Meat in Bulk

There’s a guy that comes by my office selling wholesale, restaurant quality meat out of his truck.  I know what you’re thinking… sounds a little fishy.  Who buys meat off a truck?  Well, I do.  I can tell you from experience that this meat is legit.  After all, this is Chicago and if you are true second city, you have to “have a guy” that sells meat.  I gotta guy. The stuff my guy sells is amazing, and he knows it.  He will gladly push you the first box of prime, aged, melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly marbled rib eyes for next to nothing because he knows you will come back, slobbering and crazed for more.  This has earned him his well deserved nickname……..The Crack Dealer.

Once he found out my husband and I were feeding a small army of carnivores he has just happened to “be in the neighborhood” about twice a month.  Just last week he came in to see if I needed anything.  Of course I am in dire need of hundreds of dollars worth of steaks, lamb chops, polish sausage and Kobe burgers.  What self respecting mother isn’t?  At the end of the workday I pull into the driveway, walk into the house and give the usual instructions:

Me:  “Hey guys, go empty out the back of the truck.  I have food in there to put in the freezer.”

Sons 2-4:  “Really?  Is it crack dealer meat???”

Me:  “Yes.  Lots of it.  And he threw in a 3 pound package of bacon.”

Chorus of boys:  “Yeessssssssssssss!”

Only then, as I hear those words of gratitude fall from the lips of my blessed little darlings do I realize I’m the only mother on the block that lets her children refer to anyone as “The Crack Dealer”.  I make a mental note to myself to lecture the boys over our dinner of marinated skirt steak about being very selective where they utter the words “mom knows a crack dealer”.

One thing is for sure, over the course of the last 18 years I have found very creative ways to feed the meat eating habits of six men.  The invention of wholesale bulk stores like Sam’s and Costco are something akin to a messenger of God telling me I have a meat tree growing in the back yard.  I am currently having conversations with one of my high school friends about buying one of her heritage pigs and giving the slaughter house my cut order.  I can make at least 15 different meals out of bacon alone.

One of the most telling signs of our meat eating addiction was several years ago when #4 was in pre-school and we had a family night at the school.  It was a craft project making table runners for our family Thanksgiving table.  You could bring in photos and they had cute cut outs of scrap paper to glue onto the runner that was then put through a laminating machine.  I gave all six of my men a paper leaf and wrote on the top “I am thankful for”.  I asked them to write in just a couple of words something they were grateful for.  Just like all the other families, my guys were grateful for “family”, “Uncle Herb”, “Grandma and Abuela”, all the usual suspects.  But my four year old was just learning letters and needed some help.  It was then he asked….

“How do you spell MEAT?”



One thing I was very insistent on when raising my boys was trying to maintain a decorum of non-violence.  The moment son #1 came out of the womb I solemnly vowed to have a strict “no guns” rule at which my husband verbally patted me on the head and said “Yeah, um….ok.”  This is pretty easy to achieve for about a year when all the toys are nonfunctioning color blocked blobs developed to attract the attention of a six month old.

Once my little boy reached about 18-24 months of age, it was apparent this diplomat-in-the-making watermark was going out the window.  Every single toy in the house became a weapon of some sort.  It didn’t matter if it was his beloved sleepy time stuffed Barney.  The dinosaur also doubled as a battering ram for monster trucks.  Toy cars never simply raced or followed a track; they collided and exploded with countless casualties.   It didn’t matter how hard I would try to steer my little darling to peace loving activities like sidewalk chalk and building blocks, because as soon as I would leave the room I would hear self play babble that sounded like “bee-ew, bee-ew, bee-ew”.  He had fashioned a gun made out of lego blocks as big as his head.

I considered the fact that maybe “this” boy was just different and my next child would be the harbinger of peace and all things lovely.  However, son #2 was born in camouflage and was smashing GI Joes together until they decapitated themselves a year later.  As a matter of fact, now at 15, his world pretty much revolves around, bacon, military history, and duct tape.  Sons 3, 4, and 5 have me hiding all things ceramic and pretty much followed suit.

I would not claim defeat.  I still felt strongly that I should do my best impression of NATO, and call an arms treaty.  TV Viewing privledges we contained only to PBS for 10 years.  I read them stories about choo choo trains that had positive outlooks.  I even made sure all my boys went to church and heard a lot of nonviolent preaching.

