So, what’s been up lately? Well, it’s been busy. I’m almost ready for Christmas. M has been learning new skills and figuring out her future. J has been starting her club volleyball season and her first-ever indoor track season. But for now, a few things around the house.
First: one of my parenting successes. Both of my daughters are excellent at support and encouragement. For example, recently I had finished up my big ol’ pile of newsletters for work and managed a grocery run and a delightful home-cooked meal with enough time to spare that it was possible to make it to an evening workout class. I looked around at my still-pretty-messy kitchen and my hungry cats and said, “I think I’m going to run to the JCC.” M said, “Way to go, Mom!” and J said, “You got this Mom! Go you!” It is nice to have a little cheering section. It’s even nicer to realize that the reason you have daughters who are supportive and encouraging is because you raised them to be that way.
I have finally learned to appreciate our cast iron pan. I just never loved this pan, which Cute W bought. I resent how I’m supposed to clean it differently than everything else; we usually put it in a hot oven to make sure it’s nice and dry after cleaning, and roughly three-quarters of the time we forget that it’s in the oven until we’re pre-heating something else. It’s always just made me roll my eyes. But then I noticed how much better the cast iron is for cooking those frozen dumplings from Trader Joe’s (which are freakin’ delicious, by the way). Look at the difference when I cook these things exactly the same way, except in different pans.
In this, my usual, favorite, go-to pan, the dumplings are a bit of a disappointment. Yes, they are browned, a bit, but not too much, and several of them have torn and stuck to the surface in spite of enough hot oil and all of my my best efforts.
Versus the cast iron:
Same oil, same temperature, same time, but these little beauties have satisfyingly crispy browned bits and yet they’ve all stayed intact and haven’t stuck to the surface at all. I might have to celebrate my newfound appreciation cast iron by making an omelette. Or donating blood (get it? because I’m iron-infused?). Or both.
Okay, something I do not appreciate lately? This is going to sound crazy, but it’s when my kids do one of my usual chores. If you’ve read regularly, you may have noticed that I’ve mentioned Marie Kondo multiple times. She’s made quite an impression on the girls. I am not quite simpatico with her whole vibe. I mean, she seems like a very nice lady, but she’s not quite my bag. I was chatting with someone in my exercise class about this, and she said something about how MK suggests a specific way of folding socks so that they are “happy.” I have no idea if this is true, but how could I possibly make my socks happy? I am too busy keeping my humans happy, and my cats happy, and, when I get the chance, my house plants happy. Socks and other inanimate objects just are not a priority.
Anyway, one of my daughters in particular has discovered that she really enjoys folding clean clothes. You’d think that this would be a total win-win, but the official Marie Kondo method seems to be folding in on the front of your items of clothing and making them into very small, tidy packages. Which sounds like a lovely idea and probably works if you have pared down your wardrobe to the most essential items that you know intimately and keep because they spark a very specific joy in your heart. That is not how I feel about all of our laundry. So after this lovely daughter gets done with the laundry, I’m confronted with puzzles like this:
This is just one example (of many, many examples), but it gives you an idea of my challenge, right? These two shirts look very, very similar.
Even if you start to unfold them, they still look pretty damn similar. Yes, for these particular shirts we get a bit lucky with the size difference because one is J’s and one is Cute W’s, but keep in mind that the girls frequently wear exactly the same size.
I’ve pointed out to this daughter that, while I deeply appreciate her folding efforts, if I have to basically unfold the laundry in order to know who gets what, the folding is not particularly helpful. Sadly, this left her entirely unmoved.
What’s especially maddening about this predicament is that there’s a very simple solution. One could choose to flip the t-shirt over and fold it in almost exactly the same way, except with the front of the t-shirt facing out, like so:
Granted, these are a little off-center because I don’t bring the focused reverence to folding that my daughters and MK do, but it is much easier to tell which t-shirt is which. But my folding daughter, so far, has refused to comply with my request to change her methods because that is not the way that Marie Kondo does it. And that is how it is possible to have your kid volunteer to do extra chores without it bringing you much joy at all.