Saved by a Cupcake Recipe

This is huge. I baked with my daughter. I’m still waiting for my mom award. Baking is so not my thing. Big mixers intimidate me, so I don’t own one. I can’t even get Pillsbury cookie dough to come out looking even cookie-ish. Some are too small and crispy, others are uncooked, it’s really unpredictable. Imagine my delight when they invented the pre-cut ones, very convenient if you like the dough way better than the actual baked cookie. Why waste time preheating an oven?

Needless to say my kids have never known the smells of fresh-baked goods coming from our kitchen. It’s not like I don’t understand the importance of the bonding, it’s just I never felt my kids were deprived. They had a phenomenal day care provider who showed them all around flour and a rolling-pin. She is/was amazing and even though my kids don’t go anymore there are times when I still give thanks for all she did and one of those times was this weekend.

The Girl wanted to bake, “From scratch. No boxed stuff.”

I got totally defensive, “I can bake without a box.” Total lie.

She rolled her eyes and choose a red velvet cupcake recipe because she’s twelve and spiteful.

I tried to embrace the idea. The first thing I did was go out and buy a cheap hand mixer because I’d be damned if I was going to whisk until my weak nana arms reminded me of all the body sculpt classes I’ve missed. In the end I’m only hurting my own self esteem, right?

We looked up a cupcake recipe online. This one here, by Paula Dean. It looked simple enough, but that’s the thing with baking, it appears harmless until it kicks your ass and makes you feel like a loser. Baking is bullying. Self bullying. Sort of like cutting, but only with emotional scars.

We tried to commiserate the occasion with photos.

Just forget it…

Can you believe The Girl gave me permission to post these pictures? She’s one secure tween. I did manage one with her eyes open. They’re rare so I thought I would acknowledge it even though she doesn’t approve.

“OMG, Mom, my hair is wet!”

“But, you’re letting me post the ones with your eyes closed?”

Those are funny.”

Don’t ask me why we have a rolling-pin on the counter for a cupcake recipe.

So, we mixed all the dry ingredients as per the recipe. Don’t be jealous of my professional sifter.

Then we mixed the wet ingredients together and stared at the pink batter.

“Why is it pink?”

“Because it’s not baked yet,” I said, crossing my fingers.

We got out the new mixer and tried not to spray the cupboards, then put the cupcakes in the oven. That’s when The Girl went up to her room and left me to clean up. So I did, very passive aggressively until the timer went off. I said a prayer and pulled out the cupcakes with this thought in mind.

Except…

They looked about as appetizing as a sponge left out in the sun. Not a red velvet sponge, but a pink sponge. If SpongeBob and Patrick had sextuplets this is what they would look like. It’s hard to see in this picture just how pink they were, but The Girl wanted to call them Candy Floss Cupcakes.

Someone told me it might have something to do with the vinegar? The truth is I don’t really care. I’m not sad about it. I can accept some of my downfalls. I suck at baking and these cupcakes prove it.

“Total fail, Mom.”

“You were apart of this, you know.”

“You can’t bake. You better stick to a box.”

Obviously she’s taking no responsiblity, but on the bright side she’s given me permission to nix the baking which banishes any guilt I might have and leaves us to do our bonding at the mall.

Plus, she ate them anyway so it worked out for everyone.

By the way, I may not be a baker, but I can cook the hell out of a chicken breast, it’s just my kids don’t appreciate it nearly as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bucket List Fail

Courtesy of www.buzzfeed.com

The kids are back at school. This marks the end of my hiatus from the working world. My first extensive break since I was fifteen, (unless you count maternity leave, in which case…OH MY GOD, don’t get me started…).

When this summer began I was all determined to put my dreams on turbo-charge and get my life working like a well oiled machine by Labour Day.

It’s cute how I start out all optimistic.

I’m a bit of a list maker. Every night before bed I write down all the things I want to get done.  It makes me feel like I have a plan. By mid afternoon I’ve added so much all I can do is look at it and eat chips. Repeat cycle.

You would think having this knowledge of myself would stop me from creating projects like a Summer Bucket List. I know you’re laughing, but I did it anyway.

Bucket List – Summer Edition

1. Get Published – Didn’t happen, but my nasty letter to the editor almost made it into the local paper, but they went with some “feel good” story instead. Cowards.

2. Write Another Book– In February I had an idea for a plot. So I went to Staples(because every successful project starts with shopping) where I indulged in my obsession with school supplies. I laid out the story line. It looked fantastic. All bright and everything. Very motivating. This is what it looks like now. I haven’t written a single sentence.

