Monday, February 19, 2024

On a scale of one to ten...

I will write about our evening out soon! In the meantime, while we have all tested "negative" from COVID-19 and have been improving, we have not been having a fun time at our house. For whatever reason, both Andrew and I developed a post-COVID cough, and it's a doozy. It's possible Zoë and Phoebe have the same cough, but theirs isn't as bad. This cough is seriously no fun. 

And it's not like I didn't have a cough when I was sick with COVID. Because I did! 

I coughed so hard—I kid you not!—I pulled a muscle in my back (or something...must be getting old). I could hardly bend or twist and coughing was so painful! But I got over that cough. And my nose stopped being stuffy. And my back started to feel better. And I tested negative for COVID...and then I developed another nasty—and very productive (medically speaking)—cough. 

I am so tired of coughing. 

But I didn't start writing to least...not about coughing. 

I've been doing a lot of the cooking in February. Or helping the little kids cook. And even the meals I haven't cooked haven't been spectacular (I'm not known for my spectacular meals). We've had pancakes (more than once), porridge night, hashed browns and scrambled eggs, egg-in-a-hole, spaghetti noodles (more than once). You can tell we've leaned heavily into breakfast foods (easy meals). 

Andrew ordered pizza the night he and Rachel went to Hamilton. And I think he made cream of wheat for himself and the kids one night when I was sleeping instead of having dinner. But other than that, he hasn't really been cooking. 

And that's on him

This week in spite of his lingering cough, he still went to campus to teach on Thursday (because he'd already missed the last two weeks, though one of those weeks he felt well enough—and had enough of a voice!—to teach online, so he really only missed one week—because he had no voice) and had to teach an all-day seminar on Friday. He knew his cough was leftover from COVID and that he had tested negative for several days by the end of this week (and he always wears a mask on campus and all his students knew he was out with COVID, so he asked them to also wear masks since he still had a cough, and a lot of them did), so he felt okay about going in with his cough...morally. 

Physically, however, Thursday and Friday really wiped him out...and those days weren't exactly a piece of cake for me, either! 

I can't even remember what I did for dinner on Thursday. Oh, yeah! Wait! I went out for dinner on Thursday—to Waffle House! That was the night Miriam and I went to Hamilton with Grandpa and Darla. So perhaps Thursday wasn't so bad. I even took a mid-afternoon power nap so I could stay up late. 

On Friday I decided to make chicken noodle soup—because of the lingering coughs at our house—but then changed my mind to chicken dumpling soup because we didn't have any noodles that I wanted to use in chicken noodle. Turns out we also didn't have any frozen chicken, so I used canned chicken (which wasn't terrible—no worse, really, than the chicken in canned chicken noodle soup (which I find disgusting, but which people still eat)). Then we also didn't have any baking powder, which is, like, a pantry staple! And our pantry is typically pretty well stocked so I don't even know what was going on!

I had to make baking powder before I could finish making the dumplings... 

There were so many very basic ingredients I needed for my recipe that I had to scramble for. It was a little ridiculous, but I got the soup cooking and it was ready soon after Andrew got home from campus. 

It. Tasted. Fine.

The little kids all ate outside on the back deck because they had some friends to sleep over—Benjamin and his friend slept in Benjamin's bushcraft shelter and Zoë and her friend (Benjamin's friend's little sister) slept on a tent on the back deck. Benjamin had like five helpings and his friend even asked if I would send the recipe to his mom so that she could make it for him later. So it can't have been that terrible.

Sure, Zoë and her friend didn't eat much, but they're both really picky eaters, so I was unsurprised.

Inside my soup wasn't very well received, either.

To be fair, Miriam thought it was good. Rachel was a fan of everything but the chicken and she said she thought the dumplings could have been better (and that perhaps real baking powder would have helped with that). Andrew doesn't like chicken under the best of circumstances so I didn't expect him to really enjoy this meal.

"The dumplings are...good," he said. "I've had a lot of dumplings."

"It's okay if you don't like it," I said.

"No, no," he said, trying to reassure me. "It's good. On a scale of one to ten it's...oh, no!"

The thing about Andrew is that he is...honest. He is so, so very honest. 

George Washington may not have said, "I cannot tell a lie," but that's a line Andrew could very truthfully use. He cannot tell a lie. He just can't.

"Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no," he repeated. 

"What is it?" I asked. "What is it on a scale of one to ten, exactly? How would you rate it?"

"It's a s... Oh, no!"

"What is it?" I asked.

"It's a....siiiiii...even. It's a seven. It's a six...point seven. It's easily a six or a seven. It's's fine. It's good. I'm eating the dumplings, okay?!"

I don't know if it's weaponized incompetence on my part. If it is, it's not really a conscious thing. I just really don't love cooking (and also have this strong urge to fill every meal with vegetables) and so people seem to enjoy Andrew's meals better.

When we first got married, I did most of the cooking. I'd grown up cooking meals. Andrew could hardly cook a thing! But he's spent the past several years learning how to cook really well (and has also expanded the number of vegetables he'll eat ten fold). So now he does most of the cooking and I have no complaints about that.


Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and found Andrew—obviously feeling much better—punching down a huge batch of dough in the kitchen.

"What'cha making?" I asked.

"Mmm...pretzels!" he announced, then sighed. "I just am ready for some actual food that's actually good."

"Oh, are you?" I asked, narrowing my eyes and cocking my head in mock confrontation. "You're ready for actual food that's actually good?"

"Oh, no!" he said. "I didn't mean that! I just meant...we've been having a lot of breakfast-for-dinner meals and I'm actually feeling well enough to make's good..."

"Because the food I make is...what? What? Tell me how you really feel..."

"On a scale of one to ten???" he offered.

"Oh, no!" we both laughed together.

Like I said, I'm fine if he prefers to cook.

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