I found a mattress in my tree. I’m not talking about a little sleeping pad that blew out of someone’s trash and ended up leaning against my tree trunk. No… I’m talking about a full-fledged, real mattress, perched 12 feet high up in the branches of my massive olive tree. Seriously, I pulled into my driveway and immediately knew something was amiss. But it took a few minutes to realize there was actually a mattress wedged between two limbs, precariously perched high up in the tree. And to make it even more interesting, I noticed that the shredded remnants of what used to be a sheet were actually one of my sister’s old polkadot sheets that she had on her kids’ beds a few years back. Strange. Very strange, indeed.
Raise your hand if your kid has ever done something stupid. (I’m pretty sure everyone’s hand just went up!) When we all gathered for dinner that evening (if you’re a regular reader, you know that we eat with my sister’s family nearly every night), I asked the obvious question. Does anyone know how a mattress draped with my sister’s old sheet got up in my tree? Silence, of course. No one… not one kid claimed any knowledge of the incident. We grilled all of them, jointly and individually, and got nothin’! As parents, it’s pretty easy to pick out who’s lying, who’s hiding something, and who really is innocent (usually). This time it was strange because it honestly seemed as though no one knew anything about it. So we let it go.
Fast forward a couple years when we were selling our house. Imagine my surprise when the home inspector (who was extraordinarily thorough), came to me – a perplexed look on his face – and said I can’t for the life of me figure out why there are several distinct blobs of melted wax on the flat part of your roof. I, of course, had no explanation so we left it at that. Just for idle conversation at dinner that evening, I relayed the conversation I had with the inspector. And there it was… the revelation… the light finally went off in my teenage son’s brain. His face a combination of pride, guilt, and a memory long ago forgotten. I know how the mattress got in your tree!!
Apparently, my ever-the-romantic son had been on a mission to impress a girl. So one night, long after I was tucked peacefully away in my bed, he managed to drag our extension ladder to the side of our house, strap a full sized mattress to his back, candles in his jeans pocket, matches in his hand, and climb the 14 feet to the roof of the house so he and the girl could watch the stars by candlelight. What the heck was he thinking?? (Well, I’m pretty sure I know what he was thinking, but we won’t go there). I have no idea how long they were up there, what the evening was like, how he managed to obtain a mattress without us knowing about it, or how he got his hands on a very old sheet from my sister’s house, and it’s probably best that I don’t. But one thing is for sure, there are definitely easier – and one would think better – ways to impress someone! Perhaps a nice flank steak with sautéed mushrooms dinner by candlelight? Instead, after his “romantic” evening, and escorting the girl down the ladder and taking her home, he managed to forget all about the mattress and candles (hence, the wax blobs on my roof), leaving them to the elements for more than two years until finally a large dust storm blew the mattress off my roof and into my tree. Yes, the flank steak with sautéed mushrooms dinner most certainly would have been better.
And a flank steak dinner is one of the easiest to prepare! Just get a decent sized steak (1/2 pound per person), let it come to room temperature, liberally sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, heat a cast iron pan (or other pan that can handle very high heat), throw a big hunk of butter in the pan, then sear that bad boy for approximately 4 minutes per side – you want a nice caramel-ly crust, but medium rare on the inside. Top it off with some mushrooms sautéed in a little butter, and you’ll have a very tasty, perfectly cooked, wonderfully sumptuous meal in front of whomever you’re trying to impress in about 15 minutes. No need to climb a 14-foot extension ladder with a mattress strapped to your back. Just a suggestion.
And if you know someone who needs a simple but impressive dinner, please Share, Pin, or Yum this to them. They’ll be happy you did!