Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Off

Today...I have a day off. A day where I could be asleep in bed but got up at 6:30. This was after getting up at 2:00 and 4:00 with heartburn so bad that I silently swore that I would never eat green bean casserole again. This resolve will easily be forgotten the next time somebody has it on the buffet, but whatever.

I have some baking to do today...but naturally do not have one elusive ingredient - graham cracker crumbs - which means that I have to A) get dressed and B) not look scary so that I can go to the grocery store before all of the college students get up and crowd the roads along with the people from all over central Alabama who felt the need to come to the thriving metropolis of Montgomery, Alabama.

I am making about a gazillion mini cheesecakes (in mini muffin pans to give you a sense of scale) for the Phi Mu tea tomorrow. I love to bake for a purpose, but strongly sense that this is going to be far more exhausting than going to work and analyzing tax returns. Why? Because I was not born with the domestic gene...I'm a total wannabe.

Women in my family had "help" until my mother's generation so this was a well guarded secret. My grandmother put together specialties that we all clamored for when she was with us, and she shooed us out of the kitchen with great gusto. Part of it was that our family has an affinity for talking and not working while in the kitchen. I learned this the hard way during Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. I've had to turn into a banshee to keep people out of my kitchen because - in spite of my open floor plan - I have a "two butt kitchen" - which means that only two people can actually work in there at any given time. If three are there, it will look like any given Three Stooges episode...unintentionally.

The other part of her refusal to allow us in was that she used common ingredients in what she made "from scratch." Two that spring to mind are Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable soup in her homemade vegetable soup...and Franco American spaghetti in her goulash. So, while we were offended that we were only allowed in the kitchen to put ice in the tea glasses...I believe that it was in part because she didn't want us to know that she was taking shortcuts. Bravo to her on that one!

Growing up, housecleaning involved sweeping and replacing the toilet paper roll as far as I could tell. I had to make my bed sporadically, but other than that, I was pretty clueless. I learned to make scrambled eggs, but learning to cook was a slow and painful process for anyone who was forced to eat my cooking. My mother-in-law taught me to cook...which was awesome...except that her lessons were usually when we were all together. So, I can cook brilliantly for 14...for 4, though? Not so much. But if you are ever invited here for a group can rest assured that you will not leave hungry...or without a plate for later...and later after that.

So, as I sit here contemplating the time ahead of me right now...I am happy that I have a beautiful cold December day four days from Christmas to fill however I see fit. It is a rare privilege. Everyone except for Brian has to work I am enjoying a cup of coffee and writing this to make ME happy.

Never mind that the dogs need bathing, the refrigerator needs to be purged, the toilets could use a scrubbing, and I have a few random gifts to wrap. Who cares if I have enough dust to write "Rudolph wuz here" on my endtables? What does it matter that I have enough laundry to keep me quite occupied today?

Perhaps I should ask Santa for the gift of domesticity in 2010. Maybe then I can FINALLY get my bedroom clean enough to walk through without running into something. That I'll be able to get excited about the recipe section in Southern Living or the sight of a freshly mopped floor. Well, actually, the latter does make me smile...especially if Big Dave is pushing the mop...which he frequently does.

Those who were born with inclinations toward being Martha Stewart (my only inclination is toward her crabiness on occasion)or Rachael Ray (I can do her enthusiasm if I am jacked up on caffeine) have my respect. The only Paula Deen I can pull off is her accent. But today...none of that matters. I DID inherit the shopping gene...and that's where I'm headed in a few minutes...the grocery store. Not the best place for me to go unescorted...but hopefully I'll manage. Later!

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