You know, in the hierarchy of busiest times of the day, mornings trying to get the three of us out the door on time for schoolbus pickup at daycare/work comes second only to the first half hour that we're home at the end of the day.
It's stressful because everyone's hungry, everyone's tired, and everyone is bursting with news of the day's doings that simply must be shared with the mother at the soonest possible moment and all at the same time. So last night I was rushing around the kitchen, sadly still messy from Monday night's dinner (swimming lessons started again in Stittsville at 7 p.m. Monday night, and combined with a 5:45 dentist appointment for Leah, seriously cut into my cleaning-up time. And, to be frank, the plaque I have hanging on my kitchen wall saying "Martha doesn't live here. Adjust." isn't there just for show, if you know what I mean. Show me a single mother with 2 kids 24/7 who works full time and commutes nearly an hour [one way] to work and still has an immaculate house, and I'll show you an alien masquerading as a single mom. Or an a single mom with a cleaning lady, or OCD manifesting as a cleaning compulsion. Or a cleaning lady with OCD. But I digress....) trying to make 2 different dinners.
I'm wincing now, prepared for the onslaught of moms who refuse to make two different dinners and their kids eat what they're given. I know I should have been doing that from day one, but due to some trying circumstances, I didn't and now I'm paying the price. One of the New Year's plans is to start making one dinner for all of us incorporating some things the girls like and some new things I want them to start eating. Yeah, I know: Good luck with that. I'll let you know how it goes. Digressing again.
So, I was making chicken fingers and frozen fries in the toaster oven for the girls, with sides of baby spinach (Leah), carrot sticks (Rachel), sliced cukes (both girls), and simultaneously trying out a new recipe from the Kraft magazine, Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake*, for me. The kids wouldn't join me in eating it because it contains such obviously toxic substances as tomatoes, basil, Parmesan, whole wheat pasta, and chicken that is unbreaded. Oh, the horror.
I checked the recipe, and turned the oven on to 375. Started the water heating to cook the pasta, and then put the chicken fingers and fries into the toaster oven. I cut up the chicken breast and started sautéing it with the dried basil, which is still in the little plastic bag it came in from the bulk store (see Martha plaque, mentioned above) and tossed the bag onto the counter as I pirouetted to the pantry to take the pasta out. I smelled plastic melting/burning. Sure enough, the basil bag was up against the hot toaster oven and was melting. I grabbed it quickly, but the smell was pretty strong. I put the pasta in the now boiling water and added the other ingredients to the sauté pan, which gave me a 10-minute window to empty and then fill the dishwasher and finish clearing the counters and the sink. The plastic smell lingered, and then got stronger. I checked all the elements on the stove for something unusual. Nope. OK, forget it.
I prepped the girls' veggies, drained the pasta and mixed the sauce and chicken with it. I served the girls, then put the chicken/pasta mix in a baking dish and opened the oven door to put it in . . . . only to be greeted by a cloud of noxious smoke and an even stronger melting plastic smell. Sitting on the top oven rack was my pizza pan. On the pizza pan were the melted remains of the plastic-handled pizza cutter and the wedge-shaped plastic spatula. Still in perfect shape outlines, just flat and oozy and very, very hot and smelly. Now I never store things in the oven, because I'm afraid of just such a thing happening, but slowly the memory surfaced, a quick cleanup of the kitchen before playdate guests were arriving. A full and running dishwasher. Where could I stash the pizza pan? I know, the oven. Just til the mom dropping off the kids leaves. I won't forget. Insert eye roll here.
I cleaned up the mess (implements were toast [literally] but I should be able to save the pan), aired out the oven, and then finally put the dish in to bake. I sat down and took stock of my day:
8:30 a.m. - attempted to open office door with house key. Took 15 seconds to figure it out.
9:30 a.m. - sent email requesting job references to applicant not being considered further for the job. Had to figure out how to recall email.
12:10 p.m. - went to eat lunch only to discover I had forgotten to bring lunch from car to office
5:45 p.m. - incinerated kitchen implements while making dinner.
Well, it couldn't get any worse, could it? I didn't think so. Until bedtime, when, half-asleep, I grabbed for my emergency mini-tube of toothpaste (note to self: buy toothpaste) and squeezed Polysporin on my toothbrush.
Not. Mensa. Material.
*This was actually really tasty.