Birthdays really bring out the worst in me. It happens to be one of the few occasions during the year I actually look forward to. So much so that my unbridled enthusiasm ends up crushing my plans – in some of the worst ways possible.
Today is my daughter’s second birthday. Here’s a quick recap of how my celebratory endeavors turned ugly. Fast.
June Cleaver was my muse as I began the day by dressing my daughter up in some frilly pink clothing. (Truly out of character; I never dress her in pink clothing.) (Red flag #1.)
Dropping my daughter off at her school, I’m eager to get back to my kitchen to bake some cupcakes. I never bake. (Red flag #2.)
Back in my kitchen, I’m feeling zen as I assemble and combine my ingredients. I’m never zen. And certainly NEVER in the kitchen. (Red Flag #3.)
I start to whistle. (Perhaps the biggest Red Flag of them all?)
I place my cupcakes in the oven to bake, and I wait. In what resembles a 1950s housewife type of Valium induced fog, I find myself in the bathroom actually trimming my cuticles with a cuticle remover. I own such a tool? (Red Flag #5.)
Several minutes later (about 20 to be precise), I begin to smell baking soda and burning. Exit fog. Panicked, I begin thinking about how dirty my oven is, and my mind goes berserk. Have I cleaned it lately? If so, with what? Toxic chemicals? Did I use the self-cleaning option? Does that even WORK??
I feel my blood pressure spike. I have to bring these cupcakes to my daughter’s nursery school for a party in 45 minutes!
Borderline bonkers, I conduct a Google search on the heat of ovens and how they can vary from one to the next. I read that my oven is probably “normal” hot. Sigh. Thank you, Google. You are my church.
I breathe and then spot some sugar and flour on the counter near my blender. I missed a spot? I run to the cabinet and grab my trusty Method spray and take care of it, post haste!
The burning smell returns, this time accompanied by smoke and my detector’s alarm. I open the oven and see that the once happy, rising tops of my cupcakes have now fallen flat, hard and blackish. Oh, and I have about three minutes to cool and frost them.
I run into the bathroom again, flash blow dry my hair into a mangled frizz bomb, and sprint back into the kitchen; helpless but determined to salvage at least five cupcakes.
My daughter and her friends will have cupcakes, even if they are burned, damnit… and they’ll like them!
I place everything in Tupperware, and I’m off!
Just as I aggressively pull the door shut, I spot my keys on the table (about eight feet away from me). SLAM. Locked out.
It’s pouring rain.
As good luck in bad situations would have it, I spot an umbrella on my porch. I grab it with force and anger. My mind quickly flees to the image of Mommie Dearest grabbing a handful of her daughter’s hair as she screams; “SCRUB, Christina… SCRUUUB!”
I begin speed-walking to my daughter’s school, zig-zagging around puddles like a mime (I neglected to mention, I’m wearing the thinnest sandals I own), trying not to drop two awkwardly balanced Tupperware containers full of charred cupcakes. Smiling at passing cars, crying, and then, eventually laughing myself back into that lovely fog.