Friday, January 23, 2009

Shopping With My Father-In-Law, or A Quaint Afternoon In Hell

Ah, shopping with my father-in-law. If it's not a trip out to Home Depot to test the physical limits of a Dodge Caravan, it's a rice run to Chinatown. Whatever it is, it's always an adventure.



Every weekend we have a father (in-law) and son trip to the grocery store. That is a weekly treat in itself. My FIL has gifts. Skilz. And they are mad. Imagine you are in the meat section, a meat section full of every cut of meat possible from an entire herd of cattle. Imagine one of those thousands upon thousands of packages of meat is broken open and leaking blood. This is the package my FIL will choose. It doesn't matter if it's buried under a literal tonne of meat. It doesn't matter if it's still in the back and hasn't been brought out yet. Hell, it doesn't matter if it hasn't actually been wrapped up yet and put out on display. If it hasn't, if it will be wrapped shortly and fate has determined it will fall to the ground or be crushed under something else causing a tear in the cellophane, my father-in-law will wait for it. His senses are that good.

Beef, pork, poultry or seafood, he will find it. On a good day he'll find more than one. His other ability, which I believe to be supernatural, is to choose a broken package that I will not notice until I'm picking it up to give to the cashier. Why just get blood over the rest of the groceries when you can get it all over your son-in-law's hands? The show stopper though? Bones. Bones are much better because not only do they cause the container (I'm trying to stop writing package. Did you read Steenky yesterday?) to break, but they also stab your son-in-law! I love that. LOVE IT! Wondering what kind of bovine, porcine... um... chicken or fish disease is coursing through my veins as I empty the rest of the cart warms my heart. Or maybe that's the poison?

Last weekend was a trip to Chinatown for rice. Now for all my non-Asian readers, when an Asian family buys rice, it's not a family sized box of Rice-a-Roni. We're talking 50lb bags. Bags plural. My father-in-law likes to tell me about these trips at the last possible moment so I have no time to prepare, either mentally or with an excuse. Joking! I'd never make up an excuse. Honest.

Driving in Chinatown. How does one describe it? The throngs of pedestrians, the stream of cars fighting for non-existent parking, delivery trucks parked in the middle of the street, rabid sea gulls and pigeons, old men with cleavers hollering at you in Cantonese to buy something that, quite frankly, frightens the hell out of you. Oh, and those fifty pound bags of rice? They don't walk themselves to your car so you need one of those non-existent parking spots. (Ok, that's stretching it a bit, they will carry the rice to your car on a dolly, but it kind of spoils the story.) Imagine drinking a six-pack of Red Bull and then playing Need for Speed on your Xbox. Kinda like that. And then your father-in-law mentions, oh ya, heh heh, it's Chinese New Year next week. Ya. It's kinda like that.

57 comments:

  1. All that talk of meat upset my cow lovin' sensibilities, but I still love ya, Captain...and linked you on my site right after you commented, which I'd intended to do in the first place...

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  2. Ohhh. I always thought the guys yelling with cleavers in their hands were yelling at me to leave! Thanks for clearing that one up for me.

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  3. LOL! What is it with fathers (or father in laws) and shopping? My dad is mad about Costco... and they have heavy bags of everything...

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  4. Holy crap, top five! Are those Hostess HoHo's they serve at that restaurant?

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  5. Huh. My FIL just likes to hang around the Honda dealership torturing them into giving him a better deal when he trades in his car TWO YEARS FROM NOW.

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  6. I couldn't be in the same room with my father in law or else he would start grabbing at boobs or ass, mainly mine.

    I would have much perfered blood from the meat or rapid pigeons in Chinatown. : )

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  7. Chinese New Year and a local Chinatown. How perfect!

    Ellie

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  8. John does that with condiments. "Jen, it's a 10 lb tub of mayonnaise! We'll never have to buy it again!" In John's world, mayo doesn't expire. Although, we do need a 10 lb tub of hot sauce. Every time I go shopping, he needs more hot sauce. I'm starting to think he's replaced his water intake with jalepenos.

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  9. Wow. I just had a flash to the first time I went shoping with my husbands family down in little Havana. Scary.

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  10. Sounds amazing...but I am not going to ever be able to join you because I have to wash my hair.

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  11. O Captain, My Captain.

