Sitting here tonight, I realized that the best things in life are free, but the second best things cost a lot of money.
That said, I am thankful tonight to have so much of the "best" things. All three of my girls are in bed and (mostly) sleeping. My darling husband is in the other room chuckling at something on the Comedy Channel. I am drowsy but not in too much pain, and that is a vast improvement over the way the rest of the day has been going. Tomorrow I will being spending the day with my most awesome parents-in-law. Because we are so short on the "second best" things, they are bringing the whole dinner over here and will be spending the day with us cooking, watching football, and hanging out. Fun will be had by all and too much dressing will be consumed.
In a few more days, the massive hoarde of my side of the family will congregate here. We are expecting nearly 20 people from from toddlers to grandparent and everyone in between. My kids will get a chance to play with all their cousins all at once and I will get a chance to chill with all my sisters AND my dad. Everyone is pitching in and bringing goodies and I'll be working on a few delightful dishes of my own.
All I can say is, Thank Goodness we planned it for after Friday. One, because it's after payday which will allow a grander expanse of food and drink. Two, because cramming all of my family into just one day is simply insane. And three, because the weekend after Thanksgiving is murder for anyone traveling to, from, or around any retail or discount establishment anywhere. Being in North Texas, we have a mall, strip shopping center, and mega-gigantic-store just about every half mile, so that tangles up traffic something fierce. You would think that all these places to shop would mean that the crowds would be reduced instead of the other way around. That would be the case if everyone didn't try to shop at every store within a 30 mile radius of their homes, and if we weren't quite so high in population department. One thing I LOVE about living in The Country, is that all our neighbors will quite likely be traveling to the more developed areas for their shopping and will leave our little country stores alone for this weekend.
Since I am finishing up my third week of school, there has been just enough time for everything in the house to go completely insane. The house was a wreck and a mess, the laundry hamper was full, and the pantry is still empty. Little Heart has become decidedly un-enamored with having to cook dinner most nights. Tiny Dancer and Evil Genius have perfected their ability to badger their older sister and wreak as much havoc as possible. Throw into that mix a whole week out of school and you get complete and utter chaos. My Darling Husband has that Thousand Yard Stare going on. I'm wondering if he is going to explode or just heave a sigh and give up. The entire day was spent by me cleaning, tidying, and making ready for all the guests that are due. The kids did (mostly) their part of the duties and I will go to bed with a clean floor and a shiny sink. I haven't been able to say that for some time, now.
Even though it is making things so difficult around here, I refuse to give up and quit school. Right now, things are just getting interested. We have gone beyond trimming potatoes into funny shapes and are now learning the secrets to a Perfect Sauce. Someday, I am sure I will have the ability and the opportunity to create a perfect stock made from delicately roasted bones, veggies, and a delicate bouquet gardin. Until then, I am so thankful the rest of the world uses chicken broth.
I have decided that I don't have to agree with or embrace the techniques that I am learning in order to become the next Great Chef. What I really need is to know HOW to do all of this so I know what rules to follow and which ones to throw out the window. I have to believe that there is a happy balance between wasting 3/4 of your food to get a beautiful meal, and squeezing all you can get out of your ingredients and ending up with a sloppy, but yummy final product. That is what I am going to be searching for over the next two years. The Happy Middle Ground between what I am learning and what I know to be true.
I seem to be rambling on a bit, so I will wrap this up quickly. Cough syrup can do strange things to the mind.
For the record, I take no responsibility for anything written above, seeing as it is clearly marked and distorted by Codeine and Sudafed. I know, I know...that doesn't really excuse the past few months, but hey - give a girl a break for the Holidays?