Friday, November 21, 2014

What's for Dinner?

One of the first things hubby asks in the morning is “What’s for dinner?” You’ve got to be kidding me! My only concern that early is if there is coffee, and am I in any condition to make it.

I love to shop at Costco. Not only can I have a free lunch by grazing at all the little “Hot/Caliente” carts, I can buy a year’s supply of toilet paper and underwear that costs under $75. The last time I went to Costco, I bought a huge chunk of salmon, Christmas stamps that will last me 2 seasons, and a bottle of vitamin C that won’t fit on my shelf.

So, I get home and decide to have salmon for dinner. There’s enough for at least 10 meals, so I cut it up and freeze most of it. Then I start to pan fry the little pieces I saved for tonight’s dinner. Hubby likes to have a juicy meal – gravy with chicken, saucy stir-fry, and lots of spaghetti sauce with his noodles. I look in the refrigerator for some kind of sauce – nothing. Holy Moly, what am I going to do? Wait, I see some little packages from carry out. I confiscate everything; you never know when a squeeze of ketchup is going to come in handy. Let’s see, I have hot mustard and soy sauce from China House, regular mustard from Wendy’s, and Arby’s sauce. Hmmm, Arby’s sauce sounds good. I mix a little Arby’s with the soy sauce. What’s in that little jar? Oh, capers. I must have made something 8 years ago that called for capers. Why not? I add a few capers and pour it over the salmon.

The meal is over. Hubby usually won’t say anything unless he likes the dinner. Some men belch; some men retire to the sofa and sleep; my hubby will say something like, “New recipe?” or “Did you write it down?” He knows that if I make something up, it will probably be the only time he’ll ever get it.

He likes my Thanksgiving meals, though, because I make the same thing every year. If I vary anything, boy, do I hear about it! He’s a routine kind of a guy. For years it was Raisin Bran for breakfast, now I can’t keep enough split pea soup on hand for his lunch.

I remember the time I tried a new meatloaf recipe. He knew right away. “Don’t mess with the meatloaf!”


Little does he know that I just shake and add stuff to the meatloaf without measuring. It is actually different every time – shhh, don’t say anything.

Back to the salmon – it turned out pretty tasty, even if I do say so myself. Hubby didn’t say anything – but at least he ate it. Oh well, the Arby’s packets are gone, so he won’t be getting that sauce any time soon – unless we have carry out from Arby’s.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Good Enough is Never Good or Enough

Struggling with the grocery bags, Denise nearly fell into her house. She set them on the counter, then closed and locked the front door, bolting the top lock first, then the second. It had been a long week - she was exhausted - and she was looking forward to watching a movie, snuggled with her crochet throw wrapped around her shoulders. She separated the groceries - one pile for the pantry and one for the refrigerator. She stacked the milk, cheese, vegetables, fruit, meat, and eggs all on the top shelf, thinking, “That’s good enough” - then collapsed on the living room sofa with the remote.

No, that’s not good enough.

She heaved herself up, went back into the kitchen, and pulled all the grocery items back out. She placed the cheese and meat in the middle drawer with the other deli items; pulled the egg box out and arranged the eggs on the little plastic crate; threw the cardboard egg container away in the recycling bin in the garage; put the vegetables in the top crisper drawer; the fruit in the bottom crisper drawer; and set the milk on the top shelf with the label facing towards her.

There, that’s good.

She took the pantry items off the counter and placed them carefully on the shelves – soups organized left to right from creams to broth; basil to the left of the bay leaves; spaghetti into a Tupperware container with the noodles.

There, that’s good.

Denise climbed the stairs to her bedroom, counting each step for the millionth time - seventeen, counting the top step. She took off her shoes, put them in the box that was marked with a magic marker, “brown stacked heels" and placed them on the top shelf next to the box marked “brown flats.” Her closet was arranged according to style and color - suits on the left, then skirts, slacks, then long sleeved blouses, short-sleeved blouses, tank tops. It calmed Denise to know that everything was organized properly.

Counting seventeen steps downstairs, Denise was ready for her movie.

Tomorrow was all planned out. Denise needed to do laundry - whites first, then coloreds, then darks.

Nothing else would be good enough.

Denise sat on the sofa, tears starting to spill over on to her cheeks.

This is not good enough.

She realized then that her life as it was would never be good… or enough.