See the pink board? That’s it. Behind it is my Vision Board.

3. Brachioplasty – What you say? It’s plastic surgery for the back of the arms. My Nana had big saggy triceps…so naturally I inherited them. No amount of triceps’ kickbacks help. But the truth is, I’m a coward and cheap and neither of these things are qualities to have if you want plastic surgery.

4. Organize and De-clutter The Entire House – HAHAHAHAHA. Not one drawer.

5. Lose Twenty Pounds – In a fit of defiance I threw my scale and shattered it on the garage floor.

What was I thinking? Clearly my expectations are too high. And holy shit, I was home with children not at a secluded country club with maid service. As far as I’m concerned the bucket, can fuck it. In fairness though I thought this list was tame considering my five year plan:

  1. Cottage – I have no money
  2. Italy – I have no money
  3. Mercedes – I have no money
  4. Brachioplasty – See?
  5. Horse – What the hell? Really?

Someone (okay, my therapist) suggested taking baby steps towards the bigger goals. In fairness to him, he hasn’t known me long. I’ve never taken a baby step in my life. I prefer instant gratification. But I decided to give it a try. So considering how I like to overshoot the mark, I created a less intimidating list of goals just for this week. It may not help me in reaching my five year plan (wish is under evaluation) but I have to start somewhere and it has to be doable. So, without further ado:

Doable Things I Didn’t Get Done Over the Summer List

1. Eyebrow Shaping – I have good intentions to keep up with them, but before I know it there are two dead caterpillars on my forehead and from then on whenever anyone looks at me, all I can hear is, “They’re totally looking at your hideous eyebrows and will unfriend you on Facebook.”

2. Eat Breakfast Alone – All summer no matter how many times I asked the kids if they wanted anything, as soon as I sat down with food someone would be there to announce they were starving.

3. Watch Adult Television – I’m tired of Zeke & Luther and having to censor my shows because the kids are still up. Is it too much to ask to watch a heroin addict shoot up in peace?

4. Publish a Blog – Done! Here it is. I didn’t say it had to be a good one.

5. Look for a Job – It’s time. I’m not exactly making millions off this blog. I know, it’s shocking. I’m just not good at time management. I need a pay cheque and a boss breathing down my neck to motivate me. I have good intentions at the start of the day, you know, with the list and all and then before I know it, “Hey, Judge Judy’s on…”

So that’s my scaled back fuck-it list. Hopefully by next week I’ll be a bit more willing to put forth more effort, but for now this is all I can manage. Plus, I started this blog last week so…

F**K!

My daughter grew up overnight. Suddenly she’s less about asking millions of questions and more about being in her room tuning me out with the help of her iTouch. On occasion I steal little peeks into her Tweendom and scan through her texts.

Yes, I invade her privacy. Why?

A wise woman once said, “Do you know how you can tell when a teenager is lying?

Answer: Their lips are moving.”

Okay, it was Judge Judy but still…she’s wise-ish.

It’s mostly innocent girl babble, however this past Saturday I had a bit of a surprise. There was a conversation with a friend that seemed harmless until I followed it all the way to the end where my daughter had written, “F**K!”

My first thought? Obviously from her use of asterisks she’s not fully committed so I still have time until the real language is unleashed. It was however my first, OMG my daughter is not a little girl moment. I’m not naive. I know she says it when I’m not around but this was my first confirmation.

The rose covered glasses have been officially removed.

Since Grade four when she announced a boy in her class had said a bad word I knew it was in her vocabulary. She wanted so badly to tell me the word. There was so much excitement on her face I couldn’t help myself and let her say it.

Her eyes got huge.

“Can I really?”

“Really. Once,” I clarified.

“Fuck.”

I tried not to laugh. It sounded so funny coming out in her little voice.

But once wasn’t enough, she’d felt the power because she went on to tell me the context in which he had used it. I can’t remember exactly but it was an awkward sentence and used just to display his intellect of curse words.

I told her she shouldn’t admire him because he wasn’t even grammatically correct. And that was really saying something since fuck is a hard word to get wrong. There are so many ways to use it. Noun. Verb. Adjective. It really is the best and most versitile word ever.

Personally I don’t believe in bad words, just indecent people using them. There’s a time and a place for all of it, especially in a work of fiction when bad language is necessary to convey a certain character. And I can’t very well take the high and mighty road when I’ve been known to slip in various driving incidents.

I do recall telling her fuck shouldn’t be over-used or it loses its power.

I lied, it totally doesn’t. Fuck just feels good to say.

