Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday, Halloween style

The real reason I love Halloween isn't because I like spooky, scary things.

Sure, I get a little thrill hearing about Ichabod Crane and campfires and ghosts and vampires and werewolves and things that go bump in the night, but being scared isn't really what janks me up about Halloween.

It's not the food, what with the candy and the overwhelming freedom I give myself to inhale as much as I want in one sitting, even though that's almost like heaven to me.  It's not the comfort fall food like butternut squash soup, or roasted fall veggies, or pumpkin spice lattes, or meatloaf, or any of that.

Yes.  Meatloaf is a Halloween food.

It's not dressing up, although I do enjoy making the most triumphant costume out of the least amount of commercial Halloween materials possible.  Incidentally, I also enjoy giving myself the absolute least amount of time possible to come up with said costume triumph.

It's not carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, because that is a worthless chore, hello, they sell pre-lit jack-o-lanterns made of plastic and whatnot that look real and you can use them every year if you want and you don't have to get all Jack the Ripper on a poor unsuspecting vegetable, which is useful in so many other ways, like pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice lattes.  Plus, if you sit at my table while we are making jack-o-lanterns, you're dealing with children who gag at the sight of what comes out of a pumpkin, and that's funny only until the gagging turns into the stuff that looks like what comes out of a pumpkin.

It's not the Halloween specials, even though I love Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and can we all agree that these children have the strangest hair imaginable?

The real reason I love Halloween is because the word Halloween almost has the word weiner in it, and weiners are hilarious.

Because, you know, I'm twelve.

May your Halloweiner be an extra-happy, extra-spooky, extra-silly, extra-thrilling, extra-weinery one!




Monday, October 29, 2012

Stuff To Do While Waiting For A Hurricane

OK.  It’s officially Day 1 of Hurricane Sandy here in the northeastern United States, and things are going smoothly as we wait for the storm to arrive.  As smoothly as they can with a work-from-home husband and two off-their-school-schedule crankypants kids and a peace-seeking Mom in the house.

The past few days, as we’ve been swamped with preparations information and terrible news about flooding and storm surges and oh, heck with it, let’s just throw a full moon in there to make things extra nutsy, I have been noticing that more than a few friends have been mulling ideas on how to keep everyone busy when the rain and wind threaten our very existence.  Here are some things I came up with to keep my family occupied while the electricity’s still running and we are all stuck in the house because who wants to go out in a hurricane?  Crazy people, that's what I say.

 
Watch TV.  As long as we have electricity, the TV may as well be on.  Why not pretend it is still summer?  Crank up the heat, put on your favorite bathing suit, and lounge in front of yet another Spongebob Squarepants episode that you’ve all seen three hundred times.

Get the little moochers in the kitchen.  My son is in 6th grade, and this year he has Family and Consumer Sciences, which for the uneducated out there means Home Ec.  Today he will be wowing us with his culinary skills as he makes cinnamon and sugar coated pretzels.  Never mind that I sent the hubs out to get the pretzels; sacrificing his safety is worth the five minutes of peace that will happen while this amazing dish is prepared.  Maybe I can stretch it to ten if they do the dishes, too.

Read.  OMG we have five thousand books in the house; pick one up and stop crying about it, for Pete’s sake. Maybe you’ll learn something.

Let them fight.  Sometimes boredom and frustration just have to be let out, or it will explode in the form of sky-high therapy bills.  Give your angels a couple of basic rules to follow (no face pounding, no junk punching) and let them pummel each other.  Lock yourself in the bathroom with your iPod and turn the volume up high.  If your kids are like mine, they’ll stop fighting when they realize that their audience is gone.

Art projects.  When my kids were younger, this used to mean crayons and printer paper.  Now that my kids are older, art projects still mean crayons and printer paper.  If you are more creatively inclined (and I’ll bet you three bazillion dollars that you are), there are infinite ways to keep your kids occupied with crafts that include endless supplies like paper, pencils, markers, paint, dried pasta and beans, beads, glue sticks, string, feathers, yarn, fabric, and cardboard. 

