“What are you doing?!?” I ask The Husband, barely hiding the mild panic in my voice, “You just dumped that macaroni in the pot but forgot to set the timer!” I reach past him to the window ledge above the kitchen sink so I can grab the timer (digital, natch) and rectify the situation.
“The timer’s batteries died,” shrugs The Husband, “and besides, timers are for wimps.”
Wimps who like their noodles cook al dente like God and Rome intended, not all swampy like mud in the backyard after a particularly fierce storm.“No, no, no,” Queen Virgo cannot abide the situation, “if the timer is broken, I’ll just watch the clock for you.” I stare at the clock: 5:37 PM. I glance at the noodle package, and see the instructions indicate eight minutes. Okay, so 5:37 plus eight is—
“Scoot,” he pushes me out of the kitchen. “I’m not a child. I think I know how to make noodles.”But see? That’s the problem—he doesn’t. The Ghost of Negative Experiences Past appears, sitting calmly at the dining room table, and she is making a face, a face like “ick.”
“Might as well order a pizza, or make yourself a sandwich, or you could have cereal for dinner again,” whispers GoNEP, while flipping through a décor magazine, “we both know how this is going to turn out.”Unfortunately, she’s right. “Sweetie,” I say to The Husband encouragingly, “there must be some batteries in the basement somewhere? Let’s put new batteries in the timer.”
He scowls at me, and GoNEP rolls her eyes. GoNEP taps a magazine page for me to look at. “Check this out—apple green walls! Remember when we tried that in Tall’s bedroom in California? Huge mistake. The color on the paint chip is never the same as the one in the picture.”I nod. Of course I remember that apple green she’s talking about. We ended up having to paint his room three times to get the color right. GoNEP follows me almost everywhere; she and I are pals.
The Husband calls the boys to dinner, and I tell GoNEP she must leave now, there’s no room for her at our small table.Tall lays the silverware and napkins out, and The Husband brings in the pot of macaroni and cheese. It resembles not so much an Italian gourmet meal as a yellow pool of mush. I can’t say anything, though, because as much as I love to be right, I hate to cook even more. I know if I say, “The noodles are horrible,” then The Husband will respond with, “Then you can cook dinner tomorrow night.”
I walk in the kitchen and get an apple.
“What are you doing?” inquires The Husband, “Dinner is right here.”
GoNEP hides next to the refrigerator and coaches me on what to say. “I’m suddenly craving an apple, Sweetie, I actually had a big lunch.”
It’s okay: Queen Virgo could stand to lose a few pounds.