Posts Tagged ‘husband’

Cooking with the Pilot

December 6, 2016

Wandering into the kitchen one morning last weekend, my hockey-playing, pilot husband, who is an exterminator and has a degree in Biblical studies, was vigorously chopping some food source in a frying pan on the stove. I mention his hobbies, schooling and his occupations to point out that he has no formal, or informal for that matter, training in the culinary arts. NONE! He is widely renown for his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. So his attempt at cooking amused me initially. As I began to ascertain the situation at hand, I became highly amused…. blog-worthy-amused!

On impulse at Costco, my sweet husband, the provider for our family, purchased a skid of hashbrowns. Just look at how crispy-fried those salty morsels appear! He was probably salivating in the super store. Gluten free and 100% REAL potatoes. How could he go wrong?

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Kindly I explained that the objective of hashbrown cooking is to leave them alone so they can get brown and crunchy. Smashing them to smithereens won’t get the desired results. Previously I had cooked two boxes of said Costco bulk purchase, so I was quite well-informed on the procedure.

Peering into the pan, something didn’t seem right. The limp potato strips looked dry (and smashed.) Kindly I inquired, “Did you read the directions?” It was an honest question. As soon as my question was delivered, my 13-year-old daughter, who has been trained in our kitchen by my capable side, started laughing and pointed at her dad the I-told-you-so-finger-of-doom. Seems she already mentioned reading the directions to him. That’s my girl!

Rick, Mr. Master Chef, (term used very sarcastically) opened the little carton of goodness and dumped the freeze-dried potatoes in the hot frying pan. He realized something was off. His spidey senses alerted him to the need for butter. In went a dollop of creamy yellow goodness. Butter is the answer to SO MANY cooking situations.

THEN he proceeded to read the directions. And I’ll admit, the instructions for this delicacy are unusual. 1. Open carton and add hot water to the fill line. 2. Close carton and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain well.

Uh oh.

Things were off to a poor start. The pan he had chosen was obviously too small if water was to be added, so he switched to a larger pan. (The only reason I know this is because I discovered a small frying pan in the sink with the remains of burnt freeze-dried potatoes stuck to its non-nonstick bottom.) It was too late to add water to the carton full of spuds, so he added water to the frying pan full of crunchy strips and butter. It said HOT water, so the stove burner was turned to HIGH, obviously. Just like whipping up a grilled cheese sandwich to quality blackness.

Disclaimer: my daughter filled me in on this whole process after the fact so this is all hearsay.

Okay, thinking he was good, he went back to the directions. 3. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and 2 TBSP. oil over medium-high heat. So, FAIL on the non-stick part. Next oil was poured over the soggy white, limp, smashed potato strips. Doesn’t this make you want to have some???

This is when I wandered in… to witness the mutilation of the oily, half-saturated delicacy. Kindly I probed to see what oil he used. There are four oils in my cupboard: coconut, olive, sesame and vegetable. He had a 75% chance of success. Again, my daughter who loves home-ec informed me in a Dad-is-so-busted tone, “He used butter from your bowl. The one you measured to make cookies.” Ooooh, there are several things that could make this mama go all kinds of crazy on you. Using my softened butter that is measured in a bowl for baking is one of them. And she knew he knew better! That’s my girl. Again the finger-of-doom was pointed at the perpetrator.

It’s doubtful if he ever did read 4. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Kindly I offered to show him how to divide the pan of scrumptiousness into thirds and flip them to golden brown perfection.

Surprisingly, they tasted okay.

The moral of the story is: When at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again.

Or: Touch mama’s measured butter and die a slow death of much pain. (Kindly I let him live.)

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Brave Bun Debacle

November 25, 2016

2016 Thanksgiving was a tad out of the ordinary for our family for several very good reasons. 1. Our married daughter and her husband were coming home from Oklahoma for the first time in FOUR YEARS! If that ain’t a grand reason to mix things up, I don’t know what is? 2. Our niece is staying a little more than an hour away from our house and isn’t able to come home to be with family. Obviously it was necessary to squeeze in a visit on Turkey Day. And 3. The grand bun baking adventure really turned into an undertaking this year!

