Real Cooking

You know, I don’t mean to complain-what with the world going mad and all-but right at this moment, things just aren’t going too well.

For one thing, I think the cat is up in the attic dying. Perhaps she’s even dead by now, I’m not sure. When she came to the door late last night to be let in, she had a cockeyed look to her-not unlike that of a drunken sailor. Or what I perceive a drunken sailor to look like. I’ve never actually seen one in real life. But, anyway, the cat looked sort of spacey and walked a little off kilter.

This morning, Keith let her out the back door before I could tell him that I thought she might be sick or injured and, of course, she disappeared. At least until sometime this afternoon when I heard her mournful cry coming from up in the attic crawl space.

In our garage, there is an open doorway into the crawl space that can be reached-at least by the cat-by climbing to the top of the van, then jumping onto the garage door and then onto the beam that traverses the garage’s ceiling.

So, that’s how the cat got into the attic. This afternoon we made two attempts at trying to rescue her and get her the attention she needed.

Keith, who had been pressed into service by a worried wife and daughter, climbed into the attic to do what he could, but both times Whiskers scurried into overhangs in the roofline where she couldn’t be reached.

Now, the cat is in the attic and she won’t come down. (Kind of reminds me of that old joke.) Keith put some food and water where she can get to it and she has stopped meowing.

But something tells me that’s probably not a good sign.

So, that’s one thing.

Another problem I’m experiencing has to do with crock pots. I ran mine over and I can’t find a replacement. What? Yeah, you read that right. I ran mine over. Actually, I ran two of them over. With my van. Smashed them to smithereens.

No, not on purpose.

As you might remember, from time to time I’ve been called on to cook a meal for one group or another and it was on just such an occasion that I had returned home and was unloading my van when the crock pot collision occurred.

I unloaded the two crock pots I had used for the meal and sat them on the driveway just to the right of the van and busied myself in getting everything else carried back into the house. I had only a few minutes before I needed to be somewhere else and in my haste I completely forgot about the crock pots sitting out on the drive.

Long story short, I jumped into the van and, as I started to pull out of the driveway, I heard a sickening crunch. I knew right away what had happened. And now, I’m crock-potless.

And I had such cool crock pots made by Corning. The inserts could be used on the range top to brown meats or start a dish that could be transferred either into the crock pot base or into the oven. I’ve looked and looked for a replacement and have come up empty even though I had originally purchased them at a nationally-known discount chain that starts with a W for a measly $30.

I even went on the Internet to try and find a retailer that carries the type of crock pot I want. I think Sears might carry something similar, but that means a trip to Wichita or Salina. It really isn’t anything pressing so I keep putting it off, but it has been inconvenient, especially since I’m gone for most of the day and a crock pot might be a help in getting supper on the table.

And right now, my floors are a mess. Lately our house has been a beehive of activity and even though I do make an attempt to run the vacuum or slide the mop across the floor every now and again, I can’t seem to keep up with the traffic.

On one day alone seven kids were running through the house. And of course they had all been outside to the muddy creek bed.

On the same day, two wet Beagles also traipsed through the house along with one farmer in work boots and Steve Millett, the sheet-rock guy who is finishing the walls in our new addition.

The dogs and the farmer I

scolded. The kids, after being reminded, remembered to leave their dirty shoes on the front porch before coming into the house. And Steve? Well, Steve can make as much mess as he wants. He’s finishing my house. His brand of dirt is welcomed.

The CD-ROM on our computer has quit working, our phone seems to only want to ring half of the time, the van is making a funny noise and I think I’ve lost part of a filling.

The kids need help with their homework, Meg’s bathroom still hasn’t been wallpapered, it seems like all the hard-to-reach light bulbs in the house need replacing and the basement has a musty smell I can’t get rid of.

Oh, well. Things could be worse. We’re all so aware of that in these days of terrorist bombings and world unrest. Maybe that’s why this week I’ve tried to preoccupy myself with the handling of problems that I can solve-dilemmas that have ready solutions.

The crock pots can be replaced; the floors can be swept. With a call to the proper professionals, my filling can be made whole, the computer will be repaired and my van can be fixed.

If it were just that easy to fix everything else.

* * *

The kids who ran through the house the other day couldn’t get enough of these cookies. Hope you like them as much as they did.

Land O Lakes Oatmeal Cookies

3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

11/2 cups flour

1 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients and drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Allow room to spread. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Let stand before removing from cookie sheet. Makes four dozen.

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