Wednesday, August 5, 2015

That Was The Week That Was....Long Ramble

Last week was a blur of activity and travel.
The plan for moving Eldest son was drive to Pittsburgh Thursday morning, help them pack the truck/trailer, stay over in P'burgh, leave early Friday a.m. to convoy down to Fredericksburg VA(GF's relatives in the truck, Eldest son in his car, GF and cat in her car and Hubs & I in our car),unpack truck/trailer, start setting up apartment/unpacking boxes between a couple of meals, stayover in F'burg that night and bug out for home Saturday morning.
Pretty straightforward plan, right?
Here is how things actually went--

Monday of last week started off slowly with the usual stuff on my plate......clean, cook, blog, etc.

for breakfast I took some leftovers of that grits/ham/eggs casserole I had on a whim last week, sliced it up and pan fried it in some bacon grease.  Served it up with a couple of eggs(casserole had very little egg in it already)......

The casserole was better pan fried.  Hubs made himself some on Wednesday morning but we'll never finish it all up so feel free to come over and take some off our hands. ;-)

On Tuesday I harvested another summer squash............

The larger of the two was the newly harvested.  The smaller one was picked last week.
I sliced up some onions and sauted it all together in some olive oil......

I served this with the leftover roast chicken Tuesday night.

Later Tuesday night we got a phone call from Eldest son with a change in "the plan"(change #1).
GF's grandfather was driving/supplying the truck/trailer for the move and GF's dad and brother were coming with him.  Grandfather decided that he wanted to leave P'burgh Friday in the middle of the night morning.....3 a.m.ish.  No way Hubs and I were driving to P'burgh and getting up at dark o'thirty to leave for F'burg.  Eldest son's buddy from college was suppose to help load the trailer on Thursday so they really didn't need Hubs for that, so we decided to drive directly to F'burg on Thursday(instead of P'burgh), stay over that night and meet them at the apt. office at 8 a.m. on Friday morning when they pulled into town.
So I had to cancel the hotel reservation in P'burgh altogether and then make new reservations for 2 nights in F'burg.
You still following this?

So Tuesday I was up late cancelling and making reservations.  Only the website for the Days Inn in F'burg was having seizures and wouldn't let me confirm a stay.
So I called the hotel directly and got a voice mail with no option to leave a message to be returned.
The voice in my head is now recalling a trip to Ohio and the last time we had a "PROBLEM" making a reservation online.
So I call the national call center and attempt to complete the reservation.  And she quotes me a price a bit more than the deal on the website(Summer Sale, stay at least 2 nights and get 25% off).  I argue for awhile and then just say "whatever", make the reservation because I just don't have any fight left in my today. 
A few minutes later she "finds" the Summer Sale deal and I got the cheap nights.
Yes.  2 nights in a motel with a pool and breakfast for $103+change counting taxes.
After all, this hotel staying $hit starts to add up after awhile so get the costs down where you can......

On Wednesday Hubs was home from work so we ran some errands--

Picked up a couple of items College Boy needs for school.

Then we finally got around to taking in a pile of stuff to donate to Salvation Army.

Next we hit the bread outlet(they finally had my favorite nutty almond bread back in stock rah!)and then had lunch out.
Went home did a few things, got Chinese take-out for dinner, packed and then bed.

We leave early Thursday morning to make our way to Fredericksburg VA.
A quick stop at Mickey D's for Hub's coffee and we are on the way.
Thursday's weather sucked donkey balls actually wherever we were driving from PA to MD to WV to VA.
It was so bad at times you couldn't see anything, especially in WV when the fog started from the change in temp between the atmosphere and the cooler rain.
I quietly panicked in my seat as Hubs plowed ahead in this mess!

The rain let up around 1pm and we left the interstate to find lunch.  Saw a sign for the Marshall Diner in....Marshall VA of all places. ;-)  Sounded a bit better than fast food but cheaper than a sit-down chain restaurant.

It was a dinky little place but cheapish.  I had a fish sandwich. It had homemade tartar sauce on it that had quite a bit of mustard in it?  Strange but tangy and tasty.

Hubs ordered a corned beef sandwich.  At least for us(and I grew up in the South remember)a corned beef sandwich "should" come on rye bread with mustard(also seem with swiss cheese on the non-kosher Rueben version of this sandwich).

Here is Hub's sandwich......

corned beef....check!
rye bread.....check!
Tomato and Lettuce??

WTF......well that's what happens when you order off the menu and don't specify I guess. lolz
I think they put the mustard in my tartar sauce and the mayo that was suppose to be in the sauce went on his sandwich?
Who knows but it was noteworthy.