In years gone by, my motherly duty is to wake up semi-early and start the bun baking process so thousands of people can be blessed by yeasty white rolls of goodness on the national day of thankfulness. Perfection! This year, as previously mentioned, our morning was consumed by a ½ day trip. So buns moved to Thanksgiving Day Eve. Unfortunately, that Wednesday our kids flew in and the day turned into a driving exploit of sorts. Unfortunately, I found myself in the grocery store at 9:30 p.m. trying to locate the blasted little fast rising yeast packages. Can you already feel the tension rising? Get it?

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Frustrated and exhausted, I announced to my husband and all the other late night shoppers in the baking aisle, “That’s it. I’m not baking buns. I’m too worn out. Let’s buy buns.” Dutifully, my sweet husband followed me over to the bakery section and we stood speechless looking at the pathetic selection of sub-par store baked buns and rolls. They were puny. They were wrinkly. They were squished. They were covered in flour. They tasted dry…. I could sense it. With the savory memory of my yummy buns on the tip of my tongue, I announced, “That’s it. I’m baking buns. These are disgusting! Let’s buy yeast.” Rick mumbled, “Well, I wasn’t going to say it!”

At the late hour, I did request help from my beloved husband, who has never in his life participated in bun making. Willingly he agreed to come to my aid, not knowing what he was getting himself into!

If you know nothing about baking yeast buns, can I just tell you that it is a time consuming, yet wonderfully delicious process. It goes something like this: gather ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients with very warm, but not exactly hot, water, so as to activate the yeast, but not burn its little eyes out. Combine ingredients and stir goop until a soft ball forms. This sounds so easy, but it is deceptive. Then let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Let rise for 20 minutes. Shape into buns. Let rise 30-60 minutes. Bake 15 minutes.

Our freshly-turned-18-year-old son also joined in the process. If you could have heard them…. offering ME suggestions and baking tips. Oh my stars. One of them specializes in burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and the other one can only make waffles and mac-n-cheese. Not exactly chefs-in-the-making.

“It’s too sticky. It needs more flour.” Um, no. Keep stirring.

“This is done.” Um, no. Scrape the bowl and keep stirring.

“This is impossible to pick up and flip.” Um, no. I’ve done it for 20 years.

“I can punch down without flour on my fist.” Um…. go ahead and try, Mr. Martha Stewart.

“I can just roll them in a ball.” Um, no. Watch and learn the technique from the bun forming master.

“Just put a pan on each shelf of the oven at the same time.” Um, no. The bottom ones will burn.

“Are they done yet?” Um, no. Please stand by.

It was 1:30 a.m. when the last of the 120 not-really-cooled-off buns went into storage bags.  We fell blissfully into our beds with visions of floured buns dancing in our heads.

Thanksgiving 2016 was saved! Thank you, Rick and Keeve, my knights in floury armor.

Please see BUN RECIPE if you feel the need to have your own joy-filled bun baking extravaganza.

Half a Century (Fiddy Cen)

April 8, 2016

Honestly, turning fifty…. FIFTY! wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. I still feel the same as I did yesterday. It’s going to be okay. Five-Oh sounds really old to me, I mean, I was just turning 40 a few weeks ago. Seriously. That was the fastest ten years ever!

50th bday

I declined having a party. I requested a dinner with my husband and in-state children, albeit, it has to be postponed for three days to get all the kids available on the same night. Glad I turned fifty so I could still plan my life around my kids.

My baby son, who is 17, brought me flowers this morning. Ahhhhh. My eldest son, who is 19, called from California and sang a bday song for me. My baby girl, who is 12, made  a giant card for me. For reals. It’s four feet by two-and-a-half feet. My married daughter, who is 22 and in Oklahoma, sent me texts and called and wrote the sweetest words on facebook. My husband, who acts like he’s 14 sometimes, took me out to dinner and told me he was ordering a salad at a Mexican restaurant so I could be proud of him. Then his chimichanga showed up. He makes me laugh.

