Peaks (and valleys)

I have been under the suspicion for some time now that I peaked in my 30’s. However, lately it’s become more and more evident, and soon I’m no longer going to be able to plead ignorance about it.

It’s hard to argue that my 30’s didn’t fare better than my 40’s have in the looks department. First of all, I didn’t have to yet cover the gray hairs. Secondly, my pants size was a single digit instead of the current double-digit number. And I didn’t find those random hairs on my face just sprouting out of wherever the hell they please! I love it now when I run my hand over my chin to discover some rogue 5-inch-long whisker that somehow I hadn’t noticed when I put makeup on every morning. Do those things just grow that long overnight, or is my eyesight just going too? (I think that’s a question I really don’t want an answer for.)

I’m pretty sure I was a better mom in my 30’s. My 40’s-Mom-Self is either just too tired or perhaps just doesn’t give as much of a shit anymore. Would my 30’s-Mom-Self have allowed Boy #3 to stay in his room, in his underwear THE ENTIRE DAY yesterday, only to emerge to rustle up some food, which he then took BACK TO HIS ROOM to eat? The thought did occur to me that a Good Mom would make him clean his room, or even suggest we play a board game together. Then my 40’s-Mom-Self just hit “Play Next Episode” on Amazon Prime’s “Jack Ryan” and enjoyed the solitude.

I was definitely better at keeping up with the housework in my 30’s. Last time Husband ventured to the laundry room to find a pair of underwear, he announced that he had just come back from the bowels of hell. And he was not really exaggerating. I’m not sure I should use God to find a pair of matching socks, but I find myself saying a silent prayer each morning as I wade through the mounds of clean laundry in search of mates. Or even a pair that looks remotely compatible.

But what it’s become abundantly evident that I was better at in my 30’s is cooking and baking. I honestly wonder if something happened to me, like some yet-to-be-discovered disease or neurological disorder that caused me to gradually lose all ability in the kitchen. I used to be a halfway-decent cook. I used to make meals and be able to follow recipes successfully. But now even the simplest of tasks I find daunting, and consequently I seem to fail miserably.

Husband, on the other hand, is getting better as he ages, as most men seem to do with most things (the bastards). He can look at our near-bare cupboards and somehow whip up something flavorful like magic. He also has mastered the knife skills, dicing and mincing like a pro, while I always feel like a preschooler using safety scissors for the first time whenever I prep vegetables for him. How do I hold the knife again? Were the onion pieces supposed to be such a wide range of sizes? And whoops–do we have any Band-Aids? 

Last night, however, my self-esteem was lowered even more as I managed to fail at making a batch of cookies. And before you give me the benefit of the doubt and think, “Well, sometimes I forget how much flour to put in” or “I once forgot the baking soda (powder??)” I must tell you that these cookies were from a mix. In a bag. Literally, I had to add a stick of butter and one egg. That’s it.

And I failed.

I really don’t know what happened. At first, I tried to blame it on the mix, thinking maybe it had expired. Nope. Not until May 2019. It wasn’t the pan, the eggs were new, the butter was softened. I baked them at the right temperature for the suggested amount of time.

And yet, I failed.

I was trying to bake cookies to sell at a concession stand fundraiser. My mom, being the Good Mom she is, made 3 dozen cookies that looked like this.

Here are what mine looked like.

Which would you rather buy?

What you might not be able to tell from the picture is that some of them were about the size of a quarter, if that. Maybe even a dime. And yes, they were near-burnt and just plain weird.

I sent Boy #1 a photo of my cookies to see what he thought.

He thought it was fried chicken.

The sad thing is if I tried to make fried chicken, it probably wouldn’t look like fried chicken.

Hopefully I’m just in a little valley and am not going to continue on this downward slope. Otherwise, I’ll probably end up alone, wearing two different socks and a full-on beard, eating a bread-and-butter sandwich, one of the only meals left I can’t screw up, by the time I’m 55.

Photo by Norwood Themes

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