Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

Tomato Bisque Maggot Glop

August 29, 2009

Okay, so I’m no gourmet cook. I do cook. I figure during our 28 1/2 years of marriage I have made dinner about 6000 times, or on average, at least four nights a week for 1482 consecutive weeks. My husband, David, has cooked maybe thirty times, or, on average, about once a year. He doesn’t cook, although he loves to repair things, like lawn mowers.

David, on the other hand, will eat just about anything. He usually thanks me effusively over the arrival of dinner as if its’ coming to fruition is some kind of miracle. Which, it usually is. I don’t much like to cook, unless it’s TV dinners in the microwave. Maybe my body language gives it away, with me yakking on the phone or out dead-heading the flower beds while the timer is blasting, the liquid is boiling over and foaming on the stove, and/or the oven has caught fire. “Ooops!”

I usually make one of about ten different dinners. I have likely made each one of them at least 500 times. These include meat loaf, chili, spaghetti, beef tacos, chicken enchiladas, baked or fried chicken, or something grilled. Pork once in a blue moon, and some fish. Well I’m pretty tired of it all.

So the other day I spotted this recipe for Tomato Chicken Bisque. Hey, it looked … refreshing? I was thinking, you know, for a change, something light and appropriate for a warm summer’s evening … How about this tomato chicken bisque soup with bread and sliced cheese? And a glass of milk! Simply Delicious!

Let me say right off the bat that I wasn’t told to start growing the basil in my garden at least six weeks prior to making the soup (nor had I bought fresh basil at the grocery store, but maybe this detail doesn’t matter) … photo(4)

(If that is indeed fresh basil they are using as a garnish, an ingredient they list in the recipe, and not water cress or something NOT listed as an ingredient.) Let me also say that I was following the recipe pretty much the way I do most soup recipes: Look at all the ingredients you need, lay them all out, and throw them in the pot to cook! Hey! It’s a friggin’ soup, right? I was a little curious for a half-second at some point as to where the ‘whole’ tomatoes went to in the photo – why weren’t there, like, tomato globs floating around in it? I also really didn’t think about what ‘bisque’ exactly means either, although, I have since looked the word up to freshen my memory and noticed descriptions like ‘thick’, ‘strained’, and ‘creamed’ in the definition.

To be honest, with this tomato chicken bisque I did pretty well with the ‘thick’ part of it but the other two factors were … um… lost in translation, you might say. At some point the recipe says, “Working in small batches puree the soup in a blender and transfer back to pot”… which I realized was the process by which the ‘soup’ became a ‘bisque’. No problem! Oh crap! I’m supposed to add the chicken AFTER I puree the soup into a bisque – except that I’ve already diced and added the chicken! Oh well! I picked out a few chicken pieces and, that proving tedious beyond my ability to cope, I just puree-d the whole thing, chicken and all.

Another thing the recipe should have stated up front is, ‘Be sure to puree the soup before adding the chicken.’ Because the chicken chunks get pulverized into what looks like … an implanted maggot colony. And when I saw all those maggots in my tomato bisque I thought, no, all those little white bits just look like maggots, but I know they are chicken. But then when I spooned a taste of it into my mouth, all I could think about was how cooked maggots probably taste like chicken.

“Dinner’s ready!” I called out to my husband and daughter, Megan.
“HMMMMM … smells good!” David gushed approvingly, as he entered the kitchen, relieved, I’m sure, that his wife had pulled off yet another dinner ‘miracle’. (As he was beginning to wonder when his own starving stomach might commence eating itself.) Dinner was finally ready and steaming on the stove top!

“Well, honey, it’s a new recipe! See, here’s the picture!” I said, flashing the above recipe in front of his face. “Except I didn’t have fresh leaves (whatever they are) for garnish!” … “And uh … well, you go first, dear! There’s plenty of it, a whole pan full!”

photo

“I’ll have a TV dinner!” declared Megan. Smart girl. I suspect maggots do taste a lot like chicken. If you hadn’t made the soup, how could you really be sure … well, you know.

I won’t tolerate anyone around here complaining of hunger. We still have a hearty portion of that leftover tomato bisque maggot glop stowed tightly in a container in the way back of the fridge. And I even stuck a sprig of fresh rosemary on it as a garnish.

Yeah, well, tonight we ordered pizza.

Can you Cheat the ‘Cheat Death’ Scale?

