Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kitchen Nightmares.

I am supposed to be sleeping between 12 hour midnight shifts.  When our kids were small Bill used to dread my weekends to work, trying to keep a couple rowdy kids corralled so I could snag five hours of sleep before doing it again.  By the third day in a row I was cranky and it seemed like I woke up for anything and everything, the simple reason being that I was missing out on my family's weekend and wanted to be a part of it, tired or not.

Today it's a little different.  I woke up to four 18 year old's in my basement that were so quiet I had no clue they were there. In her room, Casey was singing with her headphones on at a volume I couldn't hear. Bill has done well.  After all these years, the kids respect when I sleep.  A fan in the bedroom and a shot of Sambuca before bed doesn't hurt, either.

Today I woke up in the middle of the day for a wonderful reason.  I woke up because my house smelled amazing. It smelled like spices and garlic and BACON and chicken stock.  It wasn't a dream, and it wasn't a lame Folger's commercial.  It meant Bill was cooking.

When we married, I don't recall a summit meeting about division of chores.  I can't remember laying claim to certain responsibilities. I simply remember that by default, cooking fell to Bill.  He was just plain better at it.  Unlike me, Bill knew his spices, the difference between a sauté pan and a pot, and the proper knife to use.  Bill would never make a spaghetti sauce containing not one but two bulbs of garlic in it. (Clove. Bulb. Apparently there is a difference. But he ate it like a trooper and together we learned that garlic has the ability to ooze from your pores and permeate pretty much everything around you for days and days).  Call it a rookie mistake. Call it a dating tragedy.  Call it one if Bill's favorite "Do you know what she did?" stories.

I clean the house, or at least 90% of it. When I paint rooms, Bill cuts in, which I hate doing.  I enjoy the outdoors, so I mow the lawn by choice.  I am fussy about how things look, and everyone suffers because of it. I maintain the pool, we both do laundry.  There are no "boy jobs" and "girl jobs" around here.  I have been cooking more often, thanks to my friend Laurie's blog and the magical tug of the of Food Network; where I can listen to southern accents all day and the Barefoot Contessa comforts me with her voice.  I do OK.  But the bottom line is Bill is the family cook.

Sometimes I get surly about the house being a mess, the laundry piling up, the grime on the kitchen floor.  Then I hear one of my friends complaining about making dinner and I check myself.  I believe the responsibility of putting a complete dinner on the table seven days a week would throw me into a massive panic attack.  The planning, the timing, the pressure? No thanks, I will tackle the toilet bowl ring every, single, time.

When I am supposed to make dinner, I look in the fridge and I see...nothing.  I shut the fridge. I ponder.  I open it again.  I look a little harder.  I see...nothing.  I proclaim to Bill:  "There's nothing to eat in there".

Bill moves me aside.  Bill opens the fridge.  Bill rummages.  Bill walks across the kitchen with an armload of the nothing I found and in 20 minutes, there is food.  Hot, delicious, healthy food made out of nothing.  It's a festivus miracle, and I cannot duplicate it, no matter how hard I try. He makes it look easy, chopping, dicing, flipping food around in the well oiled pan.  He's like a running back, cutting this way and that, moving fluidly between the fridge, the stove, the table.  It's like watching the ballet of sous chefs, if there was such a thing.

Conversely, my kitchen routine consists of the following:
  • Look at recipe.
  • Begin to assemble ingredients on counter.
  • Walk back to computer to look at recipe.
  • Get out pans that I am allowed to use (the shitty ones I ruined, not the ones Bill uses).
  • Walk back to the computer, cursing my aging brain that can't hold a thought.
  • Move mouth as I read to make words stick better.
  • Start cooking.
  • Drop shit.
  • Stomp back to computer because I forgot.  Again.
  • Splatter stuff on my shirt.
  • Swear.
  • Turn computer toward kitchen.  Realize I am blind.
  • Swear.
  • Swear.
  • Look imploringly at my beloved.
  • Step aside to let Bill salvage my mess.
  • Apologize profusely for my incompetence.
Please don't judge.  I work hard to clean up after the Pig People I made.  I make sure the vacuum tracks all go the same way. My lawn rocks.  My countertops sparkle.  But at the end of the day, when I am eating  pea soup with chorizo, (yes, I had to ask him what chorizo was) I am grateful that in addition to a homemade, balanced meal, I also have helped create a balanced marriage.

The other day, I was watching The French Chef.  Even though I am a sub par cook, I like to watch the masters, and Julia Child is my favorite.  At one point, she looked directly into my eyes and spoke to me.  I just know it was me she wanted to get through to, because what she said was this:

      “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken.  Bon appétit. ”  

I whooped as I headed to the wine rack to make dinner.

Bon appétit, indeed.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Pinheads. (The Frontal Lobe Analysis of Pinterest)

In my Thankful post, I gave a hearty shout out to Pinterest, the new darling of the social media.  For those of you unaware, Pinterest describes itself as:  "A virtual pinboard that helps you organize all the beautiful things on the web".  People use pinboards to decorate their homes, plan their wedding and organize their recipes.  In an nutshell, think of it as a scrapbook for your thoughts and inspiration, all in one handy place.  I love it. I ooh, I ahh, I pin my little heart out, often at the neglect of nine million other things I should be doing. While perusing the site one day, (to find out if you could possibly pin for a living so I could quit work) I uncovered the "Etiquette" section.  In the Etiquette section, I am reminded that "Pinterest is a community of people who have personal tastes, and I am requested to be respectful in my comments and suggestions".

