Fried Chicken or Bust!!!
If you were still alive, you would be coming home to find a herd of 50 or so scared and panicking goats loose and roaming the streets a block away from our house. There were a few emails from the neighborhood group flying around trying to find the owners of these goats. I almost wanted to go out and see them, but I know what you would say, “SY, it’s after 10pm. Don’t go outside by yourself!” I don’t know how anyone would not notice if their herd of 50-something goats were missing. Okay, I know I never notice if one of the animals goes missing because they escaped or I accidentally locked them up in a room or closet. In my defense, we only have 5 so when one is missing, it’s not as obvious! But, you would notice if one of the animals was missing. It's like you have a radar for these things. “Sy, I haven’t seen Jesse in an hour, he’s probably outside. Did you accidentally let him out?!” “No I didn’t! Why are you always blaming me when Jesse goes missing?!” “Because you never pay attention when you open the door and he always gets out on your watch!” Then, we would hear Jesse meowing outside, wanting to get back in! I don’t know how you are always so alert, but there have been times where I lock up one of the cats for hours or even a day without even knowing they are missing! (I know, I’m such a great parent! That’s probably why nobody trusts me with their kids!!”) 😂😆 The other day, I locked Bam Bam in the guest room when I took a suitcase to put in the guest closet. In my defense, it was dark and I didn't turn on a light, I didn't even know Bam Bam went into the room with me. I know, he follows me everywhere, he's my tail or shadow like you said! I should have known better. At least he will bang on the door; the cats just meow quietly and since I'm hard of hearing, I can't hear anything, so they get trapped for a long time!!
Today, I woke up sad that I haven’t had your fried chicken with mac and cheese in a long time (too long for my liking). When I go grocery shopping, I would get you ingredients for what I want you to cook for dinner when it was your turn to cook. You hated it when I did this. You felt like I was dictating what you should cook, and you never liked being told what to do. You preferred to decide on your own what you would cook for dinner. “SY, what if I don’t feel like fried chicken on Tuesday? What if I want to eat something else?” “You can’t tell me what you think I should cook for dinner!?! You can’t demand that I cook fried chicken on Tuesday!” “But Babe, I’m trying to save you a trip to the grocery store.” "SY, you know I prefer to buy my own ingredients when I cook. I'll go to the grocery store myself when it's my turn to cook. You don't need to buy my groceries for me. And, don't demand what I should cook!"! I never told you this, but honestly, my ultimate goal in life is for you to never ever go to the grocery store. Whenever you went grocery shopping, you come home with 3 bags of grocery for one meal. (I buy two bags of grocery for the entire week!!) Half a bag will be ingredients for the one meal you plan to cook while the remaining 2 ½ bags of grocery will be full of hostess cupcakes, cookies, sour patch kids, ice cream, sweets, soda, and whatever else I tell you to stop eating (you know, so you can live a long life and I can annoy you forever). But, whenever I asked you want you want to cook when I go grocery shopping, you would always say, “I don’t know. Monday is 2 days away, you know I don’t think that far in advance!” Which of course frustrates me because I meal plan and put together a menu for the entire week and go to the grocery store with a shopping list that I hardly deviate from. I also like to use all the ingredients I buy to make multiple meals so there’s not a lot of waste. You would buy 50 pounds of cheese to make mac and cheese one time! (I hate food waste. I don’t like throwing away food, so I would say to you, “There are people starving in third world countries and we are throwing away food!! I guess you didn’t have parents that grew up in war and famine like mine did!!” You never seemed to care enough to make sure you used up all the ingredients you would buy!!)
Also, you were also very specific about your ingredients. If I got one thing wrong, it was like the world just ended, and I don’t get fried chicken or mac and cheese or tacos or fettuccine. You would come find me and wave the incorrect ingredient in front of me and say, “SY, how can I mac and cheese with this cheese you bought? ” “But Babe, the store ran out of shredded cheddar cheese, so I got slice cheese. It all melts the same way!!” “SY, I can’t make mac and cheese with slice cheese!!” “OMG Babe, it’s the same type of cheese--just in a different format!!” "SY, I'm not making my mac and cheese with slice cheese, that's just not going to happen!!" “SY, where’s the heavy whipping cream for the fettucine sauce?” “Oh, I forgot, you can use milk!” “SY, I can’t make fettuccine sauce with milk, it won’t taste good!!” “It’s fine, it’ll be healthier anyways!” "SY, I'm not making fettuccine sauce with milk!" So, if the ingredient wasn’t to your liking, you wouldn’t cook or you would go buy the specific ingredient in the middle of cooking and come home with 3 bags of groceries when all you needed was one thing!
