Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Pina Colada Mea Culpa

So I can be an enormous asshat sometimes. And here’s today’s reason #3,415 why:

When I came home a bit ago after agility training with Beckett and running errands (and getting stuck in roadwork traffic for about an hour) in 90 degree heat, I noticed that there were people moving into the recently-vacated apartment across from my back door. (I live in a flipping “townhouse community” so that one person’s living room faces another person’s backyard, which faces another person’s front balcony, etc. It’s all very Melrose Place without the pool or the love triangles or the hot looking people.)

Anyway, back to the reason why I’m a total asshat. My first reaction to all the noise and banging was: Fabulous. There goes the peace and quiet. Because aside from a few smokers and the occasional loud stereo, it’s usually super quiet around here, and I love it that way.

But then, I checked my initial reaction, because … hello? These people are MOVING. They are lugging and unpacking and lifting all their Earthly belongings in the very same oppressively sweltering, 90-degree heat that I just bitched about when I had to endure it while sitting in my air conditioned car. When did I become such an old woman? When did I become so self-involved that people who can’t move into a new home in complete silence somehow give me reason to complain? Am I going to turn into that nasty lady who slaps at kids with her broom on Halloween when they come to her door looking for candy?

Hell no!

I refuse to earn the reputation of being an asshat. If someone wants to call me an asshat, it will be because he/she likes the word and enjoys throwing it around as much as I do. NOT because the term applies, and NOT because the very essence of asshattedness fits me as perfectly as my favorite fitted running shorts. No sir. No ma’am. No asshats here, thank you very much.

 So, after some reflection and a sort of “I will not go gentle into that good, bitter night” determination, I just did what any self-centered person who prefers, instead, to be self-respecting would do – I walked Beckett over to the new tenants and introduced myself and asked if they needed any help. I also said they should probably meet Beckett now, since they were about to become his latest obsession through our sliding glass door, whether they liked it or not. That got quite a laugh. Most Beckettisms do. I only wish they were jokes but no ... they're pretty much my reality.  The last people who lived in the apartment had a little dog who inspired Beckett to chew a hole in the screen part of my "screened-in door" in an attempt to break free and go play.  I did the repairs on that myself, but, truth be told, it remains "the door formerly known as screened-in."

Anyway, as far as today's new tenants were concerned, they had things covered.  There were tons of trucks and people milling about, and everything seemed to be running pretty smoothly. Still, they thanked me and my 5’2”, 103 pound self for offering to lug, tote, push, pull, and do stuff, even as they probably wondered whether I could fold socks without falling over. It didn’t seem like the right time to randomly announce that I am training for another Healthplex bench press competition – since the goal of the visit was less self-focus, more other-focus.

And now we’re back home, the Schnoodle and I, and we’re even more grateful for our AC and our quiet day. (Well, I am. Beckett does just kind of expect these things now). And now I’m thinking about how it wasn’t even a year ago that I moved here, by myself, save for the few large items I paid some moving guys to deal with. So I still recall, very vividly, what a bear it is to move, to make that transition physically, mentally, financially. To not yet know which of your belongings goes where, and to be dealing with everything in the heat of summer while trying to beat the impending rain storms threatening to bear down again today. The least I could do for these people is show compassion, kindness, and a little understanding. The most I could do is what I am doing right now: in the absence of helping with the physical labor part of things, I’m making a batch of frozen pina colada “bites” (they’re alcohol free but oh so perfect for hot summer days) and I’ll bring them over in a bit just to say “Welcome” and “Let the asshat in Apartment 3 know if you need anything.”

Til next time,

And, should you find yourself in need of a similar form of edible penance, I give to you the frozen pina colada bites recipe.  Modify as you wish for vegan or vegetatian preferences, food sensitivities, etc.  Then enjoy.

Pina Colada Bites
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
  • 1/4 cup no-trans-fat 65% vegetable oil, spread stick or butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 quart (4 cups) vanilla no-sugar-added, reduced-fat ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract, if desired
  • 1/4 cup toasted* flaked coconut, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs, vegetable oil spread and sugar. Press into ungreased 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until dry. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  2. In large bowl, beat ice cream, pineapple with juice and extracts with electric mixer on low speed just until blended. Spread in baked crust. Freeze to desired firmness.
  3. Remove dessert from freezer about 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with coconut.

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