My family asked what gifts I might like this year… the monumental year when I turn fifty. I mentioned that a backyard swing would be nice. We used to have one, but years and years in the Arizona sunshine fried it to pieces, literally. Nora told her daddy that I wanted a swing set for my birthday. Just trying to be young again!

We picked out the swing tonight. The selling feature, even though it is brown with a red striped canopy (I don’t do red.), was that it lies flat into a bed. SOLD! So now I’m trying to find cute pillows on Amazon that bring cute colors into the red/brown non-cute theme. Currently the swing is in a big box in the middle of the dead winter grass in the backyard. I would be out there assembling it, but it’s dark and I need help getting the piece out of the box. No one will help me at 10:44 p.m., even though it’s my birthday and I am old enough to apply for AARP now. Sheesh!

Happy day of my birth to all of you! I hope you feel as loved as I did today!

 

Don’t You EVER Look at Me?

March 19, 2016

Through the years, I have uttered these words to my sweet husband more than I can count on all my fingers. Just to name a few memorable moments, once I made it to church and through the service and into the bathroom afterward… only to have a caring woman tell me that the neck lining to my dress at the back was hanging out like a huge tongue. Nice. “Don’t you ever look at me?” was asked of my dear husband.

Then there was the baby spit up on my sweater. Then there was pink eye in both eyes. Then there was the drastic haircut that I got earlier this week that went unnoticed until my sweet Nora asked her daddy, “Do you like mom’s hair?” That translated in my mind to “Don’t you ever look at mom?”

But today, the tables were turned. It was $5 16 oz. day at Yogurtini and my darling husband, Nora and I were basking in the balmy Arizona March evening, when my handsome husband turned to me and used MY LINE, “Don’t you ever look at me?” I chuckled and looked at him… nothing. I had given him a terrible haircut a few weeks back when he asked for a cut at 11:30 p.m…. and I wondered if he went and had it fixed. Nope. I chuckled some more, “That is my line. Why are you saying that?” He just kept looking straight at me with his chin tilted up slightly.

Then I saw it. His soul patch was missing. I have never loved the 1/2″ square of facial hair that he has sported under his lip since 2007 or 2008. But I am not the boss of him. Here I found a picture for proof from his 2009 birthday. (Our photos are sadly missing from 2006 – 2008… don’t ask.)

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Right outside Yogurtini, with my mint-colored plastic spoon in my hand, I could not stop laughing. Oh, my baby-face husband had returned without me even noticing. I think I have blocked the little hairy patch for so many years that I trained my mind not to look at his chin. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“It’s been gone since Tuesday,” he reported. It’s Saturday night. Oh boy.

Seems that his employment change brought on a more strict facial hair rule. Thank you State of Arizona. Reason #2,727 that I am glad we moved here 19 years ago.

 

Rock On, Rickey!

March 9, 2016

rick cake

Last night in the dark of the master bedroom way past midnight I apologized to my sweet husband for not doing anything for his 49th birthday. The special day when he entered our world is Feb. 3rd, but he was in Kansas City learning how to use the new glass cockpit on the King Air 250. Flight training trumps birthdays, obviously. And truthfully, I don’t think I could have come up with something to beat his enjoyment level of time in the flight simulator.

The nice people at Flight Safety realized it was Rick’s birthday when they copied his passport for identification. They gave him a Flight Safety polo shirt, a mug and a basket of goodies! See? He wasn’t entirely forgotten. Sheesh.

We couldn’t celebrate early because I was visiting my sister for 13 days, then Rick and I saw each other for two hours before he left for five days in KC. I have no excuse that I can remember for when he got home, but I know we were really busy. REALLY busy.

As our son, Austin, knows from experience, if you travel and are gone on your birthday it is forgotten. Period. He did ask me two months later if I would buy him a new Bible for his two-months-ago special day. I did. I’m the nice mom, remember?

After my apology, Rick replied, “Don’t worry about it, Honey. It’s okay.” My response surprised him as I said, “Okay. Thank you. … … … Don’t EVER forget my birthday!

