Monday Dare: The Underachiever’s Guide to Not Setting Your Home on Fire

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Learn to cook.

My general attitude towards cooking has always been I Don’t Know. I Don’t Care. Not My Problem. This would be fine if I lived alone. I could run to 7-Eleven at noon and then again at 7:00 p.m. for one of their burritos, which I would carefully heat in their industrial-strength microwave. It would only be twice a day since I’d eat a hearty breakfast at home. Something like a bowl of Trix cereal and almond milk. But since I probably wouldn’t go to the store that often, it might sometimes be a few handfuls of Trix cereal. Or just a glass of Orange Shasta. BAM. Got my weekly serving of fruit right there. This is the problem with not being a katrillionaire. You have to do all kinds of shit for yourself, and frankly, I don’t like it.

I won’t even watch cooking shows to “get inspired” or learn how to make “quick” and “easy” 30-minute meals. Fuck that shit. You know what’s inspirational? Watching people act like dummies on reality television. I always feel so put-together afterwards, and it inspires me to just keep being myself. And you know what’s quick and easy? Restaurants. Other people cook and clean and all I have to do is remember to use utensils occasionally so I don’t look like an animal.

The problem with my piss-poor attitude about cooking is that I have a family. I don’t know what kind of family you have, but mine wants to eat all the time.

The great thing about having a piss-poor attitude and a family who demands food is that concerned friends will step in and stage an intervention but couch it in a non-threatening and casual way by saying, “Come over for a few days and relax on the Central Coast and maybe we can do a couple of fun cooking lessons.” Well, I don’t know if that’s how all interventions work, but it’s what my friend Jen did. I was totally bamboozled because she used words like “relax” and “fun,” and I tuned out the rest.

My mom was happy to hear about the cooking lessons. “Remember, Elizabeth, God helps those who help themselves.”

“That’s true, ma, but didn’t God also say something about not burning down other people’s houses?” I asked. I think she called me from her cell phone and it was a bad connection because the line went dead after that.

Because I like to practice Good Friendmanship whenever possible, I asked immediately upon arrival if Jen had fire insurance. “I double-checked our policy before you got here.” That Jen, so prepared.

We started out with something “easy”: a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. She would demonstrate. I would watch. She would step aside. I would mimic her last action. After we had sliced the bread, buttered each side, cut the cheese, made the bacon, toasted the bread, assembled the sandwich, and laid the sandwich in the pan, she asked if I had any questions.

“Yeah, just one. Which step does the microwave come in? That’s how I make my grilled cheese sandwiches.”

I saw a little tear forming in the corner of her eye. “It’s called a GRILLED cheese sandwich for a REASON.”

The sandwiches were delicious. But I ain’t gonna lie. I was fucking tired after that, so I asked if I could go lay down for a few hours. Also, I asked for some alcohol because, I mean, seriously guys, did you not read all the steps I went through to make a sandwich?

When I finally came out of my hiding place, Jen put me to work again. We were making gnocchi with a tomato sauce for dinner and my job was to open 7 cans of tomatoes. Do you know what makes me feel better than knowing I opened 7 cans of tomatoes all by my goddamn self without the help of an electric can opener? NOTHING. It’s a pretty important job if you think about it, because without me, there wouldn’t have been any sauce.

I love my friend Jen so much for letting me into her home and taking the time to teach me. I’m not so afraid of the kitchen anymore. But if I ever open a restaurant, every menu item is going to cost one katrillion dollars. This cooking shit ain’t no joke, playas.

Do you enjoy cooking? Any quick and easy meals you consider your “specialties”?
If you don’t enjoy cooking, how do you feed your family?

P.S. I’ll be at BlogHer in New York this weekend where I will be reading a Post Which Is A Secret Because I’m Not Allowed To Mention It Right Now in front of 4,500 people. “Like” the Flourish in Progress Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all the ways I will probably embarrass myself. And for funny pictures. And Thug Life thoughts.
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Monday Dare: Why is your uterus still empty?

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Deal with Baby Bullshit

I’m 31. This still shocks the shit out of me sometimes. I mean, how did I make it this far with all of my limbs intact and a small portion of my brain cells still functional? Should I be receiving some kind of plaque? Perhaps a plaque is overdoing it, but a little lapel pin that says “I WIN AT LIFE” and a coupon for a large Frosty made with Grade A milk and rich cream from Wendy’s might suffice. That’s pretty reasonable if you ask me.

Since I’m 31 with a kid in junior high school, people find it reasonable to ask me all kinds of uterus-related questions. Are you going to have another baby? When? How many more? Do you want a boy this time? 

My answer is always the same: “I don’t know.”

I’m not psychic or anything (although I do have an uncanny sixth sense that predicts with chilling accuracy when my laundry machine will ding), but I can tell from some of the long stares I get after my unsatisfactory answer that some people are thinking, “Gosh, Elizabeth, you haven’t had a baby since, like, 8th grade. It’s time.”