Electronics.  iPods, iPads, computer games, gaming consoles, handheld systems, Kindles, smartphones; the possibilities are endless, just as my children’s appetites for these glowing mind-suckers.  When their screen time limits are up (and they should have limits), put them to work locating the appropriate power cords that lie tangled in a ball in the junk drawer so they can be charged up before the lights go out.

Do the laundry.  This is a prime time to teach your children the art of doing laundry; they will love to help you sort socks and knowing the correct way to fold underwear.  No, they won’t, but it is a character-builder.  If you really want to stretch out the teachable moments, wash and dry all the laundry ahead of time and pile it in a heap; wait until the power goes out to fold it.

Do your homework.  If your kids are like mine, there are still one or two assignments they’ve been saving for the morning they go back to school, to be remembered and panicked about five minutes before the bus arrives.  Get that crap done NOW.

Practice their music lessons.  Get your burgeoning Beethovens and Bachs to get some extra practice time in on their trumpet, flute, clarinet, piano, sousaphone, what have you.  Enlist earplugs as necessary.

Organize your stuff.  Empty cluttered closets, toy bins, dresser drawers.  Ask your kids to help you decide what you need and don’t need.  Ask them for “help” organizing their toys.  Utilize black garbage bags; trash two-thirds of what they don’t play with while their backs are turned.

 
Hopefully these tips will help you as you wait out the storm.  If it doesn’t, hopefully you have stockpiled enough booze to get through the worst of it.  The name of the game is to stay safe and sane.  Good luck!
 
Looks pretty peaceful so far, right? 
It's because it's happening outside of my house.
 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I am a money scavenger.

The thrill of finding money in the world never gets old.  I’ve found so much over the years.  Our land is littered with paper money and coins.  Pennies are the most common money I find, of course.  It may sound ridiculous to pick up a penny off the ground, but I’m one cent richer than I was before I found that penny, and I didn’t have to do anything to get it.

I never realized my love of scavenging money until my kids were little.  I was appalled when they’d crouch down to pick up a penny lying in an oily puddle or stuck to a piece of gum, but invariably I’d take it from them and put it in my pocket, to be washed and returned to them when we got home.  I felt their triumph when they’d spy something of value thrown away like trash, and I started encouraging them to keep their eyes open.  My son once found two dollars on the ground.  He is hooked.

Not everyone feels this way about scavenging money.  My girlfriends and I walked through a parade route one evening.  I advised them to keep their eyes to the ground; with all these people around, maybe we’d find money.  They all laughed at me and rolled their eyes.

I didn’t find any that time.

But I have in the past.  On two different occasions I found a twenty dollar bill.  Just the other week I found sixty-five cents in my neighborhood.  Yesterday I felt a pang of jealousy as a woman, obviously also a money scavenger, stooped over in front of me in the grocery store to collect several coins strewn on the floor.

A money-scavenging kindred.  My competition.

When my husband and I traveled to New Orleans recently, someone was throwing stacks of what I assume were dollar bills off a balcony into the street, about a half a block away.  I was irritated because my husband had ducked into a street bar to get a drink.  As I waited for him I watched as it rained dollars down on the heads of the people standing in the street.  It took all I had not to run over and hip-check those people out of the way to collect mine, but I needed my husband as back-up.  By the time I got there, all the money was gone.  Not even one lone dollar was stuck in the gutter or in a crack on a window trim.  I had missed the ultimate money scavenging event.

Scavenging money is not only accomplished out in the world.  Today I found four dollars while doing laundry – one of my family members left it in his or her pocket.  Winter coats are always fair game for scavenging.  Other family members’ coats, of course.  I have only ever found money in my pocket one time. 

I still can’t believe I left money lying around.  Who DOES that?
 
It would be easier to find it this way,
but not nearly as much fun.
 
