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three days. four pizzas.

Who takes three days to make one serving of grilled pizzas?

Me. And pretty much only me.

My quest for the grilled pizza began sometime late Saturday morning, when we began our endless discussion: what’s for dinner? We knew we wanted to grill something, as we wanted to take advantage of last weekend’s glorious weather. Mrs. Crappy would have been happy with cheeseburgers, but I was bent on something fancier.

I don’t recall which one of us came up with grilled pizzas, but I know it took a while to get to the final decision, as Mrs. Crappy shot down all manner of grilled seafood, as well as flank-steak fajita recipe that I was dying to try. But once we got there, it all seemed pretty easy. I remember with great fondness the grilled pizzas I had that one time at Michelle’s house, and after I looked up the recipe (it’s here), we headed off to the grocery store while happily chattering about the toppings we were going to use.

I grabbed the Kitchen Aid mixer (first time using the dough hook!) when we got home and put together the ball of sticky dough we would use in an hour or so. For whatever reason, bread has always been massively intimidating to me, but Michelle’s instructions were perfect and I plopped the ball in an oiled bowl and waited for it to rise.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After nearly 2 hours, it had started to puff up a little bit, but by then it was 9 p.m.; Mrs. Crappy was cranky, I was hungry and we settled for beer and Spaghettios. In addition to that rather unsatisfying* option, we faced a dilemma: would the dough hold up in the fridge for a couple days? I work on Sunday nights, so we would be waiting until Monday to try the pizzas, and I wasn’t sure the dough would hold up that long.

The internet assured me it would — we might even get the added bonus of a sourdough-esque twang in our pizza crusts after all that time — so I wrapped up my precious ball and stuck it in the fridge, ready for me to grill as soon as I got home on Monday night.

Except that on Monday night, I was looking at what seemed to be a rapidly approaching wall of rain**, as well as a wife whose interest in grilled pizza had waned considerably since the weekend. Fine, goddammit — I’ll make my pizzas on the grill pan.

dough

Which, for the most part, worked OK. As per the recipe, I browned one side of the rolled-out crusts, took ’em off the heat, topped them and threw them back on to finish.

One the left: artichoke heart and crab white pizza. On the right: pepperoni and onion.
One the left: artichoke heart and crab white pizza. On the right: pepperoni and onion.

I was really pleased with my topping choices, and generally pleased with the overall result.  I did, as usual, learn some things for next time:

  • The grill pan technically worked, but it’s not the best way to do these. Covering the grill pan steams the dough too much, and controlling the cooking speed is difficult; I had to finish mine in the microwave to have melted cheese AND a crust that wasn’t burned.
  • I thought I rolled the dough thin enough. I was wrong. I like a very thin, very crisp crust, and my dough patties needed to be MUCH thinner.
  • I liked the slightly sour taste that an extra two days of fermentation gave my crusts, but if I want to cut my grilled pizza production time to, you know, a single day, I need to either A) leave myself extra time for the dough to rise or B) buy fast-rising yeast. Caveat: I pretty much don’t have any idea what I’m doing when it comes to cooking with yeast (see: Great Failed Homebrewing Attempt of 2011), and if someone who does has tips to offer, I’m all ears.
  • Roasted garlic. I mean, why not?

dun

OK, I don’t want you guys to get the wrong idea. I destroyed the kitchen while cooking Monday night — always a sign that I’m enjoying myself — and in spite of all the griping, the pizzas were delicious. And I’m pleased to know that next time I make them, they’ll be even better.

*I normally LOVE Spaghettios — but not when I’ve been thinking about homemade pizza for the entire day.

**That rain? It didn’t show up until about an hour after I cooked, ate and cleaned up the kitchen.

saturday morning.

We’ve been without television for a few days — thanks for that, Comcast — and have resorted to going through our DVD collection for entertainment in the interim.

We’re well-equipped for this. For instance, on Saturday, Mrs. Crappy pulled out our boxed set of Looney Tunes classics and popped them on for a traditional Saturday-morning slobfest.

This prompted the resumption of a long-standing debate in our house: “Rabbit of Seville” or “What’s Opera, Doc”?

If you’re of a certain age, chances are pretty good you don’t need any further explanation. But if you do: “Rabbit” is the Bugs Bunny episode where he is chased into the Hollywood Bowl by Elmer Fudd and proceeds to take over the production of “Barber of Seville,” featuring a complete makeover of Fudd.

“Opera” featured Fudd as a viking, chasing, and eventually killing, Bugs to the tune of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” (you know, the “kill the wabbit, kill the WAAABIT” one…).

Both shorts are undeniably classics, but Mrs. Crappy and I have never agreed on which one is best; I’m a “Rabbit” guy and Mrs. Crappy will forever stand by “Opera.”

So, of course, I asked Twitter.

And Twitter mostly agreed with me. I saw 10 responses to my question (Twitter poll: Rabbit of Seville or What’s Opera, Doc?); seven people were with me and the other three sided with Mrs. Crappy.

But while we discussed the results, Mrs. Crappy and I came up with another one that, if I’m basing this on the short’s ability to make me giggle and nothing else, that for me might top the other two. Astoundingly, it wasn’t included in the DVD set we own, so we watched it online.

Yep. Giggling like I was an 8 year old again.

Here’s what I want you to do: Guess the short in the comments. Two hints: It’s a period piece and Bugs Bunny does not appear. I’ll have a $10 iTunes gift card ready for the first person to get it right (including the correct title!). And if you want, I’d also like to hear your favorite Warner Brothers cartoon as well.

Go!

a month.

