Ahhh, Autum! A time for simmering a little cinnamon in the cider, cozying up with your favorite comfy throw on the couch...and maybe trying your hand at something new, yet traditional.
And I'm not talking about staining the deck. That wasn't related to autumn, really, other than the fact that since we had procrastinated all summer, it became an autumn activity. After I'd spent the entire day being Ty Pennington's assistant, I felt compelled to keep going. Like I had been sprinkled with creativity dust from the Artsy Crafty Fairy. That and I've been reading all these blogs lately, by women who make and build and do stuff that people like me buy at craft fairs. I want to be a maker, a builder, a doer.
First, though, I took a long, relaxing shower, coupled with a large glass of Old Vine Zine and the ever popular Advil/Aleve combo. By the time I was snuggled into my jams and big fuzzy slippers, I couldn't feel my back at all. I'm pretty sure I was standing up straight by then, too. Jack had been invited to a football game and Shawn was a hurtin' unit like me, so we decided against dinner together and I settled in for a quiet Me Evening. CSI was coming on, right after a Criminal Minds rerun. Dream night! I made a fairly decent chicken and risotto plate for myself, poured some more wine, and then it hit me: I should make Caramel Corn!
But I couldn't be stopped. I poured another glass of Zin and ran to my favorite cooking website, AllRecipes, to find the perfect recipe. And I had all the ingredients! You think I'm kidding, right? Foodies out there are thinking, "She's excited because she's got baking soda and brown sugar on hand?" No, silly. I had Karo syrup! Who has that hanging out in the pantry??
Fifteen minutes (and surprisingly little effort) later, I had a beautiful, golden brown concoction, spread out in my roasting pans (I had those, too!) and ready to bake for an hour.
15 minute cooking increment, #1:
Stir. Smell. Smile. Replace in oven. God, I'm good! Maybe this is my calling! Maybe I could start a business!
I looked at the oven, and somehow, the temperature had been turned from 250 to 550. I'm yelling Fuck! God Damnit! at the top of my lungs (like any good housewife) up until my lungs weren't working so well, because of all the smoke. It was filling my entire downstairs so fast I had to squint to keep my eyes from burning. I was running around like crazy, opening all the windows and cranking up the fan, hoping to beat the smoke detectors, which were going to start screaming... any minute now... not. Not a sound from the built-in, failsafe fire safety system. Not that I was complaining; it's such a pain to deal with the freakin' noise when you're already asphyxiating. However: sort of ironic, no? Fire Chief's Wife Dies of Smoke Inhalation. Investigation Ongoing: Dead Batteries in Smoke Detectors?
Twenty, thirty minutes later, the smoke cleared. Not the smell, mind you, but the smoke. I closed up the house and set the pans in water to soak. I stood in the middle of the kitchen and thought, after all that, the worst part was that I didn't have any caramel corn to eat during CSI.
So what did I do? I bet you think I drove to Walmart for processed high-fructose caramel corn that's been sitting on a shelf for months. I bet you think I threw those pans in the garbage and made up a lie to tell at Thanksgiving, when they came up missing. But I didn't; not the New Me. Not the Maker-Builder-Doer Me.
I made some more.
Never, ever, call me a quitter.