Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cakes and Stick Shift

Our third son has been in the southeast this summer, building a house. Bad time to try to get into the building business, I suppose, although if he can make it now, he can make it any time. Anyway, he's been driving a 1995 Caddy that I found for $2000. It's been a trouble free car for 3 years (other than the water pump failure about a year ago), so I really am happy with it. But, since he's always been fascinated by building, and this is clearly what he intends to do, without bothering to finish his college degree, when a friend of mine called and said he was standing in front of a 1998 Chevy extended cab pickup for $2500, and it was Dan Green, I told him to snag it!

Earlier this week, Dan flew home to get his new truck. He brought a present for Thor: a biiiigggg bone. Now, while Thor can haul around the super big rawhide bones, he can't chew them all that well. So, my boys being resourceful, they sawed it in half. And look how happy Thor is!

I still have the Chevette I bought for my 18th birthday, 5 months before I got married. I paid under $4000 for it, it only has 39,000 original miles on it now, and it always runs. Besides, it wasn't ever worth anything for resale, so I just kept it stored in a garage. When we sold that building last year, the Chevette came back here. And it spent the winter and spring under a cover. All of my boys have been hounding me for years to teach them to drive a stick, so, given that I doubt Dan will be back except at holidays, I took him out Friday afternoon to drive around our yard in the Chevette. First, a quick demo of "how it's done"; pay attention to the sound of the engine, the whole thing. I taught him the gear pattern, how to use the hand brake, and, after he'd become sassy in thinking this was easy, I put him on a very small hill in the driveway, and told him to start from a dead stop. Well, 20 or 30 tries later, he got it up the hill, parked it, and declared, "No wonder they stopped selling these things! That's way too much work for driving!" But at least now I know he can drive a standard transmission if he must; my work here is closer to done.

The last night before Dan drove back to the apartment he shares with his brother, an investment banker, we had lemon chicken, lemon rice and sauteed zucchini and summer squash. This is really very easy: slice one (or more) each zucchini and summer squash fairly thin. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a skillet, grind in plenty of fresh pepper, and saute for about 3 to 5 minutes. This dinner served with spinach salad caused Dan to declare, "I really need to learn to cook!" That's about as good a compliment as a Mom gets.

And, of course, what kind of mother would I be if I hadn't set him on the road with plenty of provisions for himself and the brother with whom he rooms? 2 cranberry bread, 3 banana bread, one devil's food cake with buttercream frosting and one yellow cake with chocolate peppermint frosting should keep them happy until at least Tuesday....I hope!


Paula said...

Hi Marjie! Your boys are so handsome, and Thor looks so pleased with his mastodon bone! When I saw your first vehicle, I wondered if your kids had all at once tried to pile into it like folks used to do for contests with the volkswagon beetle ... you know the ones where they try to see how many people can fit! I imagine the horn would be elbowed more than once! I'm sure they'd take their shoes off first though, so as not to dirty up mom's car! I bet that car's value is much higher now that gas prices are driving folks to look for more fuel efficient rides.

You know I love your lemon rice, and your zucchini dish looks wonderful. I anticipate having lots of zucchini in the next couple of weeks.

Boy, you sure do have all the luck when it comes to sweet car deals. Great buy on that truck! I'm glad your son drove the baked goodies back home in his new truck rather than try to get them through the airport ... somehow I could see a couple of those loaves coming up "missing" from his luggage!

Violin Mom said...

Mmmmmm.... those breads look so good. I would go bonkers over that chocolate peppermint frosting. Oh how I wish I could cook and bake...

Marjie said...

Paula, I had that car at my office for several years, and when we would fly down there, I'd have it left in the airport lot for me. Once, when we had "just" 6 kids, the youngest of whom was 8 months old, we took them all down on the plane, and spent a long weekend tooling around in that car. You ought to have seen the looks on 2 couples standing in the IHOP parking lot when we started hauling kids out of this tiny hatchback, and they just kept coming!

Violin Mom, start with box mixes! Follow the directions, and soon you'll be making baked goods of your own!

gaylen said...

Marji - what a great mom! A truck for the boy and tons of goodies for a couple of days - do you think his brother actually got any?

Your Dan got better instructions than I did for learning to drive a stick, I was put in the truck, in the winter, told it wasn't that hard, figure it out! At least I already knew how to drive in the snow!! g