“You know how you’re always telling me that it would be nice if I made dinner for a change?” Tom asked as he came through the front door. I noticed he was holding a grocery bag.
“Yes,” I said. “Don’t tell me. You’re going to make frozen pizza?”
Sometimes Tom will tell me that he’s going to make dinner and then he’ll open the freezer and hold a Digorno box over his head. “Dinner!” he’ll bellow. And don’t get me wrong, I like frozen pizza but sometimes I wish he’d actually cook for me. As in, follow a recipe.
“Nope,” Tom said proudly. He waved the bag at me. “I’m making Steak Ums!”
I frowned. “What did you call me?”
Tom shook his head. “No. Steak Ums is what I’m making.”
“Is that some secret word that they used in the Avatar movie that you saw?” I asked tiredly. It had been a long day.
“No. Steak Ums!” Tom pulled a red box from the bag. Sure enough the words Steak Ums were scrawled across the front. So he didn’t make the word up.
“How do you make them?” I wondered.
Tom’s eyebrows furrowed. “You know…I’m not sure.” Then he turned the box around and tapped it. “Ahh. Here we go. You just stick the steak strips in the oven.”
“The steak strips?” I repeated.
“That’s what they are. Steak strips.”
“You make a sandwich! I’m going to make us a kick ass Steak Um sandwich.”
Then Tom marched determinedly into the kitchen. I could hear the rustle of the bag as he took everything out.
I was tempted to ask if he needed help. But then I changed my mind. Does he help me when I’m in the kitchen? Not much. Plus, I deserved to rest. So I leaned back against the couch and closed my eyes.
“What’s for dinner?” Tommy said, shaking my arm.
“Steak Ums,” I answered without opening my eyes.
“What’s that?” Tommy sounded absolutely horrified.
“Steak strips. Apparently.”
“I’m not sure if I’ll like that.”
“Me either. But Daddy is trying so let’s be thankful.”
“Amber? Where is the pan?” Tom called out. “I wanted to cook some onions too but I can’t find the pan. I see a big pan and I see a small pan. Don’t we have a medium pan?”
Ugh. This is what stinks when Tom decides to venture into the kitchen. He asks me a billion questions so I can’t even rest.
“It’s with all the other pans, Tom!”
“I don’t see it. I see a big pan, I see a small pan but I don’t see—”
“ It’s with the other pans, Tom!”
“Okay! Geez. I thought one of your resolutions was to be nicer to me!”
“Ahh yes, but I put a stipulation with that. I’d be nicer to you if you didn’t aggravate me. Right now you’re aggravating me.”
“I just needed to know where the—wait, nevermind, I found it.”
A few minutes later went by and I decided to read.
“Are these onions cut up small enough?” Tom yelled.
“I trust your judgment!” I said.
“Okay...well...do you know what pan I should put these steak strips on?”
I snapped the book shut. “No, I don’t. I’ve never made Steak Ums before, Tom.”
“Me either! My Mom would make them and I can’t remember what she did!”
“Well Tom, you’re an educated man in the Air Force. I imagine you can figure it out.” I opened my book again.
I could hear the rumble of Tom opening the oven drawer. I imagine he was peering inside, trying to figure out what pan he should use for the strips.
“I just thought of something,” Tom said.
I assumed he meant that he figured out what pan to use so I went, “Fantastic!” as I continued to read.
“Do we have bread?”
“No?” I called back, confused.
“I just realized that I forgot the bread. Do we have any kind of bread?”
“Moldy bread in the cabinet, I think,” I responded. I really need to clean out the cabinets.
“How can we not have bread? Every family has bread! Don’t the kids want sandwiches for lunch?” Tom was absolutely in shock that we didn’t have bread.
“Not our kids. Our kids are weird. Tommy says sandwiches tastes like armpits and Natalie just takes hers apart and smears it all over the place. So to be on the safe side, I don’t bother making sandwiches. You’ll be lucky if the kids eat your Steak Um sandwiches,” I said and shut my book again. It’s nearly impossible to read in this house when everyone is awake. I usually have to do it when everyone is asleep.
“If there’s no bread, there’s no Steak Ums,” Tom fumed. “I’m not going back to that store. There were old people galore in there who walk like 2 miles per hour. I nearly picked up this old man and moved him to the side.” Tom walked out and sat down next to me on the couch with a sigh. “So now what do we eat?” He looked at me pointedly.
Oh great. So now it was my job again.
“I’m not cooking!” I said firmly. “You said you were cooking and I got used to the idea.”
Tom glanced at the clock. “Amber, I said I’d cook like fifteen minutes ago. How can you already be used to the idea? I’ll cook another day. When we have bread.”
“I’m not cooking.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “And we aren’t buying anything either,” I added when I saw Tom’s eyes brighten. He’ll use any excuse to go out.
Tom stood back up. “Fine!” He held his hands up, surrender style. “I’ll cook....how does frozen pizza sound to you?”