After lunch it was back on the road for awhile longer.
While driving along this last stretch toward Fredericksburg the phone rings.
It is Eldest son letting us know there is yet another change in "the plan".  (Change #3 I think.)
They have gotten the truck/trailer loaded already and they are getting on the road NOW to F'burg.
They will drive until they all get tired and stop for the night along the way.
They have to take a somewhat circuitous route from P'burgh to F'burg because GF's grandfather doesn't want to take any toll roads(this would mean the PA Turnpike)as the costs PennDOT extorts from you for hauling a big trailer like this on their turnpike is ridiculous.  And grandfather isn't paying it.
Thankfully this change doesn't affect us so that's fine....leave now leave at dark o'thirty tomorrow, I don't care.

Hubs and I got into F'burg before 3(so couldn't check in at the motel yet)so we have time on our hands and need to find something to do.
So we head over to here...........


If you guessed that is a "tasting bar" in the distance at a distillery you would be correct!

I posted this teaser on FB last weekend.....

Here's more of the sign......

A. Smith Bowman
I found my paternal drinking ancestors!
Well not really.
These are German Bowmans.
Mine came from England by way of Ireland to New York to Virginia.  At least I don't think they started out in the Palatine region in what is now Germany before going to England.....
But that doesn't mean I can't drink their stuff, right?

And visit their gift shop and buy stuff, right?

George and Mary Bowman hitched a ride home with us.  We are such accommodating relatives......

Hubs with his bag of alcoholic loot....

The weather in Fredericksburg on Thursday was swampy.....Swampy=downpours + heat + high humidity.
We go check into the motel and of course the pool is closed due to inclement weather.
So we take a rest up for going out for dinner.  It's a hard life but somebody has to live it, right?

Dinner found us at this place.....

If you can't make out the sign it reads "Cornbread & Caviar" ("gourmet comfort food" in small lettering).
This is what happens when you take a camera out of an a/c cooled car into swampy weather outside and attempt to take a photo.
Lens fog.
And my next attempt at a selfie with the sign was even worse.....


The staff was very friendly here and the owner kept coming over to our table to chat.....a little too much tho.
I had a roasted red pepper and crab bisque soup.....

It was tasty and lighter than a She Crab Soup and the price was good.
That hunk of cornbread however was nasty.  It was too sweet, dense(like a cement slab)and overcooked(see how brown it is?).
This is how a Yankee would make cornbread.
You would think if your restaurant has Cornbread in it's name that you'd perfect that one dish, right?

The only way to eat this cornbread was to soak it in the soup so I left most of that nasty hunk behind.

Hubs had fried green tomatoes.......

Now these on the other hand was perfect.  Hot, lightly breaded and juicy sweet.  Heck, the sauce they served it over(a remoulade thing)even had big ol shrimp in it...bonus! lolz

Then I ordered something strange for my entree.....

This was called a Muffaletta sandwich on the menu.
A Muffaletta made with grilled steak.
No, proper Muffalettas are not made with steak!
This should have been called a "New Orleans Style Steak Sandwich" if anything.
But I ordered it anyway.

Muffalettas come on a special type of bread and are HUGE.  They also come with Mortadella and other deli type meats and a tapenade(or olive salad spread).

This was served on a hamburger type bun with lettuce and tomato(and a piece of steak, not sliced steak, but a hunk of actual steak), barely any olive salad spread and a heavy dose of what tasted like a garlic/feta/olive oil spread.
The steak was very tender and this was a tasty meal.....but it was no muffaletta.
And the garlic spread was too much as I tasted garlic and feta until breakfast the next morning. eh.

I also got the grilled Brussels sprouts with bacon in the background in the photo above.
NO complaints about this side.....yummy!

Hubs had some grilled fish dish with peppers and a spicy sauce on it which overpowered the delicate flavor of the fish.  He was not impressed.  His side was fried okra which was fresh and lightly breaded but some of the okra pieces were tough.  Not the cook's fault just how it goes with okra sometimes.
We dropped $50 on this meal and it got a mixed review.

I spent the night tossing and turning on a subpar mattress and imagining that bed bugs were crawling on me.  (There were NO bedbugs but this is the type of motel you'd imagine would have them.)

