Sometimes I’m amazed that my children can clothe themselves in the morning. I say that because half the time, they can’t find a matching pair of socks, and if they had wanted to wear a certain shirt, it’s gone missing. After searching for all of, oh, maybe one second, they begin to bellow, “Mom, where’s my other shoe/shirt/socks/brush/head?”
In fact, my best friend, Michele told me the other day that nothing is ever truly lost until Mom can’t find it. No truer words were ever spoken.
For example, up until a few years ago, we’d owned a restaurant. Matt’s a brilliant chef, and his specialty was soup. He was often teasingly referred to as the “soup Nazi.” When I was in his commercial kitchen, I had no idea where things were. The refrigerator had all kinds of plastic containers, bottles, produce, meat and a thermometer on every shelf. Finding anything in it took me some time.
But, if there was just one stalk of celery left and he needed it, Matt could find it faster than a pig rooting for truffles.
Up in our own kitchen, however, he can’t find anything. Last weekend he was grilling chicken and bellowed, “I can’t find any barbeque sauce. I think we’re out.” I went to the shelf, moved the small can of soup that was only partially hiding the much larger, two-pound, eight-ounce bottle of sauce, and handed it to him.
The kids give it about the same amount of time that Matt does (translation: a little less than two heartbeats) before they give up and call me. In order to avoid being summoned like some kind of search and rescue dog every morning, I made a change in the pantry.
As the kids’ main source of sustenance is cereal, I keep all of it in the same area, on the same shelf, at their eye level, front and center. Always. I don’t want them to venture into the pantry (or, as I call it when they’re around, The Bermuda Triangle) much further; they may never return.
And when I say all of it, I mean all seven or eight kinds. Half of our grocery bill is consumed by cereals of all varieties. Thankfully, one or two of them don’t contain sugar. I console myself with the knowledge that with the whole grains and added vitamins and minerals, there’s nutritional value in them. When coupled with fat-free milk, it’s actually a decent breakfast, snack, late lunch, night time munchies or occasional dinner.
I tell myself all kinds of things to keep my sanity. Thank goodness, I haven’t started arguing with those voices – yet.
In the rest of the kitchen, I’ve pretty much kept everything in the same place for more than 20 years. I can find anything, anytime – almost all of the time. There have been very few exceptions to that rule. Three nights ago was one of those rare times. It was like I was a Jedi and there was a huge disruption in the Force.
Matt makes a mean Chinese stir fry about once a week, and the kids love chow mein noodles. I always make sure they’re on hand, or there would be much moaning and gnashing of teeth. I looked in the pantry, but didn’t see the can of noodles, only half a bag. I searched for over half an hour, but then realized the time, and gave up.
At dinner, Matt noticed the bag and wanted to know where the can was. He was certain he’d seen one that was unopened. I went in search again, but came up empty handed – and puzzled. Aubrie came in, and at Matt’s behest, went to another cabinet and quickly produced a can of rice noodles.
As a sidebar, I should point out that I was completely stunned that she’d found it. She is, after all, the same kid who panicked on our movie night because there was no popcorn. In actuality, there were two boxes of it. It was just a different brand than I normally buy. I had hoped the big picture of popcorn on the oversized box would have given it away.
But I digress.
I argued that rice noodles are different. They’re smaller, crunchier and have a much different taste; hence the reason I didn’t produce them and pass them off as their preferred noodle. Additionally, the chow mein noodles were in a much larger container. I was adamant that there was a can of them somewhere, and almost renewed my search.
And that’s when Matt said, “Oooh, you’re talking about that big can! I threw it away; they’d gone rancid.”
Folks, there are times when I mentally fall to my knees and thank God that there are very few sharp objects in our house.
On the bright side, I’ve got a chef for a husband who doesn’t mind cooking dinner at the end of a busy day; even if he may not be able to find anything. Our lives aren’t full of important things like running around saving the universe from Darth Vader, but we have a lot of fun. And in the end, isn’t living a good life full of love and laughter every bit as important? Yes, even if silliness is a major part of that life.
To that end, may the Farce be with you.
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