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

It Was a Good Day

I approached the bank of check-out lines with my full cart of groceries, looking up and down the row for an open one with less than two people waiting.

Why can’t they ever have enough clerks working this time of day?  Surely they realize that people will soon be coming home from work and need to get supper on the table.  I had about twenty minutes before the kids would be getting off the bus, and it was starting to rain a little.  I didn’t want to hear the complaints if they got wet while walking the half block home.

As I became more and more annoyed at the growing lines, I noticed that one clerk was readying a checkout line to open.  As I steered my rig toward it, I noticed an old man nearby in an electric cart fumbling with his hands in front of him.

“Excuse me sir, are you in line?”

“No, I’m not.”  He looked up at me with a smile as he continued to struggle with whatever he was holding.  Most of his teeth were missing.  “Could I ask you for help with my wallet here?  I need to get my grocery card out.”

His dry, gnarled hands were clumsy; he couldn’t grasp the discount card that most stores these days require their regular customers to have in order to drive loyalty.  Like me, he had a wallet crammed full of them.

I leaned close to the man as I easily slid the card out of his wallet.  He smelled like a person who doesn’t bathe regularly.  I noticed that he was very old, maybe even as old as my grandparents, who are in their nineties.  Why is he alone?  Where is his family?  Doesn’t he have a companion to help him?  How is he getting home?

Thank you, he said.  He had one item in the basket of his cart.  I had thirty.  I offered to let him go ahead of me.  He refused.  I have to get my money out next, he said with a slow smile.  At least let me put it on the conveyor for you, I replied.

As the clerk finished up my order, I motioned for her to add his item to my bags.  Before he could protest, the cashier and I had finished the transaction and his bag was in the basket of his cart. 

Oh, you didn’t have to do that, he said.

I know, I said.  It’s my treat.  Although I think I stole your loyalty points, I joked.

Oh, no, he smiled.  I’ve been looking forward to this all week.  I had just bought him a bag of chocolate candy.  You made my day, he said.

As I waved goodbye, a little embarrassed as if I had gone too far, I thought: actually, it’s you who made mine.
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Patience

Wait out your kids.  Do not give in to their every whim.  Children are tireless narcissists.  They think that they are the center of everything.  They threaten to ruin you physically, mentally, and emotionally with their never-ending needs and desires beginning at birth (or pregnancy, if you birthed your own children) and ending when you die.

Children will die if you neglect them, and who needs that noise?  Pay attention to your children, and take care of their needs, like food, clothing, and shelter.  Give them love and attention, and foster their curiosity within reason.

Children won’t die if you refuse things like sleepovers, more candy, junk food before dinner, and hootchie shorts on the first day of junior high.  They will say they will, but they are wily manipulators.  They may say they hate you for refusing them these frivolities.  They lie.  Children rarely hold grudges.  But they also aren’t stupid.  They know which side their bread is buttered on.  That, my friends, is on your side. 

My son and I had an impasse where he wanted to have a friend over and I said no, because I needed a break from children.

We argued back and forth for some time. He argued that his friend invited him over if they couldn't stay at our house, and why wouldn’t I allow him to sleep at the friend’s house?  I maintained that I would gladly let him go when the friend’s parent called me directly to formally extend an invitation to sleep over.  I knew he was bluffing and I wasn’t budging.  I needed an evening free from children playing computer games and hogging the TV so I could watch adult programming in private.

In the meantime, my daughter was preparing for a sleepover at a friend’s house for the evening, and my son was sulking as he watched his sister move through the house to gather her belongings for the night.  After she left, he sat at the table, tears welling in his eyes as I cheerfully ladled some gruel over a piece of stale bread in his bowl that was going to be his supper.

“I can’t believe you let HER have a sleepover,” he whined.  “I know you love her more.”

“You’re absolutely right,” I joked.  “Everyone knows she’s my favorite.  Eat your dinner.”  I slurped the delicious meal heartily.

