Through the fire

Last week chewed me up and spit me out and then sneered at me and told me my mother dresses me funny. Then it stole my lunch money and stomped on my fingers.

The sad part is that I really didn’t get the worst of the week; I’d say the men of our household had a significantly worse week than I did, even. In fact, some might say the only person who had a great week was Chickadee, except for the tiny detail of some of her choices having resulted in a few extra chores this past weekend. And although it cheered ME up immensely to watch her mop the kitchen floor, I’m guessing that wasn’t her favorite thing. (I’m still trying to decide if it was mine. I mean, of all the joys of parenthood, slave labor is one of the finest.)

We four sat around the dinner table last night, making a grand mess with taco fixings, talking about how much better this week will be, and how we’re all going to pull together as a family and support each other and be kind and respectful and diligent and BETTER. I think we were all trying to convince ourselves. I find guacamole is an excellent confidence booster in these situations.

Eventually the meal was cleared away and the kitchen was spotless and the children were headed off to bed in their nice clean rooms. I gave extra hugs and kisses and said a silent prayer for grace over each of my children. And an extra one for me.

After the kids went to bed, I retreated my office and Otto to his; both of us are behind on work, wrung out from the week of illness and crisis and stress. I patted myself on the back for at least remembering to take something out of the freezer to make for dinner the next day, as my grocery trip earlier in the day had consisted of me wandering around the store chanting to myself “Milk, orange juice, eggs… and… some other stuff.” I mean, ordinarily I plan out the entire week’s menu and make a list. Yesterday it just seemed like too much effort. Which is probably why I got up to the register and discovered that I had nearly $10 worth of pears, because instead of grabbing the ones on sale for $.99/pound, I’d instead filled my bag with pears that grow on platinum stems. I mean, they looked exactly the same to ME, but no, these ones were $4/pound. I like pears. Hell, I’ll go so far as to say they may be one of my top three favorite fruits. But I do not like them enough to pay $4/pound for them.

[In my defense, apparently the sign had been misplaced in the produce section, and I was the fourth or fifth person through that line to have made the same mistake. The cashier immediately asked me if I’d meant to buy that kind, and my horrified face caused her to pat my arm and assure me that she could send someone back to get me the other kind, not to worry. This is one of the things I enjoy about the south. Up north the cashier would’ve been all, “You got the wrong ones? Sorry, sucker.”]

So I was working. Otto was working. And then Otto came into my office looking a little shell-shocked. He’d spent most of the afternoon doing grading, and the file he’d been using had… vanished. I tried to make helpful suggestions, and to his credit Otto didn’t smack me or tell me to shut up, either of which I probably would’ve considered if our positions had been reversed. Eventually he concluded he’d just need to start from scratch, and I offered to record Mad Men and watch it with him another time, but he said no, he was so far behind, now, he might as well take a break for an hour.

We each left our work and retreated to the couch to watch people who are more screwed up than we are on television, and during the commercials we chatted a bit about things both mundane and serious, how life has gotten in the way of so many things, lately, and how surely things will get better, easier, in the weeks to come.

Otto’s long stint on steroids has introduced him to the joys of the steroid munchies, and so eventually I went and grabbed a brick of our new favorite cheese and some crackers for him, and of course I am completely powerless over cheese so I ate some of it, too, and we sat there on the couch together, nibbling on these incredibly spicy slices of cheese, sucking extra air through our mouths to cool the burn.

After a while Otto started laughing at me and my attempts to bear the searing heat without crackers (I am still not eating wheat, which is particularly problematic when eating habanero cheese), and then I laughed at HIM as he tried very hard to pretend it wasn’t too spicy, and then we just laughed because the week sucked and sitting together on the couch eating something that was setting our mouths on fire just seemed like a fitting end to it all.

So, Otto, I just want you to know that there is no one on earth I’d rather permanently damage my taste buds with, darling. This week will be better. And if it’s not, well, we have plenty of habanero cheese.


  1. Leandra

    You got any to share? Cause this week is starting out in the toilet.

    I do hope things improve this week for you guys. Oh, and I know exactly the look you had on your face about the pears because I’m pretty sure it was the same one that was on my face when I bought convenience store milk for me and my husband and the lady told me it was $5. $5 for milk!! And not even organic!! It’s highway robbery!!

  2. Justin

    Blue Diamond makes a nice cracker with no gluten.

  3. StephLove

    I like cheese on apple slices. I bet pear would be nice, too.

    Best wishes for a better week!

  4. steff

    Oh Yeah that cheese is good, even on a burger!! Cheers for a better week!

  5. Frank

    I work p/t at a ‘Big Box Retailer’ that happens to have a bunch of school supplies on sale. We have many types that look like the less expensive stuff, so many people came up with the wrong things. After he third or 4th person, I just spent the rest of the week asking if people were REALLY sure they wanted these things, or were they looking for the inexpensive ones? When the manager got mad at me for this, I calmly asked him whether the simple question was worth avoiding having to explain the 50+ return transactions he had to HIS boss for the rest of the week… so, from the other side, we are more than happy to make sure you are getting the right things. Most of us, anyway.

