Sleepless and hungry
I get a lot of joy out of having a large family. We never run out of scary stories around the campfire, snowball fights can be intricate, half-day affairs and we don’t have to look far to find someone willing to be the “monkey in the middle” at the swimming pool.
But there are drawbacks, too. Lately air travel for a family of six can be a bit tenuous. We always pay the extra fees to pick out specific seats ahead of time, but there’s been more than one occasion that we’ve gotten to the airport (extra early, I might add) only to find out that our entire group has been part and parceled out over the plane. So far, we’ve gotten lucky that some kind-hearted souls were willing to switch seats so one of us could at least sit with the littlest two.
Then there’s sleep, which can be darn elusive around our house. To be honest, my husband and I had absolutely no idea what we were doing when we became parents for the first time, and sure, we made a lot of mistakes when it came to sleep-training our children.
But, nature was against us, too. Each child was born with some sort of homing instinct that lets them know the instant we have fallen asleep. The reasons for waking us are as numerous as they are creative: leg cramps, night terrors, strange noises, possible spider-sightings and, my favorite of them all, the ever popular excuse of “I can’t sleep” (so why are you waking me up to tell me?).
I was a heavy sleeper before having kids, but a decade of being roused in the middle of the night has taken its toll and now I have a hard time falling back asleep after being awakened. You’d think that would be completely unfortunate, but there are actually a few little-known benefits to being awake in the wee hours of the morning.
Sometimes, I eat breakfast twice. And I’m not talking about oatmeal or a piece of toast. Being awake all night calls for a hearty meal like waffles or eggs sunny-side-up, with something greasy on the side such as bacon, or my personal favorite much to my husband’s discomfort, scrapple.
That little bit of grease keeps the stomach on an even keel, kind of like having a cheeseburger first thing in the morning to avoid a hangover. Which, come to think of it, is a feeling similar to not sleeping most of the night and then tr ying to be awake and attentive all day long. Lots of caffeine and sometimes copious amounts of chocolate candy bars are necessar y to keep my eyes open and brain alert.
And I’m always very up-todate on the latest infomercial offerings. I know I’m not the only wife out there who has limited knowledge of how to change the television channel. We only have one TV set and one DVD player in the living room, but we have no less than eight different remote controls for all the extra add-ons like Netflix, Apple TV, and Fire
stick. Even after several demonstrations, I am still only able to operate two of them adequately.
So, if I’m up in the middle of the night and those two remotes don’t work, I’m out of luck and stuck watching whatever channel the TV is already on. And that often means informercials. I’ve come mighty close to buying hair care systems, vacuum cleaners, and even a special rack for cooking bacon in the microwave. I’ve resisted temptation so far, but I’m not sure how long I can continue to hold out.
About two weeks ago I was up in the middle of the night again. I’m not sure what night it was. I think it was a Saturday, but I can’t be exactly certain because sleep deprivation affects memory, that’s a proven fact. I was lucky that night, though. Even though the television remotes I know how to use weren’t working, the TV was set to Maryland Public Television, and after a few minutes, I took notice when a half-hour special all about eating crabs came on.
It was filmed in 2006, but many of the restaurants across Mar yland’s waterfront are still familiar landmarks today.
There was Harris Crabhouse in Kent Narrows, Cantler’s in Annapolis, and Capt. Billy’s on Pope’s Creek, all places I’ve had the honor of cracking crabs. Most of the scenes ended with the narrator feasting on Old Bay-encrusted crabs with an ice-cold bottled beer as sole accompaniment, and by the time the 30 minutes was winding down, I had a strong suspicion I’d be having crabs for dinner myself soon.
I just couldn’t let this desire go and this past weekend we picked up a couple dozen hardshells from our local joint. It’s not a waterfront restaurant, which is just fine with me because a view isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for good-tasting crabs.
I’ve been getting my crabs there since I moved to St. Mar y’s County and they are always heavy and delicious. This time was no exception and we devoured ever y last one. Even though it was a little on the cool side that day, we enjoyed them out in our yard on a picnic table covered with newspaper along with apple cider vinegar and Old Bay for dipping and fresh corn on the cob on the side — a true crab feast.
The show got me thinking, though, of how many different places there must be to get crabs in Southern Maryland. And even though I’ve lived in these parts for nearly 40 years, I might be missing out on a real gustatory gem.
Just like having oysters Friday night at Snellmans or a crabcake and stewed tomatoes at Jerry’s, sometimes only the locals know the very best places to go for an exceptional meal. So maybe you could help me out and tell me, where’s your favorite place for crabs? I’m looking to broaden my horizons this summer.
I’m also looking to get more sleep. Heaven help me if I get stuck watching a show about lobster rolls next time I’m up. I just don’t have time for a trip to Maine right now.