And now she knows too. Now I guess I should have the conversation about how crude it sounds coming out of a young person’s mouth and when she chooses to express herself over texts or whatever she should always assume there’s another snooping Mother (beside her own) creeping on the receiving end who very well could label her as “trouble.”

Just today when I thought I’d cleared the cursing hurdle, my 8 year old boy who was scanning iTunes said, “I like this song but it has a swear in it.”

Here we go again. I sigh. “What word is it?”

“Damn.”

May his innocence last forever.

To Hell In A Hand Basket

This post is long, but so true. I can’t make this shit up.

I had a customer service day from hell.  I noticed my online file with a government agency was incorrect. They had an important date wrong in their system. I know because I have a photocopy of the original. Thinking it would only take a second to fix (my first mistake) I dial the 800 number provided under their heading, “We’re ready to help you.”

It rang busy six times before I was lucky enough to talk to the automated attendant.  Of course then I had to monkey around with pushing one, then enter my social insurance number and my password, then push two, then one, only for the computer to recite the same wrong date. Good, I think, I’m finally to the part where I get to push zero for a real live person.

“We’re sorry we are experience a high number of calls. Please return to the automated information line or hang up and call back later.”

Obviously, they had no idea who they were dealing with. I hang up and call back and keep calling back (because that’s who I am) until their computer finally identifies that my
SIN has been entered eight times and finally puts me in sequence. However, “the call volume is high.”

Was that supposed to scare me? I’ve got time. I call their bluff and wait. After about five minutes Angie picks up.

“Can I help you?”

I always fall for it; they set you up right away pretending to want to help you.  I tell her the issue with the date. It says 2010 when it should say 2011. She asks me some
security questions and then punches some buttons.

“Is says 2010.”

“Yes, I know. That’s why I’m calling,” I said with absolutely no tone whatsoever.

“Well, I’ll put a discrepancy in the system and have them look into it.” Then she continues to tell me the multitude of red tape that had to occur to fix it.

First of all who are they? They are everywhere, doing everything. Don’t they
get tired? I sense her about to hang up. “How long will it take?”

“5-10 days.”

This is a standard answer. I know because I used to give it for a living. So I explain that it doesn’t need investigating it’s an obvious key punch error. I have a photocopy of the original document in front of me, the date is 2011.

“Well, I don’t have the copy in front of me, just what’s on my computer.”

Sigh.  Obviously Angie had a big lunch because she doesn’t want to go digging through files for paperwork.

“Do you have access to the original copy?”

“I can get a scan of it.”

“Okay. I’ll wait.”

Angie hates me. She drops the phone, probably mumbled to her co-workers and made crazy hand gestures to the phone; maybe even flipped me the bird.  Hey, I’ve been there and I’ve seen worse.

“Okay I have the document. It says 2010.” Suddenly Angie’s voice has a hint of snarky.

Now I’m flabbergasted because I’m starring at a photocopy that clearly says 2011. “Are you sure you’re looking at the right document, #999654?”

“Yes.”

“A scan of the original?”

“Yes.”

There’s a problem here somewhere. “Where is the original?”

“Nova Scotia.”

Sigh. For those who don’t know me, I live in Ontario. For those that don’t know Canada; this document might as well be at the North Pole. Of course I know she doesn’t control where the originals go, so I’m still trying to be supportive. See how I’m working with her here?

“Well, something has been clearly mixed up. Since you have access to scanning can you email me a copy of what you’re looking at?”

“It clearly says 2010, but I can put in a request that you require a copy and they will mail you one.”

Again with the they, “And how long does that take?”

“5-10 days”.

Again, I’ve been on the other side of this conversation and she’s going to do nothing further to help me.

“Please send it.” I give the necessary details and hang up. This is not over, I think as I leave to pick the kids up from school. If I hurry I can make it to the local office before it closes and maybe they can clear this up quickly.

I drag the kids there all grumpy and hungry (me and them) and went in. The lady was very pleasant and sort of smushy and warm like how I like to think of Grandmas. She
takes my paper and looks up my account. Clearly on their system someone had typed in the date, my original is handwritten. So it wasn’t a scan after all. Angie,
you did me wrong.

“Well, you are absolutely right we’ll get that fixed up right away.”

I was kinda disappointed; she had really struck me as the type of person who would’ve said, “In a jiffy.”

“When will that be?” I asked.

“5-10 days…”

You would think the day would have ended there, but alas, it did not. If you still have the strength, read on…it’s worth it.

By this time, I’ve had it. My daughter is in tears because she had a terrible day dealing with hormonal grade six girls and she was “starving!” I tried to be sympathetic but really all I wanted was a glass of wine and some chips.

