“Register for the SATs,” I said this morning.
Again. As I was pulling laundry out of the washer, and shoving it into the dryer.
“They’re coming up in early October.”
“How do I do that?” he asks. My son is 16. He’s fixing himself the king of all omelettes.
“Google!” I holler, from the next room, back on my laptop.
“It isn’t hard. This isn’t ten years ago when you had to actually know how to research.”
Life before Google
Can we even remember life before Google, or Yahoo, or MSN? Before asking Jeeves, consulting Wiki, auditing About? Or tweeting, friending, facebooking, texting, IMing or accessing information and each other through an exploding number of sources with the flick of a few keys?
I hear ham crackling on the stove top. The eggs will come next. It’s nearing noon, and I’ve been paying bills, refashioning a resume, working on a cover letter to send with an application, alternating with skimming my job board feeds.
I pause and think about that, about everything I do online as though it’s the most routine thing in the world.
It’s a connected world, for better or worse. Like many of us – I can hardly remember a time before cell phone and laptop, before the Internet assisted me in performing my job, looking for projects, correcting my grammar, helping with homework, downloading sheet music, following the flight path of a child headed overseas, much less surveying a series of potential paramours by viewing profiles as I sit on the laundry room floor, or while stuck between stations in the subway.
I never actually stopped to count all the online activities that support our familial universe, but like many, we’ve come to depend on conveniences we couldn’t have dreamed of a decade ago.
He’s moved on to piano practice
I hear Chopin. Normally, I’m happy to hear Chopin. But this is SAT avoidance music.
Time to nag again.
Is there a nagging gene, or is it something we perfect as voices drop, facial hair sprouts, and showers in the morning morph into a 30-minute affair?
“The SATs!” I shout.
The music stops. I hear footsteps headed to his room. “So what do I look for?”
How hard is it to Google for the SATs? Maybe it’s rebellion against my New England work ethic. Maybe it’s just typical behavior for a typical teen as summer comes to a close.
“SATs. October. Registration.”
It’s quiet again. He’ll be back. For my credit card.
Where’s MY omelette, dammit?
I grab the wallet and run through the past week’s transactions in my head. I pick a piece of plastic, and hand it over. Time for the credit card shuffle. You know, the daily dance of indebtedness. I’m a pro.
Which big bank will like me today?
And the buck doesn’t stop there – two SAT prep classes that start in ten days, and textbooks. A second SAT registration in January. Books needed for the first day of school, supplies, clothes (he’s grown again), AP exams, IB exams.
And this is public school. God help us when it’s time for college applications.
Budgeting bliss. Not.
Most of these expenses are unaccounted for – all the (necessary) extras not explicitly anticipated in the 8-year old child support agreement – the one I’ve never been able to change, the one that covers a fraction of the child-rearing costs, the one that isn’t exactly enforceable when you get right down to it. Not unless you have five grand to walk into an attorney’s office followed by $350/hour for a legal assistance of the non-shark variety. (Sharks bill at upwards of $500/hour, which may explain why their kids aren’t in public school.)
Remember those comments on greater optimism relative to mounting debt?
Right. I’m harping.
No one likes debt, and no one I know feels any better about it.
But there’s always good news! And the good news is…
My son appears to be a budding chef. Well, he can cook a hell of an omelette anyway, and he enjoys the process.
He’s also a gifted artist. (Really. That’s not just “Mom talk.”) But he’s been grumbling over drawing 35 hands and 35 feet (for school) the past few days, and I doubt he’ll develop a foot fetish anytime soon.
I quote: “I’m over feet. I hate feet. I’m sick of feet.”
Fortunately, he still likes faces; he’s been doing portraits on commission for a few years, and he’s doing more. He loves the way that feels. Earning money by his own hand. Truly by his own hand. And good thin. He may need to support me. No kidding. And I told him so!
But in the meantime, I’ll ask him to make me an omelette.…
Recipe for Best Omelette on the Planet (compliments of my son)
- 3 eggs
- mixed shredded cheese (jack, mozarella, cheddar)
- brown sugar ham
- fresh baby spinach
- red onion
- green onion
- sweet bell peppers
- plum tomatoes
- garlic or garlic pepper
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 medium red potatoes
Mix eggs (2 or 3) in bowl. Add a dash of water or skim milk for fluffy factor.
Dice red onion and peppers (green, red, yellow – or all!), set aside. Dice green onion for garnish. Slice or chop tomatoes and mushrooms.
Heat skillet with butter or margerine. Drop several slices of brown sugar ham or maple ham (packaged, from the store) into the pan. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, then set aside. Sautée mushrooms and onions if you like – less than a minute is sufficient. Set aside.
Pour in eggs. Medium heat. Use a fork to further scramble them a bit in the skillet, then turn down heat. Add ham, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach. Or anything else that suits you. Fold egg layer over – or if you prefer “gushy” then use gentle scrambling action.
Season to taste – with garlic, garlic pepper, fresh ground pepper, rosemary – and a tiny amount of salt (optional – there’s so much other good stuff in there).
Add cheese. Fold eggs again. Then serve, garnished with green onion on top.
Red potato side:
- Microwave 2 small to medium red potatoes on high, 2 to 4 minutes each “side,” depending on your microwave.
- Cut into thin slices. Sautée in skillet, in oil or small amount of margerine. Season to your taste. Serve on the side with omelette.