Monday, January 14, 2013

Oh Captain, My Captain

Sorry it's been silencio...things have been stressful here lately.  

We had a pretty wide-open weekend with few commitments, and so when SMckay called me with an idea to piggyback Lolly's trip to Guelph for haircuts and visits on Saturday, I jumped at the chance.  The Dotytron had already made plans to jam with his friends that day, so I was going to be rolling solo with the Big Yam and was feeling slightly daunted by the (imagined) interminable afternoon hours with just me and him.  So I loaded the Big Yam up into the Captain, and drove to Lolly's and she drove us in the Captain to Guelph.

We had good times all day and I got to see J and her baby V and be mortified by the fact that the Big Yam proceeded to smack V upside the head with, among other things: a tractor, a teacup, and, in dire situations, his bare hand.  The poor little Hungarian Princess was a mass of welling eyes and quivering bottom lip and I felt like the worst parent in the history of the world.  I don't know what the Big Yam's problem is with the hitting, but right now he has mad issues!  I know it will pass but it's trying.  Being the parent of a hitter (and I'm told it's the same for parents of biters) is the worst.

It's Lolly's birthday today so we discussed our options and she wanted to go to Mandarin so we planned to meet up with the Dotytron and Lolly's hubby in the west end of Toronto.  We're in the Captain, it's 6pm, we're all peckish, we're on the 401 eastbound, just outside of Guelph, and then the battery indicator comes on the dash (or at least, I notice it's lit up).  So I'm like, "Uhhh, the battery light is on." To which SMckay replies, "It's fine, I'm sure it's nothing, keep going."  But because I'm a paranoid nerd when it comes to cars, I look it up in the book, and it says it has something to do with the alternator belt and you should pull over (which Lolls says she's NOT going to do on the 401) and check it out, and if the belt is fine (not that I have any earthly idea what an alternator belt looks like), then get it checked at the earliest possibility, but if it's worn, then your car could overheat.  I'm reading this out loud and look at the temperature indicator and me and Lolls notice that it's cranked all the way to "H."  I call the Dotytron and fill him in on what's going on.  He calls me back five minutes later and is like, "the boys say that if it's the alternator, just keep driving, because otherwise, once you stop the car, it won't start again," and I get all shrillsville panic mode and I say, 

So we're both like, "we gotta pull over" and she doesn't want to pull over on the 401 (rightly) so we're trying to get to the next exit.  From the back, SMckay is like, "Ugh. Don't pull off at 312, cuz there's like, nothing there," and Lolly and I got all snappy with her (in retrospect, this is funny), about how we DIDN'T CARE ABOUT THE AMENITIES AT THE EXIT BUT WE HAD TO STOP BEFORE THE CAR EXPLODED.  We just manage to pull off and pull into this car stop thing just as our power steering gives out.

6:30pm.  In a random, rape-y car stop off some deadsville exit (SMckay was right about that) outside of Guelph. With a sleeping Big Yam (thankfully) and a car that's getting colder by the minute.  So I'm calling CAA and the dude is all like, "Is the Dotytron in the car with you?" and I say no, and then he does that apologetic "hmmm" sound that phone customer service people do when they're about to screw you.  BECAUSE CAA COVERS THE PERSON, NOT THE CAR.  Which is the STUPIDEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE.  He puts me on hold for a million hours to "see what he can do" and the solution he comes back with is that his "supervisors" are willing to waive the waiting period and sign me up for automatic basic coverage, which gets me a free ten kilometre tow and then I would be responsible for paying the rest of it to Toronto.  I was like, "Uhh, why don't you ask your supervisors if I can just G-D pay for the premium coverage now and they can waive the waiting period for that?" (premium package covers towing your car to wherever you want within 200km) and he puts me on hold for a million more hours and finally agrees.  THANK GOD.  So we wait for a million hours for the tow truck driver to show up and SMckay convinces her adorable and nicest Papa in the world to come and drive us all to Toronto.  Seriously. Best Papa ever!!!  Meanwhile, the Dotytron calls me and is like, "So...the guys here are going out to eat what's going on with dinner?  Should I wait for you guys, or..." and I almost reached through the phone and strangled him.

When we finally get to Lolly's house to meet up with the boys, it's 8pm.  Everyone is STARVING. Tempers are short.  We show up at the Mandarin and there is a FORTY FIVE MINUTE WAIT.  We go to a nearby restaurant and there's ANOTHER hour long wait.  It's tragic.  People are getting to the point where they're like, "I just don't want to do anything any more" (you know when people are so dispirited and crochety that you give up having an opinion because you just want to be a foul owl?   We were all that).  Anyway, we somehow pulled through the badness, decided to make Lolly happy and give her the Mandarin meal she wanted, and we were sat within 30 minutes and we ate and instantly regretted life.  But this happened:

So it was all worth it in the end.  Also, the Big Yam was a trooper.  He was up until 10pm and ate the latest dinner of all time and was just lovely about it.

