Thursday, June 14, 2012


So it's kid birthday party season around these parts and it was only a matter of time before we got invited to a party with an actual magician. A real magic show! Balloon animals! Woohoo! It was a pretty cool scene except that the birthday boy was kind of suffering from that "it's my party and so I'm going to be a total jerk" kind of five year old phenomenon, but my kids did not care because BALLOONS! MAGIC! CAKE! PINATA!

(Also, we did not know these people AT ALL which made for some awkward conversation and some standing around and me being VERY interested in the magic show. Why were we invited to this party? The dad is one of Brent's fishin' buddies. More on that in a minute.)

So after the party wound down and the kids had each consumed roughly five pounds of sugar (and I might add they were both totally pissed at me for not letting them drink Pepsi and Dr. Pepper like the other kids did- I am such a killjoy), we hauled them and their balloons to the car and headed for home. And this was when Brent casually mentioned the idea of going fishing with his fishin' buddies from the party. Normally I am all about Brent and his fishing escapades because for one, he rarely wants to go, and for two, I understand that the man needs to stand by a river and commune with nature from time to time. But the problem was that during this particular week I had been suffering from some seriously painful digestive issues of which I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I now understand why old people talk about their gastrointestinal distress so freely, because when that shit is not working, it fucking hurts.

But I was a good sport and so I bid him farewell and resigned myself to spending a rainy afternoon stuck inside my house with two completely cracked out kids and a hurt tummy. And the dog needed to be walked, too. But miraculously we all survived and the kids played legos and trashed the house and the dog went and chewed sticks in the garage and I ate some prunes and it seemed like everything was going to be just fine.

And then came bedtime and an epic meltdown by Jack that triggered one of my darkest parenting moments to date. I had exhausted my patience and I really really really just needed the kids to get into bed RIGHT NOW DAMMIT! so that I could go to bed. Jack was flailing and writhing and refusing to cooperate and I finally reached my breaking point when he started in with the "I'm hungry"s as I wrestled him into bed. I knew I was losing my cool and instead of counting to ten like they always tell you to do, I found myself stomping into the kitchen, retrieving a string cheese, and hurtling it at Jack before I slammed his bedroom door.

Intense sobbing. "Mom! Why did you hit me in the eye with cheese? Why, Mom? Why did you do that?"

Shit! Had I actually hit him in the eye with a flying string cheese? I opened the door and assessed the situation. In fact I had. Shit! Shit! Would it leave a mark? Would he go to preschool the next morning and tell all of the mandatory reporters that his mom hit him in the eye with cheese?

I was still hemming and hawing about this when Brent came home a few hours later lugging a GIGANTIC spring Chinook salmon, which he then proceeded to gut and filet into the wee hours of the night in our kitchen. I was more than a bit concerned about the aftermath of such butchery INSIDE OUR HOUSE and I assured Brent that I would vomit profusely if I came out the next morning and caught even a single whiff of fish carnage. So instead I  awoke Monday morning to a spotless kitchen and bags of beautiful fish filets piled up in the refrigerator.

All day long at work on Monday I kept thinking about that fish and how delicious it would be. Brent has perfected his salmon grilling technique and the kids go crazy for it, so I was counting down the minutes until dinner. And then I remembered that Brent has his late class on Mondays and would not be home in time to do the grilling.

Have we talked about pink jobs and blue jobs before? Well, let me tell you that grilling falls under the category of blue jobs in this household and the likelihood that I could singlehandedly grill a fish was slim to none. No, scratch that. None. However once a pregnant lady sets her mind on a meal, watch out! I was determined to make it happen. I started googling around and found this recipe for baked salmon. Seemed simple enough and we had all of the ingredients, so why not. The only problem was that the fish filet still had skin on one side and all of the reviewers had insisted that you remove the skin prior to baking OR ELSE you will end up with a fishy tasting fish. And we couldn't have that. So I began to peel away the fish skin. This can't be right, I thought to myself as the filet flopped around the cutting board and the skin held on tight. I washed my hands and googled "how to remove fish skin." Ah, a knife! Of course. Again I began to remove the skin only this time I was wielding a knife and my hands were just as slippery and now my fingers were getting numb from handling the cold corpse and I started to get queasy when the skin just wouldn't peel. And so I phoned a friend. Two friends, actually, who both assured me I was on the right track, stay the course, keep on keepin' on, etc. Gradually I began to make some progress, but the gruesome scene and horrific smell overcame me and I soon found myself vomiting profusely into the kitchen sink. The kids heard the commotion and came in to see what all the excitement was about. I am one of those people who cries when throwing up and so they entered the kitchen to find me crying and holding a knife over piles of fish skin and a slimy pink carcass. They wisely turned heel and retreated to the playroom. I hitched up the sleeves of my sweatshirt with my teeth, used that old morning sickness trick of visualizing a lemon, and went back to work. After about 45 minutes of this, at last my fish was ready.

I worried that I would not be able to stomach the fish after that ordeal, but sure enough, that mapley garlic smell wafted through the kitchen and soon all of our mouths were watering. And Brent came home just in time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I found out later that Brent has a Special Filet Knife that would have made things a lot easier, but oh well. As far as I am concerned, skinning fish can remain a blue job.

And in case you were wondering, Jack's eye was just fine. No word yet on the emotional trauma of being hit in the eye by your mom with a string cheese. Next time I will count to ten.

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