Going To Publix to Cage A Thunderstorm

I have often said “Beauty happens everywhere, prepare yourself, and take a camera.”

Even when you are doing something that you might consider mundane, you might be surprised.

All it takes is to stop and smell the roses.

In my case, it was to stop and load the back of the car with the groceries.

You see we had just had a whole bunch of rainstorms.   That’s a technical term “whole bunch”.  We had a miss of a hurricane, then a couple days of storms.  All that gets followed by what passes for normal, which really is just a setting on the washer.

Since we, as a species, have decided to ignore what is happening around us, the weather got “weird”.

South Florida at this time of year Back In The Old Days of the 80s and before, or so I have been told, had very regular weather in The Wet Season.  Rain at 4:30PM.  Clear for the drive home.

Then we managed to fill up the place with condos put too close to roads and homes that were once low slung and now are beginning to look strangely familiar to anyone who grew up in a colder climate.  You know, two stories or more.  Split Levels.  Frame houses.

Yeah, all of that will get knocked down the first time we have a proper Category 3 blow through like Matthew was supposed to be here.  Those houses will all end up in my swimming pool and like places.

If you are moving down here from Up North, buy an older house.  One floor.  Concrete Block.  Impact Glass.  Non-Flat roof made of Tile.  That’s a start.  Let the other guy “take the hit”.

We moved here after everyone filled the place up and took over from someone else who wandered off to the Florida Keys to build a house on stilts.  I guess he wanted to fish for Lion Fish off his back porch.

But the storms don’t come at the same time since all those homes and all those pitched roofs and all that black asphalt warmed the air.   The sun hits it all, warms it up and creates a strong updraft.  It creates an island of heat that my own house is on the edge of.

So those 4:30 PM storms hit south of Miami and at the airport since the airport is a big open grassy field.  We get our storms at random times, seemingly around “The Dinner Hour” which certainly varies, or over night, or all day.

You get the picture… it all changed.

This particular day was one of those random days.   We got rain most of the afternoon and that meant that we were puttering.  I went into the kitchen and got creative and realized I needed a few things from the market.  Since it was raining, we went down to The Big Publix downtown in Fort Lauderdale since there is a parking garage built over top of the market.  Convenient and you don’t have to park in another area code because you want to park in the shade.

Another Floridian trick:  You will park way “out there” so  you can put your car under a tree, then walk way back.  This is so your car doesn’t melt in the sun.  Of course you get your suntan on the walk back from the shop, or the mall, or what have you.

Tourists tan.  Locals don’t.

The building is built like a bunker.  Thick walls to support all those SUVs and Exotic Cars that people here seem to think they need to show off to their neighbors with.  Plus my qualifies-for-antique-license-plates Jeep Wrangler.

Think of a casino.  No idea of what is happening around you, outside, day or night.  You can’t tell if you are in the middle of a war in one of those bunkers of a buildings.

I was in Aisle 7, I think.  Giggling at the magazines.  Looking at the pictures and considering translating one of the Spanish Language ones just for practice.

We heard the weather then.  A Deep Rumble, and a far away wind.  Considering we were further inside that building than my entire property length, that was a surprise.

“Must be rain”.

We rarely use umbrellas here.  Locals, that is.  You see someone using an umbrella and it is a snowbird or other tourist, or it is one of those rain storms that has no wind.

This wasn’t that.  It was a gully washer out there.

We managed to finish the shopping and went up to load up the car.  I stopped dead in my tracks and looked West.  Weather almost always moves East to West here except the times it moves North to South or Up and Down.

Scratch that, you really can’t tell what way a specific cell is Supposed To Move.  Thunderstorms can come from any direction at any time in October.

And there it was.  Looking Caged.  A thunderstorm.  I guess that was what I heard when I was reading that one Spanish magazine.

They do come from any direction and sometimes they just pose for you.

Finishing the shopping, we made it home without incident.  Just a little rain starting up just as we got into the driveway and loaded the food into the house.

You see, Storms here can come at any moment…

Sometimes, you just need a Cheesesteak and Fries

I had been baking all morning.

I made some Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Cookies, and Anisette Cookies.

Yeah I know, I’m repeating myself.  Actually, I am writing this right after I wrote about the Anisette Cookie recipe.

Tasty cookies, amazingly easy batter to work with too.

But, I was informed.  Told.

“Lunch today is a Cheesesteak, and by the way, you’re making fries”.

Do.  Tell.

Actually, Kevin makes a good cheesesteak.  We had gotten some appropriate “Home Made Hoagie Rolls” at Publix.  Just how a supermarket chain can make a “home made” roll, I don’t know, but they do make a good roll.  They’re not Amoroso, but they’re damn close.

That trip to Publix, I actually found Cheese Wiz.   What Cheese Wiz is, I don’t know.  We discovered that it makes a great dip for crackers though.

So we started.  A quarter of a sweet onion got grilled.  Twice what I needed but hey, I have eggs and I know how to use them.

Then the rolls were thawed, split, and slathered with a generous layer of that Wiz stuff I was talking about.

The Steak was cooking in the skillet.  I put half of the onions on top.  The onions immediately stuck to the “Cheeze” like substance.

Then the steak.  It melted the cheese.  On a whim, I squirted catsup on the fries and the steak.

Wow, ok, Food Porn.

See, Cheesesteaks are a religion in Philadelphia.  Museums are online dedicated to the art of the perfect Cheesesteak.  There are a laundry list of places that people will visit over others.  Every one of those people have most likely tried to make a steak at home.

I grew up with Provolone on mine, but mom was Italian and didn’t speak English until she was 7.

But, here in South Florida the true cheesesteak is not something that you can’t find easily.  There are some close calls, but it’s a bit off.

Like that roll.  Good, close, but not Amoroso’s.

No worries, it was a great meal.