June 30, 2009

On the last page of the June 22 issue of Newsweek Magazine under ‘Back Story’ there is an interesting collection of statistics presented under the title, “Can You Cheat Death?” It rates life style choices and other factors’ influence on your ‘life expectancy’ on a scale of +10 to -15 years. For example, the very first entry states that if “You have a blood relative who has lived to be 95 or older” – well – Good Job! – because that’s worth an automatic ‘+10′ – ten years added to your probable life expectancy. My husband achieves that one. His mother is 96 and still kills at Scrabble, which, by the way, makes her a living testament to the second entry: “You regularly play puzzles like Scrabble or Sudoku.”: +5 years. Does that mean she’s going to live to 101?

Continuing with this “Cheat Death’ scale, here’s the third entry: “You’re a married man”: +5 years. Wow! Hey guys, marriage adds five years to your life expectancy! – a fine, deserving testament to all the good, hard-working women of this world! I mentioned this encouraging note to my husband, lauding the praises of my presence in his life. His reply: “Yeah, well, life just seems longer when you’re married. It really isn’t.” What a killjoy he is.

Well anyway, here we go, further down the scale: “You’re a married woman.”: +0 years. What? A big ‘Zero!’ – ‘Nada!’ – ‘Zilcho!’ increase in life expectancy if you’re a married woman? I’m assuming they mean heterosexual marriage here. That statistic is surprising, given, by itself, the increased amount of exercise a married woman can get just cleaning up after the average man. There actually is nothing on this chart about exercise. Probably because too much exercise can kill you, or drive you to an early death, or even make you want to die just to get out of exercising. But in any case, ‘marriage’ wasn’t defined in this chart, either. What if you are a woman, say, living in Massachusetts or somewhere, married to another woman – what with women being so good and so pro-life-extending, your union could likely increase your life expectancy by ten years. Two grown, good, hard-working women united in marriage, managing the household … Yeah!

One explanation as to why a woman married to a man gains ZERO extra time in regards to life expectancy might be because the average man is completely untrainable when it comes to doing laundry. Even if he does mean well. Take my husband, for instance. He knows full well how I want the laundry done since I have spared no opportunities to instruct him – like every time a dark purple stain ends up plastered to the front of my white t-shirt or white lint gets plastered all over my favorite black cotton-ribbed sweater. “SORT THE LAUNDRY! – Darks with darks, mediums with mediums, whites with lights, leave the DELICATES! and WASH TOWELS SEPARATELY!” I tell him all this in the nicest tone I can muster (deep breathing helps) ABOUT 300 TIMES, I bet, in our 28 years of marriage.

Left alone in the laundry room without supervision, however, and my husband’s infinite wisdom trumps my instructions. His mission: “Make the dirty clothes disappear.” You see, he doesn’t like ‘clutter’ and by scooping the whole pile up and tossing it into the washer he does make the clutter in the laundry basket disappear. What’s the point of loading up the washer with ‘whites,’ leaving five dark, smelly, dirty socks (there’s always an odd number) lurking in the laundry basket to assault your senses as you enter the house through the back door? Ugggh! So yeah, the laundry room looks great when I get home. “Thanks honey, now would you please make the clean clothes disappear so I don’t have to see the ruined whites or my black knee socks, now afflicted with a seemingly serious case of impregnated nits or some such foul thing contracted from the WHITE TOWELS!”

Also, our washer and dryer sit in front of double windows overlooking our back deck. My pet peeve is – I don’t like stuff placed on interior window sills – clutter! – on display in full view to the outside world. For example, ME, TRYING to relax in my chair on the deck, while looking through the laundry room window at the box of laundry soap and squirt bottle of ‘Shout,’ sitting there all cockeyed on the interior sill. I don’t like STUFF on window sills, PERIOD. My husband’s pet peeve, HE doesn’t like STUFF sitting on the dryer – like the box of laundry soap and the Shout. HE likes the washer and dryer surfaces clear of everything. So … he props the laundry soap and Shout on the window sill. When I pass through the laundry room and see them there – why of course I snatch them off the window and back onto the dryer – BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE STUFF PROPPED IN THE WINDOW! We have done this at least 500 times since moving into this house 9 years ago. Hey, who’s right here? I think I am!

We should both live five extra years because we regularly play each other at Scrabble. Except, my husband, in his unbridled ruthlessness, kicks my butt nine games out of ten and it makes me sore, losing so much. Stressful! Between that and the laundry debacle I might just lose five years life expectancy – because – to quote the scale: “You frequently feel stressed out”: -5 years.