I just wish they would say this out loud because then I could reply, “Eighth grade? I didn’t get pregnant until I was 18 years old, dummy,” with a self-important sniffle as I walk away. I like getting the last word. It makes me feel good about myself.

You would think that an “I don’t know”would shut most people down, but that’s the thing about leaving the comforts of your home and elastic drawstring pants behind and venturing into The World- people tend to surprise you at every single turn with their nosiness. Are you at least TRYING to have more kids?” Do you NOT LIKE kids?

No, bitch, I don’t like tactless adults. I like kids just fine.

People always want to know your next step.

When you’re single, people want to know when you’re going to stop watching re-runs of Hardcore Pawn on Friday nights so you can meet The Right Person.

When you’re dating, they aren’t shy about reminding you that if he likes it, he shouldn’t be afraid to put a ring on it.

When you’re married and you don’t have a baby within the first year, these same busybodies want to know if you’re planning to start a family soon or (this is always said in a whisper) if you’re “having  issues.”

When you have one baby, they want to know when you’re going to give the kid a little brother or sister. (“Only children get lonely, you know.”)

And when you have two babies, they want to know if you’re done or you’re going to keep going. And if you are, can you really afford it?

I think the best response to any of these questions is a simple “Shut the fuck up,” but I’m trying to do this whole Be a Lady bit these days, so I revised it to “PLEASE shut the fuck up.” Harv says that I can’t just go around telling people to shush because that’s not what classy bitches do. Maybe being a lady is overrated. It’s just not in my thug nature.

I really, really, really, really, really DO NOT KNOW my Five-Year Uterus Plan. But, I DO know that I’m sick of the Baby Bullshit.

Ever encountered these questions? How do you respond?

P.S. Let’s get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. Unless you don’t like salty language. Or funny pictures. Or Thug Life.

image via pinterest

Monday Dare: Choose your own adventure, dummy

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Learn the easy way

I’m the densest motherfucker I know. I don’t mean that my protons and neutrons and that-other-thing-I-cannot-remember-the name-of are packed tightly together, making me strong and impenetrable. (Side note: Let my ignorance be a warning to your children. Pay attention in class.) (Second side note: Is it proton or protron?) (Third side note: Please remember my first side note.)

I’m not Strong Dense. I’m Learn the Hard Way Dense. Every little bit of know-how and knowledge I’ve scraped together is a result of the poor choices I’ve made. When given an option, I always pick the one that tastes like a bad decision.

As a kid, I started borrowing Choose Your Own Adventure books from the library instead of buying them because I always ended up dead or trapped in a dark and dank pit. I would use the money I saved to buy large bags of Funyuns to console myself. Emotional Eating Due to Pretend Death or Entrapment-it’s a real thing. Word on the street is that there are 40 or more possible adventure paths per book. Good for you, Careful Choice Makers. Must be nice to be all alive and shit after solving the Mission of Molowa or breaking the Curse of the Pirate Mist.

Familiar with poor outcomes at an early age, I continued the same pattern of picking the worst choices as an adult. Does this option burn, bite, sting, or cause a bruise to my body or psyche? Then, yes please. I’m a glutton for punishment and a master of learning things the hard way. I will close my ears when friends start giving me advice. Fuck that shit, I think, I know best.

This attitude is probably why, in my single days, I ended up in some asshole’s apartment lobby with my bags and no place to go.

Cletus and I got into a fight over fried chicken. Well, it started out as a discussion about what to eat for dinner, but it turned into an argument when a friend called to ask what Cletus was doing. He pretended to be alone and said he had no plans for the evening, even though I had just traveled several hundred miles to see him and would be staying with him for a week. When I confronted him, he shrugged it off and said I was being sensitive. I started packing my bags out of anger. I don’t know why, since I had no place to go and knew no one else in the city. For ten minutes, as I packed up, he sat on the couch and watched me, not saying a single word. My pride took over and I actually walked out of Cletus’s place. I sat in the lobby for half an hour, weighing my options.

Then, I saw a Domino’s Pizza delivery guy. He called a unit for access into the building. Guess who’s voice was on the other side of the call? Yes, you are correct. In the half hour that I had been in the lobby, Cletus had ordered a pizza. I did what I thought was best. I called Cletus to apologize for my irrational and sensitive behavior. We stayed together for months afterwards. After each fight, I would apologize. My friends said he was a motherfucker. I didn’t listen. I stayed until he brushed me aside for someone else.

I’ve always been pretty content to root around in the filth of my insecurities and shortcomings. I’m dense! That’s just me! I need to learn the hard way! 

No, dummy, that’s not how sanity works. I’m giving myself permission to learn from others’ mistakes instead of making all of them on my own. I deserve a break.

Do you need to learn the hard way? Has it gotten you into any particularly memorable binds?
Ever apologized just to keep the peace?

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