Yes, that was me (Or is it 'I'? What the heck. Stupid grammar.) in the kitchen the other night. Contrary to the beliefs of some, I do cook. Just not often. I like to cook. I'm fairly good at it. I just don't do it very often. But when Mom came home from wherever she had been on Tuesday she presented me with the choice of either cooking dinner or accompanying her and the girls to Office Max. An office supply store with my mother and sisters? No thank you.
"I'll cook," I said quickly.
"Thanks," she said, as she retrieved her keys. "By the way--we're having stir-fry unless you want to look around and make something else."
I think my parents are the only Schaffers who will willingly eat stir-fry. Bleh. I could hear the dissatisfied and disappointed groans from the small people already. "There will be food when you get back," I said, shepherding her out the door and promising to close the garage door after her. "Bye."
The maternal and sisterly units gone and the garage closed, I started perusing the food stores. I was fairly certain she was saving the noodles for something. There wasn't enough peanut butter to really get creative with. There was a salad in the fridge from the night before. Lots of chopped onions in the freezer. Prepackaged vegetarian spring rolls. Instant rice. An inspection of the basement revealed, among other more mysterious things (Bath towels in the food storage, anyone? I didn't even ask.), that we had quite the collection of canned beans. Promising.
Only the boys were home when I started. Tall One was shut up in his room doing something nefarious, no surprise there; and Short Stuff was wandering the house as he often does, circling close enough to the kitchen a few times for me to make sure he liked onions and to ask how school had gone. That habit of his is strangely similar to what I did at that age, though he has more of a house to wander.
The radio was up to that wonderful volume none of us attempt when Mom is home when Dad walked in. "Hey," I said, no longer singing along but not interrupting my onion-cooking dance (What can I say? R.E.M. was playing.).
"Hey, he replied, glancing around the room. "Where's your mom?"
"Office Max, with the girls."
"'K." He went back into the garage and emerged again a few moments later with The Christmas Present. I already knew what it was, of course, but a few courtesy 'ooh's and 'aah's were not misplaced.
My father knows better than to ask what's for dinner when I cook, so he took his bag and The Christmas Present and went into his office to watch the evening news.
When Mom arrived home some time later, with Princess and Flaxen in tow, dinner was just about ready, the table set, the radio already turned off. And the food was a universal success. Am I good or what?
P.S. --There's only a little more than a week until Christmas. Assuming you're into that sort of thing. :) Happy holidays, ya'll.