He sighed as he dunked his spoon into his bowl and half-heartedly moved it in a circle.  His lips trembled as he brought the spoon to his lips.  Some soup droplets splashed onto the table, mixed with the salty tears of tween sorrow.

We ate in silence for a few minutes.  Then he said, “Mom, this dinner is not awful.”

“Thanks.”

“Actually, it’s pretty good.”  He finishes his bowl and fills it again.  We continue eating.  Talk about the sleepover halts.

As we finish, he says quietly, “Mom, I’m sorry I was so mad about the sleepover.  It’s just that… sometimes I feel like she gets more than I do.”

I look into his big sad eyes, still sparkling with tears, and I say, “I know you do.  But she doesn’t.”

He nods and wipes his eyes, takes his bowl to the sink, and rinses it out.  He knows I have won.  He knows I love him.  He knows that I know he loves me.

And later, after he’s in bed and I am watching my adult programming in the quiet and still house, I exhale, knowing that this is only one battle that I have won in a long war, knowing that there will be many more tough ones ahead.

And I am prepared to fight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Last weekend we went as a family to a local Oktoberfest celebration.

Because we are the type of parents who take their children to a beer festival in the fall instead of a corn maze or pumpkin patch.

I mean, seriously.  Even my son wondered aloud about our judgment in taking children to a place where they celebrate booze.

No matter.  It turned out okay; in addition to the beer festivities, there were food vendors and crafters and a few rides and midway games and dachshund races and polka music and even a giant Twister competition.

Which quickly turned pornographic as one contestant failed to understand that Twister is best played when you are not wearing a dirndl mini with nothing but a thong underneath.

It was a gorgeous day and we had taken some friends along also, so we all had a great time strolling around, sampling the various food and drink offerings, and taking in all the sights. 

We even let the kids play a couple of carnival games, because as everyone knows, no one wins at those things and what’s the harm, really?

And then this happened:
 

A fish in a bag has got to be the worst prize ever.
Never mind the unadulterated joy on their faces.


If you know me just a little bit, you know that I am against keeping pets.  There is something unnatural to me about keeping an animal in your house simply for your enjoyment.  It seems wrong to separate them from their own kind, even though most pets in the world are bred for our enjoyment only.  Whatever.  I’m weird.  Plus pets are dirty and can’t clean up after themselves, and I am wholly against any creature which can’t ever learn how to clean up after itself.

It was a weak moment.  I allowed my children to play this game in which the prize was a goldfish, and they proved to be so adept at this game that each of them won.

I probably need to learn to underestimate my children less.

So we brought the goldfish home, set them up in a bowl that I had miraculously saved from a previous fish-keeping debacle, and watched them swim around in the way that fish do, in circles and with their watery eyes staring out each side of their strange, torpedo-shaped bodies, their silvery-orange scales glistening fragilely and creeping me out every time I walked by.

Everyone I know has a story about carnival fish: they rarely last the first night, they live for years, they are all diseased and one of ours may be pregnant.

Just when I was resigning myself to goldfish ownership, just two days later, this happened:

That's right.  One down.

And that put just enough hope in me that now, there’s not much more I think about than this happening:

It's just a matter of time, right?  RIGHT?

I'm a terrible parent.  Don’t tell my kids.


Update: A mere 24 hours after this story posted, the second fish succumbed to carnival fish-itis, and we are blessedly back to pet-free living.  Exhale.

Monday, October 15, 2012

For Life

I’ll never forget the time I saw my dad lose it with my older brother.  I don’t remember the exact transgression, but the vision of my dad yelling obscenities at my brother while chasing him around our backyard pool with a shoe is forever burned into my brain.

It scarred me for life. 

What also scarred me for life is an early memory of my grandfather removing me from the family dinner table because I was acting disrespectful and he had had enough of my brattiness.

I remember being scarred for life when I got the tip of my thumb cut off while my brother and I were playing let’s-put-this-jump-rope-through-the-hinges-of-the-door-and-then-slam-it-to-see-if-it-cuts-the-rope-in-two.  I remember crying, a lot of blood, the dog running around, and my mom covering the wound with a washcloth.

