Okay, so ya put together a barbecue meal that could feed an Army.
The spread includes chicken breasts, Wood's German sausages, hamburgers, left-over Schwan's steaks, ribs, potato salad, macaroni salad, tossed green salad, corn on the cob, 14 different kinds of chips, deviled eggs, watermelon slices----the works.
Friends and family show up with drinks and even more stuff to add to the offerings.
You, the hostess with the mostess of slothness, don't want to have to wash 14 plates from the cupboard, so you put out a pile of paper plates.
There is a problem, though.
How much of that stuff on your smorgasboard spread can one hungry guest load on a paper plate without having the plate collapse underneath all that food?
I've tried that before, and it doesn't work well.
This year I decided to solve the problem and get me a collection of those wicker basket-style plate holders for my Fourth of July barbecue guests.
Hoping to be prepared, I started looking in April. They told me at Wal Mart that they weren't in yet but should be in a couple of weeks.
So, I waited and went back to Wal Mart. Nobody really seemed to know what I was talking about. A staff member led me to the picnic merchandise where we both looked up and down the aisle of picnic goodies.
No plate holders.
Okay, I thought. I'll make it in to town one of these days and surely find some at Merwins.
Well, it was a rainy day here yesterday (not news, I know), and I was figuring out, by the hour, how to keep myself from going stir crazy.
I vacuumed---thoroughly---the first hour. Then I folded clothes.
During the second hour, I sat at the computer during one of the day's deluges. An average of 10 minutes after each click, a site would download for me to read.
The rain had severely slowed our satellite reception and at times brought it to a complete halt.
What else is one to do if the Internet is running slow on a dismal wet day. I had already done my vacuuming and folded clothes.
Okay. I turned on the TV and watched "The View" long enough to see that Rielle Hunter babe field questions from her snarling hosts about her affair and her love child with John Edwards, which has now ended but they do still love each other.
I thought the gals were pretty justified in their questions.
I thought the gals were pretty justified in their questions.
First, Barbara Walters let her colleagues chew off a few pieces of red Rielle meat and then self-proclaimed interview queen came in for the "kill."
Barbara let Rielle babe know that she was very upset about Rielle's book about the "truth as Rielle knows it" where Barbara was characterized as yelling and screaming because she didn't get the interview with Rielle at the time she wanted it.
Somehow Oprah's name and spirituality-based interviewing came up in the exchange, and Barbara said she fully respects Oprah.
She was just mad that Rielle said she had screamed at her cuz Barbara admitted she has made people mad in interviews but NEVER screamed at them.
Well, the rain was still falling when I re-entered reality from that fascinating bubble of she-wolfs "nicely" conversing about the questionable behavior of their guest.
Let's see, I thought. I can eat my cheese. That will take five minutes, and maybe my Internet is up and running at regular speed again.
No luck. The rain had intensified; the Internet was floundering at best.
Okay, I'll drive to town and find those plate holders. Then, I'll go visit my mother, but only after I find the plate holders.
This time my search started at Big R, thanks to my assumption that if they have a camping section, surely they'll have plate holders.
This is definitely a downtown project, I thought while driving south on HWY 95 and watching my faulty left wiper blade feebling washing away the rivers of water.
Once inside Merwins, I quietly vowed to find the plate holders on my own. Soon giving up, though, I talked to Grant who regrettably told me he did not have them in stock.
I admitted going to Wal Mart, to which he responded, "I've never been in that store."
To which I responded, "I figured you hadn't."
He suggested the kitchen store on First Avenue. So, off I went, driving around the block three times and finally parking three blocks away on Cedar.
To heck with this rain, I thought, while walking down the sidewalk with water droplets rolling down my face.
Inside the kitchen store, I met with failure. The guy tried to direct me to something else that carried plates, but I said, "No, I'm talking about individual paper plate holders."
Guess I should have known that an upscale store probably doesn't cater to the common folk who eat off paper plates.
I thanked him and walked across the street to the Cedar Street Bridge. It's terrible but I don't even know the name of that store just inside the bridge on the left, but I must say the clerk was very nice to me----still, no plate holders.
"Don't you need something to hold your napkins and keep them from blowing away in the wind?" she asked.
"No," I said. "My napkins (usually paper towels) are distributed inside with the food from the kitchen island."
Well, at least she tried AND she did commiserate with me about one time she was looking for a simple, manual lemon squeezer. She looked all over town and finally paid $20 for one at the store across the street.
She also suggested that grocery stores might have those paper plate holders.
So, I went to Super 1 and found nothing.
I stopped by The Bridge for a non-visit with my mother who was napping.
So far, my trip to town on a rainy, ugly day had netted nothing except some good wasted time searching for those elusive plate holders.
Resigned that the whole trip had been almost in vain, I headed home. Suddenly, while driving north on Boyer, a lightbulb flashed in my brain.
THE DOLLAR STORE!
Surely, if no other place in Sandpoint had those holders, the Dollar Store would.
And, they did.
Not the wicker kind but the plastic kind---even better. I bought 24 and spent just over $5.
Last night we ate our hamburgers on paper plates with holders, and we did just fine.
I'm now ready for my Fourth of July picnic, and a rainy, ugly day did not go down as a total loss.
And, to save all the other poor souls out there, the frustration of searching for plate holders or maybe even manual lemon squeezers, TRY THE DOLLAR STORE FIRST.