Sure, I’ve posted a couple times since I completely punted National Blog Posting Month, but there’s been a bunch of stuff I missed in the meantime. So: A) Bullet post. B) Completely ignoring the fact that I punted National Blog Posting Month, especially now that we’re seven days into December C) QUIT ROLLING YOUR EYES AT ME.

  • There were several football games, the loss of one I acknowledged with the video of my, ahem, old friend Brutus. The final home game, though, was the really odd one — Penn State with no Paterno was easily the weirdest game of the weirdest season I’ve ever experienced.
  • And then Ohio State hired a new coach. I’m happy that Urban is already making Michigan fans twitchy, but I’m not totally sold yet.
  • We had a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you. Dinner was with Mrs. Crappy’s family in Washington; we then traveled to Columbus to prepare for the Beat Michigan weekend, the results of which you already know. But my favorite part might have been my Thanksgiving night snack of White Castles and Mad Elf at my parents’ kitchen table.
  • And if that wasn’t the best part, it would have been listening to my niece on the phone that evening telling me that her hair had been crumpled.
  • I hadn’t made the family spaghetti in years; in the last month, I’ve made it twice, once for the annual Beat Michigan dinner in Columbus and once for friends just a couple days ago. The good news: I still remember how.
  • Football travel is over. I love going to Columbus for games but the endless driving back and forth gets really old by the end of the season.
  • I saw Yonder Mountain String Band at the beginning of November because I was twitchy for a show; we saw the String Cheese Incident last night because that’s what Mrs. Crappy wanted to do for her birthday. Good stuff, too, although SCI can be a little too noodle-y, even for me.
  • I got to miracle Boo and Butter for last night’s show, thanks to Pam, who won tickets through WYEP but couldn’t go. Teresa gets bonus points for the assist.
  • Remember the nice English lady who helped me through Couch to 5K? We broke up. It wasn’t her; it was me. I finished C25K last weekend, just in time to be ready for my first 5K on Saturday morning. I’ll tell you more about that later today.
  • HOW COME IT’S NOT SNOWING YET?
  • I totally changed our outdoor Christmas lights, and they’re still not quite right.
  • I’m still not really feeling Christmas yet. But that’ll come.
  • And I apparently need to add a picture to the banner; if I don’t you can’t really see the snow that WordPress gives us every December.

So. How’ve you guys been?

1. complete.

On a Tuesday night in late May, I was horrified to discover that my wedding ring was gone.

I looked that night, even though it was almost midnight when I noticed it was gone. I looked for several days around the house. I even used a freaking metal detector to poke around in the yard.

It was gone. And I was crushed.

On a Monday night in late September, I was thrilled to open a small package that Mrs. Crappy gave me for our anniversary and find a new ring to occupy my left hand and ease the fretting I had done since May over the original.

As we did with the first one, we sort of picked this one out together. I didn’t know she had started poking around on Etsy until she sent me a few links to rings and jewelers several weeks ago — and I was immediately drawn to this one, a beautiful double-banded titanium ring made by titaniumknights in Utah. I offered to buy it, but Mrs. Crappy said no, she would take care of it.

And there it was, after we finished the anniversary dinner I made for us on Monday night.

As I wrote back in May, I was concerned that a replacement ring — one that wasn’t the one that Mrs. Crappy put on my finger on Sept. 25, 1999 — would somehow be diminished, that it wouldn’t adequately represent either that day or the life we’ve had together since. But in the few days I’ve had to get used to having a real ring back on my finger, I’m thinking that’s not the case at all.

There are things we’d both change about our wedding; I know I have a much better sense of who I am now — we both do — and one small representation of that is this ring.  It feels a lot more like me than the plain band I wore for eleven and a half years. More importantly — it’s still about us and what we share.

And that means my new ring is exactly what it should be.

 

goof.

To most, the term goofball probably isn’t a term of endearment.

To me, it’s one of the highest complements I can pay.

Life is serious, yes. Being an adult requires time and attention and work. It’s not easy, and sometimes it’s not much fun.

But I’m lucky to know a bunch of people who understand that we also need to have fun. That we need to laugh and enjoy each other, even when things might not be the greatest.

For me, people who understand this — the ones who see the absurdities in themselves and in everything around them, and are able to laugh about it — are people to be cherished. When you meet one of those — one of my goofballs — you hold on to them, because they’re going to make your life a better place to be. I have dozens of friends who fit this description, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.

But there’s one goof whose spirit aligned so closely with mine that I knew — not long after we met, in fact — that I had to marry her.

And I did, 12 years ago today.

Happy anniversary to Mrs. Crappy, my favorite goofball. After all this time, she still makes my life better each and every day.

naked.

See that dent on the ring finger of my left hand?

That’s where my wedding ring is supposed to be.

As we were getting in bed Tuesday night, I had a start — the ring was gone, and I had no idea when I had seen it last.

I looked some that night, even though it was close to midnight and I really needed some sleep. I looked more on Wednesday — around my desk at work, in my car, and again in the house — and found nothing.

Mrs. Crappy is even bringing home a borrowed metal detector — one of those ones the weathered old guys in aloha shirts use on beach — and I’m going to comb the yard over the weekend. I cut the grass on Tuesday evening, and I supposed it could have fallen off out there someplace.

I feel lost without it. I moved my engagement ring — the one Mrs. Crappy bought for me in Athens the day after I proposed on College Green — but that’s not the same.

I’m not sure I’m going to find it anywhere. I could always replace it, but this is one of the few Things I own that isn’t really replaceable. I can have another ring on that finger, but it won’t be the one that Mrs. Crappy put there on Sept. 25, 1999.