I’m feeling like a total movie star* tonight because I flash-fried some okra that I’d cut up into french fry-like strips and it was outrageously delicious. (*Leaving nursing school has left me without a way to constantly measure my efforts against others, so I’m having to celebrate the little things, you know? Today, my victory was okra. I’d bet I fried okra today better than any of you suckers did! I bet you didn’t even TRY! I totally WIN.)
This weekend Zack and I realized that we were in the middle of the first “normal” weekend we’d spent at our house in over two months. By “normal” I mean a weekend where we didn’t have any plans to go out of town, go on vacation, have a birthday party, have a graduation party, or do anything of the sort. It was a really strange feeling being home & plan-less with him on a Friday and a Saturday night. Both days we wound up running errands & going out to eat during the afternoon hours, leaving us at home watching movies on the couch together for the entire evening. We barely knew what to do with ourselves.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Zack knew what to do with himself. He surfed the internet on his iPad and watched TV. I, on the other hand, was all, WHAT THE WHAAAT? MUST BE DOING THINGS. AM FAILING AT LIFE IF I SIT HERE ANY LONGER. I may or may not be very un-used to not doing things.
So, naturally, I did what any workaholic/busy body would do in that situation. I started creating stuff for myself to do. I broke out all my sewing stuff and started working on a project; I decided that I was going to make a quilt top. I chose to do this particular project for several reasons: 1.) My grandma gave me a bunch of hand-embroidered hand towels a few years ago for Christmas, and I would like to use them in a quilt, rather than using them in my kitchen (were they will, no doubt, be destroyed, because I destroy things in the kitchen). So before I make the Family Heirloom Quilt, I decided that maybe I should have a practice quilt first. Congratulate me. That was a good choice. And 2.) Quilts are supposed to take a long time to make. Especially your first quilt, right? I am not a very well-practiced or highly-accomplished seamstress, so I thought that making an entire quilt would take me a while to finish, and that would help me with the whole WHAT THE WHAT, NOTHING TO DO, HEY CRAZY TOWN, I’VE BEEN MISSING YOU TOO situation that I’d been facing over the weekend.
I searched the internet until I found a quilt top that I thought was both cool and feasable, then I figured out how to re-create said quilt top without using a pattern due to the fact that I am too cheap to buy a quilt pattern, and also, the fact that I, uh, don’t know how to use a pattern. I did some math. I dug through my fabric piles. I pulled together a quilt pile, and I started cutting. I thought that it’d take me the whole weekend to plow through cutting out the blocks for the quilt (inspired by these quilts), but I was wrong. It took me an hour. Then I thought it would take me the rest of the day to piece together all of the little blocks. But I was wrong. It took Zack and me about 15 minutes. Then I thought it would take me the rest of the day to sew them all together, and I was wrong about that, too.
A few hours later I’d sewn together all of those stupid little blocks, AND I’d ironed all of the seams the way that you’re supposed to when you’re gettin’ all fancy and doing crap the way you’re actually supposed to do it — which is, to say it nicely, NOT AT ALL my typical sewing practice.
I quit after I’d finished all of the ironing, even though Friday’s evening sun hadn’t even set yet. It was then that I decided that I should dedicate myself to more activities. More time-consuming activities that I never do ever. Like MENU PLANNING.
After combing through my entire stack of recipes, I selected meals that I planned to make this week. Then I carefully listed each ingredient from each of the recipes onto a list. Then I re-ordered the list into grocery store sections such as “produce” and “meats.” Then I grocery shopped accordingly. Never, not ever once in my life, have I ever done this before.
You wouldn’t think it, but menu planning has taken up a ton more of my time than quilt making has. Sometimes, it occupies me because it takes a long time to read and make lists and shop and cook and what not. Other times, it occupies me because I’m having to make so many mental notes about the MASSIVELY WRONG way I went about menu planning for the very first time.
My friends, menu planning is not so simple as to go to the store with a list, and then to follow that list. Oh, no. First, you must choose the meals you want to make, then you must choose the days you want to eat them. Then you must ensure that the days you want to eat the meal that you have chosen, that there will actually be people at your house to eat that meal. Then, once you coordinate all of that (which I did not do), you should go to the store and buy things that will not go bad before that chosen date. So, for instance, if you decided that you were going to get all fancy and make you and your husband some Mahi Mahi, and then you bought fresh fish because you’ve recently been to Hawaii and you’ve now turned into a total fish snob who wouldn’t DREAM of eating anything that’s been FROZEN, then you should wait to buy that fresh fish until one of the days when your husband is going to be home for dinner. Because Mahi Mahi does not stay good in your fridge for 5 days, and you can’t pop it into the freezer because THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT. TO NOT FREEZE THE DUMB FISH.
So that’s the real irony, here, I guess. I’m sitting around feeling like a total superstar because I flash fried some okra (which was a side for the homemade chicken nuggets that I made with my friend Nick the Magic Chef’s Magic Recipe tonight, which puts Chick-Fil-A’s to shame, and that’s not a statement that I make lightly), but who was here to eat the fried chicken and the okra? Nobody. I had an early dinner with a friend of mine, and Zack wasn’t here for dinner tonight, either. So sure, maybe I’m the world’s best amateur okra fryer, but nobody will ever know one way or the other, because I was the only one here to experience it! And I didn’t even eat it for dinner!
So maybe my super-star bad-ass world’s-best-okra-fryin’ self is not exactly a superstar meal planner yet. Lesson learned. And even though I could be annoyed at my meal-planning learning curve, I’m not. I’m just glad that trying to figure out the complicated art of this particular domestic skill is taking up enough time to keep me away from NOTHING TO DO CRAZY TOWN.