I don’t remember the dog eating the tip of my thumb, even though it is a hilarious joke in my family.

To everyone else.  I am sure this did not happen.

Being scarred for life is a dramatic description of life events that we never forget.  Usually minor traumas which turn into learning experiences, we chuckle when we regale our friends with the tales and reminisce with our family members about these mishaps and how our lives were shaped by them.

When we are scarred for life, the memory is one that others may share, but it is only our perception that really matters.  Often, what has scarred me for life is unremembered by the people who joined me in the experience.  My memories are simply mine, and what I learned from them shapes my life.

As a parent I have found that any memory can scar a child for life.  It doesn’t even have to be traumatic.  My kids are scarred for life by overzealous garage saling that I carried out early and often in their lives.  They recall their possessions being sold to strangers for change.  They remember seeing a favorite stuffed lion being sold at a garage sale customer’s swap meet booth a few weeks later.

My son was scarred for life one year in school when one of his classmates seemed to attract ants.  To her face.

My daughter is forever scarred by an apple danish that she enthusiastically bit into, thinking it was a donut.

As a result my children mentally catalog each item they own.  My son has the worst kind of insect phobia, and my daughter eschews any and all warm apple products.  These things probably won’t change.  I am certain that they will grow up to be weird bug phobes and fruit abstainers who are also unapologetic hoarders.

The thing about being scarred for life is that you can’t protect yourself or your children from it.  Something will happen in our lives to gross us out, turn us off, or scare us so much that we will avoid repeating those events at all costs.  Being scarred changes us forever.

As a result, I always get a little radical if children slam doors when they play.  Or if there are dogs around at any time.  I’m sure that they will lap up any body parts that may accidentally fly off.

Even though that probably didn’t happen in my case.  A dog definitely did not eat my thumb.  The idea scars me for life.
 
Dog.  Hound.  Mongrel.  Purebred.  Mutt.  Pup. 
Man's best friend.  Thumb eater.
 
 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Long Not Lost

Friends come and go.  We all have friends in our lives that have lasted a season or two.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few friends from years ago that you’ve managed to hang onto despite your abrasive personality traits.

These are friends who knew you before you were someone’s wife or mom, before you were defined by your job or career, before life got a hold of you and smacked the tar out of you.  These friends knew you when you were just you, unadorned by labels.

It’s a friend who shows up in nearly every memory of your childhood, the one whose face you see when recalling sleepover birthday parties, or when you had your first boyfriend, or who comforted and laughed with you when you got in trouble in junior high for talking too much in class.  It’s the friend who spent as much time in the passenger seat the first year you had your driver’s license as you spent in the driver’s seat.  It’s the friend you made promises with to live down the street from one another and raise your kids together.

It’s the friend that you never did that with, but you totally would if the chance ever came up, even now.

It’s the friend that lives far away and who you may only see every one or two years, but when you get together, it’s like you were never apart, even though you know almost no details about each other’s daily life.

When you see each other, this friend’s hair and clothes look familiar, even though her appearance is new to you.  You realize that you are wearing a similar outfit and hairstyle.  The change that you notice most about this friend is her voice.  It’s a little deeper, a little rounder, more mature.

When you talk to this friend, you fall into the same patterns of conversation almost immediately.  You recall jokes that you haven’t uttered to a soul since you were twelve, and you both still find them hilarious.  You fill holes in each other’s memories when reminiscing about the past.

You spill secrets to this friend who you haven’t seen in years that you haven’t told anyone in your current circle of friends.  You complain about things to this friend that you didn’t even realize bothered you so much.  You admit dreams and disappointments you’ve barely been able to acknowledge to yourself.  This friend listens to your heart and doesn’t judge, just as before.  This friend draws out in you your real self, the self that you left behind when life started changing, the self you sometimes mourn when life gets hard.
 
