much although I know your clientele will feel less so. ;-)

I've never had rice weevils--thank heavens--but I have had my husband leave the big freezer door ajar and lost a ton of freezer stock (meat, veg, etc). It's so frustrating and upsetting to see all that waste. I get how you feel, for sure.

Colleen said...

Eeeeeeew, never even heard of rice weevils! But we did just go through a similar situation with pantry moths. Cleaned out and threw out lots of food and bought containers to store rice and pasta and cereal. I also got moth traps and the problem seems solved! I hope you have good results as well.

Jenny in WV said...

Never eating rice again!!! Or pasta or noodles or cheerios. This is how to convince people to go keto!!

My department hosts a tailgate before one of the local college football games, but I've never gone because I don't want to pay for parking, and I'm not a big fan of the local team or drunk people. I do however, love your tailgating Gumby stories!

Ernie said...

Bijoux - It really was terribly gross and unsettling. We've had pantry moths and I have found a bug in flour before. I'm not sure if that bug was the same as these weevils, because there was only like 1.

I will have to use 'sus' on Mini because I don't think she uses that one and then I can school her on something.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - I don't recall a time when we needed to utilize ALL of my babysitting funds and I didn't like it. I keep telling myself it'll replenish in a few weeks or months. Groceries are currently killing me and this infestation didn't help.

I'm sure Mini had work to do, but didn't feel the extreme pressure of midterms and multiple papers due all at once, etc. I was happy with silly week, because it meant I got to escape regular life for an afternoon of relaxation.

Ernie said...

Nance- I'm loving the short week. LOVING it. I used to only work 4 days a week, but for a while I had Thursdays off. I'm at the point though that I have enough families who've been here long enough that I know they aren't going to jump ship if I tell them to work with my schedule.

We've had kids leave freezers open too. That is so rough - I hate throwing away food.

Ernie said...

Colleen - It was incredibly unsettling. What if we ate the rice when it was in the larvae stage and we didn't realize it? Yikes. We've had moths too and we have those traps. I thought at first when he said something was up - that there would be like a pulsating cluster of 50 moths. I ordered more moth traps a few months ago and I don't know what happened. Maybe they were so small that they were thrown out with the Amazon packaging because I never got them. I need to reorder. I have some of those plastic containers for cereal but not for rice and pasta. I might have to invest in them, but dang - another expense.

Ernie said...

Jenny - Sorry to have turned you into a Keto diet lover. Not my intention. ;)

I cannot share how much I spent on the parking pass for our upcoming ND tailgate. It's gross. We parked at Saint Mary's because it is an easy parking spot to get and it's also easy to get out on the way home. We spent HOURS leaving the lot after our last tailgate. It was positively silly.

I feel like the Gumby posts could be turned into the Gumby Chronicles.

Nicole said...

I am horrified on your behalf! Aiiiiieeee!

Nicole said...

Sorry, pressed submit too soon.
HI ERNIE! I like the Iceman reference! I guess in future you should bring your buggy!

Ernie said...

Nicole- It really was unreal. Like, we could HEAR them, because there were so many of them that they moved the rice around.

That buggy is a work horse. I get compliments on it whenever I go to the zoo, etc. I'm sure people would've found it a great conversation piece at the tailgate.

Bibliomama said...

Okay, the weevils are super gross, but I say if you ate them in the larval state and never knew? Who cares? Ignorance is bliss. Assume you didn't.
The end-of-summer beach days are so blissful and bittersweet. Happy you got to join. And taking Fridays off is SO the right call.

Pat Birnie said...

Ewwwww is right. I had flour weevils (same thing I suspect) decades ago. So gross. I had pantry moths a year ago and it was a nightmare. Finally had to get a pest company in to spray. The positive is that now my pantry is beautifully organized with all jars and containers with tight lids. Also when I buy flour, oats etc I put in the freezer for 48 hours. If anything is lurking that will deal with it and you never know what may have been there.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm cracking up at picturing the two of you with all your goods, traipsing towards a party and having to detour to find ice. Talk about Pivoting! And the golf cart guy coming at the right time? Clean Living! Karma!

Never had rice weevils and I had no idea of such things. So, does all rice have them and we eat them? Or you just got lucky this time?

You are so SILLY. iykyk


Ernie said...

Ali - I like your 'if you ate them, . . . assume you didn't' spin on the possible of ingesting rice weevil larvae.

Yes, Fridays off was the right call. 100%. Interestingly, I've told this same family that insisted they needed Friday care that I was taking Fridays off in the past. Each time, they were like SORRY, WE NEED FOR YOU TO WATCH OUR KIDS ON FRIDAYS. I finally decided, these people aren't going to jump ship if I stick to my guns. I guess with age, I'm getting wiser because look at me, putting my foot down about my schedule. OMG - a four day work week is total bliss.

Ernie said...

Pat - It is SO gross. We've had pantry moths too. I assumed that's what Coach had found. I probably need to invest in more of the air-tight containers. I do like having the instructions that come on the box, but I suppose I can tape the instructions on the container. I really like your freezer system. Brilliant. I do not have any space in any of my freezers at the moment - I overbought breaded chicken strips for a fast meal idea (apparently I've had that same thought at Costco and then never actually go with the fast meal plan and I now have 3 HUGE bags of chicken strips). Still, I will see if I can work that into my shopping system.

Kara said...

Not rice weevils, but I did have a bag of flour that was older than I thought, and it too was alive. And disgusting. And now I don't stockpile flour or sugar, and keep what I have closed up in plastic bins.

Rotten potatoes in a pantry are the worst smell ever. Like you forget about one, or it rolls under the shelf, and then it smells like there's something dead.

Kari said...

As one commenter put it, we've all eaten a rice weevil at some point in our lives....that will keep me awake at night.

Now that Mike is down for the count, I'm living life vicariously through you. Our pool season has also come to an end, as Mike is the person who takes care of it.

Ernie said...

Kara - A 'living' bag of flour. Yikes.

I don't generally stockpile flour or sugar, but I bake a shit ton (which is better than baking a ton of shit, I think) so sometimes I have more than one bag at a time.

I buy red potatoes and I've always kept them in the fridge, like my mother before me. Is that wrong? I have smelled a rotten potato before and holy hell, is there anything worse?

Ernie said...

Kari - I'm laughing at how ingesting a rice weevil on accident would keep you up at night. I think you have enough going on, not to be worrying about the stuff you may or may not have eaten. My guess is a larvae is not the same as poison.

Oh no. You own the pool, so it would be so nice if you could keep it open until you wanted to close it down. Bummer. Hope Mike heals fast.

Anne said...

I... yikes. Rice weevils? This makes me wary of my cabinets, which are populated with, well, older bags of lots of stuff. Eeeks. I do clean them - frequently - but this is making me think I need to be more ruthless about pitching that stuff. Thanks? I think? (The image of rice weevils will stay with me for a long time... bleargh.)

And also, I would like to tap some of your energy. Thanks. :)