The next morning we were up early to shower, change, grab some free breakfast at the motel and wait for the call from Eldest son that they had arrived in town.
The free breakfast was among the WORST free breakfasts I have experienced in all my traveling days.  Better is a way than the all-time worst(that offered fake OJ and fresh oranges ONLY)but among the filthiest breakfast rooms.  Even before 8 am when we arrived to eat they were out of milk for cereal and almost out of bread too.  The counters were filthy and filled with spilt food.
The only food they offered that I could eat was Cheerios.  They were kept in one of those big plastic dispensers that you crank the wheel to get the food to come out at the bottom.  When I turned that crank in my bowl landed Cheerios but also stale bran flakes and petrified raisins(I HOPE they were raisins!lol).  Obviously this dispenser held Raisin Bran before it was Cheerios and no one took the time to clean out the dregs of the old cereal before putting the new cereal into it.

After that lovely meal we waited on the phone call to come in and then drove over to the apartment complex to meet the convoy.
After having some "difficulties" with the office staff over rabies paperwork for their cat(you would think that this is something they should have told him to have in his hands when he went to pay and get the keys?), said paperwork was located inside the trailer(without having to empty half the thing out in the parking lot)and keys were had and we set upon unpacking said trailer.

With 7 able bodied(ok maybe 6.5 as I am half-able bodied!lol)adults we got it unloaded in under an hour.   After everything was in/outside the apartment GF's 3 relatives said their goodbyes and headed home for a very long ride back to Erie.

I snapped this badly lit shot of GF's dad, GF's brother, Eldest son, GF and her Grandfather before they all took off.

Then my camera died.
Well the battery died so I got no more pictures of that day. sigh.
My lunch-photo lifted off of Yelp from another diner.
We hit Lee's Retreat for Lunch at "Lee's Retreat" at the Blue & Gray Brewing.  I got the BBQ pork Sandwich again but they were out of Stonewall Stout(it's a seasonal offering, they don't brew it again until the Fall)so I got the Washington's Cherry Wheat Ale.
We went back to the apartment and helped unpack a bit before going back to the motel for a swim and a nap.  I only stayed in the pool about 20 minutes(I forgot to bring sunscreen)and still got quite the burn on my forehead.  Ah, whitest white woman on the planet problems.......

Hubs and I headed back to Eldest and GF's apartment around 5pm and we went over to Total Wine.
Eldest needed to stock up on brews to get them through August and Hubs and I picked up a couple of things too to take back home with us.
Then it was to the Target store nearby so the kids could pick up a few things like paper towels and a shower curtain.

At about dusk we headed over to have dinner.  I had snapped up a Restaurant dotcom cert. for Durango Grill before leaving home.

                  photo from F/B

I had read the reviews and it sounded like a neighborhood bar and grill with a few tables and that it could be a bit rowdy at night, but most of the reviews said the food was great.
One review did include this, which should have been a portent of things to come...."Most people there are friendly until you get some of these older guys and bikers with big egos that can't handle their alcohol and start trouble. "

Well I figured we'd eat early but it's after 8pm when we pull up and see 20 or so motorcycles parked out front.  And there are tables and folks sitting outside smoking and everyone seems to have one of those galvanized buckets filled with bottles of beer on ice.
Like this...........

We walk in and it's quite loud and a woman is standing on the bar taking a group photo of about 15 people standing in front of the bar whooping and hollering.

The jukebox is blaring Hank Williams Jr. tunes.

Some woman then comes over to greet us and give us menus and show us to a table.  She must have seen the look of concern on our faces as she launched into a "I know it's loud and the bar folks are rowdy tonight, but the food is really good" speech.  She said something about Hank Williams Jr. being in concert tonight in F'burg and all the patrons were stoked to see him(and I might add quite a bit liquored up!).
We figured we could take on the dew-ragged tatted-up bikers if it came to that and besides, why waste a perfectly good certificate for a cheap steak dinner? ;-)

So we stayed and ordered and the atmosphere continued to spiral downward.
I blame the "Happy Hour" there for this.
Happy Hour at the Durango, as the banners on the walls states, starts as 11AM and lasts until 9PM.
A 10 HOUR long Happy Hour!
About the time our meal came beer bottles began to get smashed outside(I was hoping it was just tipsy drunk patrons missing the table when they emptied their bottles set their bottles down and not a beer bottle shiv fight about to commence.

Then halfway through my steak I glance over at the bar and some floozy has her legs wrapped around a biker dude and they are "dry humping" for lack of a better term and he's got his hands under what little shirt she had on.
So I kept my eyes on my food and ate faster.

Things inside seemed to be calming down a bit by the time dessert hit the table(why of why did we stay for dessert anyway!?!) when the shouting exploded at the bar and I looked up to see 3 women doing this on the bar......

