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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Communication Break Down

I'm frustrated, but even more so than the near disaster Sunday's feast was, I'm frustrated with myself for not communicating well what I needed to keep not only the disaster at bay, but from creeping ever closer to it.

You see, I forget that cooking doesn't seem to be an easy task for everyone. I by no means am a chef, but I have the basics and know when something is over my head and will ask questions to get the best results. I forget more importantly, and how I can forget this God only knows because I've eaten enough of his cooking to remember it, the Guy does not come by cooking skills naturally. Believe me, I've eaten his parents cooking, they're all lucky no one has been poisoned thus far.

It all started Easter morning as I was hard into baking since the night before and was letting the bread rise and stated I needed to cook some bacon. I asked the Guy if he wanted me to cook the whole package and we could throw the rest in the fridge for him through the week for breakfasts. He quickly offered to take it to the grill out back to cook so the house wouldn't smell of bacon for the rest of the day as we had company coming. I liked the sound of this and gave what I thought was the pertinent information. I needed the grease to be saved to roast almonds in and I need a few pieces of bacon to crumble over the green beans and almonds.

And this is where the trouble began. To me, this means save the grease (which he kind of did, after pouring most of it off...) and make sure the bacon is done enough to crumble. To the non-cooking member of the house, this information meant nothing, nothing at all. I caught him pouring the grease off because he thought I only needed a little, and he was out with the dogs by the time I caught that the bacon was soggy like he prefers, not crunchy and therefore not going to crumble. I calculated the time I would need later to crisp the bacon and moved on.

Then he comes home with muddy dogs. Yes, he took them to the river where they romped in the river's slow muddy spring current when we have people coming in just over two hours. Not only do I see that they are wet, but I swear Emmitt know's when we are going to have company and plots to ruin it since he once again found something nasty thick and brown to roll in. Now to  his credit, he did stop at the store and get some more cleaning supplies that we used the last of that morning, though he didn't get my text to get vanilla ice cream for the pie. Alas I had to forgive him this though as I should have called for we both frequently miss texts. I sent him to the tub with the nasty dog, recooked my bacon and calculated per the instructions on the ham that I had just enough time to get to the store for ice cream and back before the ham went in the oven. As I went to say something to him in the bathroom I notice he has the Great Danes medicated shampoo out and he's using it for the nasty dog, who is not a Great Dane nor have a skin condition that requires a very caustic shampoo. I swapped out the bottles and informed him that he's going to have to wash that out of Emmitt's fur ASAP and use the non-itch stuff to counter act the drying effect of the other shampoo, and hit the road with Sullivan the Great Dane for a trip to the store. It was great that I was out of the house for a few minutes at this point because I was working really hard at not being pissed.

In fact, I was at this point working on turning the burner off on my simmering temper. You know when you start to get irritated at one thing, everything starts to piss you off? I was at this point. Other cars were either driving like bats out of hell, or too slow. The old man with his walker in the store was in my way, the red lights hate me. I am often able to recognize this mood when it happens, and know I need to simmer myself down, but sometimes it's so hard. I got home, got ice cream in the freezer and the ham in the oven per its listed instructions, and took a deep breath and started to cut veggies and wash dishes all the while working on easing down my irritation. I have an hour and a half right? Everything is on schedule, it's going to be great! Yeah. As I realize that my re-cooking the bacon has indeed left the house smelling of bacon I go to turn on the dining room ceiling fan while thinking, didn't I turn that on earlier? Yes, yes I did. The switch it seems, has failed and the fan and it's light that we were to eat under are lifeless on the ceiling shedding no light no airing out the house.

Now my Mom right here is saying to herself, "You shouldn't have cooked on a holiday, you know what happens in this family when you cook on a holiday?" We have appliance failure, is what happens to our family on a holiday and to be honest I am very lucky it was just a ceiling fan. I recall as a child one very cold Thanksgiving when the furnace went out. This was Alaska during a cold snap mind you. I recall another holiday that the stove knob broke and we were unable to turn the gas off so my mother managed to cook the whole meal on the stuck burners before we pulled it from the wall and cranked off the gas supply from the wall. There are more including a washer and dryer and a boiler disconnect and some other odd appliances. We won't even discuss a couple years ago when I threw the kitchen aid mixer out (I had the sense to open the window first) the kitchen window. The basics is, our family should go out for Chinese on the holidays and let people assume we are jewish.

So, twenty minutes before everyone is to be at our house I pull the ham from the oven and think, "let's make sure" so instead of just glazing the ham I stick the meat thermometer in and lo'n behold, the damn thing is nowhere near done. In fact, it can't even hit the 100 degree mark. At this point, I know my nostrils flared and I bit back some cuss words because I chose not to go with how I know to cook a ham and instead listened to the package that asked for a lower temperature and a shorter time period of cooking. I almost opened the window and threw it into the front yard. It crossed my mind, and no sooner did I calm myself, replace it back into the oven and up the temperature, the first guest arrived. The next ones came shortly after and they were who I worried about knowing they brought "hot" dishes that would need served. Blessings to all when they said it needed about 30 more minutes in the oven. I popped it in and shortly after checked the ham again and it was time to glaze.

Dinner ended up being a success and the whole evening was fun with knitting, spinning and some Euchre playing, but I still couldn't shake that from the beginning I would have been calmer if I just told the Guy exactly what I needed the end product to be. I could have taken the stank rolling dog, the shampoo mix up, the ice cream absence and the ham a whole lot easier if I hadn't have had the urge to smack him in the back of the head and say, "For Fuck's Sake Man! I need the grease and crumbly bacon!" Because as irritated as I may have been, I can still recognize that little piece of knowledge once passed to me by a friend when she stated, "On those days when everyone is an asshole, maybe you're just the asshole." And at that moment when I wanted to elbow that guy and his walker from the freezer door, I realized he wasn't the asshole for taking his time choosing the desert he would be presenting that night after their easter feast, but I was because I mentally visualized actually shoving him from the door.  Thanks sweet baby resurrected Jesus that I can more often than not squelch such thought processes before I actually do them, and recognize when I'm in the throws of the Asshole attack. Now if only I could get better about communicating about how I want my meat...
Go wherever you want with that, I wanted to lighten the mood up a bit. So, have you suffered at the hands of an asshole attack lately? I meant, you were the irrational asshole, not others.


  1. lucky for me when i'm in asshole mode, i mostly just lose it and start to cry!! loved your tale!! of course, i would have loved it better live while walking our dogs together!!

  2. You did a great job being the wonderful host you always are. Even when you mentioned the highlights of the screwed up day, I wouldn't have guessed it was quite that crazy. Anyhow, it made a great day for us guests as well. Thanks, again, to you and the Guy for hosting us. - Joe

  3. I was worried there for a moment - thought you might of put the ham in the freezer and the ice cream in the oven. You would be amazed what I find the fridge that should have gone in a cupboard and vice versa. And I'm surprised that Sully is still "speaking" to you after the bunny ears - he looks rather put out.