Pan Seared Chicken Thighs and Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms, with Roasted Butternut Squash.

Y’all, I made that! I did. I made it all by myself! I struggled with trying to figure out how to cut the butternut squash into “2-inch wedges”, so I just opted to cube them, but I made that meal. The whole thing. Even the mushrooms, and I hate mushrooms. My family loves them, but I thought I’d forgo the mushrooms so that everyone else could enjoy them.

I wanted this to be a win. I really did. I was a bit worried because the chicken thighs were taking to cook and I thought for sure I would inadvertently give my family salmonella poisoning. But, everything was cooked through, and we were really enjoying the food. Even my daughter wanted seconds on the mushrooms. In hindsight, that was a terrible idea because just 9 short hours later, I was awoken by the dog in my bed.

He sleeps in my daughter’s room, so him jumping into bed with me is odd. I slit open my eyes and see my daughter’s nightlights through my door, which means her door is ope…and there is a shadowy figure in the doorway. It’s a short shadowy figure, so I’m not alarmed, just confused. I call my daughter’s name and she says in such a sweet, small voice “Mommy, I puked”.

I throw the covers off, climb out of bed, and go into her room to investigate because this kid has an iron stomach. She never pukes. I very clearly see the puke in her bed and promptly say, “Oh, no, that’s not your puke, that’s the dog’s puke”. Still in utter disbelief that this child has vomited. She then goes on to tell me that it was definitely hers because her stomach hurt and she didn’t know where to puke because her cup of water was too small and she didn’t want it to get on the floor, and basically all of these reasons justifying why it was her puke and not the dogs. Meanwhile, I’m inspecting the puke in the subtle glow of her nightlights and decide to turn the overhead light on to really get a good look at it. I mean, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say “Yep, that’s a pile of puke” and clean it up? No, I need to investigate the contents to see the color of it, the odor, and the volume. I decided to help my kid out and shuffle her into the hallway. I offer my bed, but she declines, so she makes herself a makeshift mattress out of her Frozen Anna and Elsa blanket and uses her stuffed alligator as a pillow….

This is really where, looking back, I can see the error of my ways. I’m a rookie when it comes to kids vomiting. I myself am not a vomiter. I can be nauseous until the cows come home, but it really takes a lot to get me to blow chunks. My kids are genetically the same way, so when they do puke, I know to take it seriously, but I also don’t know how to properly dispose of said puke. In this situation, after thoroughly examining the emesis, I pulled the sheets and the mattress protector off and wrap them in a way that I wouldn’t drop little puke crumbs down the stairs like I’m some sort of deranged Gretel. A thought casually entered my mind, but I was too tired to heed my subliminal warning. That fleeting thought was “bath tub”. I ignored it because I have spent many a night cleaning poop out of bathtubs during bath time and potty-training (why do kids always poop in the tub?!). I, however, have not spent many a night cleaning chunks out of sheets, but I really should have last night.

I bring the pukey linens downstairs, throw them into the washing machine, throw some bleach pods, liquid bleach, and (I swear) the most amount of detergent I’ve ever used at one time into the washing machine, turn the machine to Extra-Heavy Duty, Pre-Rinse, Soak, Extra-Rinse, and let it go. I forgot about it until well into the daylight then decided to check on the linens…..

Now I know how a dishwasher must feel. I peek inside and see chunks all over the place. It was awful. I thought, “Oh my gosh, what have I done?”. I do another “Extra-Heavy Duty, Pre-Rinse, Soak, Extra-Rinse” cycle and proceed to make myself a snack and some tea.  I come back a little bit later during the fill stage of the second-rinse cycle, I stop the machine, and decide that these chunks are not going to get any smaller, and even if they do, it won’t exit the bin without having clogged my entire machine. I had to think quickly. I run upstairs and grab the fish net for our fish tank (Alexa, add fish net to my shopping list).

I was literally shoulder deep with a fish net scooping chunks of mushroom out of the washing machine. I had pulled the linens out before hand, but they were soaked, and I had nowhere to put them. I take a moment to glance around the laundry room to find something suitable to hold the heavy sheets. I end up finding a bucket that typically houses clothes pins and our sewing kit. It’s got a small crack in it, but meh, it’ll do….”This won’t take long”, I stupidly thought.

ONE HOUR later I finally finish. In that hour I managed to make an even bigger mess, with water literally everywhere. That “small crack” in the bucket ended up getting bigger with the weight of the linens, and water seeped everywhere.  Under the dryer, under the washing machine, under the dog kennel. I quickly grabbed all of the kitchen towels to prevent the water from spreading any further until I could finish scooping mushroom pieces out of the washing machine. I ended up having to move the dog kennel completely out of the laundry room, and moving the dryer out of its cozy nook, disconnect the vent, clean up the lint, and dry up the water underneath it.

Prior to all of that mess and to my satisfaction, I was able to clean the pieces out of the washing machine quite successfully with the fish net, but I still had a plastic bucket with gross sheets in it. I decided while the washing machine was still full of water that I would use that opportunity to try and get chunks out of the sheets, because as you can imagine, they are stuck to the sheets.

I’m rinsing, and rinsing, and scooping, and rinsing, and scooping, and rinsing, when finally, I thought, “I’m just going to throw these away. This isn’t worth it”. But the linens are SOAKED and weigh a ton, so I put it on a spin cycle and I’m currently waiting for the water to spin out of them so that I can throw them away. There is food all up in the fibers of the mattress pad, so that is going to the trash, but I might be able to salvage the sheets.

Lesson Learned: It’s easier to do things correctly the first time instead of trying to take shortcuts……or, just throw the damn sheets away!

Positive Lesson Learned: I can totes make bone-in chicken thighs with balsamic glazed mushrooms, but probably won’t for a while.



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