Barney, You Rascal You

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It happens every time I brush my teeth. Every time I wash my hands. Every time I am cleaning up the kitchen. Every time I wash out a paint brush. WITHOUT FAIL. What happens you may ask? I hear the kids from the PBS show Barney sing, “No! I never let the water run.” Even though no one in my house has watched that show in at least 15 years…15 YEARS! (welcome to my world people!)

In case you don’t know the song it goes something like this:

I’m brushing my teeth on the top. It’s so much fun I hate to stop. I’m brushing my teeth on the bottom, cause I wouldn’t wanna say that I forgot ‘em. While I’m brushing my teeth and having so much fun, I never let the water run. NO! I never let the water run.

Seriously, no kid ever heard this song and thought, “YES! It’s so much fun to brush my teeth.”

The first time I realized it was happening, I laughed then turned off the water as I continued to brush my teeth. But then I quickly realized that every time I turned on a faucet, I heard that song playing in my head and felt compelled to turn off the water. I began to wonder if it was some kind of Jedi mind trick that the genius creators of Barney created in the early 1990’s.

I am certain I heard the Water Song no less than one thousand times as my boys grew up. I was not a fan of Barney even though my boys loved it. We only allowed them to watch an hour of TV per day and since we didn’t have cable for many years, PBS was their only choice. Most mornings as soon as their feet hit the floor, they wanted to know if they got to watch Barney that day. Truth be told, I owe that dinosaur a lot of gratitude. After all, while they watched that silly show I knew I could get a lot done. Most days it was the only 30 minutes I had to myself to get showered and dressed. And as any mother of boys will tell you, boys rarely sit still and when they do, you better check on them because they are most likely making a mess. So to have a bit of time to myself everyday… knowing they were not making a mess. For that I could put up with the big purple dinosaur. Well played Barney, well played.

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The Kitchen Is Closed

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The Kitchen is closed… at least for a couple of days. Don’t get me wrong, it was WONDERFUL having all three of the boys home for the holidays but I have to admit, I’d forgotten how much of my time is spent in the kitchen while they are here. The best thing about the empty nest has been how easy it is to prepare food for two people neither of whom is a teenage male. I mean, when it is just the two of us we never run out of milk or bread but the boys had not been home for a day before I realized we were three sips away from a milk catastrophe!

Extra mouths also seemed to be more prevalent this holiday. My boys love their friends as do I, but not when they forget to tell me that they are all staying for dinner. Multiple times over the break, I’d realize about five minutes before meal time that there were anywhere from one to five extra guys in the house… oops! Hard to stretch seven corn muffins for ten people. Oh some of the time it was my own fault, I simply forgot there were extra people there but in my defense, a few times I didn’t even know there was one non-family member in the house much less four!

Yes, it was a wonderful holiday with some great memories made and stories that we’ll tell for years to come. Sure right now the house seems pretty quiet, and truthfully I really do miss the chaos of having them all here. But just between me and you, my grocery bill and kitchen are glad for the break. Now, where did I put the book I was reading before they got home…

Thank You Google!

Google taught me to cook. You see, I didn’t take Home Economics in high school. Nope, I thought it way more prudent to take PE and weight lifting… in the same semester. Hello, there were far more guys in those classes and at the time that held more importance than cooking. (Apparently I was pretty good at figuring out the least useful skills in life and pursuing them.) Plus when you were the only girl in the class, the coach said you didn’t have to work out if you’d keep his grade book. Ummm, OK!! Therefore, I’m certain it will come as no surprise to anyone that I was never known for my cooking ability.

Now my lack of cooking skills became apparent quite early in my life. There was the great pudding debacle when I was 10. Who doesn’t love some pistachio instant pudding? I clearly followed the directions putting in two cups of milk and stirring until mixed. Eight hours later when it was still soupy as all get out, I calmly showed my mom the measuring cup I had filled twice and dumped into the powered pudding. She just as calmly pointed out that it was a 2 cup measure i had used and not a 1 cup measure… thereby doubling the milk. Ooops!!

Not long after, I decided to prove I really could cook this time making cherry Jell-O (yes I realize pudding nor Jell-O is cooking but you tell my 10 year old self that.) Who can mess up Jell-O right?!?! I mean it’s water and powder people, surely any idiot can make Jell-O. It was like a chemistry experiment in my kitchen that day with all my planning and preparation. I was certain it would be the best Jell-O ever and was patting myself on the back when after only 30 minutes, my Jell-O was set. Man I was good! I proudly showed mom my success and we tasted it… ummmm, it was not very good. Again mom began to walk through the steps with me when I realized it didn’t say “add 1 cup hot water OR 1 cup cold water” no it clearly said “add 1 cup hot water AND 1 cup cold water”… it was at this point I realized paying attention to detail might not be my strong suit.

It’s here that I tell you once I was married and began cooking on a regular basis, I really got my game on and could whip up a healthy, delightful meal in no time… except that didn’t happen. No, I’ve been cooking for 24 years and until I retired almost 2 years ago, it was just so-so on the food front. I could whip up a mean Hamburger Helper meal or stick a frozen lasagna in the oven with the best of ‘em but not even close to gourmet. (The good news is that I served a salad with every meal so my sons grew up healthy albeit with vary untested palettes.) But now that I have retired, I have to say I’ve gotten quite good in the kitchen. I dare say, I even found that I really love cooking. Maybe it has something to do with me pretending I’m on a cooking show whenever I make anything or it could just be that I have plenty of time for it now but it is probably the fact that one can Google any food and get detailed directions that even I can follow. Whatever the reason, I just want all to know that I’ve finally begun to conquer the kitchen and now make a pretty mean risotto. Yes, I said risotto… bring it on Chef Ramsey!