Saturday, July 21, 2018

Isn't Summer Supposed To Be Lazy?

I've been busy cooking. There are a lot of people here, and they all want to eat. Dinner last night:

We've been going through a watermelon a day here, almost. A couple of heads of lettuce. Potato salad by the bucket. It's crazy. But in 3 weeks we go to the beach and I can get a break. Until then? I'll keep cranking out the food.

I've also been doing things. Larry and I met with friends Thursday evening to see a live taping of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. We do this every year, only - whoops - not last year or the year before, so actually it was THREE YEARS AGO that we saw them and it doesn't seem like it. Seems like, oh, I don't know, a few months? Time is weird. And it gets weirder as you get older.

Actually, I guess that's all I've done. Aside from cooking - did I mention that?

Susie has turned into Miss Entrepreneur this summer. Last I checked, she was cat sitting for one neighbor, hauling trash/recycling cans for another neighbor, and watering flowers for yet another neighbor on vacation. That's in addition to two other lengthy watering jobs she had this summer. She's rolling in cash. She's also very friendly, so other people with kids tend to take her places - historical sites, water parks, you name it.

So, yeah, not a lot of parenting being done by moi this summer - aside from that cooking thing, I mean. I did mention that, right?

I have been knitting, of course. Goes without saying...

Oh! And, for the first time ever, I had the inside of my car professionally cleaned. You see, I'd been wondering why Theo's 2008 CRV always had a new-car smell to it, so I asked him and he said, "Oh, I have it cleaned once a year."

Cleaned once a year...

People, it's as though the proverbial light bulb switched on over my head. Cleaned once a year - who woulda thunk it?

It's not as if I hadn't considered getting my car cleaned before. But it seemed like a big-deal, once-in-a-blue-moon sort of thing that would be difficult to do. Here was Theo, though, acting as though it was really simple, like filling up the gas tank or something.

Really, I can find no explanation as to why this surprised me. In my defense, we used to have absolutely no extra money to spend on things like that. And often our car was so filled with car seats and other junk that cleaning it out (prior to taking it to be cleaned) was sort of overwhelming.

But those days are long gone, thank goodness, and Lord knows my car desperately needed something done to it. It didn't help that Larry, on his way out the other day, opened up my back hatch and all the windows to air it out and didn't tell me.

Yes, it rained. Of course it did.

That was pretty much the last straw. I mean, it was either pay to clean the darn thing or else drive it over a cliff. Since I don't like heights, I brought my car in for the $40 car wash/interior clean special at the place down the road. $40! Who could beat that?

No one. No one could beat that, or even meet it, if the truth be known. I ended up spending $250. (Hey, spread out over 9 years, that's just, uh, let's see here...$27.80 a year - I can live with that.) They shampooed all the carpets and the mats, shampooed the seats and the interiors of the doors, blew the little bits of gunk from all the crevices, fixed my headlights so they weren't clouded over, shined everything up...

Dumb warning on a bag of flour. You're welcome.

Here's the part where I show you a picture of the finished product, right? Only, I forgot to take one. And it's raining right now, so I'll just have to leave it to your imagination. Trust me, it was worth every penny. I sit a little taller when I drive right now, secure in the knowledge that my chariot/minivan simply gleams. And, yes, the no-food rule HAS been reinstated. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Okay, I tried a spiffy-looking recipe from the Internet that claimed it was easy and tasted great, and guess what? IT WORKED.

This turned into something amazing.

I'm shocked. I mean, considering all my failures over the years (the Crockpot Orange Chicken Fiasco leaps to mind), I really didn't expect this to work out. But now that it has, I feel as though a whole new life's begun for me. Fancy food! One pot! Everyone happy!

Oh, and icing on the cake - I left right after dinner to take Rachel to Civil Air Patrol. I drove all the way there and all the way back, and then I marched myself into the kitchen, thinking: Okay, just do the dishes right away and then you can play with your yarn this evening.

Reader, are you sitting down? THE SINK WAS EMPTY.

I know! It's as though I walked into the wrong house. Turns out Theo (of the mad grill skillz) was the perpetrator of this good deed. Oldest children, you know - so darn responsible. Now if only it would rub off on the younger ones...

Sunday, July 15, 2018

In Which I Get The Short End Of The Stick

Can you take it? Can you take one more post where I kvell over having my grown kids home for a bit? I sound like a broken record, I know.

I don't think any of my kids would understand the phrase "broken record," actually.

Oh, nothing, just the Middle Eastern dinner Theo cooked for us last week...

More peach cobbler happened this week (hey, peaches were 69 cents a pound at Harris Teeter, you know) and there was a neighborhood BBQ today which I was somehow in charge of. Usually this isn't too bad a job, because Larry mans the grill and buys the beer and sets up the tables and generally does all the heavy lifting.

EXCEPT Larry had to take Brian to his college orientation day today.

So, yeah, that was bad timing. Luckily, Larry was here long enough to buy beer and ice and dig the folding tables out of our mess of a laundry room. Then he and Brian hit the open road and left me holding the bag, as it were.

No, no, I'm not bitter - why do you ask?

