It’s Sunday afternoon. No football. Everyone’s home and we are all together. I am going away Monday night, for one night, to Sacramento, for a fundraiser. I’m staying at the Holiday Inn. I will be out of the city and away from my family for less than 24 hours (19 hours to be exact). “What’s your plan for our dinner tomorrow?” my Husband asks.
“I won’t be here so I hadn’t planned a dinner,” I say. “Maybe you could pick something up on the way home?”
“I get Daughter 2.0 late tomorrow, I don’t want to stop on the way home,” he grumbles.
“Ok, maybe you could order something? TryCaviar?” Caviar (we call it TryCaviar, that’s the URL) is an amazing service! Check it out.
“Can you do it now?” he asks. Yup! No problem! I open the website on my iPad. “Ok, guys,” I say to the girls, “what do you want for dinner tomorrow?”
“I don’t want TryCaviar,” Daughter 1.0 says.
“You have a car, you can pick up something for yourself on the way home from school,” I suggest.
“I don’t want to,” she whines. “I guess TryCaviar is ok. I want pizza, Tommaso’s”
“I hate Tommaso’s!” Daughter 2.0 pipes in. I’m scrolling through the restaurant choices for Monday night, no Tommaso’s.
“No Tommaso’s tomorrow anyway. How about pizza from somewhere else?”
“I don’t want pizza,” Daughter 1.0 says.
“But you just said …”
“I only want Tommaso’s”
I sigh and continue to scroll through the choices. “What about Blue Plate?”
“Where?” Daughter 1.0 asks.
“We’ve eaten there, the place on Valencia, with the good macaroni and cheese?” the Boyfriend offers.
“Oh yeah, I liked it,” Daughter 1.0 says.
“I love macaroni and cheese,” Daughter 2.0 says.
“Great,” I say and start loading the online cart. “They have fried chicken,” I say to Daughter 2.0.
“Yum!” she says.
“Do you want a side of mac and cheese and a salad?” I ask Daughter 1.0.
“I don’t want Blue Plate,” she says.
“But you just said you liked it.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want it.”
“I don’t want it either,” my Husband says.
I glare at him. “I don’t know why this is my problem,” I say. “When was the last time you went out of town and I asked you to arrange our dinner?”
“Never, but I make sure to deposit my pay check into the bank.”
This is an old button, a tender nerve that gets pushed and poked every once in a while. I have not earned a paycheck since 1996, the year Daughter 1.0 was born. Well, there was that $1000 I earned for “modeling” in a print IBM ad; and those 5 minutes when I thought I could be a realtor. I got my license and started practicing in the fall of 2007. Don’t blame me for subprime mortgage meltdown or the bottom falling out of the real estate market; I swear it wasn’t my fault. I did manage to make two (small) commissions as a realtor before my manager told me they were going to have to let me go. I was fired from a job that didn’t even pay me! Turns out I’m not a very good salesperson.
When my Husband and I moved to San Francisco with our 3 week old baby, we both assumed I would go back to work. I had always earned money. I babysat from the age of 11 (different times) for $1.00 an hour. I got my first official, tax-withheld job as soon as the law would allow (age 13) scooping ice cream at Brigham’s. I temped summers through college and worked as a babysitter and bartender during the school year. When my Husband and I got married, I worked while he went to law school. I paid my own way (and my Husband’s), until I became a mom, and my Husband got his first lawyer gig.
For years my Husband would ask when I was planning to go back to work. When would I find a high paying job, one that wouldn’t interfere with my ability to manage the household and care for the children or impact his life too much? When? I know it’s hard to be the sole breadwinner for a family of 4, I do. It’s stressful. But my Husband is one of the lucky ones who is very good at his job, and he really likes it, and it pays very well. It pays more than the combined income of most two working-parent families we know. I happen to be really good at my job too, and I really like it, but the pay sucks.
Before I say something I might regret I leave the kitchen. I call the dog and take him for a walk in the park. In my mind I run through my frequent fantasy, the one where I take the kids and move to some small town (New Mexico?) and get a job (waiting tables?) and we live in a one bedroom apartment and shop at the Goodwill and eat red beans and rice but are happy, because I would once again be paying my own way and teaching the girls the value of the dollar. I could do it, I can live on very little, I have in the past, I could do it again. It would be honest.
When I get home my Husband apologizes. He’ll sort out dinner, don’t worry. I didn’t worry, and I tried not to feel guilty. I did get a call from my Husband the next evening. He needed the TryCaviar account password.
Souvlaki Pork or Chicken with Pizzeria Greek Salad, Tzatziki and Pita Bread
3 halves boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
3 cloves of peeled and chopped garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Cut the chicken or pork into cubes that can be skewered. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and toss with the cut meat. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for a hour. In the meantime make the tzatziki and salad:
1 1/2 cups whole milk greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
Peel the cucumber and slice in half the long way. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard. Slice the cucumber into thin half moons. Put the cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Peel the garlic cloves and grate them over the cucumber. Add the mint to the bowl along with the yogurt and stir to combine. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Place the tzatziki in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the salad dressing:
1/3 cup and teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Combine all of the ingredients into a glass jar with a cover. Cover and shake hard to mix. Toss the following ingredients together in a large salad bowl:
1-2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed with outer leaves discarded, chopped
One large cucumber, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
One pint cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 cup (or more) sliced pepperoncini
Half a red onion peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup (or more) pitted kalamata olives chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Add the dressing to taste and toss again.
Remove the pork or chicken from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat a grill to high or preheat the broiler in your oven.
Peel two red onions and cut in half length wise. Cut each half into quarters. Thread the meat chunks onto a skewer alternating with the wedges of red onion. Grill the skewers for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the meat is done. Remove from the heat and squeeze a lemon over them.
Serve the skewers with the tzatziki, salad and pita bread. We like to make pita pocket sandwiches.
Love your writing, Caitlin. So honest (and funny). How did you end up fired from a non-paying job?
That was that brief moment when I was a realtor … they don’t pay (unless you produce).