Monday, September 9, 2013
When a Working Mom Gets an Upper Respiratory Infection, Day Two
When said working mom takes her Singulair and Zithromax prescriptions and goes to bed before midnight like a good girl, she will wake up on Saturday feeling fairly human. She will actually wake up at 7:30, having received roughly eight hours of sleep (which is a LOT for her), which means she will have the opportunity to talk to Spouse before he leaves for his tennis match. She will lounge around for awhile, and then around 9:45, because she is still under the influence of awesome steroids, she will convince the Little Kid to go with her to the farmers' market at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. As she and the Little Kid are pulling into the parking lot, the Little Kid will remember that he meant to be cranky on this particular Saturday, and he will decide that he never wanted to go to the farmers' market, he hates farmers' markets, etc., etc. His mother will ignore this, because she has met the Little Kid before, and she knows that five minutes in he will drop the "most unhappy boy in America" act. Hopefully.
Five minutes in, the Little Kid will drop the "most unhappy boy in America" act and start showing interest in things. (Big sigh of relief.) By this time, Mom will have already bought a tiger melon (because it looked cool) and a poblano pepper (because she needed one). The Little Kid will select some apricot jelly for himself and a jar of strawberry balsamic jelly as a Grandparents' Day gift for his nana (because, as everyone knows, strawberry balsamic jelly is THE traditional Grandparents' Day gift - available anywhere Hallmark cards are sold). Mom will select lemon blueberry. The Little Kid will try to convince her to let him get a cactus. She will hold firm.
Then she and the Little Kid will purchase some okra, and some tomatoes, and some raw peanuts and these funny little fruits called jujubes (like the candy) that are some sort of Japanese fig and are supposed to taste like a cross between apples and pears. The peanuts and jujubes will be the Little Kid's idea - but he will agree to try okra, if his mom will consent to roasting the peanuts in the oven. She will say that she has never roasted peanuts, but she would like to try, and therefore this sounds like a good trade.
Because she is still under the influence of AWESOME STEROIDS, she will decide to risk a side trip with the Little Kid to the plant nursery (because the cactus seller also had some basil, but she didn't have the right kind of basil, and the basil pot is looking one-sided). On the way, she will field questions about okra, and methods of preparation of okra, and she will suggest that "fried" is a good entry-level form of okra because, when prepared thusly, it is the vegetable that most closely tastes like popcorn. The Little Kid will point out that actual corn tastes the most like popcorn. Then they will discuss the relative merits of tigons versus ligers.
At the plant nursery, the Little Kid will lobby for a small (very small) pot with ornamental peppers in it. The mom will capitulate, because the pot is only $1.99, and the peppers are a pretty shade of orange. The Little Kid will ask what meals can be prepared with his new peppers. The mom will explain the concept of "ornamental" - and then agree to the purchase of three NON-ornamental pepper plants. (Three, because the Little Kid "wants to watch the circle of life unfold" - his words - and therefore wants a taller plant with mature peppers that are edible now, a medium-sized plant with almost-ripe fruit and a small plant with the world's tiniest pepper on it. In other words, a Poppa Bear, a Momma Bear and a Baby Bear - seems to be a recurring theme these days.)
The mom will get her basil, and some more mint, and some fountain grass, and the Little Kid will get a "baby boo" (miniature white) pumpkin. He will insist on riding in the car with his peppers lined up on one side of him and his pumpkin on his knee.
When they are finished with their plant shopping, the mom and the Little Kid will stop at Central Market, ostensibly to get buttermilk for okra-battering. They will come home with buttermilk, plus yogurt, bread for the jelly, more produce (including a Fuji apple, an Asian pear and an actual apple-pear hybrid, because the Little Kid wants to conduct a head-on taste test with the jujube, and a huge bag of Granny Smiths, because the Little Kid saw the sign, "Great for homemade applesauce," and decided that homemade applesauce sounded like something he might like to try), and red snapper fillets (because the Little Kid recently has decided that he is a fan of snapper). As they are walking alongside the fish counter, the Little Kid will apologize to the crab legs - "sorry that you got murdered." The mom will distract him as they walk past the (ridiculously HUGE) frog legs. The Little Kid will demand Fiji water (SINCE WHEN?). When informed that Fiji water is unavailable except in a case, he will select a single bottle of "Crazy Water" (which his mother will think is far more appropriate for him, based on name alone). He will wash his Crazy Water down with salted caramel and Oreo gelato, most of which will end up melting all over him in the car.
