Saying It

I usually don’t say the hardest things. This isn’t news to anyone who’s been reading this more than a hot minute. I censor myself.

Yesterday, I was making dinner. You’ve got to understand that this was my weekend:

  • get home Friday, make lunch for Mom and I. It had been an incredibly long week and I was exhausted, so I might have fallen asleep for a minute as we watched “Monk.”
  • Mom startles me awake to answer the door for the sprinkler guy, who finally came after I called a month ago (we had an appointment that whole time, but I asked them to move us up if they got a cancellation because the lawn was dying. We did not move up, but fortunately, we were able to keep the lawn alive.)
  • deal with the screen guy, who showed up 2 hours late. I weeded a little while I did that, and cooked dinner.
  • eat dinner with Mom and drive an hour to see a theater performance. I got there with 10 minutes to spare, but since I didn’t know where on the campus I was going, I slid into my seat less than a minute before the performance began.
  • drive home, arriving close to midnight.
  • get up, wash walls and start prepping to paint.
  • make our shakes, feed the dog
  • run errands— buy groceries for the week, hardware store, that kind of thing.
  • come home, make lunch.
  • start taping and painting. Finish one coat of one color.
  • clean brushes, clean self, go to coworker’s benefit bbq for less than an hour, not counting travel time.
  • come back, walk dog, start taping other half of room
  • go to bed (after midnight), get up, touch-up paint
  • make our shakes, feed dog
  • paint the first coat of red, clean brushes
  • make brunch
  • paint another coat of red, clean brushes
  • scrub enough red paint off my arms, legs, and feet to run out to the pool to relax for 10 minutes before I get ready for church. Lightning delay prevents me from getting in pool. Get ready for church.
  • choir, church, dinner with Mom, grocery shopping
  • walk dog (it’s now past 9 p.m. Sunday)
  • dessert with Mom. Bed.

So this tells you why the brunch pan was still on the stove yesterday. I’m not proud of it, but I was running hard enough that there was a sink full of dishes after I made Mom’s and my shakes, and the egg pan was still on the stove.

I preheated the oven and threw a large sweet potato in there while I marinated pork chops and made green bean salad. I checked on the sweet potato, because I wanted to turn the oven down and put the pork chops in to cook while I walked the dog. And found in the oven the skillet and spatula from Sunday’s brunch.

This is not an unheard thing, for my mother to stow dishes in the oven, but this is a thing I do not do. Dishes go in the sink or, as appropriate, the dishwasher, we do not hide them places. Out of sight is out of mind. I have made it a practice, since the last time she did this and I inadvertently melted a spatula, to check the oven, but I failed to do so this one time, and I didn’t see the black skillet with the black spatula in the black oven interior when I put the sweet potato in there. The spatula was partially melted, which in itself is a lucky thing, because this is not the first time this has happened. I intentionally bought a heat-proof spatula this time, so only half the handle melted when left in a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes.

It is not my mother’s fault that I did not see the skillet in the oven when I put the sweet potato in there, but it is her fault that she put it there. The list of things she did this weekend is much, much shorter than the list of things I did, and between my going a million miles an hour, constantly, and her refusal to put even her own dishes in the dishwasher, these kinds of things are probably inevitable.

I went to the living room, I asked politely if Mom could please pause the show she was watching, and as calmly as I could asked if we could have a deal that she would never, ever, not ever put dirty dishes in the oven again. She was properly aghast and apologetic. I explained that I understood that it was not her fault that I didn’t check the oven before I preheated it, but that this sort of thing had happened before and was likely to happen again. She mentioned that the skillet was in her way (when she made coffee. We have four burners, she uses two [and never the one the pan was on]). I said that I understood, but I would strongly prefer that she put dirty dishes in the sink, not the oven, so that we never ever not ever have to have that conversation again. She agreed.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a delay between when a thing happens and when I get upset about it. This often works to my advantage, because by the time I get mad enough to do real damage, I’ve already dealt with a situation more rationally. But it was handy to get mad enough to make my point this time.

With that said, I know she will put dirty dishes in the oven again, rather than walk them the four feet to the sink, or even put it on the counter next to the stove. It’s a passive aggressive sign that I live like a pig and she doesn’t have to take it. There was a time when I would feel properly ashamed by her action. That time has passed. Possibly as I was putting the dishes in the dishwasher last night around 11 p.m. after two more hours touching up the paint, or maybe this morning as I was wiping down the counters after making her shake after 40 more minutes touching up the paint, fixing the sprinkler system, and tidying up for the screen guy’s visit before I left for work. Maybe slightly before that.


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