--an essay by Emily
Well, for starters, I got up on Saturday and cleaned. Mmm, cleaning. I cleaned lots, largely due to my vacuum cleaner failing at its one function in life--sucking. Man, I had to sweep the crap off my carpet. I felt so un-domestic. I made up for it, though, by making a fabulous dinner. The menu was quiche (one lorraine and one spinach cheese), potato soup (yes, again. i call it a specialty, but really, it's easy and pretty much foolproof. unless you're out of parsley again...) salad and bread. I got rather a late start on the cooking, because my wonderful parents and younger sister came to visit a little earlier than planned. They distracted me with this, this being a penguin stuffed with my birthday gift. I asked for money towards a computer. Actually, I asked for a large wad of cash. And boy, did my parents come through. My mom went to the bank and obtained a large amount of ones, and stuffed them in a penguin. I'm going to go off on a tangent here and explain the Penguin Wars.
Years ago, Dadums mentioned to my Aunt Joan that he likes penguins. She jumped on it (you have to be very careful what you express and admiration for around this woman--momolla has quite the collection of tiny, decorative tea pots) and has spent years and years showering my father with penguin tchochkes. There are stuffed penguins. Glass penguins. Penguin Christmas ornaments. Penguin candy dishes. Penguins that sing and dance and light up. There are two penguins that perch on tiny led-lit ice cubes. Penguins that waddle and "poop" candy. There is a penguin "egg" that grows when you put it in water There are penguin bells. Penguin figurines. There are enough penguin things to fill a room or two with without having to try very hard.
And so, my parents decided that when I moved out, they should start my penguin collection. When I unpacked, I found all sorts of delightful penguins. The joke in our family is that "penguinski" is the Polish word for love and that by giving me penguins, my parents are showing their love. I have the singing, dancing penguin. I have a penguin candy dish and a bell and several figurines, including a penguin jumping jack. There is a penguin living on the windowsill in my shower. It's a tad disconcerting at first, but we've all grown to like him. He's friendly. And quiet. All good qualities in the companion of your morning shower. He is, in fact, the only penguin I like. When I show up at my parents' place, I am frisked for penguins. The favor is returned when they come up here. Dadums took back my copy of his car key because I used it to hide penguins in his car on a recent visit.
You can see how, when I opened my birthday gift from my beloved family, I was rather less than excited to see the penguin. The big, kind of shlumpy penguin. My outlook changed a little, when I found the "aftermarket" stuffing my demented, uh, clever family added. That's a whole lot of crumpled-up one dollar bills, and a bag of beautiful hand-dyed merino roving for me to play with. Thanks, guys. The good folks at the bank or the computer store won't be at all confused by that. And this, folks, is why I am so fond of my family.
Okay, tangent concluded. The whole re-disemboweling of the penguin, counting of the money, and hiding of the money took a while. But eventually the food was ready, just in time for Earth Hour. I even got Mike to participate, which was an unexpected bonus. We weren't sure he'd be willing to turn his computer off, but I cornered him in front of my family and Jim's. Ahh, peer pressure. There were lots and lots of candles, and it was so pleasant, we didn't rush to turn the lights back on at nine. Momolla brought me a cake from my favorite bakery back home, which was delicious and will make for great breakfast in the morning.
That was the best part of the weekend. Most of my family couldn't make it up last night for one reason or another, which was kind of a disappointment. It meant there were leftovers, though. And who doesn't like leftovers?
Today I worked a twelve-hour shift, which provided me with another reason to find a better job. On the bright side, Jim made dinner for his poor, tired, grimy woman. Chicken alfredo alla rotini. Sounds great, right? Especially for someone who doesn't cook? I'm not sure I'm allowed to share this, but Jim has a secret ingredient for the meal which makes it uniquely his own. In place of breaded or fried chicken parts, he uses all-white meat dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, cut into pieces and baked. At first, I didn't catch onto it, I was eating rather quickly. But when I came across what was undoubtedly part of a stegosaurus, I had to ask. My guess was confirmed, and instead of being really impressed, I was really, really amused. And this is why I love Jim--his creativity.
May the week be peaceful and calm for you all, and may the weekend get here quickly.