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I may have been raised in a barn, but I have never been to a barn raising

**Just so you’re warned – in this entry, I talk about my family’s insanity. I don’t think it comes off as funny and wry as discussions of one’s family’s insanities really should. You might want to just scroll on by.**

So my sister is visiting for Memorial Day weekend, and that means a decent bit of weirdness caused by the family trying not to be weird – such things are very stressful.

So part of the way my mother knows to express her competence at being a human being (and I’ll admit to doing it too) is by providing food. This isn’t even so much hospitality as a desperate contest to be able to fit in with society. We’re good with cooking, but we’re a little bit clueless on the normal society bits – most of it gleaned through reading Miss Manners and textbooks on grammar. No, really.

So anyway, there was a trip to the supermarket wherein my mother selected the most expensive beef cuts available, despite me going up and whispering that she could get some expensive ones (for my sister, her husband, my father (since he has dental work that appreciated more tender cuts of meat), and possibly even herself) but I would be very happy with a cheaper cut. Reason why #1: now that I live on my own, I make a point of never paying more than $2/lb for meat and would rather go without meat (not a hardship) than pay more money; reason why #2: I have simple tastes and appreciate what is there, and I can get just as much enjoyment out of a tougher and less perfect steak; and reason why I had the balls to mention it to my mother: she hadn’t bought it yet – I don’t believe in complaining once things are a done deal, but if I can fix something before it happens, it seems unfortunate not to mention it. Anyway, my mother did not listen to me, and she bought obscenely (in my land, at least) expensive meat.

And then after my father cooked these lovely steaks to perfection on the grill, there was disaster in which one of the steaks fell to the floor. Not the indoor floor, which had been cleaned recently. No – the garage floor. The garage floor that is very very gross – not in chemical ways, but just in the ways anywhere that is fairly outdoors but trapped in a mostly enclosed system can be.

So my father lets out a wail of disaster. My mother panics. And I see only one way to fix the problem: I grab it up quickly, rinse it (all the happy grill flavor rinsing down the drain), pat it dry with paper towels, and turn around. Ummmm… OMG! I am a bit horrified by this solution, but I am weighing in my head the likelihood of any bacteria/contaminants just being on the surface and being able to be washed away since there is no visible detritus. But also that I know there is much nastiness on the floor… so I offer to eat this particular steak, since I know I have a fairly robust immune system and digestive tract. Also, I am perfectly happy eating all the sides and avoiding the meat (especially since there are usually plenty of leftovers). But, no, apparently my steak is cooked a little less, and it would be too much of a bother to cook it another few minutes to get it to the stage where my parents can eat it – so they split the washed steak as planned.


So my parents ate the meat, and they seem fine.

But given that a) my father must have some meat to eat, and b) my mother doesn’t cope well with any amount of stress – what would a normal person do?

Some how throwing it out just didn’t seem like a viable option – but I think that’s the answer. Wouldn’t that have stressed other families out as well? Why was this weird action the easiest course of action?

And will my brother-in-law ever be willing to visit again?

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