Monday, July 28, 2014

Empty Nest

On Thursday, I loaded three of my kids onto a plane and sent them home to visit family.  As soon as they arrived, one of them came down with one of those self-limiting but extremely uncomfortable childhood viruses.  This virus, I have learned through local gossip, is running rampant through our town, in a new and exciting "super bug" form.  There have been tearful phone calls, and much handwringing, and I feel obligated to warn you that if you were on the 06:30 flight from CHO to LaGuardia, you might want to invest in some orajel and Advil.  One of our neighbors was actually on that flight.

I thought Jon and I were going to enjoy a preview of the empty nest, but instead I have spent the last four days fretting--partly because I was worried about my child, partly because it was such a downer, and partly because I felt guilty for thinking it was a downer.  By Sunday, there were reports of improvement, thank goodness.  Despite the anxiety and handwringing, here are some kid-free, me-me-me things that I did.

Barre Class.  I've been dying to try a barre class and finally made the effort to attend the Saturday morning class at my gym.  I was a little worried I'd be a big, galumphing, elephant in a class of dainty ballerinas, but it wasn't like that at all.  It was a good workout for the whole body and I am going to try to attend regularly.

Dinner for Two.  I got a notion to cook a special dinner for just Jon and me, and created a Martha Stewart menu which was a great success.  Filet mignon with cilantro butter and oven potato fries with cojita cheese and more cilantro and garlic.  I was nervous about the filets, never having cooked one before.  Martha says seven minutes per side. During the second seven-minute interval, Jon became concerned that they would be overcooked and I took them off the pan when there was still four minutes left of cooking time.  And they were a little too rare.  Martha knows, people. Do not deviate from her instructions.  But where filet mignon is concerned, too rare is a far less serious error than too well done.  Jon thought his was perfect, and I ate the half of mine that had been exposed to the heat for seven minutes and Jon put the rest into an omelet the next day.  To round out the meal, I opened one of the jars of pickled green beans that I made last year, and made another Martha recipe, molten chocolate pudding cakes, a very fudgy chocolate cake which you bake in little ramekins.  Lacking ramekins, I used Buffalo China coffee mugs, which worked perfectly.  The cakes are served with homemade caramel sauce.  Martha Stewart isn't really one of my main cooking resources, but her caramel sauce is the caramel sauce.

Sunday, I went to the Alderman library and checked out a big stack of books.  Reloading my nightstand is an eminently satisfying activity.


  1. One - there is no way you'd be a galumphing elephant.
    Two - I inevitably spend a good chunk of Edie's away time at camp fretting or worse, like Friday, spending the better part of the day running around attempting to get everything she asked for in Thursday's letters in a care package. I was finally able to settle into this empty nest thing Saturday, when I spent my solitary evening weeding the garden and then reading my book. Glorious!

  2. It is hard to picture you as a galumphing elephant! You always look so slim and elegant in photos :-)

    That meal sounds amazing, although at first I thought green beans and chocolate cake were going to be part of the same dish.

  3. You are nowhere near a galumphing elephant, except possibly inside your own brain.

    Your weekends sounds terrific.

  4. I hope your child is feeling better!

    Cheers to you for trying the barre class. You are far more brave than I am. And your dinner sounds delicious. Now I want filet mignon. ;)

  5. Sounds pretty good use of your time to me!!

  6. Aside from the sick kid, it sounds like you've had a good run of new experiences! I agree, underdone is an easier fix than overdone.
    And glad to hear the barre class was what you hoped for.