She Persisted: My Failed Attempt at Cooking a Nice Dinner

“So maybe I should just stick with chicken nuggets?” This is what I asked my kids as they crinkled their noses and stared at the sauteed shrimp skewered on their forks and turned it round and round, like a pinwheel.

“Sorry, mom. I just don’t like garlic,” my sons says, trying to be nice. He actually, I think, felt bad for me, since I’d make a big deal about cooking this special dinner since we woke up this morning. See, this is an aberration. I am not exactly known for my culinary skills, and, truth be told, I’d be happy having chips and wine for dinner. But, I tried to be all maternal and decided I’d watch the Food Network and start making actual meals. Typically, I have a rotation of pasta, veggies and rice, steak, and chicken. As my son James says, “Mom, all you cook is chicken with a different sauce and side.” The grill is my friend: easy and fast, and the mess is outside. No lingering smells in the house, and basically no dishes!

But, today, I went to Roche Bros., equipped with my recipe and took to task. Of course this Spicy Fennel Shrimp meal ended up costing twice as much because I had to essentially buy a spice cabinet–the one I had included salt and pepper, nail polish remover, dog treats and gummy vitamins. This was my amazing basket. Oh, and see that random vegan stuff in there? Well, I decided I might try going Vegan for a week and see how it goes. So far? The smoked vegan cheese is dis-GUS-ting. Note to self: no fake cheese.

So around five, I decide to give it a whirl and take out the shrimp. Alas, what the hell is deveining??? I read this on the recipe. And, by the way, anything with veins? I don’t super want to eat. However, I watch a You Tube on how to pull the legs and shell off the shrimp and then cut a line down its spine to pull out what is essentially poop. I mean, I have goldfish, and this “vein” looks very similar to the bottom of their tank. I thought to toss them right then and there but, as Chelsea Clinton wrote, “She Persisted.” I persisted and cleaned those babies.

Well, I made quite a tasty dish, I must say. Here’s a pic:

But, when I had the kids try it, all fired up, saying grace, staring at their scared faces, all I could say was, “Should I stick to the nuggets?”

And I did.

I ate the shrimp, and I’m writing this as the nug’s cook. Round two on dinner…

A Comedy of Errors: First Full Day Back!

First full day of school in seven months and off to a great start! (er…well?) So, I will map out the comedy for you in just the first HOUR!

1. We pull in for drop-off, face shields intact, and my daughter forgets her backpack. Looks like I’ll circle back in a few!

2. Screeching out of the driveway to return to school, I nearly hit my friend, who is delivering a roadie wine glass forgotten from the other night. (PS-the roadie was on foot, not in car–just sayin’). I grab the shopping bag, thank her, and when I arrive BACK at school, I’ve already blanked out what’s in the bag and think, “Hey, how did that get here?” #tired

3. I’m wearing a flannel, Dachshund Christmas pajama shirt! Enough said. Ew.

4. Haven’t gone grocery shopping in a week, so I put together a random hodge-podge for kids’ lunches, comprised of a varietal of cheese and yogurt. It’s a full dairy bomb. So aggro that peanut butter is banned. That was an old go-to.

5. Start to do the accumulated dishes from last night and find this Dis-GUS-ting glass filled with Extreme! Sour Warheads that my son wolfed in one huge gulp and promptly spit out. They are now essentially super-glued to the bottom of my new Crate and Barrel glass.

6. Wonder how my dog got a large black mark on his leg, and I realize it’s my new Infallible Maybelline eyeliner in Charcoal Black that I just purchased. He has eaten it.

Check spot of black on leg on right

Honestly? Still super happy THEY ARE BACK! (well, for now…) xo

Revisiting Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

I am revisiting being a stay-at-home mom since the pandemic and brazenly quitting my job. I haven’t done this since 2007, and I have to say it’s interesting? Well, first off, looking for a job, particularly now, is fairly rotten. I hit up all the job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, in addition to going to actual websites of places I might like to work, and I have not had much success. It takes forever, and you have to enter a lot of search filters, leaving you eventually tired, exasperated and cross-eyed. Plus, I don’t even know what I want to do. I clicked on a wide array of positions, including being a Door Dash delivery person, an online social media designer, a development director, and a reporter. I freaked out that I’d get murdered with being a delivery person, so I opted out of that search.

But, then, I stumbled upon what may be my real talent and niche: Camp Counselor Philanthropist! Since school has yet to begin here in our town (first full day is October 13 #brutal), I started Camp Alex: Endless Summer. It’s essentially impossible for working parents now when kids are home all day, so I am helping them out while simultaneously entertaining my own children by having them over for camp. Win-win!

Here’s a look at Camp Alex. First, we have Puppy School, in which the dogs do math and get grades. The kids do “drop-off,” bringing the dogs upstairs with treats, and I do “pick-up.” At this time, I am versed on how well they behaved. For example, today, Poppy got an A+ and Winnie struggled with some addition and got a B+

Didn’t make Honor Roll

Around noon, we have lunchtime, which consists of whatever I can find in my fridge that they might like: edamame, french fries, grilled cheese and gummies.

