Dinner time — or, the hour just before dinner time — has for a long time been a period of heightened stress in my household. Every day Amy tentatively approaches me while I'm working to ask, "What do you want to do for dinner?" Every day I dread her coming.
It's not that I don't love to have my Sweetheart visit me. It's just that I almost never have a well-formed opinion about dinner. Do we cook or do we hit a restaurant? If we cook, what do we make? If we dine out, where do we go? In Amy's defense, it's the sort of decision I'm prone to micromanage anyway, so why not ask me? In mine ... well, I don't really have a defense. And so every day she comes, and every day I herald her arrival with a jovial, "Uh-oh, here comes the what-do-you-want-for-dinner question!" And so we sit. And think. And talk about what else needs to be accomplished that evening. And, on a good day, we have a decision made within an hour's time.
Last week, however, this daily exercise finally wore it out its welcome. In truth, I don't care what or where we eat. I'd prefer to eat more meals at home and stop hemorrhaging cash towards goods that only last as long our digestive tracts retain them. I'd prefer to eat earlier than later so that our kids aren't going straight to bed after eating. But most of all, I'd prefer not to be asked about dinner at all. So I told my dear wife these things. I dubbed her the Queen of the Kitchen, and said we would do for dinner whatever she wanted us to do. She knows my preferences, she knows her preferences, she knows what our boys do and don't like to eat, and she knows what's on our calendar and TODO list better than anyone else. It just makes sense for her to take full responsibility of dinner planning.
Wonderful woman that she is, I still have a place to live after this conversation. In fact, she seems to have embraced the responsibility. She quickly planned about a week's worth of meals, bought the ingredients, and we've already had two wonderful dinners in which I played no culinary role. The arrangement doesn't leave me without responsibility, of course — my job is to keep Gavin and Aidan out of the kitchen while she works. And frankly, I need to be investing a little more time with them, anyway. It's a win-win!
Or, it was a win-win. On Sunday afternoon, our oven died.