Vampire moment

I. Smell. Garlic. This morning I woke up to the overwhelming smell of garlic. Yet, we didn't eat any. Nor did I cook with any. And we were nowhere near an Olive Garden. So either I watched too many vampire shows over the weekend or I am about to get a huge migraine. Usually smells that don't exist and no one else can detect signal a migraine. In the past I smelled cigarette smoke, even though no one around me smokes. Could an image of a head stuffed with garlic from the brand new Dracula show made such an imprint on my subconscious that it now manifests itself in a phantom garlic smell? Maybe if I scrub the kitchen I'll find the smell. I'm not in a mood for a migraine. A friend commented last night that there is an unpleasant moon phase, making all the crazies some out. Perhaps it's making me smell garlic as well. I even administered my sinus spray meds that are scented with lavender but all I got in the end was a runny nose and a scent of lavender with a hint of garlic.

Just returned from scrubbing the kitchen and found no rogue garlic laying around. So this is definitely a migraine rolling in. Now, if I could just survive past Danny's dental visit then I can turn into a zombie as soon as we get home and Danny could play lazy monster. Perhaps if I close my eyes for a moment... Aha... And there is that head in a box stuffed with garlic... I'm blaming Jonathan Rhys Meyers for this one.

To Bridget Jones, Thanks for Everything, KB

7:35 am. Moving back the alarm clock might be actually working because I am slightly ahead of schedule. Go to drag Danny out of bed. Literally. As he is still asleep when I pick him up and his feet are dragging along the edge of the bed. If he gains one more pound my back will go.

7:40 am. Bzzzzzzzzzzz! Is that Danny's electric toothbrush? Is he brushing his teeth before breakfast like I asked him to yesterday morning? I am the perfect mother, my kid listened to me! Brilliant!

7:42 am. Attempt at perfect mother morning ruined as Danny accidentally drops his plate on the floor and is now crying over spilled breakfast.
"Oh, Honey, it's OK. I'll make you another one. We don't cry over spilled food, it's OK!" I console him, while attempting to bite back my tears over now ruined carpet that I just had shampooed.
Make him new breakfast and try to clean the carpet while finishing breakfast yogurt.

8:15 am. Finally in the shower and no one is busting in with meaningless problems. Am at peace.

8:30 am. Decide to skip blow drying hair and look for a hat instead. Realize that we might actually leave the house with time to spare because Danny finished his breakfast and is completely dressed. Am the perfect mother again.

8:59 am. A minute before the bell rings, I remind Danny that when he goes out for recess he has to have his hat and scarf and coat on.
"Yeah, like I did yesterday!" he replies. Am I starting to repeat myself?

9:00 am. I watch the class line file into school and I bolt for the car. In the 3 minutes it takes me to drive home decide that I have plenty of time to make gravy* before I have to go back to pick Danny up. I check the recipe and total time is 3 hours. I calculate in my head: time for breakfast tea, then off to TJs to get everything I need, skip the drycleaners since everyone has new clothes they can wear... Plenty of time!

11:00 am. Right. Cart is full of large cans of tomatoes, the imported kind not domestic, and olive oil among other bits. I now know why my Italian friends' pantries are full of enormous cans of whole plum tomatoes – it's all for gravy. As the cashier scans the numerous cans of tomatoes, complementing me on the right choice of brand, she asks if I am going to use a food mill or a boat motor to process these. F**k! Have none, don't have time to buy any, and the only person that has both is at work. "Oh, food mill is the only way to go!" I reply after a slight pause. Drive home and get out my food processor. This might be my first and last time making gravy.

11:30 am. Oh bugger! Just sprayed myself right in the face with tomato juice! Bugger, bugger!

12:36 pm. Kitchen and myself are completely covered in tomatoes. But my French pot is full of delicious-looking and slowly bubbling gravy. Didn't have enough time to razor slice the garlic, next time when I am not on a clock. Quickly do the math and the gravy will be done before I have to leave for pick-up. Start scrubbing.

3:45 pm. Back home from pick-up and attempting to defrost my bottom after standing in the wind for 10 minutes waiting for the kids to come out. Looks like there is no lice or pink eye letters sent home and there is also homework tonight, which is a relief because we have CCD in 45 minutes. Am a perfect mother once again because I talk Danny into squeezing his piano practice before CCD and he totally agrees. Peek at the resting gravy, deliciously deep red and smells like tomatoes.

