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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eat it, Bitches!

I seriously have to stop with the sarcastic swearing. My two year old recently said "it's hot up in here, bitches" and though I deny fervently that she learned that from me...I'm going out on a limb and thinking it maaaaaaaaayyyyyyy have been something I said as a joke once (or five times) after hearing it on the Real World Cancun.

Wait. Did you hear that? I have a TWO YEAR OLD. How was this allowed to happen? I mean, I remember having a baby, but I don't remember ordering a two year old. Well regardless of her growth and ever expanding hysterical vocabulary and adorable Shirley Temple esque-ness, I seem to fall deeper for that kid each and every second of each and every day. Except when she does this low growl thing when she doesn't get her way...then my ears start to bleed and I want to stick a fork in my eye, but the only fork I have handy is inevitably her toddler fork and frankly, it's too dull to really cause any permanent injury. Besides, even blind I would still be able to HEAR the low growl thing, so I guess that instinct isn't that well thought out. But I suppose instincts aren't really ever well thought out are they.

But I digress. Do you remember when I was a newlywed and I told you about my mixer? Yeah, well I conquered that bastard (again with the swearing) this weekend. I did it in honor of my baby's second birthday. So who's laughing now kitchenaid? Me. I'm laughing now (mainly because I am overly exhausted from the making of the cake, and delirious from the lack of sleep and sheer stress of making the cake)! Seriously, I made this you guys:

Myself. From scratch. It involved cocoa powder, finely chopped semisweet chocolate, coffee, flour and tears. Oh, so many tears. Plus, I pulled my eyebrows out almost completely and had to have a stress test on Monday morning, so that was an added bonus!

Two weeks before her birthday, I made the mistake of telling my family that I was going to make a Bert and Ernie cake for the baby's birthday. I even went so far as to buy the vintage Wilton cake pan from ebay. The response was totally supportive. If by supportive you mean laugh in your face at the mere suggestion of baking a cake, then quickly compose yourself when you realize I am not, in fact, making a joke, and then offering to order a "backup cake." Yeah. So once I said I was doing it out loud and had been disrespected like a west coast rapper, I knew there was no turning back.

So I baked my ass off people. It was for my little baby. I had to do it as a labor of love and a sign of my affection for her. But more importantly than lovingly making her second birthday cake, I wanted my family to have to BITE ME...errrr...I mean, bite into the moist chocolatiness of the best birthday cake ever.

It started out fine. I mixed and chopped, and sifted, and separated and brewed. The batter was heavenly and the baby got to enjoy the time honored tradition of licking the bowl (which frankly, is another post onto itself). But despite greasing the bejeebus out of the Bert and Ernie pan, the cake stuck and was ruined when I tried to get it out. And I can honestly say, with total sincerity, that it was one of the lowest points in my life. Right up there with the cancellation of West Wing. There were tears, and there was cursing. I'm talking serious, non sarcastic, drunk truck driver fighting a drunker sailor cursing. And the hope was gone and I wanted to end it all. Just call the bakery and order a rush cake. I was lower than Britney Spears circa 2008.

But then I heard the echoes of laughing of those that claim they love me and are related to me. And I dug deep y'all (see totally lower than Britney). Deep to the depths of my soul. And I pressed on. And I made the best cake that ever was made in the history of family parties in my family. And I was proud. Possibly prouder of myself than the day I passed the Bar Exam. Possibly prouder of myself than the day I graduated college. No definitely prouder than the day I graduated college, I mean, it wasn't really like a graduation since I just resumed going there in the fall for law school, but you catch my drift right?

As I pulled a muscle patting myself on the back for making the WORLD's BEST CAKE mom reminded me that I still had to frost it. That woman can be cruel sometimes. But whatever, I wasn't going to let that get me down. How hard could that be right?

Well SIX hours later, hands stained from the coloring, fingers numb from the decorating bags, sweating, neck cramped from concentrating and hunching over the mother f-ing cake, and getting frosting into places that one should never have to deal with frosting in, the cake was done. IT WAS BRILLIANT! I almost woke the baby, long after sending her to bed, just to show her how much her mommy loved her.

I mean it was a MOMENT, a MO. MENT. My Moment. I just sat back and looked at my masterpiece. And promptly told my husband that I am never. under. any. circumstances. doing. that. again. Then I gave the kitchenaid mixer the finger and went to bed.