But much less attractive women(about the same amount of clothing on)and very drunk.
I couldn't believe I was right in the middle of something out of Coyote Ugly and didn't have a camera!
I told the GF to take a photo of them for my blog and all 3 of my dining companions said, "Are you CRAZY?!  They see the flash and we'll end up in a dark alley in pieces!"
To which I replied, "Well take a video then so there is no flash."
They just blinked at me in unison like they couldn't believe I just said something so stupid.
To which I replied, "Hey! Look at me.  I'm an old fat middle-aged woman who is obviously no threat to anyone.  What could they do?"
Yes, I amaze even myself sometimes with my stupidity.......
We survived our visit to Durango Grill when all was said and not done.  Everyone left with all their appendages and there were no gaping head wounds.....though we did have to walk/half-run through some broken glass on the way back to the car.
Despite my best efforts I didn't get 3/5 of my family(plus a GF as collateral damage)murdered last weekend.
So it's all good, right?
We took the kids home to their new apartment and goodbye hugs all 'round ensued.
Another sleep on the torturous mattress back at the motel and we hit the road to the nearest Hardee's for breakfast Saturday morning.
There was no WAY I was going to endure another crappy breakfast at that motel.
A nice grilled pork chop biscuit and a carton of milk from Hardee's hit the spot.
We spied a Food Lion grocery store across the street so after downing biscuits we hit the FL looking for lard, figuring we were far enough South to find some in the grocery store.
The making of "proper" buttermilk biscuits requires lard(even if you aren't a 90 year old black woman from NC).  Crisco is a sad substitute for lard, but I digress.....
Well I was wrong, we were NOT far enough South to find lard.  But I did find some country biscuit ham and hog jowl meat as well as a case filled with discount stickered meats!
Oh, to have had a large ice filled cooler to transport all those lovely discounted meats home to PA......!!!
I did get a few items-2 nice flank steaks and a 3 lb. tube of ground beef which was all I could fit into the cooler.
I had been mulling/stewing over what to serve company that was coming for dinner on Sunday at home the last few days as the day drew near.
Problem solved.....marinated flank steak being the answer.
Of course I would serve company discounted meat that I got cheap.  That's how we roll here at Chez Sluggy.  8-)
I could fib and say I spent dearly on this steak but anyone who knows me knows that's a bold-faced lie.
About half an hour northwest of F'burg we spied a farm produced stand set up in a fire stations parking lot so we pulled in to check it out.
Found some lovely produce--REAL tomatoes, beans, zuke, squash, corn and 'loupes.
Another problem solved......I 'd serve fresh ears of corn and grilled/marinated veggies on skewers with the steak Sunday evening.
Fresh from the farm that morning veggies and now I didn't have to go to the grocery store when we got home Saturday night or early Sunday.

More excitement on the trip home included--
We saw an big self-propeller RV pulling a car behind it almost wreck on I-66 right in front/one lane over from of us.  He had a tire blow out while going 70 mph(at least as that was the posted speed limit but you know everyone goes faster).
He almost tipped it all over when he hit the shoulder but kept it together and upright.
Man, I about peed my pants just watching it, I can imagine the color of HIS drawers after that! lolz
While traveling through WV we stopped at a Walmart.  Though they didn't have any lard either we did find some things--canning supplies for cheap, a floor lamp for the living room, and clearance Summer clothing for Hubs and College Boy.
We left WV behind as well as another $108 of this stuff......
Stopped in Chambersburg PA for lunch.

Chicken Salad sandwich and iced tea hit the spot.
I about got knocked over trying to get out the door here by a family who wouldn't stop to let me out before they plowed into the building.
Welcome back to rude, ill-mannered Northeastern Yankee Land.......
We made good time until we hit about 1 hour from home on I-81.  Some lane shifts and closures added about a "half hour sitting and not moving" adventure to our trip.
We finally got home around 5pm.
I set about cutting and marinating veggies and steak. 

The first REAL tomato sighting of the year in these parts, thanks to that farm stand in VA.
Then I snapped, blanched and froze green beans for the Winter.
A small drink and a rerun of Doc Martin on the boob tube.
And then it was back on the exercycle to get a couple of miles in.....after all it was the first of the new month and never let it be said that I am a slacker with my goals.  ;-)
And then to bed.
Sunday morning found me pitting and peeling peaches and making jam....
Hubs picked some beans.......

