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Caliente

I have a growing list of blog ideas but sometimes a moment in my day will give me inspiration. Today was a full day of helping houseless friends, serving as a mentor for big hearted people and answering questions that should not need to be answered. After spending hours and hours banking good karma, we decided to reward ourselves with our favorite meal, sushi.


My wife, youngest daughter and I can put away the sushi in ways that make the pocketbook squeal with pain. We’ve tried nearly every sushi restaurant within a 10-mile radius but have settled on a favorite just a short drive from our home. It’s a hole in the wall type store front but has lots of character inside both with décor and service. We genuinely feel welcomed when we walk in and they give us the Norm Peterson treatment no matter how busy they are. The regular service staff knows our usual order and always hooks us up with a free appetizer and melon pop desserts. This top tier customer service even extends to their takeout service and we’ve consistently had the owner come over and thank us for our patronage.


Today we were settled in enjoying our Miso soup and catching up on the highlights from the Chiefs win when our order arrived. After some careful calculations we have taken to ordering the “sushi love boat for two” that comes with a wonderful assortment of tastes and is far cheaper than buying our rolls and sashimi al a cart. As is typical for sushi a dose of ginger and wasabi (or what Americans are tricked into believing is wasabi) are included. As our order included a large volume of sushi the accoutrements were in turn substantial. This is always more than enough as I am the only member of the sushi trio to partake. As a result, we ended the meal with a large glob of green putty like substance remaining.


My daughter is at that age where she is inquisitive about just about everything and her not stop barrage of questions can be taxing. (Whenever you get old enough to read this honey, sorry… I love you!) So, when mom and I were ready to retreat to the van to go home and loosen our belts we told her she was allowed one more question. Glancing down I saw the wasabi in between us, the only remaining item of substance on the “boat” and added, “unless you take a big ole bite of wasabi”. A wry smile appeared across her face and she slowly extended her index finger scooping a healthy sized dollop of concentrated pain and held it up for us all to see.

Now negotiating is not something you would expect an 8 year old to be savvy at but her flare for the dramatic and my confidence she was bluffing made me an easy mark. You see she avoids spicy items at all costs and has regularly used “its hot” as an excuse for not finishing a meal many times in the past. Before I knew it I had offered her unlimited questions, a Dr Pepper and a late bed time if she followed through on this seemingly impossible task. With mom and dad watching she opened her mouth, placed her finger in her mouth a millimeter above her tongue and paused relishing the undivided attention the youngest of 4 isn’t always afforded. She then made a slight gulping motion and closed her mouth extracting her finger, clear of the putty.

I’ll be honest I thought for sure we were calling her bluff and until this very moment I gave it 0% likelihood that she would go through with it. For a second she sat there triumphant and partially smiling before the full scope of her decision hit her and the smile was replaced with a grimace. She reached for her water and took a large gulp swashing it around in her mouth. Realizing she had lost the high ground in this exchange she quickly looked back at us fighting back the sensation and opening her mouth to reveal she had in fact eaten the wasabi and was now victorious.


We sat there stunned in the moment until I finally added, “well credit where it is due, you did it!” She beamed with pride while I added, “you want that Dr Pepper? ready to hit us with more questions?” Feeling invincible she responded as casually as she could, “no, I think I am good, we can go”. The whole way home we talked about Bridget the brave and I teased her about sharing my large collection of hot sauces. I told her she was the newest member of the “fire nation” the term her brother and I used to indicate we were strong/crazy enough to put hot sauce on dang near everything. She politely declined the offer.

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