The Crackers Nobody Likes
July is trying to kill me.
Several small things have happened, small enough that I would have weathered them fine on their own, but since there is a new problem, event, or social gaffe every other day, the result is a dog-pile of stress and angst. Thanks, synergism.
I’ll start at the beginning. We were days away from leaving for Florida when I received an email asking me if I would like to be interviewed for an article in one of my favorite magazines about–you guessed it–how to remove permanent marker ink from fabric. It wasn’t a for sure thing, but I went ahead with the interview (!!) and waited to hear if I would make the cut. May was looking good.
Two weeks later I signed on with Federated Media, a goal I established for myself when I started this blog in 2007. June was looking even better.
We’ll start off the month with The Mister. He loves his job, the same one he has had for over a year. They have bent over backwards trying to bring his salary close to where he was before his layoff, knowing that eventually he would earn commission and make up the difference. This commission was contingent upon securing a contract with a local hospital. The estimates were that everything would be signed and finalized with this hospital within three months of him coming on board.
It happened in June, so ten months. Typical for the mismanaged health care industry (especially hospitals), but better than nothing. Like I said, June was looking really good.
In July, The Mister and his company blew their first month out of the water. Just knocked it out of the park before the ink was even dry on the contract. The hospital wasn’t expecting this, and decided to cancel the contract effective immediately, citing cost issues. So, yeah. No commission. And on our end, no more severance, either. We canceled a family vacation to Colorado scheduled around a cousin’s wedding.
We decided I wouldn’t go looking for work in a law firm just yet. But, the threat of financial ruin was enough to help me make up my mind on the direction I want to take the blog. I decide to make a go of it financially, and figured a redesign was a good way to mark my new dedication to what was once a place where I played around while the kids napped.
Then, I kind of freaked out. I’m not one to make snap decisions when it comes to things like my blog design (those are the decisions over which I waver for weeks) but I wanted everything in place before I started with Federated and received the article mention. Bad idea. I ended up aggravating Nicole to the nth degree with my flip-flopping. White! Color! Clean! Patterned! I don’t know, a little of each?
On the night of my biggest blog freak, Buddy started screaming in the backyard. We brought him inside and it looks like he got himself caught on something. That something pulled out a fist full of fur at the roots and took skin with it, too. (He’s better now. Bald, but better. We still don’t know what happened.)
The next day Nicole and I agreed to put on hold the blog design since we both have too much on our plate. The Mister reminded me that the most important thing about a blog is the content, and suggested I focus on that. Good point! I started doing that and felt infinitely better about things.
Except July wasn’t ready to leave, despite leaving me with no money, no new blog design and, for Buddy, no fur.
It wasn’t all bad, of course. There were plenty of birthday celebrations (three!) and those were fun. My 20th high school reunion is on Saturday, and that’s exciting. My friend, Tiffany, and I are the two lone fools planning the thing so the last few weeks have been miserable. No one wants to RSVP until they see who else is going. Then they want to pay at the door instead of upfront. Then they change their minds about coming but don’t bother to tell us until our fifth message. It’s like a wedding, except we don’t get an expensive honeymoon or fancy gifts out of the deal. Our patience is slowly coming to an end.
And now I’m sick, probably because I’ve been sleeping no more than 6 hours a night. Mikey has been wheezing since we crossed into California from Lake Tahoe. He’s on an inhaler for right now.
You would think July would be happy leaving me with no money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, and no health. False. July is nasty.
Today I decided I would not worry about money, blogs, fur, the reunion, or my waning health. Instead, I was going to bake cookies and crackers with the boys. This day remains one of my favorite days with the boys ever, and I had high hopes of recreating the magic.
Shortly before we left for the store I slipped in a puddle of urine, and it wasn’t mine.
For those of you keeping track at home, that leaves me with no money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, no health, and no grace.
We get to the store and both boys hang from the sides of the cart, despite me telling them a million times that it’s dangerous. The cart wobbles, and I give them both the stink eye. They get off once we reach the nut bins. I start filling a bag with almonds.
I hear a crash.
I look down.
There is Nicholas on the floor with the cart on top of him. When I wasn’t looking he grabbed the sides and, with it empty, pulled it down on himself. He looked at me with eyes the size of saucers because, what do you know!, turns out IT’S DANGEROUS TO HANG FROM THE SIDE OF A CART and he knew that once I ascertained he wasn’t hurt, I was going to kill him.
Of course everyone comes running, and it’s all I can do to make eye contact. Actually, I don’t make eye contact. I pick Nicholas up and wave everyone off, rudely, because I am so upset I want to scream. There are two women alongside me when this happens and they are both looking at Nicholas like his only crime is belonging to such a negligent mother. One of them turns to smile at me with one of those smiles that isn’t really a smile and I, now in a tizzy, look back at her with all the love of Jesus in my heart and slam shut the bin of almonds before placing Nicholas in the cart.
Then I beg her pardon so I can move past her and she says in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Oh, yes, I am sooo sorry.” Because, you know, if she doesn’t move fast enough I might tip her cart, too. She’s wrong, of course. I was actually debating stuffing her in the almond bin.
I round the corner of the bulk food section with no money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, no health, no grace, and, apparently, no parenting skills.
That’s when I crashed into a bin off to the side and ripped off the scoop and tray with my cart, making an unseemly racket you could hear from either end of the store.
Mikey and Nicholas have the audacity to act smug. They remind me that accidents happen. (!!) They’ve never ripped a scoop off a bin and made a big crash, but that’s okay. I didn’t mean to do it, right?
No money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, no health, no grace, no parenting skills, and no hand-eye coordination.
After my gaffe with the bin, Mikey braves my temper and jumps back onto the side of the cart. I look at him like he has a death wish, but then the six year old says, “Mom, it’s okay. There’s a bunch of stuff in the cart now so it’s heavy enough that I can’t accidentally tip it over.”
No money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, no health, no grace, no parenting skills, no hand-eye coordination, and now, no words. I do mange to mentally curse his intuitive knowledge of rudimentary physics. And I make him get off the cart.
We get home and make the crackers but not the cookies because by this point I am feeling feverish. I start uploading pictures and tell Mikey he can eat some crackers.
“Mom, these are gross.” Nicholas concurs.
July has left me with no money, no new blog design, no fur, no patience, no health, no grace, no parenting skills, no hand-eye coordination, and no words. But by God, I’ve got crackers.
Cheddar Pecan Crisps
adapted, barely, from Gourmet
These actually aren’t as bad as my derelict sons would have you believe. They are like a thin, savory cookie. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Actually, do you remember those cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster? They taste like that, only with more crunch.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat together butter and Cheddar in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in remaining ingredients.
Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and arrange 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2-inch disk and bake in batches in middle of oven until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on wire wrack and store at room temperature for one week.