Sunday, January 09, 2005

Tonight was Caribbean night at my house....

So…I know you’re all dying to ask: How is it that you had Caribbean night at your house on Sunday?

Well, it all started with a gift certificate from Kitchen Kapers, an upscale store for aspiring gourmet cooks. Matt gave one to Julie for Christmas because this is her latest hobby. I guess it's her back up in case rock and roll stardom doesn't happen, I dunno.

Actually, no, let me say that it all started with my new stove, which Julie insisted I get for Christmas, so that she could begin her new career as a professional hobbyist chef.

Because I am me, the new stove sat near the entrance to the kitchen for a week while the old stove remained connected in the kitchen because (a) there are only so many hours in a day and (b) I was terrified by what might be behind the old stove and (c) I was also afraid, the stove being gas, that something would happen in disconnecting and re-connecting process that would cause us all to blow up.

So things have been tight around here as this is a fairly small house. Oh yeah, let me also add that the dishwasher died last week. Now, I will definitely be getting a new dishwasher. But first the stove had to be dealt with. In the meantime, I’ve been begging people around here to wash their dishes as they use them, but, well, as we all know, no one ever listens to me. I give up. The latest excuse is “I don’t want to think about the germs and I can’t make the water hot enough.” Oh yeah, and “the sponge smells”. (even though it's brand new and I throw the old one out every day).

Therefore, things are not only tight, the countertops, etc. are cluttered.

Now. Let us get back to Julie’s gift certificate. She spent an hour in Kitchen Kapers with Matt and couldn’t decide how to use it. After all, she still lives here, and face it, I have most everything.

Well, okay, I don’t have the $400.00 set of knives she now wants (but she’s very lucky at the moment I do not har har).

So she asks me to go with her and help decide.

I found the perfect thing right away: An ice cream maker.

I mean, what else could this family possibly use?

Julie is so excited, she gets home, goes on line for recipes, finds one for coconut ice cream, and hence, the beginning of Caribbean night as she starts to plan a whole meal around dessert.

This was Friday. She has to go to Rock School to record a show that evening and Saturday, so she decides to make this meal on Sunday for all of us…Matt, and even possibly Eric’s new girlfriend, who just got back from a vacation in Ireland. But as she reads the directions for her new ice cream maker, she learns that there’s certain prepping to be done – the mixing bowl has to remain in the freezer 24 hours; the actual ice cream mixture itself should really marinate and chill in the refrigerator, etc.

So she decides to make the “batter” for the coconut ice cream on Friday and leave it in the frig until Sunday.

She works really hard on this; toasting coconut, cooking eggs…it’s a whole involved process. It takes her over an hour, but she finishes up, goes to school, says “Bye Mom, I won’t see you tonight, I’m sleeping at Matt’s after the show…see you late Saturday night, I can’t wait until dinner Sunday can you?”

I smile and give her a hug.

Let’s fast forward to Saturday night at midnight. I wake up for no reason at all, which is weird. I haven’t seen either Julie or Eric since Friday, and I know midnight on a Saturday is way too early for either of them to be home.

But I have an uneasy kind of insomnia. I never get out of bed when I can’t sleep – I merely put on the TV, the CD player, or read a book. It’s also very unusual for me to have insomnia anyway….I wake up at dawn to write so I can never make it past ten o’clock at night usually and I’m dead to the world at 12:00 a.m.

Anyway, for some unknown reason, something told me to go downstairs.

I see Eric first, standing by the dining room table. And all I can hear are Julie’s sobs in the kitchen.

“What’s wrong? What is it?”

Eric points down at the carpet.

We’re both standing in two inches of coconut cream.

“I spilled it, I spilled it,” she cries.

“I can see that. Eric, get me some paper towels. What happened?”

“I just wanted to check on it and the kitchen was so messy I came out into the dining room and the new stove was there and I had no room and the bag opened and all of my ice cream spilled…all of my hard work,” she cried.

Oh God.

Meanwhile, I know I can’t look at Eric because we’ll both laugh. It’s not funny, we know that, just like we also know she’ll stab us if she catches us so much as grinning…but we get nervous, we giggle.

Eric mops up the mess while I try and calm her down until I tell him to go to bed and let me deal with it.

Julie is inconsolable but I’m like, Jules, we’re both wide awake, let’s just clean this up and you can make a new batch.

“But we don’t have the ingredients…:”

“What do you need?”

“Cream, coconut…”

“Julie, this is our house you’re talking about. We have things like cream and coconut the way other people have milk and eggs. They’re our staples, baby.” (hence my high blood pressure but let’s not go there).

Anyway, I stay up with her while she makes the ice cream mixture all over again, and discusses the rest of her planned meal. For like an hour. Make that two hours.

Jerked chicken skewers, home made pineapple salsa, salad with baby spinach, clementines, walnuts, and jasmine rice.

Okay, I’m cool with that. Even though it’s now 2:00 a.m. and I know I’m not getting any more sleep.

The next morning we finally deal with the new stove. Take the old one out and don’t find anything dead behind it but do find, oddly enough, toys from when the kids were babies which made me cry. A wooden block with a “J” on it. A pink plastic teacup. A doll’s shoe. I guess they must have somehow gotten kicked under the stove when itty bitty Julie and Eric would zoom through the kitchen in their Big Wheels.

So she’s all set for her big dinner when the phone rings. It’s Matt. He’s at his dorm, sick as a dog.

Ay yay yay, Caribbean night it is cursed, senors and senoritas.

But she woos him with promises of milkshakes made with the new ice cream maker to be served in bed, so he comes over anyway and she takes care of him. He decides he feels well enough to have dinner up there as well, and then when he has his milkshake, even feels well enough for Jules to make him hand cut french fries. Hahahahaha – I love those two, I really do.

Do not love not having a dishwasher, though.

Arghh…next project.