I can’t believe it’s Sunday already.. Where’d my week go? Or most of my weekend for that matter? Man, I need to slow down some.. So, the good news of the day is that I survived my hellish week detailed in my previous post with only a few minor injuries to show for it.. Also, I finally got me some much needed rest which I have been looking forward to since, well, Wednesday I guess.
Throughout the week, I was really hoping that Saturday morning was gonna be the time where I’d finally get some nice, deserved, uninterrupted rest and a good long sleep. By the time that I finally got home at like 3:30 AM on Saturday and sat down with a sandwich and a beer to unwind a little, I realized that I just plain wasn’t sleepy and that it would probably be a while before I’d get to the point of feeling sleepy. Long story short, I was in bed by around 5 AM and then up again at 9 AM after having woken up like three times in the course of four hours and eventually just giving up on the whole sleep thing. I ended up spending the morning cooking a nice, full breakfast, going for a walk and shopping for a bunch of groceries and necessities such as various mystery herbs for various mystery projects. I also took some time out to do fuck all and just relax as I knew I had a long day ahead of me. Saturday was, after all, the much awaited day of Tina and Christian, and possibly other people as well, celebrating their birthdays in unison and as such I had, through the cunning use of compliments, praise and kind words, been talked into cooking dinner for nine people and a couple of toddlers, i.e. our friends’ Tine and Henrik’s kids. I do love to cook, but it had also been a pretty stressful week, so I knew that if anything good was to come of it – and I was not to snap at innocent bystanders – I’d have to get some rest and be on top of my game, so I went and did something pretty rare for me these days: Spending a couple of hours just goofing off.
At around 2 PM, Tina arrived to pick me (and my groceries) up, looking all gorgeous-like with her newly cut and died hair and (in the words of Eddie Izzard) fantastic make-up. Having once committed the ultimate sin of not noticing her having done something with her hair and endured a lot of ridicule in the wake of that, I wasted no time in telling her the obvious: That she looked very pretty and that I was happy with what she’d done to her hair. Tina, though obviously pleased responded with very little but a soft thank you and an “I’m glad you say that, I’ve done my best.” .. Which confused me a little because it was a pretty far cry from her usual reaction, but then I did remember that the poor girl was just turned down for a position as trainee after a second round of interviews, so I couldn’t really blame her for being a little down and needing a little more than being told she was pretty to cheer her up. Luckily, though, I have a lot more than compliments up my sleeve.. There’s also silliness, sympathy, alcohol and downright clown-like behavior, all of which would subsequently be applied throughout the day in an effort to make her feel better about things.
For now, we stuck to just chatting a little and helping each other getting my six odd bags of groceries, cooking remedies, wine and other stuff, including a wok which Tina is to borrow for, well, indefinitely for now, into Tina’s car, and we then set off towards her place were we unloaded everything and, painstakingly, in just one trip, carried it all the way up the stairs to her second store apartment where we almost had a major accident as we ran into a locked door just as I was starting to lose grip of the case of wine I was balancing in one hand along with a heavy bag of groceries. The day was saved by boyfriend Jeppe who rushed to the door when he heard us banging, unlocked it, opened it and caught the case just as it started tumbling out of my hands and towards the floor.. Thanks, boyo!
Having thus being saved from certain disaster, we unpacked all my stuff in the kitchen and settled down to rest for a little before slowly getting started on dinner. Someone, Christian I believe – perhaps backed by Tina – had requested Mexican food for dinner which was of course fine by my as it’s one of my favorite things to cook and one thing that I do well pretty consequently. The only problem with the suggestion, really, was that our friend Louise was coming along for dinner and her poor stomach can’t stand the chili peppers that are pretty much a stable in Mexican cooking. I found out about this the hard way a few years back when a batch of my Chili con Carne ended up actually making the poor girl sick, so I had a bit of a fun time over the week trying to figure out what Mexican dishes I could serve that didn’t count on chilies as a star player. I eventually decided on Carne Asada, essentially beef marinated in lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, cumin and a few other things we won’t mention to Louise including mild, green chilies (a step down from the slightly hotter Jalapeños that are traditionally used). I’d serve up the beef with tortillas, cheese, guacamole and two kinds of salsa (one with chilies, one without), Spanish rice and refried beans.. A pretty good choice, I though.. Except it was exactly the same meal that I’d served for Tina and Jeppe as a main course during our Mexican dinner months earlier. Tina assured me this was no problem, though.. So it became the meal of choice even if I wasn’t entirely happy with it. And may or may not have whined about not for days on end.
Either way, such became the menu and we pretty quickly set out making salsa, beans and guacamole at a pretty quickly and consistent pace, only interrupted by the traditional beer breaks and by Tina who in her own special way was thrashing around and interrupting the process in various adorably retarded ways such as suddenly yelling out “Wait! Stop! Huh.. Look what I got to please you!” and then stopping the entire cooking process to proudly show off a few test grinds of her new pepper mill.. Or running off to dive head first into various boxes, spilling their contents all over the living room floor minutes before the guests were set to arrive, looking for salt shakers to put on the table.. Oh Tina, what would my life be like without you?
