A family trip took us to London last week. Once I got over the horrors of packing and getting myself to the airport — the cab ride to JFK might’ve been longer than the flight itself — the trip was pretty lovely. The low point was when my youngest caught the stomach flu and spent the entire night puking into a trashcan in our Airbnb. The high point was the family event that took us to London. And this: As we arrived at Buckingham palace just as HRH was leaving. We got this picture.
There was some turbulence on the way back, and I grabbed my 12-year-old’s arm and screamed, “we’re all going to die!” But I’m trying not to think about that right now. I’m also trying not to think about the fact that four months into this project and I’m still cooking dinner like this:It’s still good to be home. It always is.
Invariably, on the night before any trip, I announce to anyone who will listen that maybe it’s best if we don’t go. Would it not be better to stay at home and wear pajamas and fight about whose turn it is to sweep under the table?
Other than missing the cat, the real reason I hate to leave is because I hate to pack… mostly because I am an awful packer. I tend to under-pack and by under-pack I mean forget underwear. I also tend to assume I’m going to want to wear two outfits for about six days straight.
My under-packing does not extend to toiletries. Three quarters of my bag is taken up by bottles which will inevitably leak all over the two outfits that I have brought for six days.
I also do not believe in practical luggage. I like a pretty little bag. Sometimes I like a pretty little bag that doesn’t properly close. I also like a pretty little bag without wheels that I am not able to carry on my own.
I am currently deciding which attractive yet impractical bag to bring with me. Maybe I will bring two.
We apparently don’t not have enough power in our multipurpose room to boil water and run this machine at the same time. We had to get rid of our traditional toaster because it’s too dusty now, much like everything else in the house. I thought I was being clever when I found this, which can also act as an oven, but it needs more juice than the room can handle. So… #NoKitchenNoProblem
Yesterday, before leaving for the day, I put a turkey roast and vegetables in the outdoor crockpot. Feeling especially smug, I even got busy with the (indoor) rice cooker.A couple of hours later, from about five miles away, I couldn’t remember if I’d turned the crockpot on. (More than once I’ve come home, expecting to be greeted by the aromas of slow cooking, only to find a crockpot of raw food.)
I text a friend, S., who lives nearby, and on her way out, she checked the pot: all systems go.
Three hours later, worried about over-cooking, I texted another friend and neighbor, R., and asked her to run over and flip the roast.
I was feeling pretty good about things when the roast was cooked to perfection at 6. I felt less good when my 16 year old ate half the roast before anyone sat down to dinner and I had to order Chinese.
Oh, and it seems I forgot to turn the rice cooker on.
Sometimes you really can’t win.
First came to brisket in the outdoor slow cooker.
Today, I borrowed an instant pot from my friend R., and I’m christening it outside on the back steps. I moved the plants out of the way and am staring at it until it’s done.
I should preface all of this by saying that I am not allowed to own a mandolin. When I say not allowed, I mean that every time I buy one, M returns it. I am a clumsy cook. OK, I am a clumsy everything. A mandolin would have me without a finger within a few seconds. The conventional wisdom was that an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) would have me decapitated in the same amount of time. Everybody was sure I would explode it in the kitchen.
Guess what? I don’t have a kitchen! And we just found out that we have to submit plan amendments to the department of building in Yonkers so I’m never going to have a kitchen!
I just have to keep Lois and children away from the machine, because I’m fine decapitating myself, but the cats are a whole different story.
Because the kitchen renovation has me making toast in one room, coffee in another, and eggs in a third, this is where I plug in the crockpot.Outside. On our back steps.
Several hours after I plugged it in, M came home for a meeting with the contractor, architect and engineer and sends out a message to our family Snapchat group (hush, now): RAIN!
Even though Weatherbug showed zero chance of precipitation, it was pouring.
I immediately sent him a hysterical tweet: BRISKET IN YARD. PLEASE CHECK THE BRISKET!!!!
Turns out, the meat was fine — or so I’m told. Also turns out brisket is even better when it’s cooked outside — who knew? It was quite an operation getting it back into the kitchen, or at least I made it look that way. I made a big show of it as I passed by the team of men in whose hands the fate of my kitchen rests, huffing and puffing as I walked through.
Now I just have to wash the crockpot out in the downstairs toilet.
Our ground floor is a construction site. Sort of. A group of men came in, demolished two thirds of the floor, ripped out our kitchen, and then completely disappeared. It has been two weeks since I have seen anyone working. They tell me this is normal. But enough about that.
I have long been wanting a coffee maker in my bedroom. I do not like waking up and having to work out how best to passive-aggressively ask M to go downstairs and make me a cup of coffee. (M can shower, get dressed and do all sorts of things without the assistance of caffeine, but I cannot.) Now that our kitchen is basically a hot plate and a kettle — which cannot be used simultaneously lest the entire room lose power — I had good reason to move the machine upstairs.
I don’t know what took me so long! Now I can drink black coffee (the cheaper the better) before I have to talk to anyone, before I have to take more than 20 steps. I may have to plug the Crock Pot in outside (more on that later) and keep the toaster in the bathroom (who doesn’t want to eat a bagel on the toilet?), but I do it all while very well caffeinated.
Given that we may not have a kitchen until mid-2020, I am going to need all the coffee I can get.