One down, 16 to go

I had 10 years of single life back in the day, in which time I managed to cook (not just heat), shop for groceries, do my laundry and ironing, not be startled by the sound of the vacuum and even clean the bathroom (admittedly usually only when it was time to move). I even weaned a couple of housemates off of SpaghettiOs, showing them it was scarcely any more work to make real spaghetti than to heat that glop. Therefore life on my own (or life on my own with an almost 17-year-old) shouldn’t be too tough (see yesterday’s post “And They’re Off”), especially since I still do the laundry and I’m responsible for my own ironing.

Day one of my single-life interlude and I come downstairs thinking about being able to brush my teeth without having to bob in and out of the bathroom between my wife’s ministrations of makeup and hairspray. Great – just eat, brush and go. But then the guinea pig starts squealing; he’s used to being fed at least an hour earlier than when I made my appearance. Out to the yard for dandelions to mix in with Timothy hay and some green beans. When I come back in the bird is cursing again and the cat keeps trying to lie down in front of my feet. My daughter’s voice comes down the stairs, “Daddykins – I’m running late. Can you make me one of your egg sandwiches?” Why sure, missy. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan … I’ve got this under control.

Oh wait, food. That reminds me…dinner! You see, the secret is you’ve got to have a plan. If I don’t figure out now what we’re doing for dinner tonight then it’s likely to be dandelion greens for the pig and us. I look in the freezer where we’ve been squirelling away extra portions from our dinners the last few weeks. I pull out a couple of foil-wrapped bricks, cryptically labelled “Italian baked dish.” I figure we must have liked it or it wouldn’t have gone into the freezer, so I move the bricks to the refrigerator and efficiently take out the eggs and cheese for the breakfast sandwich, nearly tripping over the cat again when I turn around. When it is all said and done, somehow or another I end up leaving the house 15 minutes later than usual.

This evening I came home earlier than normal and lovingly tossed the Italian baked dish bricks into the oven. My daughter arrived, claiming to be so famished that she is about to pass out. Mr. Henri is once again there in a pinch. “Hauh, hauh, zit down, din-nehr iz about to be served.” I pull the bricks out of the oven and unwrap them. Oh, I remember this stuff; it is good. Not quite warmed through yet, but that’s why God gave us microwaves. But when I set the now-steaming portions down on the island I realize that I have not provided a vegetable. Oh well. “Take your vitamins,” I say, pointing to her pills. I reach into the refrigerator for a couple of bottles of water and twist off the tops. “Here is a refreshing beverage. You might want to let that breathe a little before you drink it.”

Later, as we’re finishing up, I ask her what she’d like to have for dinner tomorrow night. “Dad,” she says, “tomorrow night is my open house, remember?” Oh, the open house for the new building her school has just moved into. Right. “Um,” I say, “is there going to be food?”

“Uh-huh.”

Yessss! I can do this. Just 16 more days to go.

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