“Hey kids eat free on Tuesday,” said my young, innocent and yet to be scorned son.

The advertising restaurant (who shall remain nameless…Oh, who gives a shit, it was Denny’s. That’s right; those who judge shall be judged themselves…or something like that) was right across the parking lot. Well, I’m no dummy. This is the answer to my prayers, who cares if it’s 4pm.

In we go; kids instantly happy. I looked around. There was no one, I mean NO ONE in this restaurant but us, two waitresses and a cook. I’m concerned, but I feel myself
being lead to our table.

The kids order a hot chocolate, but their machine is broke, so they get lemonade and pizza. At this point I wanted a big greasy burger and fries to wash down the distain, but I did a bunch of self talk as I looked at the menu, which had more grease on it (I mean physically on it) then I wanted in my entire meal. I decided on grilled chicken on a whole wheat bun and a salad. And begrudgingly, a Diet Coke.

A bit later the waitress came back with my salad. The same salad you get in a bag at the grocery store. Now I know what I’m getting at these restaurants but did they have to make it so obvious?  Iceberg lettuce, bits of red cabbage and the dried up shreds of carrot? Yummy.

It didn’t matter. I ate it. But, like the kids pointed out, “Where the heck are our drinks?”

The waitress comes back and announces they have no whole wheat buns. What other kind of bun would I like?

“Well, do you have multigrain or rye?” I don’t know what I was thinking.

She tells me she “doesn’t know their names” and went to get a menu so she could point to the pictures of sandwiches.  As it turns out, my choices were a white bun or bread.

I tell her bun and she goes away. But, shit what about out drinks?

I look to the kitchen where I can see her behind the glass reading the paper. She must have forgotten. Give her a break I tell myself, you’re extra sensitive right now. Finally
she starts to fiddle with some plates.  With her bare hands, I watch her arrange our veggies on a plate. She grabs a handful of Goldfish crackers and puts them in a bowl, leaving a few in her hand that she promptly pops in her mouth, fingers and all. And if that wasn’t enough, she picks up more veggies and places them on the plate.

Was she kidding me? My first reaction was to walk out. But it quickly occurred to me that I would have to cook dinner. Plus, my daughter would go absolutely, hormonally ape shit if she didn’t eat soon and although I don’t let her rule the roost there are times when I just can’t deal with it.

“Excuse me, but I’ll need you to wash your hands and re-plate these,” I said to her before she could leave. “I saw you eating with your fingers in your mouth while you were getting this.”

She nods, clearly confused and takes our plates back to the kitchen.

My daughter says, “Um, our drinks?”

Crap! I forgot to ask again!!

I watch her wash her hands and plate the (hopefully clean, but doubtful) food. She brings them and my chicken sandwich. No pizza. No drinks.

“Can we have our drinks?” I finally say.

I have to mention again that up until then, we were the ONLY ones in the restaurant. I mean, she wasn’t exactly busy.

She disappears, clearly shaken. At this point the other waitress springs into action (not really but whatever) and seats another couple beside us. It also should be noted that these two came in with NO KIDS. Why on earth would you eat there unless you had kids that could eat for free?!

Our waitress brings the kids pizza. We all stare at her.

“Drinks?”  We say in unison.  She disappears, I assume to spit in our food.

I hear the man beside us asks if the turkey club is made of lunch meat or real turkey. A fair question I think.

“Oh,” says Waitress #2, “we’re outta turkey.”

OUT OF TURKEY!…SERIOUSLY?

Our drinks arrive, but I’m too busy listening in on the conversation next to us to acknowledge it.

The lady wants nachos, but doesn’t want the peppers, they give her heartburn.

“I’m sorry, they can’t make them without peppers because earlier in the day we cut up the onions, tomatoes and peppers and put them in the same bowl to save time.”

The woman just stares at her and then looks around at the empty restaurant.  Hey, at least her waitress was sorry!

I look at my son who was staring at his dinner like it was dipped in ass and scoffed down my sandwich figuring if I eat it fast, it might stop my gag reflex.

“I know I`m in public but I have to fart,” he says out of the blue.

I nod and tell him to do it at the waitress station.

He doesn’t because I raised him to behave better than how I tell him.

“How much did you tip her?” He asked on our way to the car.

“I told her not to pull on Superman’s cape. That’s a good tip.”

“We better get moving, what if she comes after us?” he said, concerned.

“I’d like to see her try.”

“Would you punch her in the face?”

“Probably,” I said, just totally done.

“I would to then.”

“Me too,” says my daughter.

They make me smile.