Tuesday, December 26, 2017
A Minor Disaster
It sounds terrible and Scrooge-like, but I am mostly glad yesterday is over. You know what I mean? Not that it wasn't a good day -- I got some nice presents and spent time with an old friend and several newer friends, and had a good time overall. But I am a creature of routine, I guess, and I'm looking forward to getting back to simple joys like my morning cereal and walking the dog.
I think as we get older, particularly, routines become harder to shed. Part of the purpose of holidays is to shake us up and make us appreciate daily life -- the fatigue of celebration is followed by the comfort of a return to daily existence.
Actually, we had a small-scale disaster yesterday. As I mentioned, Dave and I were having four guests for dinner, and Dave had prepared an elaborate menu featuring ham baked with a homemade glaze, broiled parsnips and some other dishes. Just as I'd received a text from our guests saying they were on their way, and as Dave took the ham out of the pot where it had been boiling for hours (apparently this is how you prepare a raw ham) and turned on the oven prior to glazing the meat, the oven died. And I mean, dead. Cold as a bone. It wouldn't even turn on.
The oven has been acting up for a while, and we've written to the landlord several times about it for months. I even tried to call a repairman myself, but it's such a small job (a faulty switch, we think) that I couldn't get anyone to come. We'd even joked about the possibility of it dying on Christmas day, but we didn't think it would happen.
And it did.
Fortunately, thank God, the ham had been boiled. (Can you imagine the disaster if we'd opted for a turkey?!) So we changed course and served the sliced, boiled ham with various condiments and some side dishes including beans from a jar. Dave was mortified, and the meal certainly didn't measure up to his normal food preparation skills, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and our friends seemed fine with it.
Now, it's time to write that landlord a firm letter. She still hasn't done the promised carpet replacement and kitchen painting, and that's been in the works since April, at least. As Dave says, we pay too much rent for this.
On a positive note, I got some groovy gifts. Dave gave me a paisley scarf, a handheld metal detector (to help pinpoint finds made with the larger one), and a backpack camera bag that will hopefully be easier to carry and less likely to wear holes in my clothes than my current bag.
My friend Kevin, who I've known since junior high school at least...
...was impressively color-coordinated with his paper Christmas crown! (We all had crowns from our crackers, courtesy of our friend Michelle -- they're paper tubes that pull apart with a bang to reveal, inside, a toy, a crown and a (usually terrible) joke.) Anyway, Kevin gave me possibly the best present of the day, a t-shirt from our hometown. This doesn't sound like much, except that our hometown, Land O' Lakes, Fla., is a speck of a place north of Tampa, and Kevin found the shirt in a thrift shop in Virginia (or possibly North Carolina). I didn't know anyone made souvenir t-shirts from our land of humid suburbs and cow pastures.
Anyway, oven disaster aside, it was a good day. But I'm still glad it's over!
(Top photo: Stella McCartney's shop in Mayfair, decorated for the holidays.)