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Experiments in Single Parenthood

January 15th, 2009

This post is dedicated to all single parents. One week alone with my three boys hardly qualifies me to count myself among this exclusive club, but I’m certainly gaining added respect.

 

Episode 1: Please Do the Dishes

My boys frequently do the dishes, especially when their mom is home. So one would think this would be no big deal. But you know those dishwashers that have a built-in dispose-all?

 

You know, the one with the ad where the beautiful model places a full cake she had just frosted into the dishwasher on a plate and turns it on for a regular cycle. And then after the cycle is done she opens it up and all there is is a perfectly spotless cake plate. You know that dishwasher?

 

Well that is not the dishwasher we have.

 

Perhaps they think their dad is a pushover; not detail-oriented enough to notice their gross negligence in the area of rinsage.

 Well the flood on the kitchen floor and the cornbread grit stuck to every plate and every glass told the story.

 

Episode 2: That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

Of necessity, my boys have learned how to prepare a simple meal. Quite often, their choice is refried beans with tortilla chips. (Yes they got their dad’s sophisticated palette.)

 

Friday evening I emerged from my dungeon office to see what the boys were hungry for. I found my oldest son, Spencer, nursing a cut on the tip of his middle finger.  

 

Sorry did I say cut? It was a coarse-edged gash still oozing blood 10 minutes after he’d done it. Done what, you say?

 

Apparently he tried to tear the lid off the top of the semi-opened can by applying significant force to the jagged edge of the lid with his fingertips.

 

Now we’ve spent significant time in the ER over the years. Last fall, Spencer spent about five hours one afternoon trying to get the S-curve out of his arm, but that’s another story.

 

That don't look right! [in your best hillbilly accent] 

I knew, and Spencer knew instinctively that his finger needed stitching (something about seeing the white fibrous muscle, probably). But the prospect of spending Friday night in the ER compelled us both to delay.

 

I called the neighborhood Doc to seek a professional opinion. He didn’t answer. So we bandaged it up the best we could, trying to force the two rough edges together.

 

In the morning, we removed the bandage to find that it wasn’t holding together, at all. We called the Doc. We were ready to go into some detail describing the cut to get his expert opinion on whether it needs stitching or not.

 “Let me make this very simple. If it happened yesterday evening and it’s about 10am now, you missed the typical stitching window.”

 

I honestly did not know there was a “stitching window.” For the record, that window is within four to six hours after the incident.

 

That is going to leave a serious mark.

Episode 3: Sunday Dinner

I actually love to cook. But my wife is so territorial in the kitchen, I’ve fallen out of practice. So I’m experiencing something of a culinary rebirth.

 

We used to listen to a radio show in Portland where people would call in with a handful of random ingredients and the chef/host would tell them how to put those things together into delectable, if somewhat unlikely, dish.

 

With my wife in Africa, I finally got to play that game.

 

One roasted chicken from Costco

Four potatoes

Bunch of carrots

An onion

Some butternut squash that needed to be cooked or tossed

Bunch of celery

Chicken stock

A slow cooker

Put it all together, turn it on and go to church for a few hours.

 

The thing is, I like spice. And so far, I had a healthy but bland chicken… uh, stew? Then I found the curry powder in the back of the spice rack. It brought some heat and complexity, but on its own it didn’t taste quite right.

 

A little sugar; a little vinegar for chemistry sake. It was getting closer to interesting… but it still tasted like the experiment it was. Then I spotted it.

 

In the back of the pantry, behind 13 lethal cans of refried beans: one can of coconut milk.

 

Thirty minutes later I served up a delicious meal of yellow chicken curry… uh, stew?…  that even my eight year-old savored to the last spoonful.

 

I love it when serendipity visits my kitchen. Course I’ll love it even more when my wife revisits our kitchen.

 

BONUS QUESTION: How does an ER Doc straighten an arm with an S-curve in it?

Answer: Put the arm in traction and hang a 15lb weight off the elbow.

Answer: Put the arm in traction and hang a 15lb weight off the elbow.

 

 

 

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  • Dani

    I’m very impressed. Your ‘uh, stew?’ sounds like a new Brown family classic.
    And the dishwasher incident is superb. You’ve got to give the boys credit for trying, right? What if it did work and they’d wasted their youth away scrubbing dishes? Had it worked, it would’ve been genius. ;)

    At least you don’t have girls. Then they’d have to go to school with ‘dad-hair’- which is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a little girl- trust me.

    Sounds like you’ve got things under control, Gmoney! Maybe Sue won’t notice the gashed finger….

  • hobblecreekpossee

    hay sounds like your getting the hang of it , interesting food , blood, ,hospital visits ,ect. love your writing gary. good luck with the rest of the trip ! hay for some reason i dident get the e mail for rick . try again?

  • http://www.safesidewalks.com Aaron Ollivier

    G-man,

    Whoa, that is some pretty crazy tells of managing the kids while the Mrs. is away! I hope Spencer’s finger heals well and quickly, especially if he is going to be dropping into a big puffy bowl of powder soon.
    I do recall some of your cooking “experiments” on many of the river trips we’ve been on. I think my favorite was a trip down Westwater on the Colorado River when you prepared the lunch. It was a beautiful spread, everything a man would want for a river sandwich lunch…all except for the bread. I believe it got left at the put-in and was baking in one of the chase vehicles running the shuttle. No worries though, as with your stew, it was a lovely lunch…sandwiches wrapped in lettuce and meat. The Atikins diet folk savored every bite!

  • sugarpotpie

    Aar, I’m never going to live down forgetting the sandwich rolls on Westwater. But you make a great point: we were doing the no bread sandwich thing before it was cool to do the no bread sandwich thing. Thanks for the comment and the good memories, brother.

  • sugarpotpie

    Thanks for reading Vince. Saw Rick tonight and he says he’s going to have to put your sleeping bag on eBay and have you buy it back if you two can’t connect soon. Cheers.

  • Rod

    GB, nice way to get back in touch… At least they didn’t have to cut any valuable MX gear off of Spenny to set that arm. Find me on Facebook, we have relocated to Eastern Washington.. Rod