Friday, March 27, 2009

On the 5th Day of spring break

EDIT: I had forgotten all about the "Chex Mix" incident in the recap of kitchen disasters. That has been added below.

On Wednesday, we got to babysit Kensley again! She has been sick, and on Wednesday, some of that was showing through. She called for her Momma throughout the day, but we tried keeping her busy. Emily and Tyler played with her and she helped Shan clean Emily's bedroom. While they were doing that, and I was helping by staying out of the way, I decided to do a little Spring Cleaning in the home office.

Shan likes to keep things clean and tidy as much as possible in the house. Now, shan is not what I would call a neat freak. I mean, the house can get a bit out of sorts and life is fine. In general though, the house stays pretty neat. The exceptions to that are the kids' rooms and the home office.

The home office is not exactly "my" domain, but since it is where the computers and where I do my baseball card stuff, I tend to spend the most time in there. And, well, I tend to keep things all over the place. There are times when you quite literally have to kick stuff out of the way to make a path to the master bath.

So, on Wednesday, I picked up, straightened up, and threw away a lot of junk. I have to admit, I feel a lot better about the office when things are clean again. You would think I would try to keep it that way, but I live in a world of 'organized chaos.' I can generally find anything I'm looking for. After I clean, I can't find jack for the first half day or so.


Around 1:00 or so, I got a call from the office. The power company wants to cut the power to the grid. They were under the impression that no one was working in our building because of spring break. Well, not everyone in our building takes the break at the same time so that we can still conduct business. The power company finally agreed to shut things down at 3:00.

At 2:45, the office called back and I walked the clerk through shutting everything down. We had one server that didn't seem to want to shut down, and by 3:00, the power company was very upset. I finally told them to cut the power. I figured the battery backups would keep the servers up long enough to shut down. After all, that is what they are for, right? I didn't hear anything back, so we'll assume everything went well. (In fact, on Thursday, I guided Terry (our clerk) through firing everything back up again, and we were good to go.)


Wednesday evening came, and with it the total collapse of all things food-related in the Henderson household. It started with supper. The idea was for me to make some bacon cheeseburger hamburger helper. Shan does not like hbh too much, but it's an "easy" and quick thing to make. Well, let's just see about that.

The hamburger meat was frozen, so I put in the microwave to defrost. As the time got close, I put the skillet on the stove and turned on the heat. I figured while I was doing all this, I'd call Mom and let her know we were booking our trip to New York. I picked up our cordless phone and could not remember my mom's cell number for the life of me. I thought for sure it would be buried in caller id, but no luck. So, I put the phone down and grabbed my cell phone. Of course, the only place I can get signal is at the front door. So, we talk for a bit and hang up. I go back into the kitchen, grab the meat and toss it into the skillet.


Now, the cooks out there are probably freaking out. You've read my stories of the kitchen, haven't you? If not, do a search for 'spaghetti' on here and prepare to be baffled. So, as soon as the meat hits the pan, there is smoke, maybe a little fire, certainly some serious 'blackening.' I try flipping the meat around to see if I can head some of this off, and I'm just making more of a bad thing. I get the meat out and set it aside, then run the skillet under some water to kill the cooking. After I clean the skillet, I turn the heat down a bit and try again.

It turns out the meat is not fully thawed. Great. I spend the entire time, cooking, scraping off cooked meat to get to the frozen stuff. After browning the meat for way longer than any normal person would need, I finally get it done. I pour in the milk, the water, and the sauce, then grab the macaroni. I tear open the package, and suddenly experience a temporary loss of muscular coordination. Elbow noodles fly everywhere. Everywhere except into the skillet, that is. At that point, Shan comes into the kitchen to see what all the clattering is about. She grabs the broom and graciously sweeps up the mess.

Meanwhile, I take what's left of the noodles and pour them into the skillet. It is somewhere in here that I realize I have the wrong skillet. It's too small for a pound of meat, all the liquids, and the dozen or noodles that made it into the mix. How did I reach this conclusion? well, you see, as I am stirring, things are jumping out of the pan and into the fire. Okay, we have an electric stove, but you get the idea. So, I grab the large skillet and pour everything into it. I also fire up another burner and place the new skillet on it. After 10, 90, 900, whatever, minutes, the stupid stuff is finally done. For what's it worth, the kids loved it.


After supper, Shan decided to make a lemon bundt cake. She never made it before, so she got out the recipe and started going at it. Fast forward to end of baking. Shan cuts into her cake and she hates it. It is 'almost' right. She says she can taste the corn meal or something, and the flavor is off by something. Not sure what. I try it and it does taste okay at first, but then something is not right. Shan is upset about her cake after all her hard work.

But, remember, this is the night for the kitchen from hell. Shan gets the recipe and starts to read it over. And there it is. The recipe is written such that when it tells you to put in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda AND... And that was as far as Shan's eyes went. Turns out the rest of the statement was "1/2 teaspoon of salt." I'm hoping Shan will try the recipe again, even though she said it was a lot of work.

(Added) - Shan decided to make Chex Mix the easy way. She got all of her ingredients together, tossed them in the bowl, and stuck the whole thing in the microwave. We're not sure what happened, other than it being the day of the kitchen possessed, but the snacks came out a bit on the smoldering side. The zippy zapper had zapped them burnt.

I don't remember much after that, other than we started watching Idol late (see previous idol post). Really, by then, we were ready for the night to be over.

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