We shared a belly laugh and he summarized the comments, “And THAT is the difference between us!”

Happy belated birthday, Rickey! I love you!

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

December 9, 2014

My handsome husband and I are still in our forties…. barely. By the skin of our teeth, but we ARE!  We were caught off guard this week when we both asked for help with COMMON words that we could not remember. I started the memory-fail game by asking, “What are those things called that come out of the ocean and are shaped like stars?” The confused look on his face lead me to believe he thought I was joking. Sadly, I was not. “Starfish?” Oh, yeah… and we broke out into laughter because laughter is good for your soul.  And after you can’t recall the word starfish and/or you realize your spouse can’t recall the word starfish you need something…. anything that is good for your soul.

starfish

The very next day hubby was at the kitchen table texting someone, looked up and asked me, “What are those things called that go up in the sky and explode in pretty colors?”  …. I looked at him with that same confused look he gave me the previous day and answered, “Starfish?  … or did you mean fireworks?”  And we both laughed heartily again, as this seems to be the go-to response for aging in our home.

And names!  GAH! Really, we should all have our names tattooed on our foreheads, then there would be no need for racking our brains to remember names. I loved it when my boys were little and on hockey teams with their names written on the their helmets on hockey tape. Easy Peasy. My husband and I have an unwritten rule that I am talking with a person and he walks up, if I don’t introduce him, it means I have forgotten the person’s name. Then he puts out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Rick,” and saves the day.  It works perfectly!

Mothers have forgotten their children’s names for all of history and that is somehow forgiven and thought of as common. When we were recently in the DMV for son #2’s driver’s license, his number was called and he started walking toward the counter without the needed paperwork that was in my hand. So I called him… by his father’s name… and then added, “Or whoever you are.” He turned back to get the papers and rolled his tootsie-roll brown eyes at me. Another mother seated a few seats over laughed and said that she does that all the time with her kids! That didn’t really make me feel better… just commiserated with company.

I won’t even get into trying to follow recipes at the ripe old age of 48. Don’t get me started. Don’t even get me started.

The Mother Sash

October 7, 2013

On facebook I read a post from a pious guy complaining about young mothers posting “ridiculously disgusting” news of children going potty for the first time,  doing their first doody in the potty and so on.  I almost commented that 30-something years ago, if facebook had been around, HIS mother would have been posting the SAME thing!  If you’ve never been a mother, you don’t get it.  At all.

There isn’t a sash with badges for mothers, but if there were, the MY KID WENT IN THE POTTY badge would be worn proudly and loudly in a prominent location on that sash.  It is a rite of passage.  And many other mothers would cheer loudly and proudly right along with the new badge toting mother, knowing what she went through to earn that iron-on emblem!

My eldest turns 20 in two weeks and I remember the day LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY when I would have earned my first of three “My kid went poopy in the potty” badges.  Not trying to embarrass my eldest, but children whose mothers have blogs are stronger for it!  My husband and I conversed on the appropriate bribe before we settled on the much sought after gummi bear.  We bought a jar with a sealing lid for the shelf above the toilet and filled it with gummy goodness.  We explained the rules, because all of life’s great advancements have rules.  1 poopy in the potty = 1 gummi bear.  Easy peasey.

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My husband arrived home on the first gummi bear award winning day and the jar was already empty.  M-T!   Unbelievably, he accused me of eating the gummi bears.  I understood his accusation, as I had in the past eaten ALL the chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar… and all the rice krispie squares in the pan.  (No, wait.  That was HIM!)  Motherhood is stressful at times.  However, I denied the accusation and explained the newly discovered talents of our little bomb-dropping angel.  She could do one little teeny eensy weensy doo-doo and then hop off the potty, “ALL DONE!”  She deserved every gummi bear she ate.  What skill!  What control!  Time for a new rule!

This is facebook worthy news that should be celebrated by at least half of humanity despite Mr. That’s-Disgusting’s opinion.

