Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Forethought: A Cautionary Tale



Below is the post I wrote yesterday, when my house was clean and I had a 6 lb. brisket braising in the oven. Keep reading to find out what happened next.

The secret to peace, happiness, and familial content is forethought. It took me over a decade to figure this out. If you can anticipate and prepare for what lies ahead, you can make it easier, better, and more relaxing.
Let me explain.

If I pack the lunches tonight, check to see if gym shoes are in the backpacks, uniforms are clean, there is some form of breakfast available (which might range from PW's egg-in-the-hole to leftover birthday cake and a glass of milk), and the car has some gas, tomorrow morning will go more smoothly. Of course, I can't anticipate the ice storm we may or may not get and the extra time it will take to chisel off the windshields. But I can have my pot of tea ready to be iced tonight.


If I plan a week's meals before I go to the grocery store, and not while I'm standing in front of the meat counter at Costco, we will eat well. I might get out of there without bankruptcy, and I may not need to run to the store every evening between 4 and 5 pm, which is always when everybody else is running to the store.


If I make the trek to the basement freezer tonight, to get the frozen chicken out for tomorrow, we might have dinner at a normal time. Which means that we might have time to do the dishes, as a family. And then we might have time to say evening prayer, as a family. If I remember to go to the freezer tonight.


Forethought. It sounds easy. The difficulty is you have to practice it all the time. You can never sit back and think, "There. That takes care of everything." Last I checked, people are at this very moment wearing clothes and getting them dirty, using the toiletries, and eating all of the groceries. That's ok, because I've planned for that.


Well, the recipe I was using for brisket is pretty good, but I had neglected to account for the fact that I was using a larger roast than called for. Also, I should have realized that the direction, "Put in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 4 hours, until fork tender." was a recipe for disaster.

We cook in a time warp. Banana bread can take up to 2 hours, but brownies can be done in 10 minutes. I put the brisket in the oven at 3pm.

At 6:45pm, The Chef began slicing the 4lb. salami I had gotten him for Christmas, and I consumed most of a delicious wedge of Fontina that I had been saving for a special occasion.

At 7:30pm, the children, still hungry after a massive cheese, salami, and cracker course, heated up plates of leftovers.

At 8pm, the brisket was indeed fork tender. It will be served tonight.

At 9:30 pm, it had cooled enough to be put back in the refrigerator from whence it came.

No one did any dinner dishes. No one packed any lunches. No one got the frozen chicken out the basement. There was no evening prayer.

This morning at 7:30am, which is departure time for Lucy and Edmund, Edmund was running around with one shoe.

We own four school sweatshirts. Three are missing. One is on Lucy. It is nine degrees today. Edmund is wearing a short sleeve uniform polo under his coat.

I have to go do the dinner dishes now.

2 comments:

  1. Ah, yes...you know what they say about the best-laid plans!
    A friend just introduced me to your blog; I'm a Catholic mom and children's book reader, too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great! I'd love to hear your suggestions. Do you read Young Adult? Picture books? Everything in between? What's your pleasure?

    ReplyDelete

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Forethought: A Cautionary Tale



Below is the post I wrote yesterday, when my house was clean and I had a 6 lb. brisket braising in the oven. Keep reading to find out what happened next.

The secret to peace, happiness, and familial content is forethought. It took me over a decade to figure this out. If you can anticipate and prepare for what lies ahead, you can make it easier, better, and more relaxing.
Let me explain.

If I pack the lunches tonight, check to see if gym shoes are in the backpacks, uniforms are clean, there is some form of breakfast available (which might range from PW's egg-in-the-hole to leftover birthday cake and a glass of milk), and the car has some gas, tomorrow morning will go more smoothly. Of course, I can't anticipate the ice storm we may or may not get and the extra time it will take to chisel off the windshields. But I can have my pot of tea ready to be iced tonight.


If I plan a week's meals before I go to the grocery store, and not while I'm standing in front of the meat counter at Costco, we will eat well. I might get out of there without bankruptcy, and I may not need to run to the store every evening between 4 and 5 pm, which is always when everybody else is running to the store.


If I make the trek to the basement freezer tonight, to get the frozen chicken out for tomorrow, we might have dinner at a normal time. Which means that we might have time to do the dishes, as a family. And then we might have time to say evening prayer, as a family. If I remember to go to the freezer tonight.


Forethought. It sounds easy. The difficulty is you have to practice it all the time. You can never sit back and think, "There. That takes care of everything." Last I checked, people are at this very moment wearing clothes and getting them dirty, using the toiletries, and eating all of the groceries. That's ok, because I've planned for that.


Well, the recipe I was using for brisket is pretty good, but I had neglected to account for the fact that I was using a larger roast than called for. Also, I should have realized that the direction, "Put in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 4 hours, until fork tender." was a recipe for disaster.

We cook in a time warp. Banana bread can take up to 2 hours, but brownies can be done in 10 minutes. I put the brisket in the oven at 3pm.

At 6:45pm, The Chef began slicing the 4lb. salami I had gotten him for Christmas, and I consumed most of a delicious wedge of Fontina that I had been saving for a special occasion.

At 7:30pm, the children, still hungry after a massive cheese, salami, and cracker course, heated up plates of leftovers.

At 8pm, the brisket was indeed fork tender. It will be served tonight.

At 9:30 pm, it had cooled enough to be put back in the refrigerator from whence it came.

No one did any dinner dishes. No one packed any lunches. No one got the frozen chicken out the basement. There was no evening prayer.

This morning at 7:30am, which is departure time for Lucy and Edmund, Edmund was running around with one shoe.

We own four school sweatshirts. Three are missing. One is on Lucy. It is nine degrees today. Edmund is wearing a short sleeve uniform polo under his coat.

I have to go do the dinner dishes now.

2 comments:

  1. Ah, yes...you know what they say about the best-laid plans!
    A friend just introduced me to your blog; I'm a Catholic mom and children's book reader, too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great! I'd love to hear your suggestions. Do you read Young Adult? Picture books? Everything in between? What's your pleasure?

    ReplyDelete