Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm a bit obsessed with food.
I love it. Every aspect of it.
I love to grow it, prepare it, serve it and of course, eat it.
I cook three meals a day for my family. From scratch.
It's one of the ways I show them I love them. Hubby stayed with the girls while I went shopping with friends? Cook him up a big pan of chicken Parmigiana. Daughter made her bed without being asked? Whip up some cookies.
I'm also a bit obsessed with time.
I'm a master at multi-tasking (what mom isn't?) and time management.
I hate wasting time, being late and misusing the hours in my day.
My husband loves food but he isn't so interested in time.
He dawdles, sleeps in, will take two hours to do something that should take ten minutes and is often late.
The disparity between his view of time and mine has caused some minor rifts in our relationship.
"Why don't you relax with me on the couch for a little bit?" He will say to me after church.
Relax? RELAX?! When there is so much to do? "Why don't you help me feed the kids, clean up, do the laundry, paint the fence, wash the car and go through all the fall clothes and then we can relax?" I'll tell him.
The lengths to which he takes his aversion to watches and clocks sometimes goes to far.
A month after we moved into our home one of the kitchen drawers broke.
I asked him to fix it. Every day. For three years. It fell on our daughters head one day.
Finally he told me he would look at it. It took him fifteen minutes to fix it.
Fifteen minutes.
Tonight I made a yummy Indian meal.
We both love Indian food.
Egg curry, rice, spicy cauliflower. The toasted spices, ground cumin seeds and simmering coconut milk made my mouth water. At 5:15, the time we normally eat dinner, I set all the pans on warm and waited for him to come home.
Almost every night I have dinner waiting for him.
I'm like some fifties housewife that got caught in a time warp.
I even wear an apron and, though I never wear heels and pearls in the kitchen, I still look cute.
At 5:40 I called him.
Normally I would say something sarcastic like, "Should the girls and I eat without you?" or "would you rather have Taco Bell instead of this incredible home-cooked meal I've slaved over for the past hour?"
But in my PNW (post-nagging wife) world I knew I couldn't say those things.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I had to stop at the library and check out some books for my classes," he said.
You couldn't tell me? I thought.
"Oh," I said. "When will you be home?"
"I'm leaving in a few minutes."
I hung up the phone.
I stirred the cauliflower, fluffed the rice and sliced the eggs.
The library is only ten minutes from our house.
Twenty minutes later he still wasn't home.
I should have known. Like I said, my husband has no concept of time.
I put the phone on top of the fridge to avoid temptation. I ground my teeth. I cleared the table. I swept the floor. I emptied the dishwasher. I sat down with a novel and read half a chapter and finally he came home.
"Daddy is here!" My two year old announced and dove for the couch. For some bizarre reason both my kids feel the need to hide under the cushions every time he walks in the door.
I threw my book on the table and went back to the kitchen. I posed myself over the stove with a spoon.
I wanted him to see me hard at work, slaving away over his meal while he rudely disregarded my time table.
"Dinner almost ready?" he asked as he came into the dining room.
"It's been ready for an hour." I couldn't help it. The snarkiness just slipped out.
I took three deep breaths and put the food in serving bowls.
"Can you set the table?" I asked.
A few moments later the food was on the table as well as the forks my two year old had gotten, four plates and two glasses of water.
"Cups for the girls?" I asked.
"Oh," he said.
Finally. Finally it was time to eat.
I swallowed another rude comment and served the girls.
"It's been a rough day," he said. "I was stuck at work late because some lady erased all the files on her computer. She was crying on the phone. Then I had to get this book."
He got quiet.
My husband is normally never quiet.
He began to eat.
I kept the bitter words to myself.
So what if the eggs were cold and the curry got a little thick. So what if the cauliflower was a little overcooked and we ate dinner a bit late.
So what if my husband followed a predictable pattern and didn't keep track of time or think to call me to tell me he was going to be late.
We still ate.
It was still good.
Better yet, despite my momentary slip up ("it's been ready for an hour!") we spent the evening argument free.
That's worth an hour of lost time.

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