A bit of cleaning and then putting my feet up and then the call came that my company was arriving soon.
And before you knew it, here comes blogger buddy Lorraine and her DH Chris standing on my driveway!
We had a drink while dinner cooked on the grill and then dug into steak and grilled veggies with a side of corn on the cob.  And I did not even insist on proper "extend the pinkies while eating corn" etiquette.  ;-)
Lorraine brought me a giftie too!

Inside was a bag of glazed pecans(nom nom nom), a bottle of pecan oil and a jar of Duke's mayonnaise, "THE" mayo on the South......

I laughed because I grew up eating Duke's and until last year I couldn't get it here in Pennsyltucky.
But that all changed when the local small Shurfine markets started selling it.
Thanks Lorraine!
And that jar is now happily waiting it's turn in the stockpile rotation with it's siblings, the "lite" brothers........
We gabbed and ate and gabbed some more and before you knew it they had to get to the motel to get some rest before starting their long journey home at dark o'thirty Monday morning.
I totally forgot to snap any photos until right before they left.
Here we are throwing gang signs......this is wrong on so many levels, isn't it? lolz
And something more serious......
Geez I look like I'm falling over.....I probably was as I was so tired from the weekend hullabaloo!
While they were here we looked at the garden and I picked this.....
Lorraine took that photo and I lifted it off of FB.
Man, I should have worn a bra that day don't you think? 8-)
And here's Lorraine and DH Chris, the Steam Punk Master of the Universe......

I made bunny ears on Lorraine when Chris took our photo so he had to make them too when Hubs took their photos....I always knew I liked this guy.  ;-)
Then it was goodbye hugs, I sent them off with parting gifts of there own(peach jam and pepper relish) and they were gone to Motel 5 and 3/4s.
And after an episode of Poldark I fell into my comfy bed here at Chez Sluggy.
It was great to see you again Lorraine and Chris!  We need to do this again, and more often.

So what did you do last week?


  1. Holy Hannah! What a post - at least your family will always remember the first night in their new apartment and dinner out. Are you sure Sonya wasn't there? Cause that sounds like Sonya's type of joint :) Two of my favorite bloggers ever, Lorraine and Sluggy together. Too bad I am way the hell on the other side of North America or I might have shown up unexpectedly :(

    1. Sonya should have been here(we'd probably be dead or in jail tho)but she went and emptied their bank account, gave away a car and bought a new one last weekend. She got into her own kind of trouble

  2. Well wow! Just wow! What a weekend! Glad the move went relatively smoothly and glad the food was tolerable.
    You might try an ethnic market for lard. I always find it at a local Latin market . Actually I live far enough South to find it in every grocery store, but it costs much less at Pueblo, and I shop there a couple of times a quarter anyway.

    1. Yah, I should drive down to the town south of here(nicknamed by locals Little Havana) and find a bodega or market for the lard. I think not speaking a lick of Spanish might be a deterrent however.

    2. I have a friend who is from Mexico. She goes to the store often at the same time I do to act as my interpreter. (Or to laugh at my attempts at Spanish with a Southern drawl)

      I actually do love the store just for the incredible prices on things like avocados, limes and cilantro. I also get a huge kick out of trying weird things I have never seen or heard of before. The biggest pain though is my friend does not make Mexican all, so she is no help explaining what anything is.

  3. I tired!! You know what caught my eye in all of those great photos? Your "fish material" dress! I LOVE that fabric! Did you make the dress?

    1. No Jane, I bought that off of eBay last year. It's a rayon challis(my fav. material)and I only had to hem it up about 8 inches so it fit me. lolz

  4. YOu live on the wild side!!!!! It's a fun and blurry wild side but I love reading about it!!!!!

  5. I love the photos of us. I hope you don't mind that I lifted them off your blog. Your experience at the Durango would have scared the crap out of me. And you want me to go on a road trip with you??? We had a great time at your house. You guys are so easy to talk to and you made us feel so welcome and right at home. The meal was delicious and we so appreciate you going to all that trouble right after you got home from that long trip. I hope we get the chance to get together again. And thanks for the peach jelly and the pepper jelly. Both are yummy! :-)

    1. If we ever get a chance to road trip together I promise not to take you into a biker bar at happy hour.
      We loved having y'all here and why did you have to move so darn far away?!

  6. That all was a hoot to read! :)

  7. You and Sonja Ann would be a fun night out. Two nights in a row I'm trying not to pee while laughing. At least the bar girls stayed away from your table.

    1. The Hubs know NOT to leave us two alone together. Tho we have spent a few hours alone together out in public and we didn't need bail money.....

  8. You DO live on the wild side, don't you? I was holding my breath for a bit during the biker bar part. Then I realized you had to live through it to write about it. I am glad!


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