I just cut meat for the first time.
Yes. The first time EVER. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was ten or eleven, so by the time my mom wanted to impart Cooking Lessons, anything involving flesh was out of the question. Made it through all of Home Ec without slicing anything. HANDLED meat, briefly, at various points over our years of marriage (don’t laugh at how dirty that sounds), but it was always unwrapping packages (I know, stop), and never actually COOKING or preparing anything. But today. Today I’m turning over a new leaf. I decided to do away with all my stupid old resolutions (except for the carpet), and focus on exactly what I said I wouldn’t: cooking.
Not just cooking, but owning this stay at home thing. Like, not worrying about any kind of outside work, not worrying about outside drama. Just focusing in on this little spot of the world and making it wonderful. Getting my ish together. Doing all those projects I’ve been meaning to do forever. Handling all the business that’s been backburnered. Making menus, planning vacations, reading to the kids each night, doing crafts together. This year, I’m going to commit fully to myself, my family, and my household.
Okay, so. Blame it all– including the meat– on Pinterest. Heh. I’m on there yesterday, looking at posts of Everything Domesticated, staring at endless photos of lives cleaner, nicer, and better organized than mine.
I’m just browsing. Considering. Mulling. And then, between a laundry room design and how to make homemade glitter playdough with your kids, there was a recipe for crock pot pulled pork.
I don’t know. That’s what did it.
Usually I see recipes and they’re daunting. I don’t recognize the ingredients, I feel like I’ll eff it up. Spectacularly. I just don’t try because I’m afraid of failing. But this only had a handful of ingredients, most of which I already had– including Diet Pepsi– and as I looked at this photo, I felt this– confidence? Like: I can do this. I’m sure I can. I’m not a great cook or anything, but– I can do this, and my kids would LOVE it. JASON would love this. Pulled pork is a staple in this area, and he’s never had it at home, and I know it’d be a special treat.
I’ve never even used our crock pot. It’s time.
So I decide, yes, I’m going to make this, definitely, and you know what? I’m going to start making other meals– like all the time! LIKE MEALS EVERY DAY! Creative meals! Healthy meals! THERE ARE ABOUT TO BE MEALS ALL UP IN THIS HOUSE!– and then, high on motivation, I start collecting other things on Pinterest I can do– things I’ve wanted to try for a long time, not just recipes but household fixes– other things I’ve been holding off on because I thought I needed help, or Jason, or I didn’t think I could do alone. I don’t know why. It wasn’t even a conscious thing. Even furniture: I haven’t put any of the furniture in our home together. Other people did it for me.
Why, right? WHY. That’s what I want to know. I can follow instructions and use power tools. I should do this. It’s my house. I should DO this.
And– I don’t know, I just got flooded with this excitement. YEAH. You know what? I’m going to be MAGIC this year. No more pajamas until noon. No more reading celebrity gossip on the internet. No more laziness, no more waiting. No more helplessness. I’m capable, and this is my domain.
So. I got dressed, like REALLY dressed, and I did my hair, and I put on my favorite necklace and little diamond earrings, and I decided from now on: I’m going to look nice. I don’t care if no one sees me. This is my work now. Heh. I’m getting ready for the office.
I made a list of chores to do, ranging from my dailies (this entry makes it sound like I do nothing: not true, I do tons of things around here, but it’s all the standard essentials), all the way to Clean Eyeshadow Stain out of Addie’s Carpet. Pinterest told me to use vinegar and dishwashing soap. So I did. First I did loads of laundry. I scrubbed the bathrooms, I put away the toys, I did all the dishes, I vacuumed. I changed the sheets. I made the beds. And then I got water, vinegar, and dishwashing soap in a bucket– totally old school– and got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the carpet.
I’d been meaning to get this stain up forever. I tried a handful of household cleaners from the store. Nothing.
But the water-vinegar-soap? Scrubbing? Elbow grease? Her carpet looks brand new. I was astounded. I really thought– I don’t know what I thought. I guess I have this fear of everything I touch bursting into flames.
Cleaned the rest of the carpet around the house. Washed the floors.
The kids came home and I made pasta for dinner. Nothing exciting, but I never cook. Ever. We eat out about three times a week, and the rest of the time, Jason handles it.
