Yesterday, I made good use of the Al-Anon slogan Keep it Simple.
We had invited my stepdaughter and son-in-law over for dinner to celebrate his birthday. We asked the birthday boy what he wanted for dinner. His requested menu was simple: grilled pork chops, green beans and whipped sweet potatoes. What threw me was what my stepdaughter said he wanted for dessert: pineapple upside-down cake.
I had never made a pineapple upside down cake, so I had no idea what was involved, except that I had an idea that it somehow involved pineapples and inversion.
To quote an Al-Anon acquaintance: I can complicate a ball bearing. So the old me would have tried to make things as difficult as possible.
It would not have mattered that he said not to go to any trouble. Or that we had spent several days doing construction on our house before attending a dinner on Saturday night followed by a long drive home and getting to bed in the wee hours the night before.
Nor would it have mattered that that it was Sunday, a day I reserve to rest.
No. I would have picked the most complicated recipe I could find. I might have decided that we also needed to have jalapeno poppers to start, even though they have told us that they are trying to lose weight and aren’t much into appetizers these days.
I would have insisted that we drive to the store across town that has the best jalapenos instead of going to the market in our neighborhood. I would have spent the afternoon making a cake, and deseeding and stuffing 44 jalapenos, refusing all offers for help.
The old me would also have spent every minute in the kitchen thinking of the book I’d rather be reading. If my stepdaughter and son-in-law passed on the poppers, pleading calories, I would have resented it. After all I had done for them.
Instead, I left my husband with the breakfast dishes (something else the old me never would have done) and went upstairs to research recipes. There was one that involved making a caramel sauce and a cake from scratch. And there was one that involved cubed butter, sprinkled brown sugar and (gasp!) a box of yellow cake mix.
I chose the cake mix. I asked my husband if he would mind going to the store, the one on the corner. He didn’t mind at all.
We had a nice, relaxing dinner. The cake was a big hit. During the day, I got to read some of that book. My husband and I took a short nap, and spent time visiting with some neighbors we hadn’t seen for a while. I enjoyed our dinner and didn’t feel drained.
I didn't miss the old me at all.