Move: Tater tot casserole

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Ma Bell transferred my Dad five times before my tenth birthday. My protests about moving again and my questions about the fate of Gordie Schmeckpepper’s new kittens who lived under the front porch, Marzee Carlsteen’s upcoming birthday party, or the fort we built down by the creek were dismissed. “You’ll make new friends and have new experiences.”

We had a routine—everything came out of the cupboards, into the middle of the living room, or on top of the bed you slept in. Then into big boxes (saved in the garage after the last move) into the middle of the living room, into the moving van, and into the middle of the new living room. Before the beds were made and a new neighbor had dropped off a “Welcome to the neighborhood” casserole, Daddy had a clothesline installed in the backyard, a dog run set up for Maggie the cocker spaniel, and a tractor tire swinging from the biggest tree. 

The Sweetie and I have moved fourteen times in forty years—that’s an average of once every three to four years. We should have minimum baggage—after all, fourteen boxes of books and papers, that cool rattan bar with matching stools, Daddy’s rocking chair, those darling grade school bookcases I bought from that man on the corner, six rollup maps of the world, and Grampa’s big round oak table, fell off the bus long ago. 

But still with us, in addition to a houseful of furniture, are the concrete Buddha, two broken printers, one box of baseball caps, countless paintings, two boxes of Christmas paraphernalia, three boxes of vintage dishes, and four unmarked, plastic containers potentially full of valuable stuff. We dragged the contents, untouched in eleven years, out of our five foot by five foot storage locker and stacked it behind the car in the garage, ready to store and ignore for another eleven years. 

If any of you out there are considering a move—just don’t. Shelter in place, make do with your current situation, wear noise-canceling headphones to block out the loud neighbors, adjust to a house that’s too small or too large, set up a reservation chart for the one bathroom, learn to live with the bowling alley above your head. Forget about spending your golden years in a remote beach spot—it’s not worth it. By now you may have guessed, we’re in the middle of Move #15.

It all started when the Sweetie painted the railing of our balcony. Before we knew it, all clutter was gone, you could see under the bed, glamorous pictures showed up on Redfin (Who lives there!), strangers wandered the courtyard, and we were were listed. 

We have accepted an offer, survived the inspection, and wait for the appraisal. Good news, we could close by the end of the month. Bad news, we could close by the end of the month and have no where to live. 

So if you are on our short list, don’t be surprised to see us in your driveway. Please save room for the concrete Buddha—he’s heavy but he never makes a fuss. Now, if only neighbors still brought over casseroles.

Tater Tot Casserole

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 (32 ounce) package tater tots
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • If you’re fancy, add Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha, or truffles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onions. Drain excess fat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the beef mixture evenly over the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Arrange tater tots evenly over beef layer.

In a small bowl, stir the soup into the milk until smooth; pour over tater tot and beef layers.

Sprinkle Cheddar cheese evenly over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.

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8 Responses to Move: Tater tot casserole

  1. Lara says:

    You can get A LOT more house for your $$ in the South!! 😍

  2. Marilyn says:

    Glad this part of the project worked out so quickly – nothing worse than living in a house that could be shown at any minute. They certainly made you get rid of anything interesting in your decor – it’s like looking at an airbnb ad. Best wishes on the next step – hopefully everything will fall in place…soon!

  3. Tom H. says:

    Yep we’re avoiding the big move.
    Hope we don’t regret it.

  4. Ginny says:

    I just found Jacob Lawrence, R. C. Gorman, and sad girl in the lavender pinafore in our basement. That was a few moves ago. Want them back?

  5. Barb says:

    Moving is very stressful but I think your Budda will find his new home facinating and so will his mom. It’s tiring to move and there is always some sadness and “what if’s but as a master mover I know from experience that very soon you will be snuggled down in your favorite chair with a beautiful quilt over you watching the sweetie watch baseball❤️

  6. Barb says:

    And I love that Carol King song. Love you

  7. Kathy says:

    I’m teary eyed right now. I feel your pain and conflicting feelings. I love your home and always felt in awe every time I visited. Hopefully everything will work out in a way that will make you both feel happy and secure!! I really enjoyed seeing you yesterday. Keep me updated ok?

  8. Patricia Curtis says:

    Welcome anytime at our place..I haven’t tried to make a casserole in years, maybe I would surprise all of us…love to you and trusting and knowing all is going to work out the best for both of you. JMB

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