Healthy!
Questionable

Next, we have play time on the trampoline and on the slide. One of their favorite games, which I created a long time ago as a disciplinary method, is “The Crab.” It’s really quite simple: find some tongs, and chase them around with the tongs biting at their ankles (gently, of course) and their knees. This is the crab! They absolutely love it, and it only costs a pair of tongs! Cheap, officious and fun. Next, we have pool time, in the baby pool, and finally quiet time with puzzles and crafts.

It’s interesting how we fall into things and unknown talents, like me being a camp counselor, during difficult times. I’m making the most of my staying at home during COVID, because I know it could be short lived. I don’t miss being in the office cubicle even one bit. The paycheck? Er, well, that’s another thing. For now, though, these kids laughing is a pretty good payoff.

My kindness rock garden

BEWARE! Of my Life… (Scary Image Included)

Last night, the kids were terrorized! They went on the swing set in the backyard in the pitch-black. They had flashlights and wanted to do a “scary night walk.” Well, they got their wish and then some when they were, in fact, scared to death and screaming after spotting this horrible looking carcass stuck in our outdoor shower! Does anyone know what this is?? Squirrel? Rabbit? Oh, and when I went to photograph it this morning, I was so nervous that I dropped my phone, and I think it touched the skeleton head. ICK.

What even is this???
Can you see the little flashlights in center? I took this of them on the swings last night.

In other news, my daughter caught her first False Albacore! She went fishing with her dad, and I was so happy he included her this time. She recited the names of all the fish she knows during a game of Barbies with me last night: “Okay, mommy, there are False Albacore, Tuna, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Fluke, Flounder…” She’s a regular salty dog! She held the fish for a photo, like all those men do on Facebook, so she, too, could have her day in the fisherman sun, if there is such a thing… Oh, and I guess she’s a fisherwoman? Or fisher-girl? She’s not the Fisher King. Remember that movie with Robin Williams? Aw, I loved him. Good flick, too!

It is officially Labor Day weekend here on Cape Cod, a time when the year-rounders often rejoice to reclaim the beaches and avoid traffic. However, those are days of yore, because people are staying now that they can work remotely and go to school online. I guess my wish to have a “Forever Summer” has finally been granted! Oh, and we got an email last night from the superintendent, and it turns out that the first actual full day of school for the kids here is October 13! I mean, the CHRISTMAS DECOR is out at Target and CVS by then. So much for back-to-school shopping. I might buy some pencils AND a new ornament and tree skirt!

Here is this year’s tree. Maybe it’s time to get rid of it? I used the branches to make fires in my fire pit.

Oh, and this happened…my son asked me to get the plunger….This is never a good thing. So, I asked why, and he told me the toilet was clogged, because–get this: he threw a NECTARINE CORE in it. I mean, really??? Like, who thinks that is a good idea? Here is what it looked like before I had to manhandle it and get it out.

SERIOUSLY??

Last, but not least, I am 35 today! (er…) I am so excited, because my son told me I actually look ten years younger since I lightened my hair and cut it! Now that I have no job, I actually have time to go to the hair salon, since it honestly takes three hours (I timed it both times). #silverliningofpenury

(My) School is in Session! And, Home Ec Returns!

I have officially taken matters into my own hands, and I began homeschooling today. I needed some sort of routine, not only for myself but also for my children. Here was the situation: I was on the couch with coffee, thinking of maybe turning on Bravo to waste away the early morning hours while the kids were asleep, and, lo and behold, they were awake! And again on their iPads.

I started to feel pangs of guilt and was torn between Million Dollar Listing and being a good parent. It was a tough one… Ha! But, I am proud to say, I yelled up the stairs, “Kids! Get dressed! Brush your teeth! We are having school today!”

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Breakfast is served (Dannon smoothie), and pencils are sharpened!

They were confused. “Wait, what?” That’s right, peops. Make the bed, pull your act together, and we are done with this lackadaisical, sedentary, gluttonous behavior (I was sort of talking to myself). I had them each pick out a chapter book. She picked Junie b. Jones, and he picked out something about sharks and walruses, one of those “Who Would Win?” books. You know who is winning today? ME! I kicked it into high gear, created some math worksheets, and I taught her about carrying over and subtraction. (Oh, and I had to use my fingers to count once. That’s kind of embarrassing? Shhh).

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She even got dressed in a glitter headband. I think she was excited!

We did reading, wrote an essay (okay, a few sentences about the problem in the book and the solution), math, and then…get this: I had them do laundry! That’s right. This school brought back Home Economics. Remember that? That’s kind of old-school. Well, it SHOULD be mandatory curriculum, because my children are seriously lacking in the folding laundry department, and I could use some little elves to help around here.

Remember when our parents had kids just to do chores? I feel like I was born with an apron and a dusting mitt on. (Sorry, mom. No, you did a good job, but I mean so did I…with cleaning).

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Cursory folding job. Grade: B-

It’s only 11:00, though, and they are done with school. Next up: recess outside. I guess this is a half-day. Contact me if you’d like to sign up for my school. There will be an (A) cohort and a (B) cohort, scattered drop-offs, mercurial schedules, lots of emails, and no remote learning. Mmmkay? Oh, and have them dressed ready to do chores!

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