This was great because on Friday, I kept the Big Yam home with me on my day off for the morning, and he was a monster and it was non-stop time outs and lots of me yelling and I just felt awful and guilty and at the same time, mad at him for not being a peach.  So his behaviour on Saturday made up for it, big time.

The good thing to come out of our Friday hours together was that we made this cake:

It was AMAZING.  Think: the best, classic, chocolate cake with white (vanilla) frosting you can imagine.  It used a new (to me) frosting called butter roux frosting which creates something so light and fluffy, it belies the fact that there is flour in it as a base.  It's the perfect marriage between true buttercream (based on a Swiss or Italian meringue - my favorite for it's lightness, but it's actually heavy on the butter and labour intensive) and what I call fake buttercream (icing sugar and butter, which makes something kind of thick and gritty, but which can also be delicious, in a homespun kind of way).  This frosting was so light!  The cake is a classic, oil-based chocolate cake, which means that it comes out very chocolatey and very, very moist.  You can also make it all in one bowl with a whisk - no mixer required!!!  I used this recipe, from the blog Posie Gets Cosy, here.  The only change I would make is to line the pans with parchment (I had some sticking issues) and to switch to a whisk attachment for the frosting after creaming the butter with the paddle attachment.  I also omitted the almond extract (didn't have it) and put the beans and scrapings of a 1/2 of a vanilla bean in the flour-milk roux mixture.  The Dotytron and I are obsessed with it and are eating this cake like it's going out of style.
 For dinner on Friday night I made us shepherd's pie.  I mixed leftover mashed potatoes (from my turkey dinner last week) with mashed cauliflower for the topping and it was awesome!!!  A great way to add more vegetables and it adds a nice flavour.  The two textures meld together so that you don't notice it at all.  I made enough to freeze a giant pan so that was also a bonus.

I spent all of Friday night toggling between the menu for East Side Mario's and Red Lobster.  Guys, Red Lobster has SHRIMP FETTUCCINE ALFREDO and it's ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT.  I want a giant plate of fettuccine alfredo so bad...I can hardly stand it.  We're hoping to head down to Geneseo in a couple of weeks just so I can go to Delmonico's and get my fix.  I just lost about an hour of my life salivating over the Delmonico's menu.  I want veal parmigiana AND alfredo and that giant rib-eye steak!  With fried calamari and fried mozzarella triangles!!!  LOOK AT THOSE PRICES, PEOPLE!  They are not fooling!  And best yet: the quality is good!!! It's not garbage food (the way East Side Mario's is).  UGHHHHHH, I want it so bad.

Last night we had dinner at Momma D's and she made us prime rib and we had mashed potatoes and beans and beets.  She also made the Dotytron a birthday cake - a classic mom cake - golden cake with mocha fake buttercream.  It was DELICIOUS.  It brought me around again on the fake buttercream and the sweetness of those old-fashioned cakes.

Tonight we tried to get our lives back on track with that spicy grain soup and quesadillas.

Found out from my mechanic that the alternator belts just got worn.  The repair isn't that pricey, thank goodness.  Captain Save-A-Ho is on my bad side, lately.  I guess this is what you get when you buy an 8 year old car, for $6000.  This hasn't put me off of buying used.  I can accept that cars break and they have a limited life span, and I think it's ludicrous to buy new.  To me, it's six of one, half dozen of the other.  If I bought the Captain new, I would have had to put in this amount of money at this point in the car's life anyway, but I would have overpaid (in my opinion) for those first 5 years of driving worry-free.  Rotors and belts wear out, that's just natural.  However, I will concede that next time, we're going Toyota or Honda and everyone else can go eff themselves!

I've been meaning to post about these for ages but it kept slipping my mind.  In the Big Yam's stocking this year, we got him a pair of slippers from this Etsy seller, Wooly Baby.  These are the coolest slippers ever and I'm in love with them.  First of all, they're made from recycled materials.  The uppers are felted recycled sweaters and the bottoms are suede, which makes them non-skid.  The elastic around the ankle coupled with the height means that they stay on and they're so warm and cozy and stylish.  I love them.

I also knit the Big Yam this cabled hat and mittens and they were in his stocking.  Apparently at daycare J asked him who made him the beautiful hat and whether it was his Mama, and the Big Yam was very serious and said, no, Santa brought them.  I get no cred, but at least we know that Santa indoctrination is working.

This morning when he woke up we did our customary, being cosy and smushy in my bed routine while he drank his milk and he said to me very seriously, "I go to work."  Haha.  You sure do, buddy, you sure do.


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