In a Jam: Part One

IMG_1463This weekend was supposed to be free; free from travel, free from entertaining, free from obligations.  I started dreaming mid-week about the jams and pickles I want to process.  I’m so inspired by the sunset orange of fresh apricots. The beets out in the garden are getting so big; I’m going to have to roast them for a long time to get them to soften all the way through.  Preserving has always been a part of my life.  I started making jam when I was a teenager with the sickly sweet, nuclear coloured, strawberry freezer jams that only needed a potato masher, a bowl of fresh strawberries and bags of sugar.  I’ve since graduated to complex flavours that include herbs, flowers, liqueurs and exotic spices.  I’m sure as time goes on I’ll be sharing them with you here, it is, after all, a cyclical ritual; one that keeps in pace and peace with the seasons.   But here’s the conversation this morning that broke me from my reverie, pulled out my lower lip and squeezed crocodile tears from my eyes:

Gearhead:  “I hope we don’t have anything on this weekend?  I mean, we don’t have any plans do we?”

Wary Wife: “No, we don’t.” [wife edits: thank gawd I had a chance for the morning caffeine fix to settle in…I sense this is going in the wrong – read: not my own – direction]

Gearhead: “I’m going to need you to help mix up some of the mortar for the floor,” [wife’s eyes widen] “don’t worry, it’s like mixing a jar of peanut butter, except in a big pail with a drill mixer.”  [wife edits: isn’t that a power tool that makes a lot of noise?  I appreciate the food reference attempt to keep me at a simmer but …]

[wife edits: some background – our front foyer and bathroom is in the middle of getting tiled, that is, it’s mostly tiled and grouting is set to begin shortly. This is in fact a huge development – we’ve lived with the plywood entry way for over ten years.   But the gearhead is suffering a severely pinched nerve in his shoulder, and has been for over three weeks now.  Suffice it to say that an incapacitated gearhead does not equal a happy gearhead.  Truthfully, the pinched nerve has been a horrific pain in all of our bums, and yes, I’m being very polite, it’s only 7 am for Christ’s sake!]IMG_1468

Wife: “How long will that take?  I mean, what are your expectations in terms of my time commitment?” [wife edits: specific and blunt questions will extract an exact answer]

Gearhead: “10 minutes, maybe 15 – but I need you to stick around and be available.” [wife edits: guttural groan]  “And then you could do the grouting.”

Alarmed Wife: “But I sent you that list of contractors to call!” [wife edits:  Trying desperately to quell the whine soaring up through my  vocal cords]

“I don’t know how to grout!”  [wife edits: try another tactic]

“You’ll hate the way I do it…. [wife edits: and unfortunately I punctuate the end of that sentiment with] you’re such a perfectionist!”

So I think I’m learning how to grout this weekend.  Expect sore knees and a bad temper.  And if I’ve learned one thing about preserving, or cooking in general for that matter, bad tempers get baked in ….sweet becomes sour, mild turns fiery, and bitterness becomes the dominant flavour….where is that soothing balm they call a sense of humour, I know I left it around here somewhere…

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This entry was published on July 26, 2013 at 8:10 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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