Friday, January 15, 2016

Eight Things I Suck At

     Cooking is something I do well. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and I'm proud of the meals I prepare for my family. But it wasn't always this way.

     Right after I got married, I decided to host a dinner party for my family. My cooking repertoire was limited to mac & cheese, bean burritos and scrambled eggs, but this didn't stop me from attempting a gourmet meal for company. The recipe I found in a popular women's magazine looked simple enough----chicken with a creamy wine sauce nestled in the buttery layers of a flaky pastry shell.

     I prepped in the kitchen all day, cleaned my tiny apartment from top to bottom and lit candles to enhance the cozy mood I wanted to create. The evening started off perfect with lively conversation and plenty of wine as we snacked on appetizers.  Once my family gathered around the table, I couldn't wait to serve them my masterpiece. It was the first real meal I'd made since returning from my honeymoon and I was damn proud of it, right down to the chopped parsley I sprinkled over the top of the chicken breast.

     The results were not what I expected.

     The room fell silent as everyone chewed....and chewed....then quickly reached for glasses of water to wash it down. Puzzled by their behavior, I lifted a forkful of the stuffed pastry into my mouth and was horrified to discover that the meal that had taken me three hours to prepare tasted like wallpaper paste and had the same consistency of glue. It was inedible, and I don't think I've ever been more embarrassed than when I dumped all the food in the trash bin and ordered pizza for everyone. I learned from my mistake though, and after experimenting with a variety of cooking techniques, I was finally able to host more dinner parties, which were fortunately a success.

     But there are still plenty of things in life that I suck at and that I'll probably never be able to improve upon:

1.) DRIVING:  I've always said that if I win the lottery, the first thing I'm doing is hiring a chauffeur because I hate driving. I still have nightmares about the crash dummy videos they showed us in Driver's Ed class. Anything over 35 mph is risky to me, which means you will never find me on the interstate. I don't like making left turns at intersections without a turn signal, either, so that pretty much limits how far I can drive from my house. I'm still waiting for the day we get George Jetson cars that fly. Maybe then I'll finally be able to make a left turn.


2.) ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS: I like to be appreciated just as much as the next person, but compliments on my appearance make me feel awkward. I don't know how to accept them because  my insecurities won't allow me to believe them. My husband tells me I look tousled and sexy in the morning when I crawl out of bed, but when I look in the mirror,  I see Medusa cracked out on Flakka.

3.) DIETING:  I can stick to a diet for about three days, until the food starts tasting like something my husband dug out of the mulch bin. That's when dreams of juicy cheeseburgers and greasy chicken wings invade my sleep, and I wake up to a soggy pillow that looks like its been gnawed on by a pack of hungry wolves.

4.) RETURNING PHONE CALLS: I'm awful at returning phone messages and will text the person back rather than get stuck in a twenty minute conversation. Who uses phones nowadays to talk? The only calls I get are from debt collectors or people trying to sell me buy-one-get-one-free deals on cremation urns.

5.) GROCERY SHOPPING: Being the Foodie that I am, nothing pleases me more than being surrounded by chilled cases of gourmet cheeses or the smell of warm bread on racks by the bakery counter. I love to go to the grocery store with a budget in my head and a shopping list in my hand, but that's when I become A.D.D. and am easily distracted by all the pretty displays. It never fails that despite promises to my husband of sticking to the items on the list, I come home with five pounds of dog biscuits and a tub of Goober peas.


6.) FASHION: A fashionista I am not, and I'd rather pick the lint out of my air conditioning vent than shop for new clothes. Years ago when my kids were young, I bought them clothes made by a company called Garanimals, that took the guess work out of matching clothes for children. All a parent had to do was buy items with matching animal tags---a giraffe-tagged shirt went with a giraffe-tagged pair of shorts, and so on. I need some Garanimals today, but in an adult version, because I have no clue how to put the perfect ensemble together. The one thing I'm good at is matching black with black. And yes, I'm totally cool with people thinking I attend a lot of funerals.

7.) SINGING IN PUBLIC:  When I was in college, I was a soloist in the school choir, sang at many of my friend's weddings and occasionally stood in as a lead singer for a few bands. I loved singing until the day I entered a voice competition and forgot the lyrics. Being booed off stage was not my idea of fun, and I vowed never to sing in public again. Fast forward fifteen years to a good friend's wedding. I agreed to sing for her even though I was nine months pregnant and experiencing Braxton Hicks. The night of the wedding, my nerves were shot but I sang my heart out until a swift contraction caused me to hit a sour note that left the congregation wincing in their seats. I'm pretty sure there was a coyote howling at me all the way from Montana. For that reason, my singing is now limited to the shower.


