Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pick a Pepper

We took the kids for a mini weekend getaway as a treat for spring break.  I told them it was a pre-thank you for all the work I knew they'd be doing later in the week.

The rest of their days will be spent packing up our living room, as our 15 year old hunter green holey carpet will finally be replaced.  (Yay! I can have company again!)

Before we hit them with the details of taking down bookcases and tackling dust bunnies, we enjoyed a few days in Nashville.  It was a teeny vacation and I'm still jealous of the beach pictures on Facebook; but just getting away from the house, sleeping in a hotel, and letting the kids raid a convenient store for ice cream and Fun-Yuns after 10 pm was a much needed retreat for us all.

One of our stops was letting the kids experience the Grand Ole Opry.  Neither of them huge country fans, it wasn't something they expected to enjoy but I think they were pleasantly surprised.  Tina thought the "legends" were cute old men.  Noah had fun squishing Tina in the pew and purchasing an overpriced ink pen in the gift shop.  He was already queuing up music from the singers on our short ride back to the hotel though, so I know he liked some of the songs.

Prior to the Opry, we ate at a new restaurant for us, a rule when we travel.  It was highly recommended from several of our friends.  I will say the fried pickles were yummy, Noah actually ate their coleslaw (which he never eats) and their chicken tenders were good, but otherwise I wasn't overly impressed.  The highlight of the visit was the giant rocking chair, playing Ms Pacman in the lobby, and watching Noah eat a pickled pepper.

Our chef-in-training, he's always open for a new eating opportunity.  And he does enjoy spicy things.  Whenever he cooks at home for us, we never quite know what concoction he'll whip up.  Sometimes the spices he chooses make no sense, but they work together.  Anyway, I spied an odd shaped bottle of white peppers on our table and Tina dared him.  The rest, as they say, is history.  He snorted, choked, we laughed.  Good times.

On our way home, we visited the giant mall.  For our kids, where the biggest shopping option is Wal-Mart, this mall is always a fun adventure.

Timing was probably not the best though, I was fighting a stomach bug and my hubby was hobbling on a hurt foot, but we muddled through for the kids.  They talked Tim into getting "real" tennis shoes and kicking off his work boots.  He couldn't believe how much lighter the rest of his walk was.  Silly hubby.... I attempted to find a dress on the busiest dress-shopping day of the year.  Silly mommy... Tim took lots of breaks and utilized every massage chair the mall offered.  I found Tina two cute dresses and strappy shoes and decided to shop my closet once home.

As we neared the corner to Bass Pro Shop, I knew we'd survived the loop, but realized Noah was leaving without anything.  Seeing a pepper shop, I offered for us to stop in, as I knew Tim would take four hundred hours at BPS.

Perusing the rows and rows of hot sauce (who knew they made so many kinds), I noticed their sample section.  Mustards, salsas, wing sauce, dips, and lots of yum.  There were even handy charts telling you the heat ratio so your mouth didn't get a surprise.  Tina, being a wimpy mouth who sometimes thinks ketchup is hot, made me sample everything she wanted to try first.  Surprisingly there were a few things she liked.

Noah went right to the extreme heat-get your momma's approval section.  You had to be 18 or over to even sample.  His build easily lets him pass and I decided, what the heck, we're on vacation...let him be wild!  His palate was feeling the heat after testing out many 8, 9 and 10 on the spicy scale.  He and the pepper guy were hitting it off, sharing chili stories, and Noah was trying to decide which bottle would give his secret recipe just the extra kick he's been wanting.

His eyes kept venturing to the last bottle on the sample row.  The FlashBomb hot sauce actually required a waiver, due to the heat.  He shuffled his feet, muttering how much he wished he could try it, knowing without a doubt this overprotective momma would say no.  But, to his surprise, I shrugged saying, "why not" and the pepper guy agreed.

Noah took a chip and dipped, getting only a tiny dot of fiery sauce on the corner.  He chomped down and we waited.  At first he seemed a little disappointed it wasn't very hot, but then he coughed, gasped, and his eyes watered simultaneously.

The pepper guy said, "Just wait...it's not even kicked in yet."

At this point, momma panic set in but I managed to keep an outer cool.  The pepper guy started a countdown.  3...2...1

Insert cartoon whistle and smoking ears.

Once I knew he was going to survive, Tina and me got a good chuckle out of it.  His dad too, when Noah ran all the way to Bass Pro for a couple dollars to buy some milk.  Mom had already spent the remainder of her money buying his hot sauce.  And I think he was grateful we didn't purchase the hottest one!


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