15 July 2017

Gentlemen, After A Nice Little Vacation, Looks Like We’re Back It Again

I love cooking. I really do. Or at least I did once upon a time. I’m not talking about tossing a salad and placing steaks on the grill. I’m talking more about French or Continental cuisine . . . the type of meal that takes hours to prepare . . . with all that mise en place crap, wine usage, meat fabrication, blah, blah, blah. I don’t know when I lost this love of cooking, but it’s hardly new. The bloom was off the rose certainly by the time we moved to Costa Rica. Now I’m all about baking, and that’s always a morning activity. After 3:00 P.M., I want nothing to do with standing about in a kitchen.

I’m married to a man who believes that eating dinner is normal, if not de rigueur even in the jungle. There is simply something about a sit-down-together dinner that Rusty enjoys. An evening meal holds little interest for me . . . well, perhaps some cherry-cheesecake ice cream eaten directly from the container with a spoon. One spoon. And did I mention that Rusty’s not happy with merely a sandwich? The man expects a meat and a couple of different vegetables on a plate, for Goodness sake! I’ll concede that Rusty’s fondness for dinner isn’t unique; but I’m not the person possessing any enthusiasm to prepare it. Now Rusty can cook . . . I mean really cook . . . but, oh, the mess. And for some reason the man thinks that every light in the kitchen must be illuminated, including, get this, the range light over the stove. This is truly unbelievable to me. Yes, I'm quite serious. Bugs! Hello! Jungle to Rusty!

Rusty has been in the U.S. this past week. Aahh. I need to say it again . . . aaahh. I was dreading his departure . . . really dreading it even if it was only seven days. And then everything fell into place . . . and/or went terribly wrong. In either event, Penny the Puppy and I now possess a gloriously-relaxing, easy, quickly-established routine; and it only includes dinner for one of us. 

Now Penny is more difficult to feed than you’d imagine. She’s finicky, to say the least. But through trial and error I’ve discovered her likes and dislikes; and on the worst night it takes only about two minutes to prepare her evening meal. Penny’s meal doesn’t require cutting boards, mise en place dishes (of which we own dozens), spatulas, sauciers, whisks, blah, blah, blah. A spoon. A single spoon or a butter knife is the only thing in our kitchen needed to keep little Penny happy. We are alike in this way.

Mosquitoes. I’ve been fighting a losing battle with mosquitoes for over two months, and I’ve got the scabs and scars to prove it. One week with Rusty absent and I’m winning the mosquito war. Why? Closed doors and no lights. Penny comes indoors just prior to dusk – more to remove her from poisonous toad territory than mosquitoes. But the result is that with no one on the terrace there is no need for outdoor lighting. Actually, neither is there a need for lighting indoors. The screen doors remain closed for the evening (except for that final outdoor bathroom break . . . Penny’s, not mine); and Penny and I are most content to play with toys indoors or to read with the Kindle® or watch movies in the bedroom. The house remains dark except for a hallway light. That is plenty of light to play fetch with pink-pig or fluffy (the tattered piece of red-dyed rabbit fur).

I am in jungle heaven. No open doors through which  mosquitoes inevitably will slip inside to lie in wait on my side of the bed. No lights to attract insects that attract poisonous toads. A terrier who is placed in bed by 7:30 . . . 8:00 at the latest; and a dog mommy who can genuinely relax in the evening knowing that Rusty isn’t going to leave open a screen door through which a mosquito will enter or a puppy will exit . . . all this while he obliviously plays his sheep-collecting computer game on the terrace with the lights on attracting every insect within two miles and every toad on the mountain. 

Rusty returns this morning. And, bitch that I am, even I acknowledge that I cannot state that the house rules have changed, materially, nor that we will be doing things the Kathy-and-Penny-way in the future. A future that might, might involve dinner once a month. Might

Now had Rusty remained away for more than seven days I might have some leverage to lay down new rules. Might. Had he remained away a few weeks the gloves would be coming off, and we'd have the come to Jesus talk. But as of Saturday night the reality is that mosquitoes will enter through screen doors that Rusty fails to completely close; larger insects will enter the house through those small, Rusty-created openings in the screen doors, attracted by indoor lights; insects will cover every terrace surface also attracted by light; and toads and frogs will arrive predictably just past dusk to enjoy the insect buffet. And yes, the kitchen will be a nightly mess created by a man who simply wants his dinner and possesses a more complex palate than a 13-pound terrier. Why is life so complicated? Lo que hay.