8.) WORKING OUTDOORS IN THE HEAT:  I love gardening, as long as it's only 65 degrees outside or cooler. I live in sunny south Florida, so this means I only garden 2-3 days out of the year. I want the garden to look nice all the time, but there's nothing worse than being drenched in sweat, covered in dirt and under attack by an army of hungry mosquitos. My only other option is to weed the garden after midnight with a flashlight.


     Even though there are numerous things that I suck at, there are plenty of things I excel in. I'm a good wife and mother, and I'm great at multitasking----I can sing off-key in my car while wearing all black....and make the smoothest right turn you've ever seen.


***NEWS FLASH***  This has been an amazing week for Meno Mama! My NEW post, "My Love Of Pets Started To Affect My Marriage" has been shared in several major magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, Country Living and House Beautiful. I'm already loving 2016!!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Catch my NEW humor post, " Why I Don't Sleep With My Husband" featured on Bonbon Break this week! You can read it here: http://www.bonbonbreak.com/why-i-dont-sleep-with-my-husband/

66 comments:

  1. I just had to laugh at this. Reminded me of the first time my (now ex-) wife wanted to impress me with a dinner. From that point on, the code word "peanut butter chicken" defined a meal from hell.
    Loved your eight, too!
    Thanks for my Friday morning laughs!

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    1. That's hilarious! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Oh my gosh. I really hate returning phone calls. Also, why did they invent those huge marketplace grocery stores and super stores? So distracting when you're grocery shopping!

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  3. and chewed and chewed and chewed. Man, that made me howl. Why didn't you taste it first? that's amazing :)

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    1. I was too stupid at the time to know any better, ha-ha!

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  4. This was like reading my own diary! Everything from the first dinner I made to my hatred of clothes shopping to my gardening woes (heat, humidity, bugs) to my desire to make only right turns. Are you sure you aren't following me around? ;)

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    1. I think we're both driving in circles following each other around---only making right turns.

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  5. 'Kay, that was funny. Hope next post are the things you don't suck at. #1 is being a laugh-riot. (Oops, should have warned you a compliment was coming.)

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    1. Awwwwww...now THAT is the kind of compliment I love, Mithra. THANK YOU!

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  6. I suck at #2, 3 and 7. While nursing my daughter and singing her a lullaby, she stopped, put her finger to her mouth to shoosh me. If I wasn't laughing so hard I would have been hurt. I, too, am an awesome cook but in my early days I made a stuffed turkey that EXPLODED on the table and hit the ceiling. It's hard to accept compliments but I'm getting better and diets -- well, you know!

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    1. I. Am. Dying....THE TURKEY EXPLODED??? OMG I wish you had a video of that!!!

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    2. Now it would be funny but when you are young and trying to impress people, I almost cried. Still can't figure out how it happened

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    3. I still wish I could have see it!!

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    4. The exploding turkey reminds me of that scene in "Christmas Vacation" when Chevy Chase cuts open the beautiful turkey and it is dry as a mummy inside.

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    5. This reminds me of a comic song my husband and I once sang at a concert: "The turkey shot out of the oven, and ricocheted onto the floor . . . " It ends with the conclusion, "I'll never again stuff a turkey with popcorn that hasn't been popped!"

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  7. Poor you! Sometime I'll tell you about my *shudder* first dinner party. Although recounting the experience some years later did win me a trip to Paris . . .
    Meantime, I think you must be my sister because 'yes' to all of the above!

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    1. I've always said we need to live next door to one another.....

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  8. Compliments? I've always thought they were lies buttering me up to get something.

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    1. Yes, sometimes they are---gotta figure out which ones are sincere and which ones have another motive in mind.

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  9. This reminds me of the first family dinner I made after getting married and moving into a new apartment. I made chicken and rice, turned on the oven, put the pan in and got the house ready. My family showed up, I pulled the pan out and it was ice cold. I didn't realize the oven didn't work! You may not have tasted your meal before, but at least it was hot. :) Great post!

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    1. Oh my! Yes, that would be embarrassing. One time I put a casserole in the oven for an hour when we had dinner guests. When I went to take it out, it was cold. I forgot to turn on the oven......gah!!

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  10. Love this list. The humor behind it makes it even more perfect. ;) That story. My goodness. Paste? Ugh. I could picture you watching and waiting.

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    1. I've learned my lesson---taste the food BEFORE you serve it to others!

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  11. Marcia, I think most of us are not good at taking compliments... I work on it all the time... and my first loaf of bread could have been used as a door stop.. not to mention the first cookies I mad that could have been used as hockey pucks... lol

    We all learn xox

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    1. Ha-ha! I've never attempted to make regular bread, but I'm pretty good at baking cookies....becasue I LOVE them so much and no one else is going to make them for me.

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  12. I love this post so much! It made me consider what I suck at, too! You know, we never talk about that stuff. But I learned some new things about you today!

