Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Service Man

  We've been in this house almost a year and we are definitely getting our money's worth out of the home warranty. We have to make a call almost once a month. We fork over 75 big ones, and bam, a service man comes. The breakdowns usually come in pairs. A few months ago, it was our dryer and the upstairs heat. Then the garage door and the downstairs heat. Usually Sometimes Two times, the guys were nice and could fix the problem pretty quickly. But get this, both times the two separate service men asked to use the bathroom on their way out the door. I said, OK. They went in, used the toilet, and then left without saying anything. I just heard the front door slam and their truck drive away. This happened two times. Weird right? The extra weird thing was that they completely didn't flush. Just pooped and ran. True story.
   
   On Friday, a nice man from Afghanistan came to look in the attic and try to fix the AC. When he came down to do paperwork and leave, he saw my cute little blond Sloane (4) there inspecting the situation. He turned to me and said quietly, "I'm just joking OK?" 

Huh? I didn't know what he was talking about. And then he turned to Sloane and shouted at her, 

   "Go in your room and get your suitcase and pack your clothes, I am bringing you home with me." 

Sloane looked confused. 

"Go! Go! Right now. You are mine and I am taking you. " 

    I guess he wanted to try and get rid of any preconceived ideas that I might have about people from Afghanistan by showing me that he could joke around? 
    
      Then yesterday two Indian men came to look at the oven. They told me that they needed to completely take it out of the wall and look at it. "Do you have a tavel?" They asked.

"A what?"
"A tavel. This is very heavy and we need to put it on a tavel"
"A table?"
"No a tavel"
"A what?"
"A tavel! A tavel!"

I had no idea what they were saying. And saying it louder didn't help me understand any better. They just kept yelling TAVEL TAVEL. It was so funny that I lost it. I couldn't look at them, I just buckled over, while they yelled, "TAVEL TAVEL." Then once of them said, "A tavel, like you bring to the pool and the beach!" 

"ooooohhhh a tow-ell." I said slower for emphasis, to show them that I am not an idiot. Wasn't too convincing.

Are these normal interactions with service people? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm a Liz Lemon Eater.

  This week had a couple of parenting highs, accompanied with a culinary low. I was pretty excited to see the rain on Monday because that meant that I had an excuse to wear my new rain boots. I spent too much on them which probably explains why it has been such a mild spring. Anyway, I wore them all day even though it only rained in the morning. Monday afternoon as I was getting the kids in the car to take Jonah to scouts, I heard his friend whisper, "Why is your mom wearing those boots? It's not even raining" Jonah snapped, "Well it was raining this morning and anyway, it doesn't matter, it's a fashion thing." 

   One of my proudest moments. He's my favorite.

  It happened again the next day when I let two kids take the rest of the school day off after a rough afternoon dentist appointment. I told them they could relax and watch TV when my toothless tween whined, "That doethen't even thound fun and ith your fault, ever thince you thtopped letting uth watch TV and made uth thtart reading bookth, becauth now TV ith tho boring!" And she stomped off to her room. Yesssss.

   I felt like such a great mom that I got a sitter for the following day so that I could meet a friend for lunch. She chose Sunflower. The vegetarian place. Sure, I'll eat anything. 

This was the crowd.


And the decor. What what was the name of the restaurant again? 
Oh yeah.
  It took me a while to figure out what I was going to order. It was hard to choose from the items on the menu.

  • General Tso's Surprise
  • Macrobiotic Root Vegetables and Greens
  • Orange Imagination
  • Adventure of Tempeh Land
  • Wheat Gluten with Fermented Black Bean Sauce
  • Curry Paradise

 Really? I mean, I had to double check to make sure it was actually a menu I was reading. I swear I've eaten veg before but I've never heard of any of this. I almost ordered General Tso's Surprise but I remembered from an experience at South of the Border S.C. that you never order any kind of food with the word surprise in the title. (Don't use the public restrooms there either.) But I felt sort of rushed so I just hurried and ordered the Curry Paradise.

  Okay, now, I don't want to brag, but I'm not ignorant when it comes to food. I've had good food. I know what it tastes like. And I've had healthy food, I know what that should taste like too. Wait, back that up, it doesn't matter whether or not I know what good or healthy food is supposed to taste like. I know what food is supposed to taste like. It's not this. The vegetables were fine. Good even. The sauce would have been decent if it would have been made with non-vegan products. But the "meat," oh the "meat." It was actually soy protein. If I wanted to eat something that tastes like this, I would just drive downtown to K street and eat a piece of grass that the Occupy DC folks have been sleeping on. At least then I'd have a story to tell.  

