So, Husband had to go visit his parents in the wake of the recent hurricane, to help them get re-organized...clean up the inevitable debris in their yard...and deal with the anticipated pandemonium of the grocery stores that are likely to be swarmed by people needing to restock their refrigerators after losing all their food due to power outages. The bottom line for the rest of us left behind? All of the household silliness--rather than being shared and managed between two parental units--comes MY way while he's gone. Um...yaaayyy? What follows is representative of the conversational sample from this week so far:
D: "Where would I find soap?" (Then, helpfully clarifying) "Like, for the shower?"
Me: (Hesitating, wondering if this is a trick question, since I know that I JUST bought more, and placed it in the exact same spot where it's ALWAYS been kept) "Um...in the hall closet..."
D: (Looking mildly perplexed) "Really? 'Cuz I already looked there, and I didn't see it."
Me: (Unspoken response: Gasp! SHOCKER! Imagine...you...staring right at something and yet still missing it? Gee, that never happens!). But what actually came out was,"Go look again." Then the implication of his question hit me and I felt compelled to add, "Wait...so you showered with no soap?"
D: (Reassuringly) "No, I made do with the tiny bit that was left." (Well, that's a relief, anyway...)
I didn't hear anything further, and moved on to other matters, forgetting about this little issue. Then later, when I needed something from the linen closet, I noticed that the bars of soap had been opened, so I figured Derek had successfully managed to find them at last. I just couldn't help but ask, "So, was the soap close enough to where you were searching that it bit you on the toe?"
D: (With a sly grin, knowing he was about to say something ridiculous...which would most likely cause me to have a conniption) "It was WRAPPED. I don't know what it looks like in the wrapper."
At this point Riley passed by, on his way to take his turn in the shower, and wondered about all the commotion, "What's the conversation about?" I proceeded to relate the tale of his brother's...ineptitude? Helplessness? Whatever... Riley nodded sagely during the telling, interrupting once to confirm, "You mean, on the floor of the linen closet?" (YESSSS! Finally, someone with a Y-Chromosome who doesn't suffer from Male Pattern...Visual...Obliviousness Disease! Yeah, yeah, I just made that up...but can I get an 'amen' from all my virtual sisters out there? It's totally a thing, right?)
Then he entered the bathroom, reached in to turn on the water...and loudly proclaimed that Derek STILL had failed to replace the soap. Sure, he stored some extras in the vanity cabinet...but did he place any in the actual soap dish? Not so much. When confronted, did he apologize for his inconsideration, and jump up rectify the situation? Pfft...he shrugged and flippantly retorted, "I already showered, so it wasn't my problem!" While I was glaring at him...and whacking him with a towel (admittedly completely ineffective as a consequence for his behavior, but extremely satisfying, nonetheless) Riley was standing by, in the throes of hysterical laughter. Before heading off to get clean, he sobered up enough to throw a parting shot over his shoulder, "Well...you wanted kids!" To which I shot back, "Yeah, but I'm not sure I wanted THAT one!" (Siiiighhhhh.....)
But wait, there's more...(isn't there always?)
Since Riley has soccer practice three nights a week this season, and I don't particularly enjoy the whole "preparing food" thing (which Husband finds incredibly ironic, given my well-known penchant for watching other people do it on the Cooking Channel) Derek has been experiencing...let's call it an invaluable opportunity to expand and refine his...Fending for Oneself skill-set. This tends to involve me either supervising or instructing, while he concocts his own dinner. (Sometimes I'm soooo tempted to start the process by handing him a basket with four mystery ingredients, informing him that he "also has use of our pantry", and setting a clock for 30 minutes...after which I would evaluate him on the taste, presentation, and creativity of his offering...before telling him he'd been "chopped" anyway--hahahahahaha!)
Now, keep in mind that so far (except for grilled cheese, which he's mastered) we haven't actually moved beyond rudimentary steps...such as microwaving, or heating up frozen items in the toaster oven...not exactly what you might call "gourmet cuisine", but he's gotta start somewhere, right? So anyway, one night when Riley had left, we made our way to the kitchen for the nightly ritual. Unlike most evenings, however, I was actually going to be following a new recipe I'd found, for a Brussels sprouts side dish. Therefore we were forced to kind of dance around each other as we moved from one appliance to the other, or jockeyed for available counter space.
(Side note: I was mostly to blame for this, since my directions called for me to employ the food processor to shred the sprouts...and I swear, when I was finished it looked like we'd suffered some kind of...vicious vegetable attack...with green, leafy shrapnel spread across most surfaces. How come the professional kitchens on TV never look like that? Oh yeah...support staff tidying up when the cameras aren't rolling. Think I can hire myself a crew...who would work for free? Wait...that's what children are for, right? Hot-diggity! Best. Idea. EVER...)
As I was saying: after dodging me yet again, Derek huffed in (mock) exasperation and announced, "We need a chef's kitchen!" (Let me pause for just a moment and acknowledge the fact that he knows this term...either warms the proverbial cockles....or makes me vow to ban him from binge-watching HGTV during the Summer...it's about 50/50...)
Me: "What are you talking about?"
D: (Working up a nice head of melodramatic steam...while completely faking the actual indignation)"When two people are trying to cook in here, there's not enough room! And with me needing to do more cooking for myself these day...with you people not providing for my every need anymore...we need a chef's kitchen." (My favorite part about it had to be the little dig about us super-mean parents, making him get his own dinner together. Nice one, dear! Oh, and by the way, "Too Bad"! Love, Mom and Dad...)
Me: No response really seemed necessary, so I just laughed at his little tirade and carried on with what I was doing. Then as we--without any difficulty whatsoever, mind you--skirted each other on the way to unload the dishwasher and put away the bread in the refrigerator, he vehemently concluded, "See? It's chaos in here, I tell ya!" (It was like...a surprise dinner theater performance...so I guess I should be...appreciative? And not forget to tip my waiter? Oy...)
Ay yi yi...eventually Riley--or, as I like to call him, Preferred Son (for right now, at least...the title is reassigned on a regular basis, as warranted) returned home from his team workout, famished as usual, and sat down to a bowl of the Brussels sprouts while his other course (Asian noodles, in case you were wondering) was nuking. While I was busy with my back turned toward him, I heard him abruptly exclaim, "This is so GOOD!" Wow...that's quite a reaction to Brussels sprouts, buddy. (I feel obligated to mention, here, that in our house, this particular item is considered something of a delicacy--such that when Husband saw them in the fridge, he expressed jealousy that we would be eating them without him while he was away. I know, I know...we're a weird bunch...)
So I regaled him with the tale of how messy they had been to prepare, likening the amount of effort and disarray to a "Thanksgiving-level recipe". His face fell slightly and he replied, "That's a shame ...because I'd eat these EVERY DAY." Needless to say, when I offered him seconds, he delightedly accepted, and powered through that serving as well. Yep,definitely the Preferred Son of the Moment...
Aaaannnd, that's the wrap-up for (3/4 of) Team WestEnders' week thus far. With the weekend coming, let's keep our fingers crossed for a quiet...nonsense-free...couple of days. Too much to ask? Maybe I'll just hide in my room and let them fend for themselves...I mean, what could possibly go wrong? (Don't answer that!)