Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

it's FLAN, g**dammit!

On some occasions, our differences make certain events challenging. Or, more to the point, for Hubby and me certain events can be a real bitch. Eating dinner out is one such event.

Hubby and I like different food and different restaurants. Hubby likes generous portions and a reasonable bill. I like fresh, local ingredients in small, non-chain establishments and I realize that there is a price tag attached to such an experience. With our family budget, my style of eating out doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I want to enjoy it.

We tried to compromise last night. We tried really hard . . .

Hubby wanted to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet that features prime rib *and*, because it was Tuesday, it was 2-for-1 night! That wasn't exactly what I was going for, but I also didn't feel like staying home and eating leftovers or cooking something myself, so I agreed to go. As luck would have it, there was a one hour wait--I was off the hook : )

Instead, we went to a smaller, sort of high-end establishment that features a lot of northwest specialties (read: salmon and clams.) Luckily for my sweet Mister, there was a 4-course-meal-for-$18 deal. Yeah. Four courses for $18? Didn't promise to be outstanding, but it also wasn't Azteca. It was an okay compromise for us both.

Hubby doesn't like fussy food. He could not care less about presentation. He wants to be full and happy. "What you're looking for is abnormally American serving sizes," I chide. "So? I'm an American, aren't I?" he rejoins. How can I argue with that?

I don't like fussy food just to pretend to be something I'm not, but I do appreciate eating something new or something we don't normally have at home.

The meal was okay. Not spectacular, but not awful. Early into the second course I asked hubby to table the complaining. He had one more gripe to air--which made us both laugh--and then he agreed to finish the meal without grousing over every little thing.

Oh, but that didn't stop him from embarrassing me!

He ordered the flank steak and when the waitress asked how he would like his meat cooked, he surprised me by saying, "Rare." Usually he likes medium-rare, but whatever.

When it came to the table, it was too undercooked for his taste and he sent it back, "to be microwaved a little." Yeah.

I asked him why he didn't just order it medium-rare to begin with. "Well, usually in these places," which is his semi-disparaging code for any restaurant that he deems fancy just for the purpose of raising the prices to the roof, "'medium-rare' ends up being well done and I didn't want that." Okay, darling, whatever you say.

He asked me if it would be PC to inquire what country the waitress was from. I didn't want him asking that because I was afraid it would come off as though he was complaining that she somehow didn't belong here. That's not what he meant at all, but I was worried that's how it would sound.

Naturally, he did not take my advice and asked her anyway. "I noticed your accent and I wondered where you're from," he pleasantly asked.

"Ethiopia," was the answer.

Hubby had thought Sudan, so really he wasn't too far off and I was impressed. Except that 'Ethiopia' conjures up images of skeletal, haunted looking women and children. It's probable that not *everybody* in Ethiopia is or was starving, but it strikes me that it must seem obscene to an Ethiopian to work in an American restaurant with our fat asses sitting on large chairs eating 4 courses and groaning as we walk away from the table . . .

And also I wonder whether she suffered genital mutilation when she was a girl . . .

These thoughts are not conducive to a happy dinner . . .

At the end of the meal, lovely miss Ethiopia brought us our dessert course. I ordered flan.

"I see you ordered a plate of phlegm," chirps my husband.

"Really? After 25 years you still think that's funny?" I ask, disgusted.

Taking a bite of my dessert, he exuberantly answers, "Yes!" and starts to laugh. And while laughing, manages to spit a booger sized piece of flan out of his mouth and onto my side of the table where it now, indeed, looks like phlegm.

I start to laugh. "See!" hubby happily notes, "you're laughing--you still think it's funny too!"

This is a typical evening out with my husband. I would say I need to be rescued by a knight on a brawny steed, but in the end, he would burp and fart and repeatedly make stupid jokes too. Because he'd be a guy. And let's face it, there's pretty much one model : )

Friday, September 11, 2009

In which

Country Mouse gives up
a reasonable facsimile of
a 'dream'
for the greater good.
Sort of.
What I Did This Summer.

I took a little detour this summer. I began going to school. I've been researching and considering and planning for a long time. And I made a decision.

A couple years ago I was committed to massage therapy school, but at the eleventh hour I had to take a sharp left turn and quickly come up with a job that offered benefits. I landed at the pharmacy. Which I like very much.

However . . .

Okay, so here's my ego talking. My job is entry level. Yes, there's a little more finesse in my position than there is in, say, flipping burgers. (Although, to be fair, almost any job has its challenges and a person is either equipped to handle those challenges or learns how. Or doesn't learn and sucks at his job. I do not suck.) I'm not above my job. But I am capable of more.

And, to be completely honest, I would like to have some sort of title or job description that sounds a little less assistanty and a little more--I'm just going to say it--important.

How's that for ego?

So. I did the research and started ticking off the handful of pre-reqs I needed to qualify for a two year program to become a:

(drum roll, please)

Diagnostic Ultrasound Technician!

Doesn't that sound all Technical and Important and Responsible and Respectable???

Also--ultrasound techs make decent money. And that is the true heart of the matter. My sweet hubby who has taken care of my financial needs for my entire adult life is not able to provide for us like he used to. His disability money is waning and I don't yet know when it will cease, but when it does, ladies and gentlemen, it will be up to me to take care of us.

So. This summer, in addition to working more hours than usual, helping my daughter plan and execute her wedding, babysitting the grand kids, and, of course, the day-to-day with my own family and home, I was, in my spare time, taking a math course [*cough* 4.0 *cough*]

And then I had to pause. And think. And what I was thinking was that the hours of class time, homework time and commute time add up to 20 hours per week--tacked onto the 24+ hours a week of my regular job. And that's just with one class. That's a lot of time away from my family.

My youngest is 14 and is just beginning his high school years. It felt fervently unfair to be planning my own course of 4 years of abandoning my family when this is the time, both educationally and emotionally, he needs me the most.

So. Short story long, I withdrew from the chemistry class I was set to begin this month. And, therefore, withdrew from my future plans.

I don't know what we're going to do in the future, but I do know things will work out. They always do. For now I'm going to be here. At home. Raising my son. With no regrets.

And I'm going to be at my job. Where I am an assistant. Entry level. Also with no regrets. I'm good at my job. And there is no shame at being good at one's job. Ever. No matter how entry level it is. (Well, maybe if one is a hitman or a drug dealer or a prostitute, then *maybe* there would be some shame in being good at one's job . . . )

Besides being home and teaching my last child and rocking the pharmacy flunky job, I'll also finish the giant stuffed octopus I'm making for my grand kids. And I'm going to design the craft room I am getting at long last! But I probably won't be learning Portuguese . . .