Even after trimming my blogging schedule to twice a week, I still don’t seem to have enough hours in the day. There’s the omnipresent wedding and honeymoon planning to be done, along with everyday time sinks like working and writing and sleeping. I’ve always hated sleeping. It just seems like such a wasteful enterprise, lying unconscious for eight to ten hours out of every day. In the past, I rarely slept more than three hours a night and I loved it. That was, of course, before I had a three-year-old in the house. Now it’s early to bed and early to rise, which – contrary to popular belief – does not make a boy healthy, wealthy and wise. It just makes him tired. For example:

These days, my alarm goes off at 5:30 am. I grumble incoherent phrases as I reluctantly toss back the covers and climb out of bed. After a brief pit stop in the bathroom, I shuffle zombie-like down the hall towards the kitchen. Once there, I shield my eyes from the hateful light that I’m forced to switch on, since I’ve never gotten around to having cybernetic night vision nanites injected into my corneas. And, since I usually sleep with my contacts in, my early morning vision of the kitchen is a haze-filled blur of nondescript shapes and curious knobs.

First, I start the coffee. If I plan ahead the night before, the grounds are already in the filter, clean water is in the reservoir, and the whole affair is reduced to flicking a simple power switch. If I don’t plan ahead, then I’m confronted with the unenviable task of starting the whole vicious process from step one, which calls for measuring coffee into the filter along with the delicate motor skills required to fill the pot with water and then successfully empty it into the microscopic intake area of Brittany’s fiendishly-designed coffee maker. It sounds simple when you’re awake, but my mind is nestled somewhere between vegetative and cro-magnon for at least half an hour after I get out of bed, and the damnable procedure often gets the better of me.

It’s the intolerably small reservoir that does it. Without the steady arm of a neurosurgeon along with the delicate hands of a five-year-old Korean girl, it’s virtually impossible to successfully pour water into the tiny plastic bastard. The reservoir is hidden beneath a lid located on top of the coffee maker that hides the infinitesimal horror of its diminutive intake area. For some reason, probably out humiliation and a sense of shame, the lid refuses to stay open long enough to allow one to both aim at the tiny hole and pour water into it. The whole monstrous contraption seems designed for someone who is the exact opposite of me: someone with tiny hands, who doesn’t have a problem grasping the teensy handle of the itty-bitty coffee pot with nimble fingers and preternatural dexterity. I’m just too damn big for it.

In fact, the coffee maker itself is so tiny, I don’t think it was intended for use by adults. Then again, since children don’t often drink coffee and since the hellish thing heats up to around a bazillion degrees Kelvin, I can only conclude that it was originally constructed as some sort of siege weapon for use by the armies of Lilliput in their ongoing campaign against Blefuscu. Leave a pot of coffee unattended on the thing’s hot plate for more than five minutes, and the resultant superheated sludge would make for a formidable projectile. When loaded into a pint-sized catapult, the Lilliputian army would be capable of hurling undulating balls of coffee-flavored tar directly into the Emperor’s throne room, thus ending the war via regicide by espresso. Brilliant!

After fighting the coffee maker and winning (or just giving up and letting Brittany handle it later), I turn my attentions towards breakfast. This is where things get dangerous, since my barely-awake body is about as dexterous as a drunken hippopotamus. I reach out for where I know the stove is, and I begin blindly turning various knobs until I hear the click-click-whoosh of a burner igniting. Praying I have the right one, I toss a pan onto its blue flame and throw in some butter. I then turn another suspicious, knob-shaped blob until I hear the same click-click-whoosh of another ignited burner, upon which I set a second pan. A little butter in the first, a little bacon in second, and I’m halfway to breakfast retirement. In the butter pan, I toss two slices of hearty, rustic bread and toast both sides to a golden, buttery brown. Since the smell of bacon tends to revive me in much the same way as a shot of adrenaline into a stopped heart, I’m usually fully awake by the time the bacon is done. After that, I crack a couple of eggs into the same pan, fry them sunny side up and congratulate myself on not having burned the house down.

Brittany and Trey come stumbling out of bed once the food is ready, and we all sit down to enjoy a nice, quick breakfast. After we’re done eating, Trey happily gets dressed (or unhappily, with drama) and he and Brittany pile into her car. I walk them out, give a few goodbye hugs and kisses, then I draw a couple of Mickey Mouse shapes onto Trey’s window and watch them drive off. I then go back inside, fully awake and ready to start the day!

Five seconds later, I’m asleep.

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Culinary Bonus Feature #1

Try this for dinner. Serve hot, with a few slices of a thick, rustic bread that you either make yourself or get from a good bakery. Your family will thank you for it and you, in turn, will thank me. Preferably with money.

Tomato Basil Bisque
tomatoes
tomato juice (not sauce or paste)
fresh basil
butter
heavy cream
garlic powder
salt
pepper

Peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes (four or five), then toss them into a pot and add the tomato juice. (Add a lot of it, it’ll cook down.) Simmer for a half-hour or so.

Add the basil leaves (around fifteen to twenty good-sized leaves), and puree the whole shebang until everything is a nice, even consistency.

Add the butter and slowly stir in the heavy cream. (A good general rule: one stick of butter and one cup of cream for every four cups of juice.)

Add a little garlic powder, then salt and pepper to taste.

 

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