So I made pasta, and J came home, and he looked around at the house and he looked at me. Taking everything in. “Your hair,” he said slowly. I’d gone total Betty Draper that morning. “Yes?” I prodded.
He paused. “It looks good. Everything looks– wonderful.”
“THINGS ARE CHANGING,” I warned. He looked worried but then I was like, “I’m making pulled pork for dinner tomorrow,” and he was– well, still worried. Heh. But curious, at least.
SO THAT BASICALLY BRINGS US TO THE PORK, which is the only ingredient I did not have, and what I ran out for last night. I’m in the supermarket, in the– what I later referred to Jason as “meat cut section”, I think it might be the deli? or maybe it really is the Meat Cut Section– and I’m staring hopelessly at chunks of animals wrapped up and bloody. Everything looks the same. I don’t know.
I finally grab an employee, and I’m like, “Hi. I’m a vegetarian, so I know nothing about this, but I’m making pulled pork for dinner and I need to buy the meat, please help,” and he was like, “So you’ll need pork? Because you’re standing in the beef section.” Me: “…”
He led me to the pork section, actually put the pork IN MY HAND, and was like, HERE GIRL YOU NEED THIS, and it had a picture of a crock pot on the wrapper and everything. And it said Great for pulled pork!
So. It better work. That’s all I’m saying.
ALSO. Along with this whole cleaning and cooking push was a newfound desire to spend more time with my kids. Because they’re wonderful. And we hang out and everything, but I feel like– I KNOW– I spent more time with them when they were babies and toddlers. They’re older, and they don’t need me as much, so we tend to drift toward separate activities. They read. They play outside. They play on their computers. I read, I play outside, I play on my computer. We just don’t overlap.
NO MORE. I’m going to love the eff out of those kids. I’m going to SPOIL them with attention. They’re worth it. They’re important– the most important.
Fed them ice cream last night. Brushed teeth. In PJs. Read books to them. Talked. Woke up this morning, gave them a bubble bath. Usually I fill the bath, wander off while they play, and come back to wash their hair. Today, I sat tubside and we gossiped the whole time. It was– just really sweet and special.
I love their voices. Their voices won’t always sound like this.
And then I let them help me with the pulled pork, because (1) it’s easy, (2) they should learn how to cook alongside me, we can make it an adventure, (3) it’s bonding time, and (4) let’s be honest, they’ll be more likely to eat it later if they share in its creation.
We put it on low to cook all day. I kissed them. Sent them off to school.
About thirty minutes later– when this entry started– I decided the pork I got was too big, and it probably wasn’t all sitting in the sauce. Like, parts of it weren’t covered. So I went back, studied it, and decided I’d have to cut it in two to make it work.
GUYS. MEAT IS HARD TO CUT. Especially a big, still-mostly-refrigeratered piece like that. I pushed gently on the knife, assuming it would just slide in. NO. Pressed harder. Still nothing. I got on a chair and leaned my weight down into it, and only then did it finally start to give way. This is so gross, but all I could think of while I was doing it was how people murder other people and have to cut up the bodies afterward. It must be crazy difficult to chop up a body. Like, flesh RESISTS being cut. Film and TV make it look like people get accidentally stabbed all the time, but I think you’d have to TRY after this.
(And then I had a thought about Aubrey. God, I miss ASW. Mentally added to my Handle It List.)
That’s pretty much where I am now. The agenda today is organizing the kitchen and hall closet, both of which I hate and have wanted Fixed for months, and then the office, then the kid’s closets. I may even frame and hang some photos while I’m at it. I’m feeling kind of crazy over here.
And I’m going to run. I’m not going to go very hard– I know I just got over being sick– but it’s supposed to be a sunny mid-60′s for the first time in days, and it’s important to me to get out there. I’m factoring myself into all this: happy me is a huge priority. I’m going to treat myself right this year, too.
– I hear a weird clicking in the kitchen. Or popping. That can’t be good. That’s not good, right? Please God don’t let it be the pork. PLEASE NOT THE PORK.
Update: it was the pork.
Update 2: FIXED. LIKE A BOSS.