It is Friday. It’s been Friday for me since 4:30 this morning, a day packed with kickboxing and laundry, tons of teaching, dashing home to make lunch for my recuperating husband (shoulder replacement surgery a week and a half ago), dashing to the post office and bank, frantically preparing to be out of the office part of next week as I travel to California for an artist training. All wonderful things, but at the end of this long and stressful week leaving me drained both mentally and physically. Oh, and crabby. My normally long fuse is almost nonexistent lately.
I stayed late at the office making sure I was set for my early Monday morning class, then fought traffic to go pick up a prescription for Dan. By the time I got home, I was done. Toast. Ready for jammies and quiet. However, there were chores to be done and dinner be made. I decided today that I have an all new respect for working mothers who do this (everything) every day. I typically have Dan’s very welcome help- especially with cooking- his avocation. He loves to cook and is fantastic. I don’t like to cook and I’m not very good at it, and today I was particularly ambivalent about having to make dinner.
I asked Dan what he wanted, and he told me to hit the easy button and do whatever I wanted. At that moment, I should have picked up the phone and ordered pizza. Instead, I headed into the kitchen with grim determination, going to the fridge and taking out the package of asparagus and spinach ravioli, vodka sauce, Parmesan cheese to grate, and butter to make Garlic toast. I was going to make a freaking wonderful dinner, dammit.
After some minor cussing caused by the splashing of boiling water on me and everything else as I dumped the ravioli into the pot, I had things under control…or as much control as I ever have in the kitchen. I finished it all up and plated the dinner, feeling quite proud of myself, but still on the edge of crabby. (Disclaimer: I am a fifty-three-year-old woman, and my hormones are pissed off a lot lately.)
My husband is stir crazy after being stuck on the couch with his dominant arm in a sling…and five weeks of healing left to go. He isn’t menopausal, but he is normally a very active and independent man who is having to depend on his wife for many of his most basic needs, and he’s bored and frustrated. He also freely admits he is not the best patient. You can see where this is going…I proudly handed the plate to Dan like I was presenting him with a million dollar check from Publishers’ Clearing House (no balloons or camera crews, though), preparing for the adulation I knew would come after my culinarial sacrifice.
Honey, this is WAY too much food.
Balloon punctured. Hackles raised. We are now at DEFCON 3.
Just eat whwhat you can, Honey. <accompanied by a deep, cleansing yoga breath, and possibly some (mostly) internal muttering.>
I sit down and began my meal. Delicious!
Honey, what did you put on the bread that makes it taste so funny. I can’t eat this.
Wife, incredulous, turns with a blank stare…
I stand up and stomp into the kitchen, where I begin to noisily clean up and load the dishwasher. More deep breathes as I try to talk my hormones off of the ledge. They are wanting to commit violent acts. I may need one of those hostage mediators, stat.
After banging and clanging in the kitchen, I started to see some humor. I was acting like a sixteen year old who didn’t get my way, and I don’t even remember being sixteen. I went back into the living room and dramatically plopped myself onto my chair. Dan, ever my wise and sweet husband apologized.
Honey, thank you so much for a wonderful dinner. I’m really sorry about the toast. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you are doing to take care of me, the animals, and the house- all on top of a crazy time at school. I love you so much.
At that moment, my sixteen year old self trounced off, leaving a soft-hearted (albeit hormonal) woman who is stressed out, but adores her husband. Tragedy averted. Dan and I talked it out as we inevitably do (disagreements of any kind are rare at Chez Gainey, for which I am incredibly grateful). This has been a crazy few months, and we are both at the end of our emotional ropes. It’s easy for silly little things to spark a fire under that stress, blowing things way out of proportion. Mrs. MacKenzie is going to do her best to chill out, and Mr. MacKenzie* is going to heal quickly for his own safety and the good of all Mankind. God, I love that man.