The other imaginary badge on my imaginary sash that I remember earning with pride was the “All my kids can barf in the toilet” badge.  THAT is an accomplishment!  It saves time, money, hassle, midnight sheet changes, etc. etc. etc.  In the early years of mothering, these tasks are paramount to parenting!  Nothing could make a young mom happier.  NOTHING!  And to be recognized for our accomplishments in bringing about these world changing events would have been awesome.  But no.

The moral of the story is: next time a young mom posts on facebook about a child’s success in the bathroom, congratulate HER with much fanfare.  It is her life.  It is her mission.  It is her mission accomplished at that juncture in life!

(I apologize if you can’t ever eat another gummi bear without thinking about my angel.)

The Grass Truly is Greener

October 4, 2013

Eight long years ago, we moved into our new house.  It was our very first new house …. surrounded by dirt.  Visions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon combined with Busch Gardens and watered with the fountains from in front of the Bellagio in Vegas lead me to believe that things would grow in Phoenix. My green thumb and my gardening magazines had me waltzing barefoot over lush verdant lawn surrounded (in my mind) by vivid pink flowers in royal blue pots with hanging vines of happy sun-yellow blooms covering our block walls. Eight long years later, I have discovered the error of my ways.

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We planted Bob-Sod (grass), which was the wonder of the ages at that time.  Little did we know that it would look fabulously lush and green for four or five years and then haunt us for the remaining years in the house.  Seems that Bob-Sod is a combo deal with two types of grass… one that grows up and one that grows sideways and chokes out all other plant life in the vicinity.  Unbelievable!

Also in Phoenix, the Bob-Sod is our summer grass.  It “dies” or goes dormant for the chilly winter.  So we have to plant rye grass if we want a green backyard during the season when it is actually cool enough to enjoy the backyard.  This was all well and good for four or five years.  Then the Bob-Sod roots got so thick that throwing down rye grass was no longer effective.  Well, no longer effective for growing winter grass.  VERY effective for feeding the 572 million pigeons who moved down here for the winter.

With the root problem evident, a few years back we aerated the lawn.  By foot.  That is really close to by hand.  We used the age old aerating tool that looks like a shovel but replacing the blade were two metal tubes that poked dainty hole in the lawn, presumably allowing the rye grass to grow.  This was true.  Sadly.  Everywhere where there was a hole from the aerating tool, the rye grass grew.  But that was the only place it grew.  The “designated grass area” looked like a bald man who just got bad plugs.

Once again, winter is upon us.  We decided to kill off the Bob-Sod by not watering it for the last two months.  I like to tell people we are going for the foreclosed look in the backyard.  I don’t think the Bob-Sod died at all.  Tonight my husband used a de-thatching blade on the lawn mower to break up the roots and prepare the soil for rye grass.  It was comical and I was prepared to remember this day for all eternity with a photograph of him wearing a white mask over his mouth and nose that was scotch taped to his face, but no.  A de-thatching blade on dirt simply makes HUGE dirt clouds.  Dirt clouds that you can’t even see through. Nor take pictures through.  When the dust settled (on everything in the backyard… and our neighbors’ backyards) I went out with the hose and feebly tried to clean things off.

So tomorrow just might be the day the rye seed goes down, followed by manure and sand, followed by the creative devices I will concoct to scare away the 572 million pigeons.  I used to use the baby swing, but I don’t have one anymore.  (HEY!  Tomorrow is 50% off day at Goodwill!  Baby SwingS, here I come!)

Vera Wang, Where are You?

August 1, 2013

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Hello from Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite relaxing places on planet earth.  It rocks! Do I look cold in this picture?  I am! Does my sweatshirt look too big?  Does it look like it is a Minnesota sweatshirt that I would never wear?  IT IS!  See my husband?  Doesn’t he look kind and thoughtful and fun.  It’s all a FRONT!  If we post more pictures from our adventures in Tahoe, be sure to notice my jeans…. because I will have them on in EVERY single photo.  WHY? you ask.

Our story begins last Wednesday when I emptied my suitcase from my trip to Nashville, only long enough to wash the clothes and re-pack into a carry-on for my high school girl’s road trip.  My family would be joining me in Tahoe after I flew to Los Angeles for the four day excursion with four of my high school friends.  Us girls had to pack light as there were five of us in a suburban and we needed room for our vintage/shabby/thrift store gems yet to be purchased.  And we used all that space too!