Happily, Theo stepped in for grill duty and lugging coolers full of ice and such things. He also chatted with neighbors about his adventures overseas like an honest-to-God grownup, because that is what he is now and have I mentioned how proud I am of him? Oh, yes, yes I am.

In the meantime, Susie and Rachel sliced watermelon, taped tablecloths to the outside tables, AND helped me clean up our house because the whole time it looked as if it were going to rain and hey, guess whose house was the back-up indoor location, eh?

In related news, I can't even sleep in my own bed tonight, because we put so many things on there in our effort to make the main floor presentable. It's the townhouse method for getting the house ready for company, you know - just throw everything upstairs somewhere.

Well, it's the townhouse method for slobs, anyway. Hey, I'll admit it. I'm not proud.

It rained lightly, but not enough to make people take refuge inside. So, for the price of a few hours in the humid, bug-laden outdoors, I have a somewhat clean house (aside from my bedroom), a ton of leftover grilled chicken (thanks, Theo!), some great coleslaw that people apparently didn't appreciate, and enough soda to drink my way to diabetes.

I guess I'll call that a win. But I still didn't appreciate Larry texting, "We're here!" and sending a photo of him and Brian in their spiffy on-campus hotel room this evening. It looked very air-conditioned and clean and as though it didn't stink at all of bug spray and lighter fluid.

Must be nice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Don't Bother Reading This, It's Pretty Boring

I'm still here, just a tad overwhelmed with returning (grown) children and cooking and unrelenting heat, is all.  Theo and Brian both returned from the Mideast yesterday, bearing gifts and tales of foreign travel. It's been utterly delightful to have most of the kids under one roof. Anna does have to return to her internship in Israel this Friday, but Theo is hanging around a bit more before he jets off again.

Having a hard time keeping track? Me, too.

Theo cooked this Tunisian dish for us tonight, which met with accolades all around (unlike when I prepare a new recipe, but I'll try to get past that); and he offered to prep and grill these ground-beef kebabs tomorrow or Thursday. Essentially, we're hosting a self-taught Mediterranean chef and I don't mind one bit.

He also drove Rachel's friend home this afternoon, while I took a short nap. People, after 26 years of child rearing, I've earned this. In fact, I'm reveling in it. Anna's been helping with some of the driving, also, and I just don't know what I'll do when they both leave again. Maintaining the house and cooking (because, yes, I've been cooking, too, you know) is so much easier when I'm not constantly running out to pick someone up or drop someone off.

Do you see the happy face? Things must be just peachy!

There's been a lot of peach activity around here lately, as evidenced by the above photo, taken by Susie. I'll leave you with a picture of the peach cobbler (made by myself and Anna and Rachel - team effort), because I happen to have that handy and I'm too lazy to get up and take a picture of the peach jam I made on Saturday. Or Sunday. I don't know - it's all a peach-y blur, at this point.

Good-night, all!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Sloth And Industry - All In One Post!

I spent the first part of this week doing my best Florence Nightingale imitation for poor ailing Larry. But now he's on the mend (even went to work today!), so I can go back to my life of indolence and blogging.

Good thing, too - I never was too skilled with the nursing care.

We did literally nothing for the Fourth. We didn't even try. Larry was still napping, and Rachel spent the day with her Civil Air Patrol unit helping to park cars at some all-day event, and I'm not a big fan of fireworks anyway. I mean, I don't mind fireworks; but the humidity yesterday evening was somewhere around 2000%, so the idea of sitting outside in the buggy grass for 2 hours, swatting at mosquitoes and trying to breathe, was somewhat less than appealing.

Okay, maybe I do mind fireworks. Whatever.

So I met up with knitting friends in the morning, and then I came home and sat around and ate lemon bars that Anna had baked for a BBQ she was going to.

Anna's home, remember? And we're thrilled to see her, as she's been overseas since September. But she overheard me saying to Larry yesterday, "Maybe I'll make the chicken shwarma on Tuesday, when the boys come home" and she said, "Oh, are those the children you cook for?"

Touché. What with Larry being sick and it being 95,000 degrees out and hey, there's watermelon in the house...What with all that, not much cooking is happening around here. Like, none. Aside from Anna's lemon bars, of course.

Have I mentioned the humidity? Yes? Okay, then.

Anyway, today was no longer a holiday, so I washed sheets and vacuumed the floors and cleaned up the kitchen. I mean, REALLY cleaned up the kitchen, because it was gross. I Magic Eraser-ed the heck out of that place. And then, because I was on a roll, I scrubbed the toaster. Once every 9 years, whether it needs it or not...

This is the same toaster that spoiled my children, by the way.

Don't worry, I still had plenty of time to goof off and knit. For some reason, I decided lace weight yarn is a great thing to work with in hot weather and I started in on this shawl. But I was ignoring what I already knew, deep in my sensible knitter's heart: lace weight yarn is NEVER a great thing to work with. Not unless you want to go blind trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

I am knitting with THREAD

Yet, I persevere. At least until next week, when Theo and Brian return from the Middle East and I really do have to start cooking. (Sorry, Anna.)