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And good morning to you too, honey. Before I even had my head half way whipped around to ask just what he meant by that, the two teens saw their in and jumped at it.
"Yeah. It's like you think you're a wizard or something, making up potions."
"You've made up stuff before, mom, but this one would get the blue ribbon in a chemistry class."
"I know! Like the time she chopped up the left over turkey hamburger with the left over spaghetti and then made into a pie. I thought I'd be dead by midnight that night."
"Remember when she scrambled up the tofu with the left over hash browns and made it into a casserole with that saffron stuff? I wanted to put Wanted: For Murder posters up in the hallway."
The ten year old feels the power of his brothers' back-up and so now he's up on his toes, "No! The worst was when she laid out that old bread flat in the cookie sheet and then covered it with that shiny sauce and she got mad when I told her she should be on America's Most Wanted..."
It was like inmates rattling their tin cups against the jail bars. I put my hand up and looked over at my husband. I raised my right eyebrow at him, wasn't he the sheriff in town?
My husband just slunk into his newspaper, nervously clearing his throat, "ehhem, ehhem."
With my hands in the air, I tried to explain; I'm busy. I had to be at work. The food is perfectly safe. They're too picky. How about doing left overs like the rest of the world??
But between me and you and the lamp post, I couldn't deny it. I mean, I can deny the murder part, or the food poisoning part--I label everything with a sharpie and discard within 3-5 days. The meal was a pretty bad concoction, one of my worst. That night's fly out the door dinner was so bad that after I threw it at the kids and rushed to work, I had to confess to my boss as soon as I got there, "Whoa. What I made tonight for the kids to eat was really bad."
"Oh, it's all right," she tells me. "We all have those days." [she really is one of the finest humans on the planet]
"No, this was bad. I mean left over boiled potatoes, chopped up deli meat, sliced tomatoes, all skilletted together with Catalina dressing over. Sliced peaches for dessert."
"Oh." [first time I've ever left her speechless]
The slapped together last minute meal. Why would I even try, what was I thinking, I mean throwing a hot dog and a bag of chips at them would be better.
I think it's that hope--that somehow blindly optimistic or else thinking too highly of myself, with some hating-to-waste ethics I grew up with, that have me thinking it's so crazy, so crazy that it just might work. I know it's a kitchen fail as soon as I start rummaging through the refrigerator--I'm surprised the kids haven't picked up on that behavioral clue yet. When mama starts moving aside the tupperware containers in the fridge to see what's in there, might wanna fill up on some bowls of cereal first.
The Desperation Dump Dinner. I don't want to admit that time got away from me. I don't want to say I couldn't do it all today. It's never laziness or lack of desire to give them a good meal. I try to ignore the voice in my head that pops up when I look at all those round containers of left overs in the fridge and says, "and so you think it's all right to use your kids as the garbage disposal?" As my ten year old told me, "Either way, mom, it goes down the sink, or comes out of our butts."
The ten year old is right. I need to start over and be open to the reality that some nights may just be frozen chicken patties and a sliced banana. There can be honor and beauty in accepting your limitations.
I could also do without the price on my head.