Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Shopping and The Fourthmeal

Yesterday, whilst Christmas shopping, Liz decided to play the role of Mrs. Claus, and took us to EL RODEO in Mentor for a tasty feast of enchiladas. I added plenty of El Yucateco red sauce and slipped into culinary nirvana. We'd not been out to eat in weeks, so the occasion was worthy of celebrating. It also helped fortify us against the onslaught of freezing rain that was battering northeastern Ohio as we traveled.



We were successful in finding gifts for the family, in part because of a new store that popped up next to Gabriel's and Big Lots by Route 615. 'Ollie's Bargain Outlet' proved to be an interesting addition to the local retail mix. Sort of a less-organized version of our familiar MARC'S stores.



The buying adventure lasted nearly all day. So upon turning toward home, I was hungry again. Liz still felt full from dinner, but my own appetite had returned. It seemed correct to maintain the Latin flavor of my day, but options at such a late hour were slim. Still, inspiration appeared as we drew near to Chardon. I decided to procure a ten-pack of hard-shell tacos at The Bell.

Anticipation teased my senses as we drove toward the hinterland. But in our remote corner of the county, everything was still coated with a thick, unforgiving layer of ice.

With much effort, I negotiated the long incline of our access ramp, to the front porch. It had been turned into a ski hill by the creeping frost. Armed with a bucket of driveway salt, I retraced my steps. Now, it would be safe for retrieving gifts from my truck.

Inside, Riley and Quigley (Labrador Retriever and Pomeranian, respectively) were eager to share my fast-food vittles. But I fed them on pooch provisions, instead. Then, while my wife began to unpack our goods, I opened my 'Fourthmeal' and savored its tantalyzing aroma.



Eight of the ten tacos disappeared quickly, along with gulps of diet soda. My belly was immediately grateful. Afterward, I checked e-mail in the home office, and finally surrendered to fatigue. Our bed was inviting and warm.

But by 4:30 a.m. I was experiencing remorse.

What had I done??

The delectable 'Fourthmeal' had settled in the bottom of my stomach, like a brick made of Mexican clay. I felt groggy, and weighed down. Yet awake! Animals scampered for cover as I slipped out of bed. In the dark, I fumbled for the computer.

If I could not sleep, at least I could write...

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