Re-Entry Followed By Another Escape

With snow looming, I have to share this very sad picture that I took after we returned from Mexico. I’d washed everyone’s swim suits and hung them out on the line to dry.

Even though our trip to Mexico was a delight, we still managed to be fairly exhausted by the end of it. We’d stayed up late most nights, we were sun-crisp, and there was a flight to Newark and a long drive home. Nevertheless, the next day I was pretty busy doing things like unpacking, catching up on work, setting bikinis out to get snowed on, and baking a cake for G, because we’d made plans to take her out for her birthday.

You’ve heard about this cake before: our favorite chocolate cake, which I was determined to provide for G because I’d told her how yummy it was when I made it for J’s birthday, and then, when we drove all the way to Smith College on J’s birthday to take her out to breakfast and deliver the cake to her, she did not share it: she basically said thank you very much and brought it into her house to share with her new Smithie friends. Sure: we were all full from breakfast, and it wasn’t quite cake time yet, but I was still sad!

But, as I’ve said before, the cake is a bit of a project. And I was tired. So tired that as I mixed it and thought to myself, “the texture seems a little bit different,” it did not occur to me to do a line-by-line review of the recipe. Nope. I popped the pans in the oven and let them start baking. And then I peeked in at some point and thought, “Something is definitely wrong.” And that’s when I’d remembered I’d forgotten the eggs. The FOUR eggs. Aaargghh.

Even though chocolate-cake-without-the-eggs doesn’t exactly taste bad, it certainly wasn’t right. And of course now I had to go shopping, because I didn’t have enough ingredients for a second full recipe.

I was at Hannaford when I received a call from J, who sounded extremely sweet and tentative: “Hi, Mom. . . ? Is everything okay? Can I help you with anything?”

Turns out, she’d slept in (lucky girl!) after our day of travel and had expected to find me in the house, but instead, she went downstairs to discover that I was gone and this one the counter:

That’s right: the wreckage of my first attempted cake. I assured her that I was almost finished with my shopping, and I was completely just tossing the cake pans because I realized that they were: 1. rusty and 2. 30 years old. So the mess would be easier to clean up than it looked. However, she was busily washing dishes when I arrived home. Love that kid! Even if she didn’t share her birthday cake with us.

I managed to rally and made an entirely new and beautiful cake. The cake wreckage was tasty enough that I parceled it into a few containers and left it in the free fridge on Fehr Avenue.

We went out to dinner that night for Italian, G’s favorite, at Johnny’s. Cute W and I have been there with friends or on a date, but the girls had never gone, and we were particularly big fans of their fried calamari and beans & greens appetizers and less impressed with our main dishes (in fairness, we are tough to impress, because Cute W makes his own pasta and we’ve been in Italy lately and all). Then our server was so super-sharp that she’d overheard that it was G’s birthday and comped us a slice of chocolate cake with a candle in it. Which was so very sweet and kind of her, but as she approached, looking proud of her (truly) excellent service, I faked a smile while inside I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I worked so hard on my cake today, this cake better not be better than mine.” I’m pleased to report that it was not: my cake stands undefeated. We went to our house to continue the celebration with plenty of cake.

After two days of rest, the girls and I left on the following Monday to visit my Mom, two sisters, and other family in lovely Savannah, Georgia. This was our first chance to see my Mom’s new apartment, which is really quite fabulous. It is basically like living in a hotel, and part of being a resident is getting lots of credit toward good food at their restaurants, and there’s even a bar downstairs, and basically, I am ready to retire. I didn’t take many pictures on this trip, but I did take this one when I was texting my Mom to let her know that we were almost home from our walk so that we’d be on time to make our dinner reservation, and come to think of it, this gives you a view of what it looks like (her apartment is actually over on the right, out of frame, where J is headed).

Among other things, after Mom’s adventures in downsizing, I was gifted a box of old photos. Here is me as a much younger person holding a cat. This is interesting because I was raised a dog person, but apparently I did have some early cat exposure. I have no idea who this cat is, but it looks pretty patient.

We also got to see one sister’s new house. She and her family are enjoying the mild climate after moving from Vermont. I am a little sad that I’ll be missing this year’s Book Festival, but there’s always next year, and it’s even easier now that we’re empty nesters!

One Comment

  1. Nana in Savannah

    You will be missed at the Savannah Book Festival as we bustle between authors, but hopefully next year. I loved seeing my three sweet girls in January!
    Hoping G is continuing to settle in at her new home and it is so lovely that you see her frequently for meals and outings.
    By the way, that frozen swim suit photo is super sad, but I love the Katie & kitten image! xoxo

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