Monday, December 29, 2008

Hold It, Partner

How does that holiday song go, something about traffic being terrific. If the traffic is terrific, then the air travel must be fantastic with an extra heaping portion of poking your eyes out. Off all the hassles of delayed flights, canceled flights, lost luggage, etc, there are always people having a worse day than you. Comforting thought, I know. Oh, there's no place like home/airports/rental cars for the holidays...

Last Saturday, we attempted to fly to Northern Michigan. After many delays, we finally boarded our plane in Chicago, then proceeded to sit at the gate for 30 minutes. The captain came on to say they were working the numbers (math is hard, after all) and would be taking off soon. All 36 people on our flight groaned but sat tight, just waiting to be sent away.

And then appeared our less than friendly gate agent. She wielded the microphone and announced due to bad weather, extra fuel was needed. Due to extra fuel, less passengers were needed. 11 people needed to give up their seat and the first 2 to do so would be able to fly to TC the next day. The other 9 would be SOL getting to TC but would have a free round trip voucher in their cold little hands. Oh and if 11 people don't volunteer, we'll be canceling the whole flight so all of you can hate us together. Merry Effing Christmas and thanks for flying United.

It was then that I noticed the family in front of me. Traveling in the rows in front were a mother and a father in their late 40's, a teenage son around15, a daughter around 12, and a happy youngest son around 7. The girl, Susie, hadn't looked all that great but it was late at night and no one was in the best mood. After the announcement of a possible total cancellation, Susie's face turned red and she started to cry.

Seriously, it's just a flight. You'll be fine.

The mom wasn't too worried - told her it'd be fine, we'll get there eventually. That's when Susie started complaining about how it hurt. Her mom gently reached over the isle and said "well then you need to take care of it." Susie: "but I caaaaaaaaaaaan't! you know I caaaaaan't!" Mom: "too bad, you're just going to have to sit down. You know you can't poop if you don't sit on the toilet." Susie: "nooooooooooooooo! You know I can't on a plane!!!!"

It seems Susie had a bit of a phobia of public restrooms. And airplane restrooms. And any restrooms not in her house or grandma's house. And so, she decided to hold it.

This was the exact moment when her older brother, seated right next to her, decided to start telling her about this guy he knew who used to hold in his poop until (DUH Duh Duuuuuuuuh) all the poop inside killed him. Susie started losing her mind, but not her poop.

I leaned over to Westley and suggested we get the heck off the anti-poop express. No one needed to be around for that.

We took the bump, the free hotel night, the food vouchers, and a rerouting (through Lansing of all places). Our luggage took a more exciting trip. More to that later...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Permission: Granted

Here's proof - I did (sorta) ask for permission first:
me: so I watched 30 rock last night after you left
and they kept mentioning Outback Steakhouse
Westley: new episodes?
me: yes
Westley: haha
me: so I did a quick search
and there is one less than a mile from IKEA
Westley: are you sayin yer hankerin for a steak?
me: well, it has been a whole week
I also wrote a very funny blog
but it kinda makes fun of you
a lot
so I wasn't going to post it
Westley: lol
me: but
Westley: you should just post it
unless you think I'd get upset
me: if steak can ease your pain....
I don't think you'd get upset
it's about your cooking
Westley: heh
yeah you should go ahead and post it

So here it goes...

Westley is trying to learn to cook. And I applaud him. Starting from near ground zero, he's come a long way in a few months. But.

he's driving me crazy.

I have watched him assemble entire pieces of furniture, with 100 different pieces, all from picture-only instructions, perfectly. I have watched him look at two different maps of the same area at the same time and figure out exactly where to go through a giant construction site and make it through to the other side while I'm still figuring out how he managed to get out of the parking lot.

And yet, this boy can't read basic cooking instructions without massive missteps and multiple do-overs.

After a (mildly frustrating) marathon cooking spree on Sunday, he asked for some constructive criticism afterward. My one piece of advice was - read all of the instructions first. He said yeah, yeah, I know. No really, read them alllllll first.

Now I understand that sometimes cooking instructions are a bit confusing. But it's not this hard, right? When a recipe calls for 1 onion halved, what do you think this means? He thought it meant half of an onion, chopped. No, I said calmly, if they want it chopped, it would say "one onion, chopped" - that says "one onion halved" 'I don't get it then WHY CAN'T THEY SAY WHAT THEY WANT??' " They did - they want one onion cut in half. End of story, just CUT IT IN HALF." This similar interchange was shared over garlic, carrots, butter, lemons, etc. And to top it off, he was frantic - you'd think we were being timed or something by how manic he was, darting here or there, stressing out over having redo the garlic (it called for 4 cloves peeled, which he thought meant peeled, crushed, and minced...and so I made him do it again). In the end, the food was delicious and we hadn't killed each other. I took over cooking Tuesday night, kicked him out of my kitchen so I could cook in peace (and made an amazing 3 course meal in 20 minutes, thank you very much).

Last night, it was his turn to cook for "New Recipe Thursday" and he selected a 30 minute or less recipe from Cooking light - pork chops with lemon caper sauce. I suggested the recipe because a) it's very easy b) there are only about 4 steps to the whole thing and c) all the side dishes would be made in the microwave, so easy-peasy.

Or so I thought.

I came home late and found him in the kitchen prepping. Things looked good, until I watched him dump 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the lemon caper sauce, which seemed...odd, but whatever. I looked at the counter at the rest of the prep. Egg white in one bowl - good. One giant heap of flour. Hmmm, looks like a lot for 2 pork chops, but I know he's good at measuring things so it's probably ok. I asked if he needed help - nope, all set, everything is prepped. Great! I'll set the table.

And then I heard a "uh oh."

K: what?
W: uh, I screwed up.
K: how bad?
W: well, THIS RECIPE IS SO CONFUSING! It calls for spray oil and olive oil, so I sprayed the pan and put the olive oil in the sauce.
K:....ok, is that what the recipe says to do?
W: um, no.
K: ............then........why........ ...... ok what were you supposed to do?
W: spray the pork chops and add oil to the frying pan.
K: ok, that.
W: but that's dumb - why do you spray the pork chops?
K: probably so the flour sticks to them.
W: oooooooooooooh

Then I watched him dredge the pork chops. Once into the flour, once in to the egg, then dropped into the pan.

K: are you supposed to re-dredge the pork chops after you put them in the egg?
W: no.
K: are you sure?
W: yes, but I'll check the recipe.
W: ......... oh, yeah. crap.
K: no biggie, here I'll help you
W: so, should I redo the sauce since I put the EVOO in it?
K: do you have enough ingredients to do it?
W: yes.
K: then yes. Unless you want to eat an oil-based sauce.
W: well, no.
K: ok then.

At this point I grab the recipe to read again, just to make sure everything else is ok. It's not.
K: did you find my breadcrumbs ok?
W: yeah
K: so.....did you decide not to use them?
W: No, I did - it's in the flour.
K:'s not supposed to be in the flour.
W: WHAT?????
W: well then why don't they say that.
K: well, they never say "mix all together" so that means don't mix all together.
W: crap.
K: it will still taste great, don't worry.
W: ...........crap.

Cooking tip of the night: next time, maybe you should READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. Maybe even out loud. Two times.