A few Christmases ago, my 90 year old great Uncle Willard built beautiful crucifixes for everyone in my large extended family.  Out of solid oak he had handmade each member of my generation a cross about 10 inches high, stained them a lovely honey color and signed his name to the back if each one.  Each of our children also received a 6 inch high cross similar to the larger “family” crucifix.  I’m certain it was Uncle Willard’s intent that each child hung that cross in their room.  However, my five boys immediately flipped those crosses upside down and held sword fights in the car on the way home.

Yes, you read that right.  My five blessings from God where waging war, gladiator style, with the very wood that symbolized the salvation of the world.

I was battling a fictional, allbeit, fully armed enemy.  To a boy, everything is better with an explosion, crash or zombies.  All is right and well knowing that somewhere in the world there might be ninja stars with their name on it….and that badass costume that goes with it.  Vacations are meant to be planned around decommissioned air craft carriers, civil war battle sights and the occasional sporting event.

I concede.

I have left the raising of the future ambassadors of the world to those of you with multiple gender households.  Now, I just go with the flow and pray to the god of sword fighting that there’s enough duct tape and bacon at my disposal to amuse them all while I get a pedicure.

The Power of the Axe

I often think that if detecting odors was an Olympic event, I would win the gold.  I have been able to sniff out all sorts of rank smells, from a rotting food under a bed to stinky socks mindlessly returned to the dresser.  After 18 years of dedicated service through motherhood, my sniffer is now highly attuned to every delicate imbalance in the bouquet of the universe.

In the last couple of years there has been a shift in the odor of things.  Pubescent boys across the country have been embracing a new substance that will forever change the fragrance of this planet. 

It’s called AXE.  It comes in many forms; body spray, underarm deodorant, shampoo and body soap.  Short of burning the nose hairs right out of my schnozzle, nothing has managed to mask “man smell” better than this ground breaking substance.  Not only will it cloak the tang of the one adorning it, but it will perfume a 20 foot radius around the individual for all to enjoy.  Walk on any high school football stadium and take a whiff.  Because as all things with teenage boys, nothing is in moderation, and I promise you will not be prepared for the musky scented garland that will accost your olfactory. 

It is blessed relief.

Never was this more apparent than in my recent family vacation that involved boating and swimming in 90+ degree weather.  I was sitting in the back seat of the boat transporting my six men and a dog knowing, full well, that I was the only individual in the afore mentioned boat that had sufficiently showered in the last 24 hours.  Some individuals had gone into the lake water adding the ingredient of fishiness to mix of “nature”, wet dog and sweat.  As the boat climbed up to speeds past 30mph, I was second guessing my wisdom of my downwind seat selection.  It was then I beheld the power of the AXE.   The lake breeze flowed through my hair as we skimmed across the glass like surface but only the pleasant aroma of “Essence – 24 hour invisible solid” wafted to the backseat.  As I beheld this minor miracle I embraced a sense why is herpes contagious (scent) of gratitude and asked myself, “What is that fresh manly scent?”.  Only to remind myself, “Ah yes………it’s Axe.”

Thank you, Unilever.  I am forever indebted to your chemical prowess.

The Seat Is Always Up

We all tend to live in our own bubble.  Life hums along at its usual pace and we settle into a standard routine for us that we call “normal”.  It’s not until a manic experience moves us to see our own life through someone else’s eyes that we then realize how odd your life really is.

There were a few tell-tale signs along the way.  I found a Hot Wheels car in the toilet because there was an experiment to see if a whirlpool really could suck down an automobile.    My garden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was decapitated by a swift kick of a soccer ball.  Perhaps it was the fact that nature has a smell and it permeates every corner of my house even though I live indoors.  Every time the aroma of cinnamon candles hits my nose or I see anything clean and white, I realize that my life is as unique as pink zebra.

Over 20 years after college I still live in a fraternity house, where there’s always a belch at the dinner table and a support cup on the living room floor.  Even though I am a woman who loves to paint her toenails, soak in a bubble bath and have 3 hour long hair appointments, I live with six males ages 50, 18, 15, 13, 12 and 11.  With all the chaos, clamor and cacophony of laughter that comes with them, I reside in a home that has a decibel level that requires my Uncle to turn down his hearing aids the minute he walks in the door.  When I go to use the washroom, I have learned the importance of always keeping the seat up when I leave, or having a substantial amount of Clorox wipes at my imminent disposal upon my arrival.

This is my blog about living in a sea of testosterone……..and loving every minute of it.