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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, January 21, 2022

A funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen.

The day started off slowly, some residual calm left over from yesterday’s word. With my objectives laid out and everything going quite well, I decided to pop a quiche into the oven for lunch. This time, I wanted salmon, goat cheese, onions and dill. I’ve made it before, and it’s quite yummy, and pretty simple. I even had the foresight to take the crust out of the freezer and let it thaw a bit before trying to roll it.

At a natural break in my morning, with the to-do list being crossed off thusly, I started slicing onions and cracking eggs.

But… ugh. I forgot that I started liking to blind bake my crust. I’ve never done it before, but recently I tried it and it was so much better. So I preheated the oven and started to roll out dough.

But… ugh. I forgot that I’m using regular salmon, not smoked salmon this time, so I needed to cook it first. I heated a cast iron pan and continued rolling dough.

But… ugh. I tried to cut a corner and roll without flour, and that wasn’t working, so I pulled out the flour. Then balanced the pie plate on top of the container because I was already out of counter space, what with eggs and dill and onions and other things.

If you’re seeing a bent toward disaster, you’re not wrong. But I bet it’s not what you think.

I decided to use almond milk instead of cream because the scale did not say nice things to me this morning and I wanted to be a bit healthier. So I took out the container and put it next to the bowl of eggs.

But… ugh. I took out the feta instead of the goat cheese so had to go dig that out of the refrigerator.

All systems go. Almost ready to pour it all in the pie plate.

I picked up the container of almond milk and gave it a good shake, because you have to, or it will be a lot of water on top with a lot of muck at the bottom.

But… ugh.

And quite possibly even !!!!

And definitely %%#^@!%!$)# >: >: >: >:

Apparently I had already unscrewed the cap so when I picked up the container to shake it, almond milk spewed everywhere across the kitchen. On the floor. On the garbage pail. On my face and clothes.

Do you ever do something so stupid that it doesn’t even seem believable, like if only you could blink the milk out of your eyeballs you’d see that it was all a misunderstanding? And none of it would have happened?

It happened.

And for a split second all of the slow and all of the still and all of the anything but blood red rage seeped out of my bones.

It took me a minute.

Then I poured what was left of the milk into a measuring cup and starting washing the entire kitchen down. I couldn’t, for the life of me, find the cap for the container, but since it had emptied out anyway I figured it didn’t much matter. It would turn up under the stove one day, or not.

When we were kids, there was one time when we were doing something so aggravating that my mother got really mad. If you don’t know my mother, I’ll tell you that she is incredibly slow to anger. I have almost never seen her lose her temper, or heard her raise her voice. Some days I think she is a saint. Some days I think she is just in a stupor from having to deal with all of us.

Whatever shenanigans we were up to, I have no idea. But what I do remember, is that my mother was holding a plastic cup of milk at the time. And we incensed her so much that she lost her temper on truly one of the only occasions I can recollect, and slammed the cup of milk down on the table so hard that it shot out like a milk cannon right back into her face.

And there she was, angry-mom, this mom we didn’t know, dripping with milk and with a furious frown on her face. And we were terrified, not least because if mom didn’t kill us, then trying not to laugh would.

You know how one second can seem to stretch into taffy and take up the whole universe? That’s the kind of second that followed, and then my mother started laughing, and we all started laughing, as much in hysteria as in relief, and we laughed ourselves right into 40 years later.

To this day it’s one of those family stories you try to tell, but can’t really get the words out because you and mom are still cracking up about the whole thing.

Sort of like the time my dad rolled up the car window but forgot to pull his head in when he did… but I’ll save that for another day.

As I stood sopping and glowering, that story flew into my head and as angry as I wanted to be, I started to laugh.

And thus, today’s word was born: humor.

You have to have a sense of humor about life, especially the stupid parts and the angry parts and the inconsequential parts. If you don’t, you die. Maybe you still walk the earth, but something inside you wilts and falls off the vine.

Nothing improved after that. But at least it was funny.

There was too much filling for the quiche but I poured it in anyway, and slid the sloshing plate into the oven. No sooner had I closed the door than I turned around and there was the pile of onions. I had forgotten to mix them in. So I opened the oven and slid the rack out ever so slowly and carefully, but what does that matter? Liquid poured over the edge and down the inside of the door and onto the floor of the oven where it fused with the cookie dough from last weekend.

Then the quiche decided not to set, I suspect because I put the rack in the wrong place after taking it out to wipe off the cookie dough. It took two hours before it resembled anything like a quiche and not salmon soup.

For lunch I had not-quiche and salad. Which left me very hungry for dinner, when I finally enjoyed the fruits of my labor. It was delicious.

Mom always taught us that it’s not nice to laugh at other people. But it’s always wise to laugh at yourself.

I did my best to keep a sense of humor throughout it all, whatever the rest of the day dealt. It worked sometimes. It didn’t work others. When it didn’t work, I just sighed and said, “One day this will be funny…”

It usually is.

Oh, and I found the cap to the almond milk!

It was baked right into the middle of my quiche.

Photo: the infamous, if delicious, salmon quiche.