6:15 pm. Why does CCD have to be an hour and 15 minutes long? Kids poop out after 45 minutes. And I am starving. Danny complained that his knees hurt after kneeling for a rosary. Stopped myself from telling him that Catholicism is not a religion for wussies. As we are about to pull into the garage, Avicii comes on the radio and Danny asks if we could sit in the car and listen. I tell him I have it at home and will put it on as soon as we get in. He asks me to loop it.

6:16 pm. Oh bloody hell, how does one loop on this bloody iPod?

7:04 pm. Just realized I made enough gravy to last us a year. Right.

7:10 pm. Kid is fed, and is jamming upstairs to my iPod while drawing. 50 minutes away from Modern Family.

7:14 pm. Times repeated "socks or slippers" today so far 7. Make it 8.

7:19 pm. Post blog and then return self to the new Bridget Jones book. Tell self not to forget divide out the gravy to freeze. Find a bottle of wine.

*Gravy – aka pasta sauce to those who is not Italian or does not hang out in Italian kitchens. 

Morning Adventure

This morning, feeling very awake despite the hour, I decided to surprise my husband and hang some pictures in The Lounge (aka the basement) after my workout. As I treadmilled along, and with eyes on dashing Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, I planned out where things would go. Once my workout was wrapped up, I bounced over to the utility room in search of a hammer. I opened the bifold doors and got hit in the nose with a wrenching smell of some sort of gas. I stood next tom my water heater and started smelling every single pipe. I couldn't find the source but what I got was an instant headache. I relocated my precious self upstairs and pondered who to call. Non-emergency fire department sounded like a good plan. As soon as words: "I smell something and I think it's gas" left my lips I was ordered to vacate and wait for the fire department. I figured they'd send out an engine and won't even bother to suit up. But as I paced up and down the sidewalk I heard sirens wailing in the distance. And they were getting close. "Oh, no!" I thought, "they're all coming!"

Batavia fire department response time was five minutes, which I think it pretty awesome. I got a fire engine, an ambulance, and a captain that showed up in a separate car and parked in my neighbor's driveway. Two very large guys, one very young and one in mid-50s, climbed out of the truck in full gear, carrying a bright red device which I decided was a gas detecting thingy. I told them what I thought it was ("I was working out, then I went to the utility room which is enclosed to get a hammer..." which got me a raised eyebrow in response and I'm sure it was the word hammer that arose suspicion) and where to go and they disappeared inside my house. After a couple of minutes there was commotion on the radio and the ambulance took off. I stood on the sidewalk waiting for the firemen to emerge. They were gone for quite a while, I was starting to think that perhaps they pulled up a chair to the bar and had a pint while they were at it. Wouldn't blame them.

They finally emerged and the bigger older guy told me that they checked everything out but didn't find anything and their finely-tuned noses didn't smell any gas. I asked if it could be sewage since there is an ejector pump in the same area. "Let's go down there and check it out! We're not leaving until we know you feel comfortable and OK." The fireman then asked permission to put his helmet on the kitchen table and took off his huge coat before going back down the basement with me. I've never seen their gear up close, it's a lot larger than one would imagine and I am now convinced that on TV they wear slimmed down versions to make them look less bulky.

On the way down the stairs I got a complement: "I like your basement, all my favorite movies on the walls and Ireland." (Godfather, Oceans 11 and 12, Bond... huge vintage map of Ireland and an Irish flag). I told him that my husband was South Side Irish with lot of cops and firemen in the family, which scored even more points because this fireman was also from the South Side and his father was a cop. He barely squeezed into the utility room (note to self: clean utility room so firemen can get in and out without getting stuck) and we sniffed around some more. After explaining the ins and outs of my house's plumbing, we settled on the non-threatening sewer gas possibly escaping from the ejector pit. I was advised to seal around the pipe and the fireman squeezed himself back out. On the way up the stairs, a poster for The Producers play caught his attention (they don't miss anything, do they?). He shared that he recently saw the movie and I shared how we've seen the play and laughed so hard that I fell off my chair, and that when we had out pre-theater dinner we dined at a table next to Mell Brooks and Anne Bancroft).

I was left with an advice to always call 911 if I felt that something wasn't right, that they rather come out to tell me its nothing. I went back into the house and wrapped a rag around the sewer pipe to "seal" it until I figure something else out. I have a feeling a call to the plumber might be coming next. The pictures will have to wait though, I'm not in the mood to be looking for the hammer again.

Although I bet the hammer is in the laundry room on the first floor.