One thing I forgot to mention about Thanksgiving weekend is that it started getting chilly. Cute W and M left on Friday afternoon for M’s tournament, and sometime Friday night, it just started getting awfully cold in the house. I was feeling a little self-conscious about the cold because my parents have become fluffy-bunny Southerners these days, and occasionally I’d realize that one of them was actually shivering while I was sitting around in a t-shirt. So I’d jacked up the heat, and the thermostat had its little flame symbol that says, “I’m working on it.”
And yet, cold. In the morning it occurred to me that perhaps having the space heater going in the basement was my problem. With our old fashioned, all-one-zone, radiator system, it’s usually stifling-hot upstairs by morning because it’s so chilly downstairs, but perhaps all the sleeping bodies and the space heater downstairs had counteracted it? I didn’t know.
I turned off the space heater and got busy saying goodbye to various relatives, and by the time J and I headed to bed on Saturday night, it seemed clear that something was seriously wrong. Which was a bummer, because I knew that Cute W would arrive home on Sunday completely exhausted from Thanksgiving + Soccer Tournament, and I was going to have to tell him that our house was broken again.
When he and M arrived I heated up leftovers and helped carry stuff into the car and got us all settled and then I told him about our house’s new Big Problem. He walked over to the top of the stairs and pointed out the large red switch in plain sight on the wall, a switch he’s shown me at least three times before, which is silly, because he shouldn’t even have to show it to me, because it’s right there.
Oh. That. Sure enough, it’s so “right there” that when we have guests, random kids will turn it off. You would think I’d remember this, because it’s happened before. Alas, I did not. The good news is that Cute W didn’t have a big problem to solve. The bad news is that I’m going to have to do something smart soon to redeem myself.
Meanwhile, still reveling in the success of my pecan pie, I decided to take on a challenge: my mom’s English Toffee recipe. When I put together our family cookbook, I described how, growing up, we kids knew that it was best to avoid the kitchen entirely when Mom was making English Toffee, because it was so stressful. And yet enough time had passed, and I thought, how bad can it be?
The answer: bad. I spent a very long time heating the butter and sugar and stirring constantly as it combined, separated, re-combined, and so on. At some point I started losing heart and called Mom for a pep talk. When I told her that I was trying to make the English Toffee, she said, “Ohhh” in a tone that communicated, “Well, that’s a bad idea and you’re bound to be disappointed.” Still, she offered up chirpy replies as I texted her images of my work-in-progress:
At some point I realized that this was a lose-lose endeavor. Either the toffee would be spectacular and I’d be forced to make it every year, or it would be less-than-spectacular and a disappointing waste of what was rapidly becoming my entire afternoon.
It ended up looking pretty good. . .
. . . but it’s less-than-spectacular. Honestly? I’d still rather eat it than most of the offerings at a typical cookie swap, but it’s clearly not a do-over.