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Emergency Curtains. Just In Case.

January 7, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was on my way home from long day of doing things that women do. You just do them, and once you do them, they're done. It all started with the kids whispering, "Get up! We need to get ready!" moments before the 6 a.m. alarm. It was their day with their Aunt Suzanne, and I was to have them in Minneapolis by noon with swimsuits and sleeping bags for a day at a water park and a night at a hotel. We made it with an hour to spare so I drove around awhile pretending to be lost while the kids ate the apples I'd packed for them and argued about who gets to sleep on the floor this time.

After I dropped 'em off and gave a wave goodbye, I took the long way home, stopping by several stores where I returned Christmas gifts that just didn't work out. There was a set of peach curtains from Mr. Sundberg's grandmother, curtains she thought would look lovely in the kitchen, and they would — in someone else's kitchen. We're simply not peach people, I told Mr. Sundberg and he shrugged and said, "Well, do whatcha gotta do, but I don't think they're half bad. We could use them for emergencies." Now there you go. Emergency curtains. Just in case the others fall down and we're eating breakfast naked.

So with the refund from the curtains, I bought a few rugs, since mud season is on its way, and two wooden spoons and two rubber spatulas. The good ones. If you go cheap like I did last time around, you'll be mixing along and —BOOM— the flimsy handles will snap in half on you and then where will you be. For nearly ten bucks a piece, these new ones ought to last a good long time. Then I went on over to Sears and returned the his and hers matching long underwear (you know, the one-piece deals with a trap door over the butt). Mr. Sundberg thought it unflattering on himself, but hoped that I'd keep mine. "You look cute as a button," he said when I modeled the underwear, a gift from his mother's rich sister Lila Dean, who owns a company that grows and markets the sweetest yellow onions you'll ever eat. How she came to own the company is another story.

Anyway, my last return was at the hardware store. Three pink flamingoes, and what more is there to say. I got home earlier than I'd expected, and made myself a three-egg omelet with white cheddar cheese while I listened to the show. The house felt lighter, I noticed, with that pile of returns gone from the pantry. The pile on the next shelf up isn't going anywhere, though. Not for a while. Those are the gifts that are fine and lovely but could be used, well, in an emergency. You know, candles and vases and chocolates and such. Anything unused, in its original package, with a reasonable shelf life. Some people call it "re-gifting." I prefer to think of them as gifts in transition. On their way from there to there, with a little stop right here. Makes sense to me. Sure does.

Garlicky Basil Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts
Mix: 1 cup crushed garlic croutons
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T flour
1 T basil
Dash or two of salt
Dash or three of pepper
Melt 1 stick of butter.
Dip the chicken breasts in melted butter. Roll in crouton mixture.
Arrange in lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle
remaining crumbs and butter over chicken.
Bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes.
Halfway through, flip chicken over.
Serve with potatoes and corn and a salad.


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