Knowing that I would need WARM clothes in Tahoe, I packed half of the big suitcase to share with my husband, as we have done for 27 years now.  Being the Phoenix girl that I am, I added wool socks, flannel jammies, three more pair of socks, a big Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, sweats, a wind-proof jacket, five pair of undies, my warm fur Vera Wang bling bling slippers, long sleeve shirts, a heating pad, the next book in the series that I am reading, Christmas-in-July gifts for two of our friends, etc. etc. etc.

When our family was re-united (and it feels so good) at the lake, I immediately went to the suitcase to layer up on my clothes and find my slippers.  I dug on one side.  I dug on the other side.  Then realization hit…. like a mosquito impacting the windshield at 75 mph…. MY STUFF WAS MISSING!  WHAT?  I almost couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.  I threw out a few games and a pillow that my sweet husband had packed in the suitcase and then with a slightly elevated voice I “kindly” asked, “WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?”  His blank look of confusion on his handsome face confirmed that it was not a premeditated action taken to cause me mental anguish.  He replied after a few seconds, “I took out all the stuff that you left in the suitcase from Nashville.”  “IT WAS NOT FROM NASHVILLE!  IT WAS WOOL SOCKS AND A HEATING PAD SO I DON’T FREEZE TO DEATH HERE IN TAHOE!”

He told me that I could just wear the clothes over and over from the road trip…. yeah… NO!  It was a beach dress, shorts and a tank top and capris with a sleeveless shirt.  NOT TAHOE FRIENDLY at all.  I was wearing my jeans, thank God all mighty!  And a blue t-shirt.  And one of my three pair of underwear.  And one of my two pair of socks.  At that moment, I took Rick’s Minnesota sweatshirt from the suitcase and put it on.  He commented, “Well, I brought that so I could wear it.”  Too bad, Bucko.

slippers

My Vera Wang slippers have been temporarily replaced by these handmade Halloween slippers that are four sizes too large that I found in the cabin….  they ARE warm.  I’m almost speechless at this turn of events.  Almost.  OK, not really.  Several comments have been made ALL DAY LONG as to my clothes being the same as yesterday…. the stain on my blue t-shirt that appears to be growing… the outfit that I will have on for ALL the pictures this week…. a Bible verse about how we shouldn’t worry about what we wear…. and how I should really be choosing ONE outfit for my husband to also wear all week long next to me.  :o)  He is lucky that this is not a trip where I needed nice, dress-up clothes with matching jewelry and purses and shoes.  Oh, let me tell you how lucky he is!

Good grief!  Calm down.

Happy Bday to my Hunka Hunka

February 12, 2013

rick pink guitar

Yes, not only is February the month of looooove, but it is also the month of my Hunka Hunka Burning Love’s birthday!  Happy Birthday to Rickey, my sweet husband who is absolutely more than I could have ever hoped for in a best friend, husband and father.

We recently discovered Flying Wild Alaska on Netflix.  Basically it is a reality show about his first flying job… just the names have been changed.  We have watched it for a couple nights in a row now, with several episodes still calling our names.  Rickey is (I was about to say “having a sleep over”) overnighting away from home tonight which is extremely rare for him in his current pilot job.  So we won’t be watching FWA tonight.  Anyway, the show brought back MULTIPLE memories of our time spent in the North when he was flying for Little Red Air Service.  Seriously, the flight crew that spent the same three years up in Fort Vermilion would have at least two seasons of episodes simply from the stories I know about.  And as all good pilot’s wives know, there are many stories that we are glad we still don’t know about.

Those were exhilarating years we spent up in the freezing tundra, but I must say that our last 16 years in the desert have been my favorite!  We have traveled more, laughed more, forgiven more, cried more, spent more, prayed more and have definitely loved more in the last 16 years.  Thanks, Rickey, for making my life so thrilling by living out the calling on your life to be a man of integrity and passion.  I love you!  XOXO