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    1. Promise not to hold them against me, PLEASE??? :) :) :)

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  13. Great post! I can relate to a few of them, taking compliments and returning phone calls are to things I don't like to do. Funny that you don't like to drive.

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    1. I've always hated driving. It also doesn't help that I have been involved in 7-8 accidents (no, I wasn't driving)

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  14. Marcia, I suck at all of those things too, expect for the supermarket example. I am the one who sticks to the list while my hubs is the one who brings home a 10 gallon jug of maple syrup for a family of 3. I also am not crazy about driving - backing out of parking spots is my pet peeve, so terrified someone will hit me. So you come and back out for me, I'll make your left turns for you and we'll both look pretty wearing black and white (my favorite colors too!)

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  15. You're pretty brave putting together a list of things you suck at, I'd be writing for a month.

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    1. Trust me---I could have listed more but then the blog would be too long for anyone to read.

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  16. Reminds me of the first time I made my mother-in-law's cake recipe for my husbands birthday. Oh my! It turned out to be about a half an inch high. I tease her and say that she secretly left out an ingredient just like Marie on Everbody Loves Raymond. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. But the all important question is: did the cake still taste good?

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  17. Hmmm...I suck at most of these as well. I am ok on the outdoor grill, but it took years and years to reach competency. I can not sing, I drive slowly, and have no sense o fashion.

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  18. I still mostly suck at cooking. Or, I guess I can do it but I don't enjoy it still. Sigh. LOL to the pizza though. I did that once with crab-stuffed mushrooms. I think I used enough salt for an army!

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    1. Oh no!! I've ruined soups before by adding too much salt. Ugh!

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  19. This is fantastic, Marcia. It's always fun to talk about what we suck at ;) I'm #3 and would never even attempt #7. Well, actually I did do Kereoke recently for the first time and had a blast but that was after a 'few' drinks. Congrats on your article publication! That is awesome!!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Yeah, I don't think I would attempt Kerioke either without SEVERAL drinks!

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  20. This is fantastic. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

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  21. I LOVE this post. How creative, instead of telling us all the things you're good at, you've told us the things you suck at. That's brave, and it makes for a fun post which we can all identify with. Well done!

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    1. Thank you, Shirley. It was a fun post to write!

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  22. I am right there with you on all the even numbered ones. I too wish for adult Garanimals! I live in awe of people who can throw an outfit together. Also congrats on your article being picked up by all those mags. Wow!

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    1. Thank you! I think we should petition Garanimals to invent an adult line!

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  23. It warms my heart to read that there is another human in this world who is bad at returning phone calls! I, too, hate to get stuck on the phone for longer than about 5 minutes. Phones are a boon to mankind, but so are emails and texting!

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    1. I prefer texting over everything because I can keep it short and sweet!

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  24. My name could be at the end of this list since I can totally relate to these! I HATE talking on the phone and prefer to text, I take many many hours in the grocery store going aisle by aisle to make sure I don't miss anything, then I am exhausted and can't put the food away once I get home. That's great about your singing career minus the contraction that foiled your note! I bet you still have a gorgeous voice, Marcia. Congrats on all you accolades. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I still love to sing---but I usually do it in the shower or even the car---which drives my husband nuts, ha-ha!

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  25. Thy should create a new category of humor for you. How do you even?

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  26. Google cars should help solve your driving dilemma Marcia. I've discovered "Stitch Fix" as an answer to shopping/fashion phobia and have consequently added a splash of color to my black outfits. I love to grocery shop but freak out over dinner parties, so I attend them rather than host them. And my criteria for friendship includes 'ability to text and never call me.' Haha! Love you list.

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    1. You and I are DEFINITELY on the same page!!

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  27. I had been a cook all my life, so no big disasters :) But now I learn to cook enough than making huge batches for potlucks. Even then, I am the one who brings lot of food :D
    I was laughing hard at your 8 things. I hate to take left turns with the yield on green signal. I do that thing in the grocery shopping. I would go only to get a bunch of green chilis but end up buying all the fancy noodles and spices..Happy New Year Mama!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, and thank you for stopping by for a read!

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  28. Loved your list of 8. Congrats on being picked up by so many incredible magazines. Inion has always called Cosmo her Bible. She flipped when I told her your post was in there and declared you the Disciple Meno Mama. lol ;) Sharing this post now!! xo

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  29. Great list. I can relate to a few of them, especially the compliment one. I do love to talk on the phone instead of text. I'm in the minority, but I'm on the computer so much with writing and blogging that I don't want to type anything else. Congrats on all your shares!

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    1. Thanks! Hey, I know a few people who still prefer to talk vs text. That's good, too!

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  30. YEah, this list is great. I think mine would be much bigger than yours.

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    1. Hahahaha! When you write that post, let me know--I'd love to read it!

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  31. One thing you're really good at...making people laugh out loud!

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