But then being married to my 98-per-cent-wonderful (except when left unsupervised in the laundry room or playing Scrabble) husband keeps me safe from engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners – which, according to the scale – if I did engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners then it would knock seven years off my life expectancy.

I guess I won’t start using IV drugs at this juncture of my life, either, since I see that would decrease my life expectancy by 15 years. That would maybe mean that if I started tomorrow I could be dead by the next day, given my age now.

… Unless we continue with Scrabble and my hubby ends up, for some unforeseen reason, taking over completely on the laundry. Then I might end up shooting myself up, dealing with the stress. Well, maybe I should opt, instead, for flossing my teeth non-stop. Because I see from the “Cheat Death” scale that daily flossing increases life expectancy: +2 years. I could make a life style change and start flossing, say, 20 times a day, just for good measure and maybe some extra added years. Cheat the ‘Cheat Death’ scale. I’ll be sure to leave the used floss on the dryer. You know, just for fun. Heck, why not try, at least, to have a little fun while I’m still alive? After all, even when you think the laundry is done, there’s always more dirty clothes.

‘Decompression over lawn mower hard work’

June 19, 2009

“How does decompression handle work on lawn mower” – I spotted this today under ‘Top Searches’ in the wordpress site admin section of my blog, exclusively for my viewing, I guess.  Hmmm.  What was I supposed to do with this information? What in the world does this phrase mean and why does it comprise a ‘top search?’  I typed the words in as a search to see if the phrase would bring up my blog. But it only brought up numerous <a href="“>lawn mower sites. When you click on this and scroll to the bottom of the page you will also see a site: “New Tanaka chainsaw features automatic decompression.” Now that could prove handy as a stress-buster!

Getting back to the initial question, I can tell you how my decompression handles work on lawn mowers: badly. It does work better if I decompress both before and after I have to deal with the mower. Pushing it, for one thing. That is backbreaking work, since the self-propulsion on the wheels doesn’t work. That feature went kaput last fall, which is what landed the mower in our basement, where my husband was determined to fix it (it being November by now and way too cold to work on it in the garage). He took the mower all apart, ordered new parts for the wheels, put it all back together and zing!started it up! (Yes, down in the basement). The wheels were propelling themselves so well that they dragged the mower instantly to a 5×7′ rug, where the blade, just freshly sharpened, sliced a big hole in it and then lodged itself in a corner of the rug, stalling the engine. I, in the meantime, flew down the stairs to investigate the engine noise, which I knew had to be related to something much more serious than, say, the water heater going out or something. What the hell was going on in the basement and where is my husband? – were questions I was asking as I jetted to the basement. The mower was quietly at rest when I got there and I proceeded to help my hubby un-impale the mower blade from the rug.

He knew right then and there he had me where he wanted me. Because next, my husband looked at me straight on and inquired as to whether I would be willing to help him get the now perfectly fine mower up the thirteen stairs from the basement to the garage (where it would be ready to go and mow come spring!). Well he obviously couldn’t accomplish this Herculean feat by himself! So of course I agreed to get on the upside ‘handle’ end of the mower and pull on it to help him (who was engine side, pushing) get the mower out of the basement. (I pick up right here on this story in about the seventh paragraph of my ‘Ping Pong vs. the Lawnmower’ Blog posted in March – which was written in connection to the 14 or so sessions of physical therapy I ended up getting to fix my back …)

“How does decompression handle work on lawn mower” Well, luckily I haven’t had much to do with the lawn mower since we got it up out of the basement. My hubby stoicly fired it up for it’s maiden spring mow of 2009 and it worked beautifully. Just that once. The next time he fired it up, he had to push with dynamo strength to keep it moving. The self-propulsion had gone out again. But he had worked so hard – had gotten the mower into the basement and succeeded in fixing it himself! We had dragged it up the thirteen stairs to get it back out of the basement! I subsequently went through 14 physical therapy treatments to fix my back! There was just no way he was not using that mower! So every five days he’s out there mowing our grass with that thing, wedging the handle against his belly, pushing with his body weight to propel the mower, digging in his toes. He doesn’t expect me to do it and I don’t ask. I have suggested we give up on the thing and purchase, say, a riding mower. Then I would mow for sure. And if the thing crapped out we could just roll it down the stairs into the basement for my hubby to fix it and then drive it back up the stairs to get it back out again.

In the meantime I have to decompress over the fretfulness and strain I experience just watching him mow the front and back lawns. But I guess that beats decompressing over me having to do it.