    I did so need this laugh. I nearly spewed coffee out of my nose. I never do that..it would be wasteful of that expensive shit I get all my johns to bring me..

    I, once again, bow to your greatness..albeit, today, as a person, and not only for your writing, brilliant as it is.

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  12. You are a good boy! And so damn funny! I can imagine you be-slimed with dripping who knows what at the check out register. And I would be thinking I am so glad it ain't me! Carry on Grasshopper!

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  13. Aside from the leaking blood and pointy bones, that sounds like quite the adventure! The nearest Chinatown to me is in Washington, DC so I don't get to have the full on experience.

    Gotta love the noodle restaurant sign, that's cool! In Boston's Chinatown, I saw a Ho Toy Noodle company, but didn't stop in.

    And the rice? I'm with you, bro. I have some Filipino relatives, and you would have thought they had stock in a rice import company! Them bags is heavy!

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  14. Oh, that sounds delightful!

    It sounds even more fun than our weekly *family* shopping trip with all 5 midgets in tow!

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  15. Father-in-Laws are against my religion. I think.

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  16. My husband has never gone shopping with my dad. I think that's nice that you do that. Glad you lived to tell...

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  17. damn man, you got a really good following...

    Whenever I get over to your blog its like 50,000 people have already posted...

    envious I am... guess I should be careful or I might turn to the dark side...

    Wouldn't Yoda say "Envy leads to" something... bad?

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  18. Aaaw. You're a good boy! You'll get heaven points for this you know.

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  19. Cool - a Ho Ho restaurant. Do they also do Ring Dings and King Dons, or are they not that diversified?

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  20. Excellent! We practically have the same FIL. Except mine is crazier! I'm glad someone feels my pain.

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  21. OMG! I remember Chinatown in Vancouver, BC. It makes Seattle's Chinatown look like Disneyland. We have nothing like it here. I went into the Asian market the other day with my DIL. I kid you not, they had a live fish tank and whole roasted ducks hanging from a rack (head, feet and all). Creeped me the hell out. Brought back flashbacks. Imagine the mid-70s, teenagers, ferryboats, kites, and Vancouver's International District. Scary!

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  22. LOL, the bloody meat. That is a 'special' skill indeed.

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  23. Dude - that sounds so much like my grandmother!!! whenever I take her to the grocery store, there is blod or juice of some sort leaking everywhere. It's the elders - they have these wonderful gifts that maybe one day will be passed on to our children. If we could only be that lucky!

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  24. I got your number from a friend. She said you were great at what you do.
    Captain this and
    Captain that..
    I love the Captain
    and
    Captain is just great.
    It seems you know how to please the ladies.
    I have just one question
    Does your father-in-law know your dirty little secret?

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  25. Damn - Mad skilz is right! But, I'm confused about the Ho Ho's. Is that in HO HO Merry Christmas? Ho Ho's & Ding Dongs? Or just your good ol' fashion massage parlor ho?

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  26. That's cause in Chinatown they expect people to use their Ninja moves to get parking spaces... DUH!

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  27. Sweet jesus, are you complaining AGAIN?????

    christ.

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  28. Please hire someone to take pics next time you go. Or a vid. That would just be the cat's meow.

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  29. Your FIL sounds like fun. The cow blood, not so much, but atleast he gives you writing material.

    Invest in buckets of hand sanitizer...

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  30. That is awesome. I want you FIL to go shopping with me.

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  31. I think he's established an unholy alliance with the butcher - they've clearly got it in for you.

    We ate in Chinatown in SF when I was a kid, and I was traumatized by all the dead things swinging from the ceiling next to our table.

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  32. He's just trying to toughen you up with rice portage so you can hold your ground against SL

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  33. Oh! My! Gawd!!!! You poor thing!

    Sorry your shopping trips are ... well ... that. But glad you get to spend lots of time with your FIL. :)

    Chinatown in this city is a very scary place. It's a shame; used to be a nice excursion on an afternoon. Now, not so much.

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  34. I knew there was a reason we lived FAR away from my in-laws. Thank you for reminding me!

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  35. I think he's got your number! Oh, and I looked everywhere on your site....exactly where are you hiding your "package"?

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  36. My cross-contamination self is cringing at the thought of leaky meat. I thought you were going to say that the FIL would argue that it's ripped and get it for free at the register. I never suspected it would be to get you.

