It’s usually around 5:30 p.m. when the fight inside my head begins.
The same question kicks it off every time, “Should I feel guilty that I don’t feel like making dinner?”
After the announcer has shared the initial question with the audience, I have a moment to take a breather while Ms. Yes and Ms. No pull on their boxing gloves; previous experience has taught me that once the first punch is thrown, there will be no breaks for thinking or resting or any other unrelated brain activity. The opponents fasten the straps at their wrists and rise from their corner chairs. Before I know it, they are in the center of the ring and the starting bell has rung.
Ms. Yes: This is the height of bad parenting. If you don’t provide healthy meals for your children, they will never know how to care for themselves in the future.
Ms. No: They’re teenagers already. They know what they should eat. And I’m tired and bored with making the same old, same old.
Ms. Yes: So because you are lazy (and ate those cookies earlier that sapped your energy) and uninspired, you forgo your parental responsibilities?
Ms. No: Yes? No. Today is different. I spent four hours on my writing and my work-in-progress is now 2000 words longer. AND, I worked out with the trainer and ran on the treadmill. Who’s lazy and uninspired?
Ms. Yes: Those are BS excuses, my dear. Your kids are studying for finals this week, and your husband has been burning the midnight oil working on building his website. And this is after they were focused all day at work and school. The least you can do is provide them with the nutrition they need.
Ms. No: There’s leftover swordfish chunks in the fridge and lettuce already torn up for a salad. They can toss in a few cherry tomatoes and some pre-made dressing and be done with it. They don’t need me to do that.
Ms. Yes: Isn’t that exactly what hubby had for lunch today? And you have a tendency to pass off leftovers to the family a day or two past the time they should be tossed in the trash. They could get sick, you know.
Ms. No: How about this? I could order a pizza. With green peppers and onions and mushrooms and olives. Pretty healthy, if I don’t say so myself. Especially if they throw together that torn-up lettuce and a few cherry tomatoes on the side
Ms. Yes: Pizza? Again? Do you know how much fat is in a single slice of pizza? Why don’t you just feed them the leftover bacon grease from last night’s “comfort” supper of Pasta Carbonara?
Ms. No: Listen. It’s late now. Almost 6:00. And I don’t have anything here to make. Maybe I’ll go to Shubies. They have great homemade, to-go meals.
Ms. Yes: Do you think we’re made of money? All you have to do is pull together a few ingredients from the fridge and make something simple. Aren’t you kind of high on your ability to improvise with food? Who needs recipes, right?
Ms. No: Damn you. I’ll look to see what we have but I doubt we have enough to make anything, except with leftovers, and you insist that they should be tossed immediately.
Ms. Yes: Didn’t hubby and daughter #1 go shopping a few days ago. And I know you spied the leftover ½ lb. of ground beef on the top shelf of the fridge. There must be a few vegetables in the bottom drawer to go with the beef.
A quick break as Ms. No changes her name to Ms. Maybe
Ms. Maybe: Yes I saw the ground beef. Oh there are some mushrooms, a green pepper, a half an onion, those cherry tomatoes. But I’m too tired to do anything but make a big saute with all of that stuff.
Ms. Yes: Better than a pizza or paying up the ying-yang for a piece of salmon and caesar salad from Shubies. And your family usually likes your sautes. Just be sure to be generous with the salt and pepper. And pull out the frozen brown rice from the freezer. Three minutes in the microwave and ta-da!
Another quick break as Ms. Maybe lets Ms. Yes throw her to the ground and put her foot on her chest, as the referee counts to ten.
An hour later our ladies have a final word.
Ms. Yes #2: They actually liked the saute. And daughter #2 mentioned that she ate pizza for lunch, so I’m glad I didn’t go that way today.
Ms. Yes #1: Only because we are the same person do I feel like I’m not being mean when I say, “I told you so.” Although I do love when you admit that I’m right and you’re wrong.
Ms. No: It’s only one night, honeybun. Tomorrow, I expect to be in the winners circle. I might even find one or two of those Shubie’s giftcards that the soccer teams always give to hubby at the end of the season. What’s your comeback going to be then? Huh? Speechless?