Though my parents did many things that helped me in my quest to become a successful blind adult, they never emphasized the need for me to learn home management skills. Consequently, the duty of teaching me most of what I have learned about cooking and other household duties has fallen to my wonderful wife, Peggy, and to that greatest teacher of all -- trial and error.
A few years ago Peggy worked as a registered nurse in a local nursing home. This meant that she had to leave for work around noon every other Sunday, leaving me the responsibility of preparing Sunday dinner for my four boys and myself. One Sunday as she was leaving church, she told me that there was ravioli in a bowl on the kitchen table. "Just microwave it for five minutes, Honey," she said, "and dinner will be ready for you and the boys."
Not long after we got home, the boys (ages 2, 4, 8, and 9) all made it clear that they were ready for dinner. So, with great confidence, I said, "Wash your hands, guys, and dinner will be ready in five minutes."
Going to the kitchen table, I found a bowl covered by cellophane. Lifting the cellophane, I felt something sort of flabby inside and, not caring to investigate further, I put the cellophane back on the bowl and put it in the microwave for five minutes.
Five minutes later, the four hungry wolves were at the table, ready to pounce on the great meal I was about to serve. Paper plates were all in place, and they eagerly eyed the microwave as I opened the door and removed our dinner.
The first thing that caught my attention was the smell. It certainly didn't resemble anything Italian! Instead, the odor that emanated from the bowl could best be described as fruity. Carefully, I lifted the cellophane and stuck my index finger ever so gently into the mixture. I noticed that, instead of being solid, it was now a rather hot liquid. As I lifted the finger to my mouth and tasted it, I learned a valuable lesson -- you can microwave Jell-O! I also learned that sticking the microwaved Jell-O in the refrigerator for a few hours can harden it again.
I eventually found, and successfully microwaved, the ravioli. But I learned a valuable lesson that Sunday -- sometimes we have no choice but to laugh about the lessons we learn. We have had many laughs about the microwaved Jell-O incident over the years. And I still let trial and error give me home management lessons now and then. Maybe someday I'll tell you about the chocolate macaroni and cheese!
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