Friday, March 03, 2006

How I spent my first free Wednesday

I just went from five, eight-hour days to four ten-hour days at work. My first extra day-off was March 1st, Ash Wednesday and my sister’s birthday (who I still need to call).

The first part of the day was identical to any normal work-day: Vaishali drove off to work around the time I got out of bed. I got the girls up, gave them breakfast and helped them get ready for school. It was very cold out so I drove them all to the bus stop and saw the two elder ones onto the bus, then drove the mile to Jill’s house and dropped-off Jemma there. Normally, I would then continue on to work. This day, I just drove back home. I was home by about 9:00AM.

When I got home I began to sink into lethargy—a nap in the sunny patch in the middle of our bed enticed…I fought off the urge but still wasted a good hour reading the WSJ and working a soduko (curses on the grave of the inventor!). I broke the spell by making a fried-egg sandwich and washing it down with hot coffee and orange/pineapple juice.

It was now 10:00AM. I decided to revive a furniture project which had sat idle since last summer. A china hutch is complete except for sanding and finishing. I began to sand. For the next four hours I sanded, with the only interruptions being to relieve corners with the block plane or scrape-off bits of glue with a chisel. I did a once-over with 100 grit paper and only neglected the inside shelf—which was on the other side of the basement, forgotten.

I was covered in dust, it was 2:15, I had to pick-up the girls at the bus stop at 3:30 and I wanted to go for a run. I did a good 5 mile loop and made it to the bus stop 15 minutes early. (If I had been more ambitious, I would have showered before meeting the bus) Surenna, always solicitous of my feelings, pointed out later that I looked geeky dressed in black running pants, white running shoes, sweatshirt and gloves at the bus stop. She was probably right, but I was too hot to put on a coat, plus I wouldn’t want to get a coat all sweaty…

Once we got home, I enjoyed a long and hot shower: Really best to wait until after picking up the girls—I was fully cooled down and could take my time. After my shower and dressed in an un-geeky style, I set about making dinner, chicken pot-pies. First I Made the crust: Flour, butter, salt, and sugar were cut together and then three tablespoons of cold water gently added. I made the crust into a ball, put it into a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge. Next, I peeled and diced one large potato and put it on to boil. Then I finely diced one large onion and began to brown it over ghee and then added a few crushed garlic cloves to the onions. Next, I peeled a carrot, diced it and added it to the boiling potatoes—turned off the onions. My time was up: Time to go and get Jemma, back by 5:15.

The next stage was to prepare chicken. We had left-over roasted chicken, so all I had to do is separate bite sized pieces of meat from bone and skin. Once I had accumulated a respectable pile of meat into the cold onion pan, I threw a handful of frozen peas into the potato and carrot pot and then drained it. After mixing all the ingredients in the pan I got out the dough to roll out the pie crusts.

To make one large pot pie is an easy mistake to make. It is not much harder to make a series of single serving ones—which are easier to serve and more pleasure to eat. Once I started to roll out the dough, I realized I should have doubled the crust recipe. It was all I could do to make sufficient area for two stoneware cereal bowls (adult pies) and three metal dessert dishes (little girl pies). Final assembly: meat and vegetable mix plus a healthy dollop of left-over gravy, then the top crust laid-on and sealed to the bottom crust. I got the pies into a 400F oven by 5:45 and had the kitchen cleaned and was upstairs helping the girls with their showers by 6:00.

Vaishali was home in another 15-20 minutes and whipped-up a salad for the adults—I gave apple sauce to the girls as a side course.

All in all, a fine first free Wednesday. Doh! Still need to call my sister!