Monday, January 18, 2010

When does an apron feel like a straight jacket?

I had an interesting thing happen to me this weekend? In fact, I'm a little embarrassed to discuss it here in the cyber-world. But as I said earlier, this is supposed to be like therapy for me so I don't go crazy. So here goes nothing.

I was at church yesterday, and although that is not the unusual thing that I'd like to discuss, what happened afterwards was. Let me take a step backward first though. Now that I'm home, I have taken over, as I like to describe it, the day-to-day operations of the family corporation. In other words, I do the laundry, cleaning and the cooking. When I was working full time, I actually enjoyed the times when I would cook. I have a very small creative side that would always get satisfied when I would be turned loose in the kitchen once a week or at the grill in the summer time. Now I am finding that cooking everyday is much different than cooking every once in a while. Having to constantly come up with different menu ideas to keep things fresh, having to ensure every meal has a nutritional balance, making sure the meals are low in salt (per my doctor) are just a small list of things that go through my mind as I prepare the daily bread.

This gets kind of old after about, um... oh yeah, the first week. What used to be an expression of my creative genius now becomes just another chore to be done in a long list of chores. As a result, I have looked to be as efficient as possible in this arena. Efficiency is something I know. Trying to make things easier for the end user is what my professional career was built on. As a result, I have made two very important discoveries.

1) I make a menu for the month. That's right, I figure out ahead of time what we're going to eat for an entire month. We don't always follow it to the letter, but it gives us guidance so our trips to the grocery store can be quicker and the time I spend thinking about meals is reduced.

2) I use the crock pot. I know, it sounds ridiculous. In fact, this whole blog entry sounds ridiculous to me right about now. Try to bear with me for a moment though. A crock pot basically allows you to throw everything together at 8:00 am and then forget about it until dinner time. It really is a great invention. The one drawback is, of course, the lack of quality menu options that can be cooked in a crock pot, but I digress.

Okay, now that I've pulled back the curtain on my inner-Julia Child, I can get back to my earlier story. I had thrown a huge pot roast in the crock pot before we went to church on Sunday. While at church, I saw a friend of ours, who lost her husband to leukemia last year. I was thinking, that we had plenty of food to go around for her and her two young daughters. So, after church I invited her to dinner; I offered the invitation, because my wife was at work. I went up to her and meekly invited her to dinner, saying I had a pot roast in the crockery and there would be plenty for everyone. Then the conversation turned surreal.

The give and take evolved into something you would find on "Helpful Hints from Heloise". You know, something like if you place your bread in the freezer, you can buy lots of it when it's on sale. Unfortunately for me, I was the helpful hinter. I started talking about how wonderful a crock pot is and how it makes life so much easier.

This is when I realized that I was hovering above, outside my body looking down upon the conversation. I began laughing at myself wondering if I was going crazy. I started to doubt the identity of the person talking so eloquently about slow cooking a side of beef. Who was this person and why wasn't he talking about hunting or football? That's when I realized I had finally and fully accepted my role as "happy homemak...", er I mean, "Chief Officer of the Family Corporation". I guess I've finally turned in my Friday casual slacks and dress shirt for sweat pants and tennis shoes. I will, however, draw the line at soap operas and aprons. If I ever start having conversations about General Hospital and One Life to Live , while wearing a "Kiss the Cook" apron, then please call the guys in the white jackets with the butterfly nets.

Next week we'll discuss how to get three loads of laundry done in one load, if you don't mind pink underwear. Go Cowboys! No that's not right, I mean Go Mavericks!

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