But if I wanted fried chicken, I would literally have to beg and plead for days before you would make it. I think you liked it when I groveled for your fried chicken. I would have to say, “Babe, I’m craving your amazing fried chicken. I already bought you the chicken and I put in on the menu for Tuesday!! Can you pretty please make me some fried chicken?! I would appreciate it so much. You’d be the best husband if you would make fried chicken for dinner on Tuesday!!” You would always make fried chicken when I asked, but you would always give me a really hard time until you make it. I would literally have to put my hands together and shake them in front of you like I was begging (I’m surprised you didn’t make me kneel down also!).
I’ve been thinking about all the meals you're good at cooking that I don’t cook well. You are really good at cooking things that require a lot of time and patience like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and fettuccine. I’m good at cooking meals that are quick and fast or something that I can stick in an oven, instant pot, or dutch oven. I don’t have the temperment to stand and deep fry chicken piece by piece and slowly stir a small pot of cheese until it melts perfectly in diary. I usually burn the chicken because I forget about it or I lose patience incessantly stirring a pot of cheese in diary on low heat. Usually when I make mac and cheese, I would stuff it in the oven, but when you cook mac and cheese, it’s over the stovetop on low heat! Don’t get me wrong, your mac and cheese is amazingly delicious but I just don’t have the patience for it!! But, what I’ve come to realize is that my new reality needs to have your fried chicken with mac and cheese and shrimp fettuccine. So, I will have to learn to find some patience and start cooking these things on my own (hopefully, I can master these dishes like you did). I will have to figure out your recipes (I would watch you sometimes), so I kinda know how you made them and what ingredients you used. But most of the time, I was never allowed in the kitchen while you were cooking. You didn’t like me ‘backseating cooking’! “SY, you do it your way, I do it my way. I don’t come in the kitchen when you are cooking and tell you how to cook. So, get out of the kitchen or else I will stop cooking and you will have nothing to eat!!”
P.S. Your Beats headphones works really well!! You bought them the Saturday before you passed. You didn’t even open the box before you passed. I was going to return them, but I decided it was the last thing you purchased before you passed, so I should keep them. It took me a couple of months after you passed before I could open the box and started using them! Just in time because my headphones at work is on its last leg! But I think I’m going to get a different pair for work, I don’t want someone to steal these and I want them at home so I can use them when I write you letters.
P.S.S. Pebbles has a new favorite spot in the backyard. She hops over the fence and lays on the hillside and sunbathes next to our neighbor's house on the left side (yes, my ‘new BFF’ that tells me all the neighborhood gossip!!) Whenever I call her name, she would perk up and her head would pop up over the fence, and she would give me that ‘why are you disturbing my sunbathing time, Mama!?! What do you want’ look.
P.S.S.S. I didn't realize there were so many different types of lightbulbs. I keep buying the wrong replacement bulbs (some lights in the same area are white and amber now, this would drive you insane if you were still alive!), and none of the step stools you've bought throughout the years and strategically placed throughout the house are tall enough for me to reach any of the light fixtures to change out the bulbs. So, YA has been the designated light bulb changer (and KT one time when he was over. I told YA I could change those bulbs myself since I could stand on the bathroom counter to reach. I didn't want him to think I was that helpless!! But, when KT was over, I figure it would be 100 times easier for him than me. I would need to get a step stool just to climb on the bathroom counter and then figure out how to remove the light fixture. And, knowing me, I would probably fall off the bathroom counter and break something! That's why you never let me do anything that required a lot of coordination (or you would supervise me like a hawk if I resisted) and all the step stools are really low. I would trip over myself while walking in tennis shoes on a perfectly paved road!)
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.