Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank Goodness for Microwaves and Beer

The last couple of weeks has been building up to this moment.  There have been ups and downs...exhausting moments...and while last night was not necessarily the worst of it...it did pretty much sum up the frustration throughout the duration of my husband being gone.

I attempted to make dinner.  That was my first mistake.  Why, as a single mother, was I going to try and cook something from scratch?  Perhaps it was the altruistic side of me that wanted to prove that I am capable of doing this...I do not need to resort to fast food or macaroni and cheese.  I am going to feed my kids a healthy, home-cooked meal.  I was going to make a healthy version of fish and chips...where I made my own breading from grinding toasted multigrain bread.  I made the chips out of sweet potatoes...which took me nearly an hour to peel and try to slice with the side of a cheese grater, because I did not have the proper appliance for slicing vegetables into paper-thin slices.  Connor watched for awhile.  The older boy had to be brought down to watch the other little ones so my mother could hold Connor. 

After stopping here and there to deal with issues with the teenagers, I finally got the sweet potato slices into the oven.  My oven has been acting up for awhile now, but I've managed to somehow make it work by adjusting the temperature and keeping a close eye on the food.  This was not a night I could make it work.  I opened the door to find smoke billowing out...the bottom tray of chips were charred...the top tray not cooked at all.  The smoke alarm went off...I still had to bake the fish.  I had now been in the kitchen for almost two hours.  My mother came in and fried the rest of the undercooked sweet potatoes in oil, while I started some macaroni and cheese, which I should have just done in the first place.  The fish didn't have the same issues...but we did end up microwaving some of them. By this time I was ready to snap if a child came in one more time asking if dinner was ready...or what that burnt smell was...

We sat around the table.  Owen squeezed some macaroni between his fingers and slid down from his seat.  Connor proceeded to switch seats and eat Owen's macaroni after I told him he needed to eat his fish (he had already shoveled down all of his macaroni.)  Irelynn asked how many bites she had to take.  The older two poked at their fish as though they were examining some sort of crime scene evidence. 

Needless to say, dinner was a bust.

Then came the frustrations of trying to get the teenagers to help clean up after dinner (I get the strong impression that doing dishes ruins their lives somehow.)

After a few attempts, we finally got Connor down to sleep.  Owen was getting tired, and tried to snuggle up to me...I bent down to kiss him, and he jumped up, making contact...hard...with my lip.  My teeth cut into the inside, and I could taste blood.  Brilliant.

My mother managed to find one lonely can of beer in the basement fridge.  Upon getting the last child to bed, we split the beer into two mugs.  The phone rang...and I thought it might be my husband, calling to wish me a good night and perhaps apologize for making fun of my predicament earlier.  No...it was the instant alert system for the public school system...due to inclement weather, the kids will have no school the next day.  They had already had a long weekend, because they had no school that day, either, due to President's Day.  Awesome.

We ended the night with a toast to endurance.  

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