Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Why Mensa won't be calling me anytime soon

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.


  1. I don't know what Polysporin is. But it seems like a pretty normal day to me!

  2. Jen, Polysporin is an antibiotic ointment for cuts etc.

    And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that does things like this.

  3. don't know whether ot laugh or's all just too familiar. the dinner prep kills me, when everyone (including jonas) is talking to me at once, demanding my attention. arrrrghhh!
    i am also trying to get out of the short-order cook business and get everyone on the same track. it is working a little bit, with a few bumps (did you know that homemade cheese sauce vs. cheeze whiz has a gag inducing effect?)
    even though the girls are too old for this, i do cook from it and have had some success - the meals are tasty for us big people too (ignore the pictures of the kids - they are way too clean and wholesome looking. they must be made of wax)
    part of me wishes the the xmas holidays wasn't so darn long and wonderful this past season, it makes getting into the groove again that much more difficult.

  4. oh boy. no comment from over here. I hear ya loud and clear!

  5. I've done stuff like that too, including recently trying to toast a plastic plate.

  6. Actually, some of the smartest people I've known regularly did stuff like cook their utensils, burn down half the kitchen, flood their bathrooms, lock their keys in the car.... It's because their brains are so busy with bigger, more important things that these trivialities don't really register. So don't give up on Mensa yet.

  7. i need that plaque for my place also.

    sounds like quite the day. we have those here also. today might be one in fact cause i feel like shit and wish dinner would cook itself.

    speedy is not a picky eater. but she does have her loves. so we have a schedule here one day i pick dinner and the next she does. it works pretty well. of course today is her day so its kraft dinner and chicken fingers. dinner of champions i tell you

  8. good god! you've been reading my mail. that sounds like me life to a tee. it's tough. in my life, the missing element is TIME. i know that some dread cooking but i love to do it, if there is time. i love to CLEAN and i feel great satisfaction with a job well done and a toilet seat that is not pee stained and a clean mirror. i eve like to FOLD LAUNDRY fold laundry from time to time, when there is TIME. everything sucks and is frustrating when there is so little time. we will not ever get more time so somethings gotta give and it aint't gonna be fun times with my kids, it will be cooking, cleaning and laundry. like is crazy ain't it!

  9. Yup, I go crazy like that too and I'm NOT a single mother-but in my defense, my husband works long hours.