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TWO YEARS TAX FREE
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We are finally coming up to Summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.
When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion: Here's the routine...
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
Here comes the important part:
(4) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
(5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.
(7) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.
(8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL:
(10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women....
Three Days With Grandmother
What so many grandparents take for granted became a challenge of the highest order for me. For Kaitlyn Mae was scheduled to visit, this wonderful, positively angelic child, and it would be the first time this has happened at my house.
For reasons having to do with nasty little dogs and a living distance of over 100 miles, it had never been feasible for Kaitlyn to sleep over at Mom-Mom's. The child would have to be at a comprehensive age that she should understand to avoid the nasty little dog while being firm with the lovable but annoying Belgian Malinois. Not to mention a complete standing stature that she at least be an inch or two higher than Grandmother's large dog. Arrangement had been made for Mom-Mom to stay over at Kaitlyn's house and this did happen from time to time. But I yearned just to have Kaitlyn spend a few days with me, a few days with Mom-Mom living her routine life all the while enjoying the pleasure of two-and-a-half year old Kaitlyn.
I was nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs when it was decided by Grandmother and parental units that Kaitlyn could handle the dogs and so it would be. It had been, well the last time I took care of a young child was when Kaitlyn's mother was a baby. Circumstances simply did not have me in a situation where there were a lot of young children in my immediate surround. As a teenager I took care of plenty of small children and enjoyed it. So we're talking over 25 years ago since I took care of a toddler. That's just the way it was.
The three days Kaitlyn and I enjoyed together turned out very pleasant, one of the most pleasant experiences of my life. But it was not without its moments of frustration and yes, on occasion, sheer terror.
There is nothing on earth more fascinating to me than watching a young human child learn about the world and master the language. As it was with my own daughter and a few nieces and other assorted relatives that I chanced to be around during those brain-forming years. I marvel as I watch their little heads tilt as they assimilate a sound, as they store the sound somewhere in there vast but unquenchable brains, as they then retrieve the sound upon command, another bit of information in the arsenal of their minds that will form their ability to survive. For sure I'm not alone in this amazement, for sure every parent is wondrous of their child's development. Then again maybe I'm the only one that pays attention to such things.
Like the song I consider mine and Kaitlyn's. It's a tune by the Association called "Everything That Touches You". Don't hold me to that; I THINK that's the title. It's from the lyrics that Kaitlyn plucked a sound and stored it into her brain for future retrieval. And I understood her perfectly.
The lyrics of the song begin:
"In my most sincere moments I still can't believe..
I'm spending those moments with you..."
She wanted me to sing her a song one night and go on, gotta love a kid what wants you to sing for her. I told her I would sing one song tonight as the task of singing a CD full of songs for demanding Kaitlyn soon lost the allure of flattery. I sang some song or another but since Kaitlyn knew she was only getting one song, she whined "No...sing me "moments"."
Heh. She remembered the word "moments" from the song and she retrieved the sound from her brain and repeated it to me so I would know the song she wanted me to sing. I did.
Please believe that this sort of thing is no testimony that Kaitlyn is smarter than any other human baby. It's how they all learn and, well, we don't give children enough credit sometime. They are walking learning machines and it's not all that easy.
The terror came when I took Kaitlyn to one of those sooper-dooper playland McDonalds places available down where the tourists are. Even as I walk in the door and as Kaitlyn requests some "fench fries" I know that I am being hypnotized, that I fall victim to the lure of McDonalds as source of my grandchild's delight. Kaitlyn, meanwhile, absorbs McDonalds into her brain and knows one when she one anywhere across the highways and byways of America. It's part of their plan.
Yet I shrugged. If this be but one of the magics of childhood then so be it. We all have a choice in the matter. Thus with a bemused smile, I entered the belly of the behemoth. It was at the cash register that I lost Kaitlyn.
Indeed I'd had my hand on the child at all times outside of the car. At McDonalds I had to fiddle with my purse and wallet to pay and the order area was very crowded. Capitalism at its best, McDonalds marketing working very well thank you and this makes so many people very mad. When I removed my hands from Kaitlyn's I planted my eye on her head. At some point I actually had to address the cashier and when I look down at my side to find Kaitlyn, she was gone. For a "moment" I was terrified. I've spent entirely too many years reading and writing about true crime to not be sure that everyone within my eyesight is a possible kidnapper, even worst. Not that I'm proud of that or anything but it was my mindset. Within but a second I looked behind me and there was Kaitlyn, close at my back and watching out for herself. On almost an instinctual level, the child knows to stay close to someone she knew. Surely my concern came from experience but Kaitlyn had read no true crime novels to date as I figured?
Kaitlyn did enjoy her time in the McDonalds playland. There was that "chute" slide type of contraption that Kaitlyn attempted but had to back down at the last minute for her fear. I certainly couldn't go up there and get to Kaitlyn, then at the top but crying that she didn't want to go down. So I had to instruct the toddler to come back down the steps. Which she could not do as this staircase was not designed to be walked down in the normal manner in which one would descend a pair of steps. They were designed to be crawled up on hands and knees in a spiral fashion. "Come down backward," I said calmly despite visions of my chubby self stuck in this spiral staircase affair, pics in the local newspaper.
Kaitlyn retrieved the word "backward" from her memory bank and thankfully, she knew what it meant. It took a while but finally I could see the child's legs coming out of the covered spiral and I pondered that this sort of thing should be the torment of grandmothers.
They do a good job.
I don't think there would be occasion when I would go to McDonalds again save anytime Kaitlyn sees the golden arches and demands we stop there.
It's part of the plan.
More Kaitlyn posts HERE
"Can be heated in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes," read the instructions. And in bold print after that it added, "FLIP OVER EVERY 30 SECONDS."
I've done plenty of microwaving. I practically lived on it all through my years as a night auditor, and some habits really don't change. "Cooking," to me, is opening a box and putting it in the microwave. (Do you doubt me? Ask Harry.)
These instructions seemed easy enough. That bold print, though. That scared me, a little. What if I didn't do that? What if I didn't do it soon enough?
Would it explode? I had images of vegetation splattered all over the inside of my microwave... and that one scene from _Gremlins_ where the mom (a much braver soul than me) shoves one of the nasty things in the microwave and cranks up the power. Do you remember that part of the movie? Hummmmmmmm.... SPLAT! .... Ding!
Briefly I wondered if I could get by without heating it. Would it be as good cold? Buckwheat, thyme, peppermint.... what else was in it? Oh, yes, lavender and eucalyptus. And hyssop. (What is hyssop,anyway?) Well, no. The instructions said heat it. Surely I could manage to do that without a problem.
History of the Microwave
It must have been the glass of wine that made me giggle when I put it in the microwave. I set the timer for 30 seconds, and watched it merrily going round and round. Ding! I opened the door and flipped it over, giggling harder.
By the time I'd reached the one and a half minute mark, I was laughing so hard I'd made the cat run away. The instructions had said that it was a definite stress-reliever but I had no idea that simply heating it would be part of that effect.
There's something decidedly odd about cooking a panda in the microwave.
But you know what? Sleeping with that very warm, very aromatic bear really did relieve my stress.
Or maybe it was flipping him over every 30 seconds in the microwave.
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