Regardless of Tina’s attempts to interrupt the process, we got both salsa, guacamole and beans ready in due time before guests arrived which was good because by the time Tine and Henrik arrived with their toddlers, I pretty soon found myself alone in the kitchen while everybody else mingled in the living room, battling for attention from the little ones and making a wide array of weird noises, much to the pleasure of the little ones. “Ah well,” I thought, popped open another beer and set out to finish dinner. I was eventually joined in the kitchen by Christian and by various other guests such as Henrik, Jeppe, Tina and Tine as well as the toddlers, Laura and Noah who were apparently so in love with my guacamole that they came looking for more only to then fall in love with my refried beans.. What can I say? I thought toddlers were picky eaters, so I was pretty well impressed and happy with my skills.
After frying up the beef and doing the customary Carne Asada frying tequila shot off the bottle with Tina (we not only have a very strange relationship, we also have very strange traditions), I was about ready to serve dinner and that’s where things eventually went wrong.. I don’t really believe in serving hot food in cold bowls, so I’d hat a stainless steel bowl heating in the oven to put the rice in. An old trick of mine, and quite handy – provided you do it right. As such, you should make sure you’re not too stressed out come serving time so that you forget about the bowl in the 200c degree oven for extended periods of time.. Or if you do, you should at least use a towel or other means of protection when you get it out, not do like I did and grab it with your bare hands. The result was pretty predictable: lots of howling, some wincing and whining coupled with some jumping around as second degree burns started showing up on the fingers on my left hand and parts of my right arm.
As per usual, I soldiered on, wrapping my fingers in damp paper towel and trying to shrug off any worried enquiries of “are you okay?” all while crying a little on the inside. This went well until the food hit the table and everybody got sat down to eat. Long story short, the good news was that everybody from toddlers to 30+ thoroughly enjoyed the food and even likened it to the real deal, the bad news is that I spent most of the birthday dinner trying to keep a straight face while being in a considerable amount of pain. I enjoyed the food, of course, but the pain was bad.. Even for someone like me who is used to burning himself on a pretty regular basis.. Maybe this will finally teach me.
So.. Excruciating pain aside, the dinner went much better than I could have hoped for. For some reason I was really nervous about the whole ordeal and for some reason I will – once again – have to admit that Tina was right when she told me on the day, on the day before and on the day before that (in no uncertain terms) that things were gonna be okay.. Everybody had a good time, everybody liked the wine I had picked, I received a lot of compliments for the food, even from the little ones.. It was all good!
After dinner, the toddlers became a little unruly which I, without really knowing anything about kids, attributed to it being near their bedtime, a suspicion which was strengthened by the fact that Tine and Henrik pretty quickly started packing up, thanking everybody for a good evening and eventually heading out the door with their adorable little ones. The rest of us then helped each other clean up a little, do dishes, take out the garbage and performing other tasks such as looking at stuff on Google Earth and sipping wine.. Before we got into the important stuff such as drinking wine and beer while rocking out to Guitar Hero Metallica where, amongst other weird occurrences, I managed to score 99% on vocals despite not being able to carry a tune for the life of me.. I gotta admit, I was wholeheartedly expecting Guitar Hero to be pretty stupid no fun at all, but I really was proven wrong in the process.
Having probably thoroughly annoyed both neighbors and the family living downstairs with our screaming vocals, loud cheering, enthusiastic bass drumming and whatever else the game brought, we decided after about an hour of play that it was probably time to pack up and take on a more intellectual activity: Besserwisser, a game in which useless knowledge in a lot of strange fields is rewarded with a chance to mock and school your opponents – much like the classic Trivial Pursuit but with a few twists.. It’s good fun, but this particular time around I felt really unloved and singled out because absolutely no one wanted to form a team with me. With there being seven of us, we squared off in four teams, three teams of two and one of.. Well, Johan.. Because absolutely no one wanted to be on my team, arguing that I am apparently too smart and that it would render an unfair advantage if I teamed up with anybody. That was the official explanation, of course, I on the other hand was whining and making the case that nobody liked me and wanted to be my friend.. Regardless, no one budged and I ended up squaring off alone and horribly outmatched against the rest of the lot.. At which point I, of course, got pissed and stated that if we were gonna play this way, then fine.. I’d then just beat every single one of them! Rather a daring statement, but luckily for me I did end up winning the pretty tight race, or I’d have really lost a lot of respect.
Following my schooling of everybody who didn’t want to be my team mate, Carsten and Louise who had a long drive home made their goodbyes and took off, leaving the rest of us to sit around and chat for a while until both Jeppe, Tina, Christian and Emelie pretty much simultaneously started looking a little weary eyed. Me being the only one with a less than normal sleep pattern then decided that I had probably better leave them to it and slowly but steadily prepared to leave and let the rest of the party get to bed. I ended up walking home at around 1:30 AM (?) wondering how on earth I, myself, was still awake but eventually making it home only to once again go to bed and lie there tossing and turning for hours, mind lost in thoughts about everything and nothing, but mainly about the future. I eventually fell asleep around 5 AM and was this time around blessed with peaceful, uninterrupted sleep which lasted all night until 9 AM where my mom decided to call and wake me up..