Too Many Candles


Perhaps I should leave the cooking to this one...
Perhaps I should leave the cooking to this one…

I dreamed that I got lost in blowing snow, hopelessly and completely lost in a blinding snowstorm—while on a riding lawnmower in my backyard.

It was a dream to cap a week of domestic difficulty. First there were the frozen pizzas. Personally, I think it was a fairly sad statement that I had resorted to the backup frozen pizzas in the basement refrigerator for our dinner in the first place. But, what happened to them was truly inexcusable. I preheated the oven as directed, and placed the pizzas on the pizza stone. Then I sat down with my daughter for the night’s helping of homework. It wasn’t until my daughter got up for a bathroom break that I happened to wander into the kitchen. Then I smelled it, the unmistakable odor of carbonized pizza crust. A quick peek into the oven revealed two round discs, charred beyond recognition.

I called my husband: “Stop at Subway on your way home. We won’t be having frozen pizza for dinner.”

“What happened?”

“Something I never thought possible.”

This week I also shattered my favorite pasta dish: Shards of green ceramics all over the kitchen floor, sliding into the hallways and even underneath the door to the basement and halfway down the basement stairs. Startling even the ghosts among us in the early-morning, snow-damped quiet.

It wasn’t much of a dish as dishes go—not hand thrown from an artisan potter. Not purchased from a local vendor on my honeymoon or on holiday. It’s actually quite replaceable. I have other pasta bowls. More expensive ones given to us as wedding gifts and a few really nice hand thrown ones we’ve collected over the years. But this little green bowl was the one I always used.

I bought this simple serving dish along with two nice green ceramic coffee cups shortly after I had finished my PhD and moved to Sioux City, IA, to teach. I had no money. These items were purchased off the clearance tables at the ½-price store.

I have served many dinners in this dish. In recent years, it has become our tortellini dish, holder of a meal that we love and devour at our house. It has graced both the old and the new dining room table—bringing comfort food to both.

It was just a bowl, but I will miss the memories that it brought to mind every time I would reach for it.

In addition to breaking a favorite dish and burning frozen pizza I have also attempted to store ice cream in the refrigerator and set off fire alarms because the Spaghettios boiled over and left crud on the burner that started smoking.

Rarely do I make mistakes like this, and never do I have this many domestic disasters in short order. But when I do, I have learned that these kinds of events are my sign to slow down. Generally things like this are manifestations of a life lived too fast, too much multitasking, too many ends of too many candles burning simultaneously. So I am making a deliberate effort to slow down—to make a few snow angels as the temps warm a little, to take a few more walks, to sit where the sun streams through a window and read or write or knit or simply hug my daughter and my husband.

But no matter what, I assure you, I will not be getting on the riding lawnmower as long as there is even a remote chance that the snow might blow!

© 2014 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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