At My Kitchen Table: Default Menu

While I wouldn’t claim to be the worst convalescent in the world, I’m certainly a very bad one. Instead of sitting quietly, reading away, doing nothing more strenuous than writing the occasional blog entry, I have been reorganizing my entire life. Stop drinking a gallon of martinis a day, and you’ll probably start reorganizing things, too. Most of the reorganization hasn’t required any heavy lifting, but…

I don’t want to think about that. My head is still erect and, if my shoulders hurt a little, they ought to. I took it much easier today than I did yesterday, which I took much easier than I did Friday – on which day I was idleness itself compared to Thursday. On Thursday, I learned how to do the podcast thingy, and that was so exciting that I had to move the Steinway grand from the blue room to the living room….

I exaggerate; there is no Steinway grand. But I did find an electronic keyboard tucked away behind some draperies. Two years ago, at least, I promised this unused article to some friends of friends who were thinking of buying one for their little boy, who is undoubtedly in law school by now. It was very embarrassing, not being able to find the keyboard where I thought I’d put it. I also found a portrait of me painted by an artist whom we used to know. It is a fiercely expressionistic work – my beard is a sort of creamy teal, while my face is painted the same red as my flannel shirt – but we find it a good likeness (a gallon of martinis per diem will do that to your flannel shirts). We really don’t have anywhere to hang the picture, and I don’t know what to do with it. But it’s not going back behind the draperies. One of my many new mottoes is: No Hidden Assets.

It was my intention to share a risotto recipe with you this evening, but what with one thing another… the day went so quickly. There were the weekend papers to read, and a novel to finish, and a long walk to take (Kathleen estimates it at two miles). Then there was dinner to make. My default, brain-dead menu: roast chicken, some sort of pasta with butter and parmesan, and a vegetable, in tonight’s case deliciously overcooked asparagus. For once, I said “to hell with the al dente school of asparagus,” and I let the tips steam for as long as the elbow macaroni took to boil, seven minutes. That’s much too long, according to current fashions, but it was just what we wanted. We got all the crunch anybody could ask for from the sinfully crispy chicken skin.

While I was in hospital, the beautiful bead chain that Kathleen made some time back for my reading glasses got caught in the neck brace and broke. The beads spilled everywhere, but we recovered most of them; some, I’m embarrassed to say, from the folds of my body. (I’d never have known they were there, but Fossil Darling was giving me an assist in the bathroom. This was shortly after he considered knifing me; see below.) I have become fatally dependent not only upon reading glasses but upon the chain from which they hang when I don’t need them, which is most of the time. For two days – I lost the store-bought backup at the movies on Friday; it was on its last legs, and I didn’t even miss it until I was on the IRT headed north from Union Square – I’ve been taking off the reading glasses and – dropping them on the floor! Not to mention looking all over the apartment for them.

Tomorrow, Columbus Day, is a local, New York holiday. Kathleen’s firm, headquartered in Chicago, does not recognize it, but she’s taking the day off anyway. Fossil Darling, who has the day off anyway – he works for a a well-known umbrella firm – will be junketing to the neighborhood for a haircut. We’re planning a penitential luncheon afterward, which should be very jolly for all the souls in Purgatory whom we’ll be speeding heaven-ward. Maybe someone will take pictures – if the crime scene is sufficiently gory. If she could read this (and who’s to say she can’t, FD’s sainted, late mother would be clucking, not for the first time in forty-four years, “Oh, you two!”

One Response to “At My Kitchen Table: Default Menu”

  1. Yvonne says:

    R J, this post was such a pleasure to read…like settling in with a generous letter from a witty friend. Delicious.

    Your “default, brain-dead menu” is roasted chicken with sinfully crispy skin, pasta and asparagus? Yowza! (Ours is, um, cereal.)

    Have yourself a merry little Columbus Day!