Learning to Laugh.

Sunday was Pickle’s birthday, and some of our family was coming by later that evening for cake, to celebrate. Yes, I’m aware she’s a dog, and not an actual baby. And no, I don’t care. Anyway, I’ve developed a renewed interest in baking, and so, I thought I’d do the whole “cake from scratch” thing. This rapidly proved to be a time-consuming endeavor, one that I feared wouldn’t allow for us to possibly do everything else we needed to, i.e., clean the house, make dinner, shower. Andrew, being the fantastic boyfriend he is, took charge and started cleaning while I desecrated the kitchen with butter and flour. So, with that, I felt like life was once again manageable.

Until approximately 4pm.

At that point, relations in the Baker-Hurlburt household quickly deteriorated. Andy decided to clean the glass screen on our gas fireplace, a job that is utterly filthy, to say the least. Immediately after removing the glass, Pickle darted in, snatched up one of the nuts used to hold it into place, ran and dove under the dining room table, and Andy and I played our usual game of “trap her and dig whatever coveted item she has out of her mouth.” Only, she swallowed it by the time I was able to conduct a finger sweep. Pick-1, Mom/Dad-0. Moving on.

Andy then brought up the mini Shop Vac from the basement, a touchy, irritable machine. It loses suction with the slightest tilt of its body, and is enough to incite rage in the heart of whomever is using it. So, he turns it on, and from the kitchen I hear him muttering, “God, come on. COME ON!” Vacuum off. Shake. Vacuum on. “COME ON, DAMN IT!” Banging. “WHAT THE HELL?! You piece of sh*t!” Vacuum off. Rinse and repeat. Vacuum on. Banging. “COME ON. SUUUUUUUUUUCK, YOU BITCH!!!!” Vacuum off. “Jenn, can you bring me the other vacuum, please?” Ugh, God. Please don’t make me go in there. He’s mad, and I want to laugh, despite my anger at Pickle’s thievery and my expanding mess in the kitchen. In I go, and am trying as quickly as I can to set up the vacuum, and get out. Only, I’m so worked up by trying not to laugh, and to also keep him as even as possible, that I’m fumbling over everything, getting tangled in the cord repeatedly, as I’m trying to put the plastic attachment on the hose. If I was ready to laugh earlier, I am now approaching near hysteria. Please, God, I pray, please don’t let me laugh while he’s so upset. I know how much more irritated I’d be if someone laughed while I was frustrated, and I really don’t want to do that to him.

Luckily, I’m able to escape to the kitchen in enough time to giggle in freedom. I collect myself, and Andy passes through the kitchen, and heads downstairs with the glass piece. I now refocus on the cake, of which I am entering hour five of preparation, and suddenly, it’s just not doable anymore to me. Our kitchen is now covered in dirty pans, bowls and utensils, and I realize I am out of both dishwashing sponges AND dishwasher soap. Come. On. I go to make the frosting, and ineplixcably, when I turn the mixer on to whip the butter, butter flies everywhere, coating the cabinets, counter, my hair, you name it. So, I wade through that fiasco, and then I go to pull the lemon curd that I made out of the fridge, to use as a cake filling. Only. It. Never. Set. And is a soupy, fluid mess. Then I heard a strange noise in the dining room. I turn, and Pickle has DESTROYED the entire Styles section of the Sunday NY Times, into confetti-sized pieces. All over the freshly cleaned floors. Chasing, snatching bits of paper out of her mouth, and general threats of dog murder ensue. Annnd, yahtzee. This was it. The next hour was a blur of cleaning up paper, cake frosting, preparing and baking an eggplant parmesan (which I have no recollection of doing), cleaning the kitchen, and finally, reconvening with Andy, to exhale and have a glass of wine before our guests arrived. And laughing, wonder where the hell everything went so wrong, so quickly. I sheepishly admitted to him how hard it was for me to not laugh when he was so angry earlier, and sensing that he wasn’t taking offense, even venturing to imitate his earlier shenanigans. And we laughed some more. Just like that, an hour of anger and chaos has become this totally hilarious episode, one that is likely to be a good memory, when we think of it in the future. And it just reinforced the importance of learning to laugh at the the bad, the crazy, the ‘Oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-kill-something” moments in life. Because really, how are you ever going to get by, otherwise? And sharing those moments with someone else who is able to laugh at themselves makes it all the sweeter.