Sex and Suburbia, A Brisket in the Slow-Cooker
By Julie Stankowski
Okay, I have no idea what this column is going to be about, but I just thought it was hysterical when I heard myself say, “I have a brisket cooking in the crock pot.” Is this really me? I looked in the mirror and saw my reflection and thought, “Who are you and what have you done with Julie?” Seriously, who am I? I’m cooking a brisket in the slow cooker and it’s not even a Jewish holiday? What the hell is going on?
Well, it started a couple of days ago when my husband told me it would be kind of nice if he came home to a home-cooked meal (all right, any kind of meal) once in a while. Okay, fine. But a brisket? Jesus Christ, I could have just heated up a meal from the Costco refrigerated aisle, but nooooo, a brisket? Where is this coming from? Tremendous guilt? I don’t think so. I really don’t feel very guilty for not having dinner on the table when my husband gets home from work (well, maybe a tiny bit guilty, but anyway). My day at “work” (being a mom) was way harder than his (again, glad he doesn’t have his own blog for rebuttal time).
I tell him, “At least you get an hour of peace in the morning when you can listen to whatever you want on the radio, even if they say bad words. And you get an hour of peace in the afternoon in your car, same way. And you can go to lunch each day with your cohorts and hang. And even though you think I am eating Bon Bons and watching soap operas, you’re wrong. By the time I get the kids to school, I’m exhausted. Then, I go to the supermarket. Then, I go to the dry cleaners. Then, I go to the bank (okay, yes, I am depositing the money that you make, but if life was fair, I’d be pulling down 7 figures for my job). Then, I go to the doctor. Then, I volunteer in the school office. Then, I pick up at preschool. Then, I pick up at elementary school. Then, I go to gymnastics. Then, I go to karate. Then, I come home to take a brisket out of the slow cooker? Ummmm, what????? This is so unlike me.
So if not guilt, what was it that caused me to start cooking like my grandma? Well, there are several possible explanations for this odd behavior, but here’s the one I like. Just go with me here. You know those advertisements for living a healthy life, where they show a beautiful 20-year-old girl on the screen and then fast forward the image so you watch her rapidly aging and then, within 3 seconds, you are looking at an 80-year-old version of the same woman? Well, whatever technology makes that possible, some mean person installed it in my bathroom mirror. Seriously, I am noticeably aging by the day, by the minute.
A little more padding all over, especially the midriff. A few more lines on the face. A little less hair on the head and a little more hair in places there isn’t supposed to be hair. Yes, we all know what I’m talking about. But how has that stupid aging technology affected me mentally in addition to the physical deterioration of my once young face and body? I think when I was sleeping one night, some other meanie implanted the aging microchip in my brain, as if my bathroom mirror wasn’t enough!
Now, I’m not just looking older, I’m actually acting older too! Oy, I am becoming my grandma! A brisket in the slow cooker? What’s next, dentures and a weekly bridge game at my house? How did this happen? Inside, I still feel like a kid pretending to be an adult. I have no clue how to be a good wife, a good mom, a good hostess. I just pretend. When did I go from being a pee-on law student to an actual attorney making multi-million dollar decisions? And who are the idiots that rely on me to make these decisions? Don’t they know I am just pretending like I know what I’m doing?
And when did I go from microwave popcorn and Captain Crunch for dinner to brisket? From having one roll of toilet paper in my apartment, which when I ran out, I would use tissues even tough you’re not supposed to, but I was too lazy to go to the market, to now feeling uncomfortable if I do not have at least 50 extra rolls of toilet paper on hand? From being okay with driving on fumes to now feeling totally uncomfortable if I don’t fill up my gas tank before the little marker gets below the half-way point. From not caring how much money I gambled in Vegas to cutting coupons? From thinking my entire life that Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover were the only Jewish holidays to finding out that there are like 1000 more Jewish holidays so significant that in September and October the preschool is closed every other day? Tu B’Shevat? What?
Yes, my friends. It seems aging happens without us even knowing it. And while I wish (I really wish) that my boobies were not resting upon my tummy when I’m not wearing a Wonder Bra, I guess I just have to roll with it (Ha. Ha.). I mean who has the energy, or the money, or the chutzpah to go under the knife to change it? And even if I could look younger, it would be a total and obvious farce since I have a brisket in the slow cooker. I mean, come on, one who is cooking a brisket is obviously not the young person they once were.
So, I have decided that instead of dwelling on it, I will embrace my entrance into old-maidom with grace and dignity. But I refuse to ignore the part of me that still feels like Carrie Bradshaw living La Vita Loca in NYC. So, I will try to combine the two life stages to be the truly authentic me. Yes, I will serve my family brisket, but accompanying it will be some sort of alcohol and after it will be some sort of sugar cereal for dessert. I will cut coupons in the morning, but I will buy a totally frivolous necklace at the school boutique at pick-up time. I will take my kids to Chuck E. Cheeses, but then get a babysitter so my husband and I can go out for cocktails and dinner. And I will take my kids to Tot Shabbat on Friday night and while I am there I will pray:
Dear God, in return for me being a good Jewish mother and cooking a brisket for my family, please get that damn microchip out of my bathroom mirror and out of my brain; and please tell my husband that for Valentine’s Day a nice gift for his wife would be a gift certificate for a new Spanx, a new super bra, a facial and a spray-on tan, as well as two tickets to Las Vegas leaving in the morning so I can play poker instead of bridge. Thank you and Amen.
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