Last night was relatively calm for the most part. I was able to get Chooch interested in “Annie,” but I don’t think he was listening to my story about how I tried to orchestrate a reproduction of it in eighth grade and Jason Jones was going to play Punjab, but then my ex-friend Keri couldn’t take it anymore and kept deep six-ing my cast list. I think that may have had something to do with the fact that every time she would sleep over, I’d put the soundtrack on repeat.
My love for Annie runs deep, like a stream of piss in Hell’s urinal.
I had him in bed by 10:30 (early for him, believe me) but then Henry had to come in the house like a fucking bumbling burglar and Chooch was all, “Huh? Daddy’s home?” and then it was stomp-stomp-stomp down the stairs, at which point his mild mood completely mutated into whirling dervish mode and he started throwing toys and spilling apple juice. And I took no part in it. I stared emotionlessly at the TV and mumbled, “He was fine all night. You make him turn into an asshole. He’s all yours, have a ball, Daddy.”
I had scheduled a phone call with my new friend Jessi. When you’re raising a hellion, phone calls can no longer be fielded at whimsy. And it’s always fantastic when you have to tell people, “Don’t call me until after 11pm” because you know it’s going to sound like Oakland rioting in the house up until then. Fortunately, when Jessi called, Chooch and Henry had at least taken their screaming show upstairs, but the ruckus was still jarring enough that I had to strain to concentrate on parts of the conversation. I could hear Henry shouting, “Get back in bed!” and Chooch answering from across the hall, “No way!” and then devilishy laughing and chucking what sounded like boulders out of his crib. Finally, it quieted down (apparently Chooch ended up falling asleep in our bed while I was still on the phone and Henry had no idea. We make a great parenting team) and I was able to enjoy a grown-up conversation with a really cool girl.
Today, I woke up and remembered, “Fuck, I promised I’d make French toast for breakfast.” I can’t remember why exactly I promised, what horrendous activity I was trying to bribe the child to quit, but I do know that he reacted well to the bribe and was, for the most part, a decent human being last night. And when I promise him things, I make sure to follow through because the last thing I want is to be like my own mother. (That song “Promises, Promises” by Naked Eyes? ALWAYS makes me think of her.)
So I google “easy french toast” and only 68798097 results turn up, oh lucky day. Quickly, I become confused. Every recipe is different. One says one egg and two slices of bread, another says 2 eggs and 6 slices of bread. I’m not even in the kitchen yet and I’m in tears.
But I did it. Sort of. I mixed all the shit together and became mildly frustrated at the way the cinnamon melded into a curdled skin with the milk. I didn’t know exactly what “grease the pan” meant, because that was so vague. So I wiped it with canola oil. That didn’t seem greasy enough, so I sprayed it with Pam. Finally, I caved and plopped some fucking butter up in that shit and marveled at the sizzle.
The first piece, thank God I tried it before serving it to Chooch, because it was wack. Totally raw. The pieces that followed were not much better, but I felt confident that the eggs were no longer raw. One piece actually had a little scrambled egg hanging off it like a breakfast dingleberry. It was cute, but tasted absolutely disgusting.
I let Chooch and myself ingest several bites. But I noticed that there was something terribly off with them, so I said, “Er, maybe we should not eat anymore, Chooch.”
And then Henry came home. Scraps of evidence remained on both of our plates, and Henry asked, “Did you cook it enough?” as he held up a piece tentatively between two fingertips, like he was trying to spy the contents of his cheating wife’s mail.
“I’ll tell you right now what you did, you used too much milk.” He said it in that superior “I watch Alton Brown” tone that makes me want to castrate him sometimes, with an Alton Brown-approved cutlery set. But then, sniffing the kitchen, he added, “You caught it on fire, didn’t you?” And then, upon further inspection of my damning trail, he yelled, “Tell me you did NOT use this metal spatula on my non-stick pan!!!!??”
Later, after he was sure that Chooch and I weren’t going to need our stomachs pumped of swirling raw eggs, Henry tried to reason with me. After eight years, he still tries this sometime. It’s kind of adorable.
“You know, cooking’s not that hard. Your problem is that you rush. You want it done NOW.”
“Well, duh. Why else would there be the high setting on the stove, if not to help me cook things as fast as possible?” And Henry did this thing where he holds up to his hands in a silent prayer, like he’s telepathically asking some entity to please provide patience.
Finally, I snapped, “Look, cooking is not fun for me. I DO NOT LIKE IT. I do not get joy from rooting around the refrigerator for ingredients, I do not like the way my head feels when struggling to read a sentence that contains words AND numbers, and I absolutely do NOT enjoy standing in front of a stove wondering when this shit is going to be done.”
I don’t care if I suck at this. I do not like to cook, not here not now not then not there. And if it takes me writing it out Dr. Seuss-style to get it through his head, then I will gladly work on that shit this weekend. That is, after I bathe in a tub of vodka and have a harem cater to me. “That’s right, you drop that tab in mama’s mouth, just like that.”