This friend is forever, as you are for her.  Send her a card.  Email her.  Phone her.  Connect.  Do it today.  She won't mind.
 
 
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Lost Book Blues

I lost my library book from school.

I’m not exactly sure how many days it was gone before I realized it; all I know is that one day, my mom told me to go to my room and read (I have to read at least thirty minutes a day for school), and when I looked for my book in the last place I remembered having it, it wasn’t there.

My mom is always moving my stuff around, so when she said she cleaned the house that day, I figured she put it somewhere.  I asked her where it was.

She said she didn’t know, and I guess she couldn’t help herself by trying to teach me a lesson: “It’s not my book; if you would have put it away like you’re supposed to, you’d have it.  You need to keep track of your stuff.”

So annoying.

I looked in my room, and it wasn’t there.  I started to get scared.  Overdue books are five cents a day after the due date; if I couldn’t find it, this was going to get expensive, and I was in trouble.

Middle school isn’t that hard work-wise, but it sure is a lot of stuff to keep organized.  I never really had to keep track of so much school stuff before; how do they expect us to remember everything?  Adults are so confusing; one day, they treat you like a kid; the next, you’re expected to be perfect at everything and if you’re not, you’re in trouble.  It’s a lot of pressure.

I hated it, but I started to cry.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.  Would I get detention at school for losing my library book?  Will I be able to check out books again?  I’m on the Reading Olympics team, and mom already told me that we’re not buying all the books we have to read.  I have to read at least ten books.  What if I’m not allowed to get them from the library?  

I told mom again that I couldn’t find it, and she fired off a list of places that I could look.  She told me to stop crying, that it “doesn’t do any good.”  Well, I know it doesn’t, but I couldn’t help it.  I started yelling because I was mad at her for making me feel worse, but mostly I was mad at myself for losing the stupid book in the first place.

That was the wrong thing to do, because before I knew it I was really crying and my nose was running and I was yelling and whipping pillows around and slamming doors.  It’s not my fault; someone probably stole it, it got thrown in the garbage, it fell out of my backpack on the bus, it got kicked down the hall.  My mom doesn’t go for excuses and she started to raise her voice and I knew I was in for it.  I don’t even remember what was said, but after a while we calmed down and I asked her to help me look.  She did, and even gave me some ideas on other places to look for my book while I was at school.  I was still worried, but not as much as before.

I thanked her and apologized for my blow-up.  I asked her if she had ever lost her library book when she was a kid.  She said she hadn’t, but that she had lost plenty of things and that it happens to all of us.  She told me that if I couldn’t find it, that I’d have to pay for its replacement with my own money, but we’d worry about that only if we did everything we could to find it.

I still haven’t found my library book, but just thinking about all those other places I might find it makes me feel better.  I hope I find it tomorrow.
 

It's gotta be here somewhere.  It's just GOTTA.


This post is inspired by:


Mama’s Losin’ It
 
 
Writing prompt #2:  What was the last thing your child threw a temper tantrum over? Write a blog post from his/her point of view. 
 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Today’s confession is such a sin, I can't even deal.  It was an accident, but I still did it, and in the spirit of confession I will present it here.  My hope is that others who may commit the same crime will not suffer the consequences as harshly as I did.

The other day at dinner, I spilled a glass of red wine.  All over the table, and my chair, and the floor, and my black sweatpants.

We have ceramic tile floor in our home, which means that anything that spills on it will splash from here to Timbuktu. 

Do you live in Timbuktu?  I bet you got splashed with my wine spill.

The worst part was not that I had to clean it up before I even got to eat my own dinner, or even that the kids continued to eat their dinner while I got down on my hands and knees under the kitchen table to clean not only the spill itself, but the underside of everything, the walls, the windows, all the chairs, the table, and anything else that was splashed with red wine, or that they commented on how much wine that was in that glass that spilled, or even that my house immediately smelled like a frat house.  It’s amazing how spilled wine smells kind of like spilled beer.

