Monday, December 05, 2011

Went to Sleep with a Bitter Taste on My Tongue

Well, sometimes things are perfect and sometimes not. On the home front, in the last couple of weeks, Chepa's boyfriend has come into town a little more often than normally, both Halloween and Thanksgiving, and stayed several days, so I didn't get to see Chepa's little girls, Sierra and Alexa as often as normally do. And since my daughter-in-law Sara is strapped to Chepa's hip, it meant I didn't get to see my grandbaby Taylor as much either. And since my boys Marco and Italo are at odds, well, if one came over the other didn't. In other words, I'm not getting my two or three dinners with the family every week lately. And I really like those. I just like them being around.
Well, life happens, so it is what it is and rather than grouse, I've made a point of going over to Chepa's in the morning to see the girls before Sierra goes to school. That way I get to hug all the little ones and get to see Italo and Sara before they go to work, and get to take Madeleina to school if she stayed over at her mom's, or to have her with the family for breakfast if she stayed with me.
So all good. Well, Chepa surprised me and came over for dinner with everybody on Friday night and I whipped up some vegetarian tomato sauce and breaded some chicken cutlets and made chicken parmesan and in no time we all had a feast. And during dinner I suggested to Chepa that I'd like to take Madeleina and the babies to Fort Worth to go to Miss Mollies Candy and Toy Store on Saturday morning. It's the best best best toy store in town and even while I suggested it I knew I was gonna be in for hell once Sierra and Alexa got their eyes on those toys.
The next morning I got a call saying they were ready, so I told Madeleina to get some sneakers on, we were going to the toy store. When I went to pick up the girls, I made it clear that we were going to look at stuff they might need for Christmas, but we weren't buying stuff today. Sierra broke into tears. She didn't burst into tears, she just sort of started sobbing quietly, which I put an end to by tickling her, which caused her to break into laughter. I know that fake tear act of hers.
"But I just want to buy a toy for one dollar. Just one dollar, Mr. P Garman."
"No problem. You find something you like for a dollar and I'll buy you three of them. Or one toy for three dollars. Or one toy for two dollar and one for one dollar. Or 12 toys for twenty-five cents each!!!!!"
The girls were great at the store. No crying, no shoving stuff into my hands and insisting I buy it. They just had a blast playing in life-sized doll houses and with cars on a long and intricate wooden track, and then letting me know what Santa might bring them out of all those glorious things in there.
That was a beautiful morning.
And then last night. I'd finished scrubbing the kitchen--the job I started last week--and the laundry room and was watching football and when it was time for dinner I decided to make some stuffed shells and roasted chicken thighs. Chepa had Madeleina on Saturday night for a family party at one of her sister's homes--I stopped by briefly--and so was bringing her over for dinner with the girls and Marco as well. The stuffed shells were because it was cold and raining for the third day and night in a row and it felt like we needed something substantial.
So I cooked down fresh garlic in olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of finely diced salt pork, then added 8 ounces of fresh spinach and five leaves of fresh basil. When it was cooked down, I tossed that in a blender and added an egg. That resultant mash was poured into a bowl with 16 ounces of part skim milk ricotta cheese, stirred till beautifully married, added a touch of pepper and some good parmesan, then stuffed the large shells I'd made at the same time. I topped the shells with a light tomato sauce I also made at the same time--though it got an extra hour head start--and then some mozerella and baked them at 350.
They were done just as the chicken thighs were done. Perfect.
And then Chepa called. "You know, I'm not going there for dinner."
"Why not?"
"Because of those cats you have. I just want to throw up thinking about cat hair everywhere in the food."
"Chep, there's no cat hair in the food. There's no cat hair anywhere. It's coming on winter and cats and dogs don't shed till Spring. And even so, my house is so clean you could eat off the kitchen floor."
"You say. But not me. I don't like the cats in the house and making everything dirty. And the girls are allergic. You should get rid of them."
"The girls are not allergic. They love the cats."
"You are never going to have us for dinner till you get rid of those cats."
"What are you talking about? You just ate dinner here on Friday night."
"And I almost got sick with all that filthy cat hair...."
"You were hand feeding one of the cats while you ate. What are you talking about?"
"You are never going to change my mind. Just eat alone with your cats..."
It really was only going to go downhill, so I quietly hung up. But I was angry. I was hurt. I don't know what the heck is going on but it's as if the whole freaking family is pulling away and I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. But the cats as an excuse? The two baby kittens that the girls cart around like babies? The cats Chepa hand feeds?
Marco and Madeleina came and had a feast, topped with the nice banana bread I made for dessert, then went back to Chepas.
And I went to bed and had a million dreams but the one I woke up to was one wherein I was being forbidden to see my family. l kept asking why and couldn't get an answer.
And so I went to sleep with a bitter taste on my tongue and woke the same way. I'll figure it out, I guess, but right this moment, early on Monday morning, I don't like the taste at all.

1 comment:

Piers Alder said...

Peter, I've been away from your blog for a while. I've been working really hard and all sorts of other things, but just nipped back to have a quick read now as a break from work. I've just read the last few entries and I just wanted to let you know how good it is to hear your voice again. You make me feel better about life, and oddly you make me feel moved.

Just wanted to say that, especially because you have that nasty taste in you.

Oh, and one other thing. I have children but they only stay with me every other weekend and holidays because I messed up the relationship with their mother, or rather I fell in love with someone and moved out. These days I sometimes have an intense sadness when I think back to the time before I left, and some part of me thinks that if I hadn't left they would still be young and they wouldn't be getting on for being grown up. But of course that's not true and I'd still feel a sadness if I hadn't left, because their childhood would now be past.

Not sure if that adds anything, but it popped up in my head. That sense of loss can be caused by many things and we can't avoid loss. But you know that anyway. And I expect what you're going through is something else. But the loss of children, whatever the cause, even if it's just them growing up, is a terribly sad thing.