We weren’t that serious.

The Mick is my father.  Ours is a long story.  This is just part of it.

I was chatting with The Mick the other day. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for him to call me at work to say hello, to ask me to do something for him, or to question me on my life choices (sometimes all of the above in the course of a single 5 minute conversation).

Yesterday he called to tell me that a woman he dated in high school contacted him out of the blue, saying that she had thought of him often over the past 60 years, and wanted to catch up. This wasn’t news to me, as he had told me the same story in a letter a few weeks back. But I had been waiting for the ball to drop. I was waiting for him to have to announce that I had an otherwise unknown half-sibling. That maybe he had sired other offspring so many years ago, and that this person was looking to get in contact with him.

I’m often asked about my family. Am I really an only child? Did The Mick not have other children? My typical response (one that usually gets a chuckle) is “not that the private investigator could turn up”. It’s the closest thing to the truth that I know.

But here came this news of his long lost companion. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. She wouldn’t have just called to reminisce and talk about the weather, would she? The Mick offered no further information. Not a peep about the mysterious high school girlfriend, or her family (or his family). We changed subjects. We talked about his work, his upcoming travels, his thoughts on risky behavior and thrill seekers.

“‘Lisha, I’m going to take up water sports” he said with a chuckle, “bathing!” [insert old man laughing noises here].

But I couldn’t let the matter rest. If he wasn’t going to mention it, I sure as hell was.

“So, why was that woman calling you?” I asked him.  “If I were you, I would have been expecting her to announce that you had an unknown child.”

“No, ‘Lisha, it wasn’t like that. We weren’t that serious”.  With that dismissal, with that re-assurance that he had not had sex with that woman, the tightness in my chest loosened, my breathing regulated, and I was able to let the subject go.

But when your father is The Mick, you never know what you may find out.

I don’t have a photo of The Mick to share today, so here’s a picture of Chubbs, doing his impression of The Mick, and Chubbs would like to sit down and have a serious discussion with you about your five year plan.IMG_20150326_211947

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Marmalade, just like Bust’er used to make it

I can things, with varying success.  I made marmalade a while ago, and while it turned out great, the process was, ahem, arduous. Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

Marmalade, just like Bust’er used to make it

Buy oranges on a whim. A lot of them.

Wash the oranges. And a few lemons.

Get out the sugar you bought in the fall for just such an occasion.

Google that recipe you used last year when you made marmalade. It turned out pretty well.

Start to weigh your fruit.

Look at your bag of sugar.

Doubt your ability to convert metric to imperial.

Google it.

Confirm your suspicions. You have way more oranges than required sugar.

Do some hard math to maximize output based on available sugar.

Pick the prettiest oranges out of the bowl until the scale matches that number you scrawled on the side of an envelope.

Slice your fruit. Remember last year when you promised yourself a mandolin. Do you own an mandolin.  No. Keep slicing.

Boil the fruit and prep the jars. This is the boring part. Maybe you should do squats or something. Do squats. Remember how much your knee hurts. Switch to push ups.

Well that got old quick. How about some sit ups. Hey now, don’t just sit down and watch tv. That wasn’t the plan.

Stir the fruit and do more push ups. {repeat}

Start to get your canning supplies in order. Where is the funnel. Look at all the crap in this cupboard. Toss, move, move, toss…wait, what were you looking for again? Right the funnel. See it in the cupboard across the room.

Finally, add the sugar. Shit it still needs to cook for another 20 min. Continue to do sit ups, and push ups, and stir the mix and try not to just veg out in front of the tv and forget the whole exercise.

Remember that you own a candy thermometer now. Use it. Don’t trust it. Test the marmalade’s doneness far too often. Why didn’t you just trust the thermometer?

Wonder why this part takes so long.

Seriously, maybe the thermometer doesn’t work well.

Set a timer for 7 minutes. It couldn’t possibly take more than another 7 minutes.

Decide that it must be done.

Carefully, I repeat, CAREFULLY ladle the marmalade into the jars, using the funnel you found in that cupboard it didn’t belong in, secure the lids and process in a pot of boiling water. Is anyone else warm now, or is it just me?

Remove the jars from the pot and leave them to cool on the counter overnight.

Spend the next 2 hours being startled every time a lid pops as it cools.

Have marmalade toast for breakfast the next day.

Wonder what to do with 9 more jars of marmalade.