The worst part was that it was the LAST GLASS OF WINE.

And that, my friends, is the biggest sin of all.

I would never attempt to recreate the scene of the crime as evidence, because wasting wine is an unforgiveable sin.  That I did.

So you will have to make do with this accurate reenactment instead:
 

Don't judge me.  I've suffered enough.


 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Today I have no confession, because I've been a good girl and have nothing to confess.

***

Now that we're done with that crap, the real reason is that I haven't prepared anything for today, and I don't really have the kind of time it would take for me to make up something.  I could explain about how recently I used more swear words in conversation than are heard at a trucker's convention, but that would be embarassing.

But I'm not a total slacker, so instead I will leave you with a sneak peek of the picture we're using in our Christmas cards this year.



Because we care enough to send the very best.

I was trying out the Sock Bun and taking pics of myself for this blog.  And then the kids got in the action.  What a bunch of jerks.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eat to Live Moments

I like to eat.  I don’t Live to eat, like some do, but I don’t see it as merely a means to an end, like some others.  I have had one memorable meal in my life.  It was steak.  Or maybe pork.  Okay, I remember the restaurant.

Maybe I have an undeveloped palate.  I’m not sure what that means.  I think it means that I cannot distinguish between flavors easily, and can’t tell what I’m eating unless I know what’s in it.  I do not take too much time deciding what flavor is my favorite.  It’s like I fail to discern what’s good and what’s bad and what’s okay.  I will eat almost anything.

You might be surprised to hear that in general, despite all this wishy-washiness about what goes into my pie hole (oooooh… pie), I am a good cook.

However, sometimes I will make a grave mistake in preparation and we will have to order pizza.

Here are a few of my favorite food mistakes:

One food faux pas occurred soon after I was allowed to use the range in my parents’ home.  I boiled a box of elbow noodles and sautéed some onions in butter and mixed the whole thing together.  It sounds minor until I tell you that they were dried, minced onions.  Like a whole bottle of them.  And I guess stirred with melted margarine instead of sautéed in butter is a better description of what I did with them.  At least I drained the noodles before I mixed them with the awful onion-flavored oil-based butter substitute.  I tried giving some to my dad, who will eat anything disgusting.  He said no thanks.

Once I put a roast in a pot with some onion soup mix and a bit of water and stuck it in the oven.  An hour later I pulled it out and sliced it up for dinner.  It was burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.  I don’t remember what we finally ate for dinner that night, but I do know that I cried. 

Just yesterday I neglected to follow the instructions on the Mac and Cheese box and found that I had accidentally made Mac and Cheese soup for my children for dinner.  I drained the extra liquid, along with all the flavor.  They complained, as would anyone if they were expected to eat weird tasteless yellow pasta.

Although smoothies are simple, I can mess them up like a champ.  A particularly disgusting smoothie mistake I made recently was neglecting to add ice to the yogurt and blueberries I blended.  I also might have used milk instead of juice.  Then I had a flash of brilliance and threw a handful of granola in the blender.  What I got was warm chunky fruity goop.  It was not good.  I still drank it.

Forget about baking.  Instructions or not, I still can’t get it right.  Once in a while I will bake cookies that both look AND taste good, or a cake will look like someone other than a toddler made it in his Easy-Bake.  But not regularly. 

I was twelve when I made my first boxed cake.  It was a two layer cake, and it was completely flat.  I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, and while I was re-reading the instructions, my grandmother came over and laughed at it.  She still laughs about it.  I do not.

A couple of years ago I made cake icing.  It separated and slid off as I tried to spread it around the cake.  I no longer attempt to make cake icing.

Chocolate chip cookies are the bane of my existence.  They always look like pancakes and I am embarrassed to serve them to anyone.  I won’t even put them in my kids’ lunchboxes.

Okay.  I guess I’m not such a good cook anyway.  Can I come over for dinner?
 
Dinner tonight. 
Can't wait to see how badly I can screw this up.