Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Suburban Salad

Dear Reader,

I know I have been silent for a while, but with good reason.  I moved!  Goodbye NYC, hello rabid raccoon chewing on my garage door!  There are many ways in which a move can enrich one's life, lessons to learn, new friends to make, but the most important lesson of all is this:  moving sucks.  First there were the heart wrenching goodbye ceremonies for my children in their classes.  My kids were crying, other kids were crying, it was an emotional Hunger Games.  Then the stress of hoping that the people who are buying your house won't suddenly change their minds so that the kids have to go back to school on Monday after all the farewells.  The worry that there might be poltergeists or radon (God, the radon!) lurking in your new basement, and then, once you move in, what the hell is that noise coming from under the living room floor every night at three in the morning?  It sounds like squirrels are bowling under there.  But to every cloud there is a silver lining, and today it arrived in the form of a mouse stuck to a glue trap just outside a previously undetected gap from the garage into the floor of the living room.  Gotcha.  It's amazing how blood thirsty you can become after a few nights lost sleep.

I thought I would miss NYC more than I do.  Of course I miss friends, but in this day and age, people are never really very far away.  For instance, I knew the moment my friend Sophia was egged in the head by neighborhood hooligans, and she lives in London.  I do miss bumping into people that I know walking down the street.  Hell, I miss walking down the street.  But I love my car and it costs less than we used to pay for our parking space in NYC.  Nobody ever tells you that life in the suburbs is a paradise for parents.  In New York mornings began with a 7 AM leap out of bed, hurrying the kids into their clothes, force feeding them freezer waffles and then everybody hustling out the door to wait for the elevator, because you can't take the stairs, not when your neighbor leaves used condoms between the second and third floor landings.   Then rushing down the street for a cab, or to the subway, then rushing down another street to the school, avoiding traffic, then being swept up into a sea of parents and children all funneling into a mouse-infested, lice-ridden old building, kissing goodbye while avoiding eye contact with other parents who might try and lure you into volunteering for mouse turd clean up duty.

This morning, we woke to the sound of birds singing. The kids got dressed and came downstairs for egg sandwiches and french toast, and I'm not making that up.  Then we all walked to the end of the driveway where we said hello to the neighbor, then to the friendly bus driver, who whisked my kids off to their idyllic school which is surrounded by forsythia and has two gyms and two music rooms and where the lunch room has windows!  I then went back to my house and ate a bowl of cereal.  Then stared at the wall until The View came on, which I listened to just for the sound of their voices.  No.  I'm kidding about that.  Except the cereal.  Newman's Own Vanilla Almond with a banana.  Then I found the dead mouse, jabbed my finger at it and said, "Fuck you, you noisy little fucker."  You can take the girl out of the city...

In honor of my new life here in the country, I offer you a salad on account of I've gained about ten thousand pounds because it's too damn hilly here to run very far.  Enjoy.

Suburban Salad

You will need

Glue Traps
Butter Lettuce
Vidalia Onion
Blue Cheese
Cherry Tomatoes
Hard Boiled Egg
Professional Window Cleaner
White balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Dry mustard

When woken in the night by animals scampering in the attic, the garage, the nearby woods, or gnawing on your apparently tasty garage door, do not freak out!  Go to refrigerator, remove watercress and butter lettuce, tear into a bowl.  Slice Vidalia onion as thin as the deed for your new home.  Sprinkle on blue cheese, which is the most prevalent cheese in WASP country.  You might find some growing right outside on your blue cheese tree.  Halve cherry tomatoes.  While looking out the window, notice that the lawn guy didn't finish mulching the flower bed.  Realize that you have spent more on mulch, a product which you heretofore did not even know existed, than you spent on three years of nursery school for your firstborn.  Notice the warp on the window sill.  Slice and chop an avocado and add "fix old window sill" to the ten page list of jobs for the carpenter, while resolving to learn how to fix things for yourself.  Surely it can't be too hard to replace a faucet?  Right?  Chop a hard boiled egg and place in the salad bowl.  While staring in the direction of the noise coming from the attic, notice that the absurdly tall window in the foyer is filthy.  Realize that whoever installed this window must have been in cahoots with a professional window cleaning company because only they would be in possession of the tools required to clean it.  Wonder if you could call the volunteer fire department and pretend there is a fire around that window so they might squirt it with the high powered hose.  In a small bowl mix together white balsamic vinegar, dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Toss together and enjoy before setting glue traps.  When finished, empty remaining contents into sink and listen to the sweet sweet sound of the garbage disposal as it grinds up all your scraps along with your worries.