When they get home, Mom will clean out the fridge to make room for her purchases, and she will remember that she has tahini that is soon to go bad, and a lot of produce falling in the same category, and way too many eggs. She will end up making: white bean hummus; salsa verde (to eat now and freeze for chicken enchiladas later); peach and tomato pico (to serve with the snapper); homemade applesauce; chocolate chip cookies; and a rum cake. She will make the rum cake because her rum cake recipe requires exactly the number of eggs that she needs to get rid of after making the cookies.
While things are cooking, she will start the dishes, and hand-wash pots and pans, and reorganize the refrigerator and the pantry. And then she will remember that she is sick. So she will go to bed.
Well, she will get IN to bed. And then the Big Kid will come in and inform her that he needs to make an animal cell model in a two-liter soda bottle, and he has to draw an analogy to something that is like a cell, and he has decided that he wants his to be a sailing ship. (Okay, so we'll attach the sails to the top. No, he says - the model has to be fully contained in the bottle, with no protrusions, for ease-of-storage purposes. So, basically, he wants to construct a ship in a bottle. Nope, nope, nope.)
The mom will steer him to the idea of a submarine - being a two-liter soda bottle-shaped item. They will spend time drawing analogies (captain = nucleolus, bridge = nucleus, hallways = endoplasmic reticulum, maintenance crew = lysosomes, engine room = mitochondria, hatch = semipermeable aspect of cell wall). The Big Kid will decide that in lieu of a submarine he wants the Starship Enterprise. The mom will remind him that the Enterprise is not two-liter soda bottle-shaped. He will once again raise the "ship in a bottle" concept. He will once again be denied.
Then the mom will move on to writing lesson plans for Sunday School while simultaneously researching waiver of subrogation language for commercial leases and graphically designing a poster featuring Times Square on New Year's Eve and pieces of what will eventually be a three-dimensional crystal ball and tower. (Don't ask.) While she is multitasking, Spouse will return from his Kimbell Museum trip with the Little Kid. (The mom had acquired two tickets to the Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes exhibit, and since the show was ending the next day, she really wanted some quiet time in bed, and the Little Kid had expressed in the show, she thought that a dad/kid outing was just what the doctor ordered.) The Little Kid will be crying, because: (1) he will never get to see the exhibit again; (2) the whole family did not see it together; and (3) it is a day with a Y in it. The mom will ultimately bribe him with chocolate chip cookies. His mood will improve, which means that he will continue to pop into the mom's room with fun factoids about animals. By this point, the mom will be blogging, with the television off, seriously enjoying the peace and quiet.
Then Spouse will join in on the "peace and quiet disruption": "I'm looking for your new car. What are your first, second and third choices of exterior colors?" She will explain that it's as much about exterior/interior color combos as exterior colors. She will go to the VW Web site and pull up the "configure your car" feature. She will annotate the VW brochure in Spouse's possession and rank her choices in order with a Sharpie. Twenty minutes later, he will interrupt her with the news that some graphic artist has obtained the rights to the original Star Wars scripts (when R2D2 spoke English and Han Solo was a green alien) and is making them into graphic novels, and the first one is already out, and there will be seven more, and they only run $3 each, and the kids will LOVE THEM, but you cannot order them, but Lone Star Comics has them. She will realize (or remember) where the Little Kid gets his lack of enthusiasm for silence. She will beg Spouse to see if Lone Star Comics is open, RIGHT THEN, so that he will leave her alone.
She will finish her blog post, and she will ACTUALLY go to bed.