It was late at night. Daughter's science fair was underway. I propped my feet up on the coffee table to rest a spell and decided to flip through her science fair packet. There on Page Important was some information in bold.
The science project needs to include at least 3-5 trials.
Kudos to the science teacher for trying her best to share this vital information with her students and parents. (Hello, it was in bold letters! What else could she have done to get me to notice? Rent a billboard for me to read while I sat waiting in car line?)
So, despite her best efforts, I missed it.
It is also sad that I should have known this information without reading the packet since I did graduate from high school and even earned a college degree (which included an entire class aptly named "Experimentation.")
So, there we were thinking we were at the end of the experiment when in fact we were simply at the end of TRIAL ONE. I emailed the teacher to ask if we could keep her scale for a few more days, confessing my blunder. She graciously agreed.
Then I scratched my head wondering where else I could go to beg for crab shells and fish bones. I couldn't go back to the original market and grocery stores because, somehow that just sounded, how do I say, pitiful?
Lucky for me, we have a string of grocery stores and seafood markets, so I thought of another Winn Dixie and a particular market I could visit. I headed on my quest the next morning.
My first stop was Winn Dixie. When I pulled up I saw a tour bus with a group of retirees. I walked in to a sea of sweet little ladies wearing fanny packs and browsing the bakery.
I wanted to run up to the bus driver and ask,"Hey, do you know you are in FLORIDA?"
I mean, yes, Winn Dixie is a fine grocery store and they have regional importance, but if I were paying to be driven around the Sunshine State I would ask to be taken to, I don't know, the beach. Or even to a shopping center that had outlets stores as opposed to deli turkey on sale for $4.99 a pound.
I made my way to the seafood counter where I discovered that this Winn Dixie was not the crab people and they did not have any uncooked crab. I purchased some chicken for the chicken bones, latex gloves, and more vinegar.
Then I drove to the seafood market where I again gave my pathetic speech about my daughter's science fair project and could I just buy two oysters, one crab leg, and some fish remains? The young girl behind the counter was a bit confused about what to do so she asked her supervisor.
I overheard his instructions,"Just sell her two oysters, some crab legs, and give her a fish carcass."
The girl went to the back along with another young guy working the counter. The girl came out with what was left of a red snapper and two oysters.
Then the guy emerged with a dead crab. With a huge smile on his face, he declared,"I found her a dead crab!"
His discovery meant that I didn't have to buy any fresh crab and could walk away with a free dead crab.
I paid for the oysters and the grouper I decided we should have for dinner, and walked to my car with the loot- two oysters, grouper fillets, a free dead crab, and a red snapper carcass still looking at me.
After picking up Daughter from school (Hey, honey! Look what Mom brought home this time!) I immediately came home and headed to the kitchen to clean the specimens.
Y'all. There is a reason they keep that stuff on ice.
I stood at the sink, cleaning, rinsing and removing crab meat from my FREE DEAD CRAB as Daughter held her little sandwich bags open for me to drop in the specimen.
I diligently worked except for one moment when I paused and said a prayer that next year Daughter would decide to grow tomatoes for her science fair project. Hubs had to actually shuck the oyster for me since this particular market said they couldn't do it for me (something about it being illegal because they also are a restaurant and how it is a health hazard, blah, blah, blah.)
After all the specimens were prepared, Daughter continued with her experiment. I am happy to report that Trial Two is underway. There's an oyster shell, red snapper bone, chicken bone, and blue crab shell soaking in vinegar in my kitchen.
I suppose tomorrow she will continue on to Trial Three. Even if she never discovers the cure for osteoporosis, I have discovered ways to get free dead sea creatures. I've joined the ranks of stray cats everywhere.
Except for the faint odor of fish carcass on my hands, I am pretty proud of myself.
FREE DEAD CRAB.
I really should put that in bold...