07 December 2009

When the rain rain rain came down down down

I woke at 5 am to the sound of water pounding on the roof and rushing through the downspout. About half the time that they predict rain for SoCal, it doesn't materialize. Especially if they use aggressive terms like chance of rain: 90%.

But there it was.

More to the point, though, the cat was out of food.

Milton injured his kidneys when he was a kitten and has been on a special prescription diet ever since. Yes, it's expensive, but taking him to the vet and having all the tests done when he's ill is a lot more expensive, so I stick with the special diet. It's getting the stuff that's the hard part. Okay, well, the smell is something we could all live without, too.

Some years ago, the vet contracted with an online outfit to deliver the stuff by the case. In those days, it was free shipping and a little discount for having a standing order et voila! Cat food at my door!

Then the online outfit started charging for shipping and now it's a lot cheaper to go down to the vet to pick the stuff up. Not that I really wanted to do it in the pounding rain, but the cat tends to start chewing on people's feet when he doesn't get his food. I was also precarious on milk, bread, dinner, lunch...you know, people food.

So out into the pounding rain I went.

How pounding? We'd gotten an 1.25" by 10:30 this morning.

The freeways were chaos, of course. Most of the people who live in SoCal are transplants, so you'd think they'd have some idea of how to behave in a car in actual weather. No such luck. They're either running red lights (why?) or crawling across the intersection (why?). Visibility was bad, but not that bad.

So I drove to the grocery, and the groceries and I got soaked. Then I drove to the vet, but rather than going to the vet right away (heh. Called in advance. They were holding the precious cat food for me.), I sloshed through enormous lakes to get into the Italian market that's almost next door. Housemade meatballs in the freezer, sub sandwiches made fresh, but most importantly (so far as the kids are concerned) containers of homemade Fancy Italian Cookies. Not that the Italians have a corner on spritz or sugar cookies, but some of these things are pretty good, and I'm no fan of balls of dough covered in powdered sugar. The market was decorated for Christmas, and the bakery display was filled with pretty cakes.

And I was dripping on the floor, but no one seemed to mind.

I stashed that treasure in my car, and picked up the case of food at the vet, then drove home in the pouring rain, satisfied that all resident feet would now be safe from the cat's hungry wrath.

This has been a cold storm by SoCal standards, and a warm and hearty meal seemed to fit the bill for dinner. Bon Appétit had a recipe that sounded good this month: Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms and Greens. I rarely make anything according to the recipe as written, and in this case, I used an extra clove of garlic, 8 cups of mushroom broth rather than 4 of vegetable broth, chard rather than kale, 1 tsp of dried rosemary instead of fresh, and I threw in a 1/2 cup of red wine for good measure. The stew (mine was closer to soup, as my family prefers) was inexpensive (about $1.50 per serving), delicious, healthy and warm and filling when served with cornbread muffins. Perfect meal for a chilly night.

Go listen to some good music: "The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down" written by Robert & Richard Sherman from the featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. We actually had the entire audio of the featurette on a Disney record as children, and my mother would put it on the record player when we went to bed. Amusingly enough, the video of the short became a huge hit around here when my children were little, and this is one song I frequently had to sing when they went to bed at night.

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