The next day, I soaked in the praise of all the naysayers who said I couldn't do it. I seriously reveled in the glory of them having to "EAT IT!" But then do you know what those so called family members wanted to do...what they had the audacity to say to me after all that hard work, after the epic universe shifting battle with the mixer and the blood sweat and tears that went into that cake?

THEY WANTED TO KNOW WHEN WE WERE CUTTING IT! Can you believe that crap? Cutting it! AS IF. I mean if you want to eat cake, I suggest you go out to your car and get that backup cake you ordered.

just kidding, I let them eat it, those thankless trolls!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I am sitting alone at 7:00, normally the crazy dinner hour where everyone eats something different unless I find the time to cook something. Then we eat together, the baby saying "something else", my husband trying to keep a smile on his face and sincerity in his voice when he tells me what I made is good. And I just give the run down on what I didn't do right, and what I would change the next time I make this. Which will inevitably be a long time from now because to be honest, I don't really cook that much.

But not tonight. Tonight I am alone, sitting on the red check couch I foolishly picked out right after we bought our first (and only) house. Back when I was young, on the verge of getting married, on the verge of grown-upedness. Back when I thought I knew what I wanted. Now I sit on this couch and wish I could go back to that twenty something, and tell her a thing or two...least of all not to buy the damn checked couch, to listen to Nate from Oprah and buy a solid neutral couch. Tastes will change, and disposable income will be sparse in the future, and you will regret the red check. But in a way sitting on it reminds me of all those stupid things you have to learn the hard way-the things countless others who have been down the road before you warn you about, but somehow you are compelled to make the decision on your own and learn not from advice, but from making the mistake on your own. It's not just you, you know it because you have told those coming down the road behind you to go for the beige couch, and they are, this very night, probably sitting on their own funky blue paisley loveseat having similar regrets. A right of passage I suppose.

And it's okay with me. All these stupid mistakes that turn out to be life lessons. Some small, like the red check couches, some larger, like quitting my job right before the economy goes down the sewer. But none devastating, none that can't be righted eventually. None leave a lasting scar, and most provide endless entertainment in the form of "remember how stupid we were when..." stories.

But in my solitude, and on my check couches, I am restless. I am not often alone, and the quiet makes me uneasy. My mind races. The baby, who is no longer a baby, is at my mom's for the night. My husband is teaching at his alma mater until late, and the house sits still. Her little chuck taylors are strewn on the floor, with puzzle pieces and little people barn animals and bike helmets and baseball gloves. I don't pick them up until right before my husband comes home because they comfort me and remind me of her. When she is here, I consider it a mess, but when she is gone, even if only for the night, the 'mess' is my reminder of her.

I am lonely without them. Which is ironic because I so often wish for a night alone. But I need their noise and screaming delights and 'get my hiney' chasing games. I need the chaos that they bring because it is what calms me most of all. And though the red check couches were a disastrous choice, I think they were meant to be in a way. I don't care that she leaves a half eaten apple on the cushion, or spills a little milk when I grab her off to tickle her in the mornings. They are getting worn, and I see the beginnings of fray, and there are some chocolate like substances on the arm cover. But it doesn't bother me, because I think "this is my life. These couches are broken in, comfortable, lived in" like my life.

I am itchy and can't sit still. I want him to come home from his class, fill the house with sound. I want her to ask me for a treat after not eating her dinner. I want to feel them both, smell them both. She has inherited his exact smell, and I miss it now. I want to tell him sternly that it is time for her to go to bed, and to have him plead for 15 more minutes with her, drag out her bath time even against my direct instructions not to. My heart swells when I think about them, and I miss them more than is reasonable given it is one freaking night. Just 7 hours of solitude that I routinely wish for... be careful what you wish for, because you may not really understand what you want.

Once I wanted red checked couches. Once I wanted a night off from them.

I sit on the red checked couch and wish I could go back and tell my twenty something self that she doesn't really know what she wants, that times change, tastes change. Don't get those ugly country bumpkin couches. They won't go with anything.

And then it occurs to me that when I am fortysomething, and my baby is too big to hold, when she takes her own showers, and doesn't need to be rocked and sung to sleep, when she doesn't require so much of my time and my energy, when she doesn't call out to me through a monitor at an ungodly hour in the morning, I will sit on my (hopefully pale gray neutral by that time) sofa and wish I could go back to my thirtysomething self and tell her to soak it in, because these are the best of times.

And my thirtysomething self, will say, "I know."