Family Time

June 22-25, 2018 – Ohio

Our first stop was to visit my Dad and other family members in Ohio. (Hi Dad!)

We had a great time visiting and hanging out and it was a smooth start to our trip. For Dad’s birthday, we planned to go out to eat. He couldn’t decide on a restaurant at first and kept tossing out, “well, maybe” for this one or “I’m thinking about” that one, or just “well, I don’t know”. We didn’t settle it until the next morning when he walked out of his bedroom and said he had dreamed about Matzoh Balls and wanted to go to Manhattan Deli. We all agreed that it was an omen and you don’t mess with the potential haunting by matzoh balls so off we went. After a good lunch/dinner, my brother introduced us to Malley’s Chocolates, which is apparently a Cleveland icon. He bought us a Chocolate Survival Kit to take along on our trip… lots of yummy things in there to eat. We had to watch Chloe to make sure it didn’t all disappear in the first day.

We also visited the “new to them” house of our nephew and niece-in-law. They bought a fixer-upper and it was fun to see what they have done with it and hear their dreams for future renovations.

An interesting item is that another nephew is opening a Curiosity Shop in Cleveland. He has been dealing in antiques since he was in his early teens and he has worked his way up to opening his own business this August. He started by collecting old medical instruments and the like and has definitely branched out. Anyone interested in the weird or macabre can find his shop by searching “Cleveland Curiosities, Lakewood, OH” where you can find all kinds of weird, cool, creepy and seriously ODD things to adorn your home. They have a Facebook page also. So, if you would like to own a human skull, articulated monkey skeleton, freeze dried baby chicken, framed bats or other wonders of the universe, Cleveland Curiosities is the place to go (and yes, you can legally buy a human skull… and Clem will be happy to sell it to you.) It’s time to get your Halloween on, and maybe keep it on all year.

On the RV side of things, we cooked a lovely pork roast in the crock pot on the way up to Dad’s so that we could commence visiting right away and not have Dad worry about having food ready for whatever hour we happened to hit his door. We frequently do this when we have a long drive. The crock pot is set down in the sink, nestled on silicone drain pads and surrounded by silicone hot pads. We toss in the food, plug it in, kick on the inverter, and away we go.

We did a lot of food prep for this trip. I still use a lot of recipes out of the book “Fix, Freeze, Feast” but we had an added challenge this time. Our refrigerator kept faulting on us. We made some repairs and THOUGHT it might be fixed but we weren’t sure (it faulted once after the repairs, the night before we rolled out). We knew the rig would be unattended for four days while we were on Isle Royale. We were worried we would return to the mainland to the smell of rotting meat so we knew we couldn’t stock up and have all those lovely meals stacked in the freezer. Our solution was to prep just the marinades and put them in the appropriate size freezer zip lock bags with the cooking directions taped to the outside of the bag. We wrote on the label showing which type of meat and how much belonged in each bag, then froze the marinades. This way if the refrigerator died, all we lost was the marinade and the smell wouldn’t be as bad. Luckily the fridge was still chugging away when we got back and all our food was good.

Freezer tip: Our RV freezer won’t attempt to restart if it faults so you know it died when you get back because it is still off. The food tells you if it was long enough to thaw. However, after a power failure, your home freezer will go back on and refreeze everything even if it warmed enough to spoil before the power came back on. I use this trick that I read somewhere once: Freeze some ice cubes and put the loose cubes into a freezer safe container. Stick it into the back of your freezer and leave it there. When you return from a trip, pull out the container and see if you have individual cubes of ice or if they thawed and refroze as an ice sheet in the container. Cubes are good even if slightly deformed. Ice sheet is bad. This means your freezer fully thawed then refroze and you need to start tossing out the things that probably went bad.

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