P.S. I ate all of it. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tone and Language

I've been thinking about how we speak to our children. And by 'we' I mean you. And by 'you' I mean people that I judge. I was at the park yesterday with my two younger kids and Emily's two younger kids. (side note: Emily is raising very fashion conscious children, her two year old was talking about his skate board and at one point he said to my two year old, "Hey Ezra, don't you wish you had my puma's and not those converse shoes?") And I realized why I don't like the park, it's because of the way all of these parents were speaking to their kids. A few of the observations I made. Is this just an East Coast thing? It might be, the parents here are sort of uptight.
  1. You're using the phrase, "appropriate behavior" so much the the meaning has been completely lost. Either your kids don't know what you mean by appropriate behavior, or they don't really care, because you constantly talking about it isn't really changing anything. 
 2. Same goes with the word "choice." 
            Is that a good choice? 
            Is that a good choice? 
           That man is over there smoking a cigar, he did not make a good choice. 
            Aunt Suzie can't afford to come to your ballet recital because she did not make good choice in her life when it came to money. 
Those were actual statements I heard at the playground. Bleck
3. Contractions. They're part of the English language and they're here to stay it's time to introduce them to your child. 

   Now this all pretty subjective. Completely my own opinion, and I'm sure all these kids will turn out fine.  But I'll tell you something that is not okay. This morning after Shea's soccer game, she told me that her coach told her that she, "looked sexy in those pink soccer socks." It's not really okay for a male coach to tell a 9 year old girl she looks sexy is it? He might not realize it, but I am hypersensitive, close to my daughter, and very very judgemental, and unfortunately for him, he's on my radar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good In Bread

I'm starting a new series here called Good In Bread so that I can document my bread baking journey. My latest challenge is French croissants. This is the most difficult thing I've ever made. I've probably made 10 batches and haven't yet been completely satisfied. I had to cut back to making them once a week because my kids were starting to complain about eating so many croissants. But they also complain about their diamond shoes being too tight so I decided to ignore them and cut back because the ingredients were breaking the bank. Anyway, this is the closest I've come to a good croissant.
Not as airy as I'd prefer, but see the honeycomb texture starting to form.

I thought I'd take step by step pictures, but I only got photos of like steps 6 and 7 before I realized that time is not your friend when you're rolling out croissants. But if you can't tell, this is pretty.

The good news is that they taste incredible every time. Exactly as if you are in France. The trick is to use European butter and yeast. Now I just need to work on my technique to get the texture I want. The sort of good news is that I made several batches in before I stepped on a scale. So now I need to take a little break from my croissant making, but I'll be back. Oh yes, I'll be back.


* I've been bouncing back and forth between the two recipes below. The first one tastes better but the dough is a bit tough to handle.


And Jeffery Hamelman's Recipe. I guess he's a big deal in the pastry world.

* I also realized how lame it was of me to say, "bread baking journey." Sorry guys.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

   Giving birth seems to be a common theme in my interneting (new word- bam!) lately. I'd like to share the best of and the worst of. First of all the best of. If you don't have the Bentley twins' blogs on your reader, stop everything and add them right now. I'm not kidding. Do it. Now. These two twins that I used to know married two brothers. And now one of the twins is living in India where she just gave birth to twins of her own. With a little leg work, you can find the link from Chelsea's blog to her twin's blog, where she recounts her visit to India to see her sister and remarks that the newborn twins, "Weren't as cute as I thought they'd be." Completely awesome. I hope it's okay that I'm mentioning these gals on this blog. If isn't okay, I'm sure they'll let me know and I'll edit them out. But if you have a chance, check it out.

 And now for the worst of.  I bought a National Zoo pass for the parking benefits. And all of the sudden I started getting mail with them with news of happenings at the zoo. Well I wish I hadn't. Now let me ask you. To what extent are you comfortable with your tax dollars paying for the health care of animals? My answer is; to NO extent. Although I'll admit that I might not be the best barometer for that kind of thing. Which is why this photo really outraged me.


 Above, you see a c-section being performed on a deer. Picture me in my best Amy Poehler voice. Really? This is so disturbing on so many levels. First of all, as I write, I'm in the process of getting quotes from local bow-hunters (yes, it's a real profession) to help me control the deer population on my property. Do we really need to help them give birth? And second. If you've never had the pleasure of being sliced open c-section style, well, it looks exactly like this. Exactly. Only I don't think I received the same level of high quality medical care that the deer is getting in the pic, and I know that Chelsea didn't get it in India. The look of concern on the faces of the entire team. Nope never saw that. I did however hear my doctor say, "Here's Jonah coming out of the whale!" As he pulled baby Jonah from my uterus. He was quite tickled with his cleverness.
 
   I hope all you women had a great Mother's day. Mine was great. Really, everyone was nice to me. And during the third hour of church, all of the women were treated to dessert, prepared by the men. The highlight of my day was while I was eating, the self-called ward historian came by and asked if she could take a picture of my friends and I. I took advantage of the opportunity by covering the entire row of my top teeth in chewed up brownies and giving the biggest smile I could. It's been my favorite prank since I was 15. I think it's pretty funny. At least it was pretty funny when I was 15 and the reaction was a bunch of teens saying, "Oh Gross! Come on Scruggs!" But when the reaction is just the sweet the stone faced historian looking down at the image on her camera and saying quietly, "Thanks." as she walks away, because she's too nice to show her disgust. Well, then, it's down right hysterical. I'm going to have to start doing that more often.