  6. annette

    I no longer say,”Well, it could be worse.” Now I try to just suck up the situation and move on. A priest friend of mine convinced me recently that the sun is always shining, sometimes the clouds are just in the way.

  7. dad

    Believing guacamole is an excellent confidence booster is a classic sign of a desperate person.

    Congratulations on your discovery of habanero therapy. Undoubtedly, expensive pears would have further reduced troublesome symptoms. You should have sprung for them. You’re worth it!

    This too shall pass.

  8. Megan

    The gods have spoken. I have now had three cheese references in just an hour. Obviously we’re going to have bacon and cheese pasta for dinner tonight! (the most unhealthy pasta known to mankind. Also the most delicious. And easy. Mmmmmmm bacon and cheese)

  9. daysgoby

    Habanero cheese is awesome on thin slices of apple/pear. Really.

    I’m trying very hard to salvage a good week from one that is very bad indeed myself. Not so much fun. Hey, maybe I should go buy hot cheese?

    Mmmm, cheese.

  10. Crisanne

    Oh, Mir! I love how well you can tell even the most simple of stories. You and Otto on the couch enjoying a treat just for the two of you. Those are my favorite times with my husband as well.

  11. Em

    One good thing about the north, though, is following the “Sorry, sucker” comment, you would then be allowed, or even expected to take out your whole rotten week on that cashier.

    Here’s to a better week starting! I hope it is as good as last week was bad.

  12. Sharon

    You’re making me wish I liked cheese. My late-night comfort food is salty tortilla chips. Here’s hoping for a week where lesser amounts of cheese or chips are needed.

  13. wafelenbak

    Oh dear, did I miss the part where you told us your house now has TWO occupants on steroids? Yikes.
    Prayers and blessings over all of you for things to get better…

  14. Half Assed Kitchen

    I know what’ll make your week better…a new dog! (evil grin)

  15. Randi

    Hey! I know Cabot! Their manufacturing facility isn’t too far from here! Wow – it’s kind of freaky to see someone who lives so far away using a product that comes from my teeny tiny state.

    Apparently my state only likes dairy foods – ice cream/cheese/ect :).

    This week WILL be better, because you’ve all got each other to boost your spirits up.

    And Chickadee to keep you grounded :). (and well-mopped!)

  16. sassymonkey

    I made the mistake of opening up a package of that cheese early one morning and sneaking a bite of it. I was rewarded with a wicked case of heartburn. Heartburn aside, cheese makes everything better.

  17. MomCat

    All hail the mighty avocado and its properties of catharsis!

  18. Heidi

    So obviously the current Google ad in your sidebar doesn’t apply to you whatsoever: Lonely Single Parent? Meet Available Single Parents Here!

  19. Katie in MA

    And think of all the germs that cheese should incinerate. :) I take it Otto is mending nicely, then?

  20. Scottsdale Girl

    Gucamole and hot tortilla chips will cure just about anything. Really!

    Have a great week MirFamily!!!

  21. eden

    I hear Wallace and Gromit in my head “CHEESE, Gromit!” Pretty much sums up my feeling on the subject. I’ve discovered rice crackers. They are a pantry staple.

    Taco night is The Best.

  22. Dawn

    Pears and chocolate ice cream. It’s da bomb.

  23. Grizzly Kitteh

    That cheese looks delicious. It sounds even better on those tacos you were talking about earlier in the post.

  24. Lindsay

    “We each left our work and retreated to the couch to watch people who are more screwed up than we are on television”


  25. Nicki

    Huh. Last night we hibernated and ate Taco Bell. While guacamole does little for me, sour cream and hot sauce are comfort foods. Today I feel ready to face the world again.

    Chin up, Mir. It’ll get better. And if it doesn’t get better, at least it’ll get different and there will be new tragedies and struggles to face.

    Thinking of you and your family!

  26. Brigitte

    Do those little rice crackers in the Asian section have any gluten? Hope this week is better!

  27. Karate Mom

    OH! HABANERO CHEESE! My husband would love that! (And he’s enough of a chili head that, honestly, it probably wouldn’t be spicy. Weirdo.) Unfortunately, I just went to the link to see about ordering some, and it would cost me four times the price of a block of the cheese to ship it to myself. So *sigh* I guess I’ll have to wait until I can order more than one!

  28. Burgh Baby

    I absolutely love how you can take a very small moment and paint a perfect story with it.

  29. ~annie

    Do try and find the Blue Diamond Nut-Thins Rice Crackers – they’re good!
    In case you’ve never been, next time Crisis strikes, take the family to The Flying Biscuit Café. Best Food Ever.

  30. tuney

    I think you should call your family the MirCats – like lolcats, only more prone to spell things correctly. All the fun and cuteness with none of the bad grammar. You could spell it MirKatz, if you wanted to give a nod to your heritage!

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