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  37. And this is why I am glad that I don't live close to my in-laws!!!

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  38. Now I'm off meat again, but it was worth it for such a great laugh.

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  39. ah, such a wonderful SIL u r.
    Only you could make such a hilarious tale out of a shopping trip. I could easily picture the
    whole thing and your look of
    exasperated strained patience.

    My only question is, shouldn't we get equal help. I mean where were
    you when SFIL and I were out chopping down trees for our fire
    wood for the winter? So it's a
    long, long drive. You add up the hours spent over the year on your
    exicting runs for groceries, think
    about it!

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  40. I am so happy my FIL doesn't call or visit often. When we do see him he talks NONSTOP about the stock market. It reminded me of your description of drinking a six-pack of Red Bull and then playing your Xbox, except instead of playing, you're banging your head against a wall and finally falling to the floor in a puddle of stock option lingo. Well, ok, maybe it's not that bad...

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  41. I honestly don't even know how I survived my childhood. My grandmother had a meat grinder, and for fun she'd let us drop in chunks of bloody beef with our bare hands. I don't remember ever washing afterward. Thanks for stopping by and commenting today. I'm with you on the rice, our family is Cuban, they only ever bought the ginormous bags, it was a staple at every meal.

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  42. Sorry I had a wee giggle at your expense on this one. Bwah ha ha!

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  43. the meat in chinatown scares me...and i really dislike seeing those whole skinned chickens hanging in the window (like in toronto..think i just threw up in my moutha little). we always had big bags of rice, just one at a time mind you, and the rice dispenser...do you have one of those? i think we buy the 25lb bag now, cos i have got to have my rice! lol and that ricearoni boil in the bag shit is not even what i call rice.

    my fil lives 2 hours away...we see him once a yr, maybe twice if we're lucky. same w mil & her husband. but it's o.k., too much of them would not be a good thing lol

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  44. Good lord I'm jealous. That's quite the exciting outing you have going there.

    No really...your life sounds way more fun than mine. :)

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  45. I haven't visited Chinatown up there. Our own 'International District' isn't much, although there is a restaurant there with the best hot and sour soup I've ever had. Ever.

    Your FIL is a gifted man. Gifted. :D

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  46. This HAS to be Toronto's Chinatown. HAS to be. It is, right?

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  47. Hi Captain!
    Your FIL reminds me of my MIL...
    When we go shopping she has a habbit of leaving her cart in the middle of the aisle and walking away from it. Sometimes she goes to the other side of the store, and expects it to be there when she gets back...if she can remember where she left it.
    Family - gotta love 'em cuz you can't kill 'em.
    :)

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  48. My husband's maternal grandmother lived with us for six years. She was from the Phillipines. She had to go to Chinatown 3 times a week (she would prefer everyday) to buy her groceries fresh.

    His paternal grandmother is from China. When we took her to Chinatown, they all knew her and would ask about her seven siblings and six children by name.

    Both of them, however, never selected the broken package...

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  49. I buy a box of Minute Rice and it lasts forever. I'm the only person in the family who likes rice. The kids just wrinkle up thier noses and say, "Ewwww, I'm not eating THAT!".

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  50. I'll swap you for a MIL who would call S.P. to ask when he was working, then call me to invite us to a dinner, family event, or whatever, saying, "You should be able to come, I know he has that day/weekend off!"

    Blood and mayhem in Chinatown sounds like a damn picnic compared to some of her sweet little tricks...

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  51. But, what an adventure! This makes my life seem boring.

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  52. Sweet Baby Buddha, but you make me laugh my ass off. Oh, if only that were true. Not that part about laughing. You do make me laugh. But the part where I laugh so much that the extra part of my ass that I would like to get rid of? Falls off. Maybe I just need to haul a few 50 lb. bags of rice.

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  53. I feel your pain....Those wearhouse clubs where you can buy a vat of saurkraut always get my mother. Yeah, cause you so NEED a vat of saurkraut??

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  54. My Father in Law is an ex-Military, war fighting, bigot, who thinks the entire world is wound up in one big conspiracy against him.
    I WIN !!
    Oh, wait......

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  55. That sounds like a load of fun. Especially the oozing broken packages....


    That's what SHE said!

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  56. 50lb bags of rice? Seriously? That is nuts. I don't think I could eat that much rice in my life time!

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Come on, sailor. I love you long time.