 OK, I say.  I can play nice. I'm a nice girl.

But it's a little challenging for me to play nice day in, day out.  I try, but bottom line is I am just not that nice of a girl.

I need some relief from nice, which leads me here, to my safe, comforting, filterless place.  The Lucky Strike area of my head.  I need to unload some baggage, because that "Pinterest community of people" tend to flip my snark switch, like whoa.  Pinheads, I have named them.  And now, because I'm so nice, I will break it all down for you.


Where to start? Kind of difficult, because it's a somewhat lengthy list of snark we have here.  What category to choose?  I think I will start with "It's All About Me" for 500, Mr. Trebek.

  Oooh!  How about: Your Wedding Day?  And so it begins:

Now seriously.  What man would do this?  And if he did, are you that desperate to be married?  To him? I pray this fiancee will post this on her Facebook page, so his friends intervene before he tumbles farther into girly-dom.  As much as I wish for a bit more romance and emotional pampering in my life, this would freak me out, big time.


Translation: Everyone!  There could be nothing more important in your whole world than my wedding day.  Stick a big red circle around it and make sure you take the day off work, get a sitter, kennel the dog, buy a dress, get your hair did and most importantly, write me and the Mr. a big fat check.  Save the date, because from today on, it's all about ME ME ME!
In case you forget, here's a reminder:
Aren't we adorable?  Have a magnet. Of Us.
(Note of irony:  that bottom picture happens to be Bill and I's anniversary. I hope they didn't taint it too badly).

Pinterest also gives you suggestions on Wedding pictures, how to ask a Bridesmaid to stand up for you, (it involves a gift, for God's sake. Doesn't anyone just talk anymore?), how to make a video montage of (what else) you (wonderful you) and oh yeah, the Groom too.  Some days I have to sit on my hands so not to bust out my "this is a wedding, not the second coming of Christ" commentary. 

Still, I play nice.

And then one day, our couple becomes two and a half...

reminding you that you can save not only a date, but a whole month in honor of a baby that may nor may not decide to show up in June, 2012. Lord knows my own children had no sense of due date.  We will cover the prosaic hand heart later, rest assured.

Side note:  Did you know a Sperm Whale is pregnant for 16 months?  Have mercy! Yet you never hear a peep from her.  Likewise, the Sperm Whale will not be found hosting this ridiculous event:

Behold the "Gender Reveal Party".  Something I never knew existed pre-Pinterest.  Something I live in fear of being invited to.  Something I know I will never be invited to again if I do elect to attend one.  Because a girl like me can only shut her yap for so long.  Especially after I had to endure having this genre of pictures shoved in my face for the last ten years:


The countdown commences, the shower comes and goes, the "Name Reveal" (yes, they have those too) happens and one day the text message comes (because nobody ever talks anymore)...

 Baby's Here!

And she is perfect.  The pregnant belly deflated, the gender revealed, the name awarded, the trilogy of hype completed.

Yet you cannot go a single day letting her be her gorgeous, perfect, bald headed self, because you slap one of these on her head at every opportunity:

while you contort her into unorthodox positions:

and put her in a straight jacket flat on her back:
Poor, sweet baby. I feel you. Your head needs to be warm, not decorated.  Your hands need to be by your face so you can mess around and do baby things like suck your fingers.  You need to be held, not obnoxiously propped.  You, little Baby, are deserving of a Pinterest free infancy.

I am still trying to play nice, but I am losing the battle, baby advocate that I am.  
My comment fingers tremble with fervor, yet I press on, only to be rewarded with this nonsense:

Introducing Mommy's new little helper; the Elf on the Shelf.  Creepy, creepy little Elf that "watches you" to be sure you behave, and "reports back to Santa".  He bargains with  Mommy and Daddy, exchanging discipline for bribery. He gets into mischief and shows up in places that little sinister dolls have no business being in.  He's watching you, Little Baby that is now a preschooler.  And when you grow up living in terror of Santa and Christmas (along with a whole lot of other things), you can blame it on your Mommy and her macabre Elf.  

Stupid Elf.  I am so glad he wasn't around when my kids were little, because my Mother surely would have bought into that fiasco.

As I proofread all this, I realize that all of this venting makes me edgy.  I should probably exercise.  Lucky for me, Pinterest is right there, shaming me with pins like this:

Well, dammit I am busy. I am busy on Pinterest. Reading about exercise. On my ass.

Maybe I should keep calm?  There is no shortage of Keep Calm and.... pins on Pinterest.  This one is my favorite:

Thank God snark is not limited to just me.

I love Pinterest.  Really, I do.  But speaking of done to death, if I see another version of this, I swear I will vomit.

Heart Hands be gone. The timer is going off.  You are finished.  Please never come back.

Speaking of done; I am.  Almost.  I leave you with the final wonder of Pinterest.  It begs the question: Who the hell decided that these are the rules, and furthermore, who put them in numerical order?

Who is this rule maker?  I demand you step forward.  Because we need to chat.  You do not get to make my rules.  I make my rules, and I opt not to number them, because the rules are subject to change at any time, for any reason, including and certainly not limited to my hormone levels.   

I'm nice.