Warning: This story contains injury, floods, smoke detectors, yelling and tears. And no pizza.
Last week was a rough one at our house. My husband had major deadlines that resulted in his working late every night, including one almost-all-nighter (he got 2 hours of sleep, can we just call that an all-nighter at our age?), and I was swamped with work and picking up the slack at home. So by Wednesday night I announced that on Friday evening we were going to order pizza. This was a bold statement for me as we almost never order delivery, but I was really reaching my limit and needed to have that light at the end of the tunnel. To be honest, I felt good about the decision. I was looking forward to that pizza. It was a motivator.
But then Friday came and I remembered that the boys were having pizza day at school and my guilt started to sneak in. Could I really legitimize feeding them pizza twice in one day just because I was tired? Pizza is one of those demonized foods and I am an advocate for home cooking, what was I thinking? Surely I could power through and make another home-cooked meal. So I tried to muster up a second wind. I took stock of what was in our freezer, fridge, and pantry and decided that I would make it easy on myself. We’d have a meal of appetizers. Some would be things I had stockpiled in the freezer and some I would make from scratch. In all, it would only take, I estimated, about 45 minutes, most of that just cooking time. I felt virtuous.
So I started cooking. I decided that since I was making mostly stuff straight out of the freezer, that I was going to try out a new recipe for the additional dish. It was labor intensive, but I figured I could make it work. I put the ingredients on to boil and started pre-heating the oven to a high heat and that’s when the trouble started. You see, the day before I had been cooking for a client and something must have spilled in the oven. So when the high heat kicked in, smoke started billowing out of the oven, setting off the smoke alarms. I dashed to put a fan under the smoke alarm and throw open windows. And then I went back to cooking. But the smoke just kept on billowing. So I decided the best option was to clean up whatever the spill was. I put on my longest oven mitt and started to carefully wipe out the bottom of the oven, which was very hot. I was on my last swipe when I hit the bottom of my forearm against the bottom of the oven, flinched and hit the top of my arm against the oven rack, burning both sides. I yelped, teared up, and ran to the kitchen sink to run cold water over it.
Once that was (sort of) taken care of I rushed back to keep the oven preheating and get dinner going once again.
And that’s when the rain started. It was a huge storm and the boys were standing at the open windows watching and dancing around. I asked them to let me know if the winds changed so that the house wouldn’t get flooded. And you can guess what happened next. They forgot. So suddenly the living room was flooded, the fans are going, my arm is throbbing, and I lost it. Luckily not really at my kids, but more at the situation at hand, but I really lost it. And the worst of it was, I was so in deep at this point that I couldn’t see giving up, so I cleaned up the flood and then went back to cooking.
By the time dinner was on the table we were starting an hour later than planned and I was beyond exhausted, hungry, and in pain. But I had learned my lesson: it would have been better to order pizza. Sure my kids’ nutritional needs may not have been met perfectly for the day, but they would have been fed and I wouldn’t have nearly lost my mind. Sometimes in the midst of the busyness, the craziness, the stress we figure it is just better to power through, to be the supermom/dad/woman/man/whatever, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can be human. We should be human. We need to take care of ourselves. Most of the time that looks like nutritious, home-cooked meals, but sometimes that looks like take-out.
So I ordered pizza on Saturday…and it was delicious.