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Monday, July 11, 2011

I'll Never Cook Again

This declaration was made after my daughter’s birthday party this past weekend.

It’s not that I cook, now. I know. And even if I did I could hear the naysayers… saying nay…

- nay saying…

- naying?

- bitching at me and my wife for not cooking four only child’s birthday. Well, nay away. Here’s why it was a blessing to not have to cook.

For the past three years we have been having cookouts for my kid’s birthday. It’s the day after Independence Day which usually means it doubles as the official holiday cookout or gets moved to a nearby weekend to avoid the work week. Usually, we do the usual grilling fare, and I spend four hours grilling up food as well as taking care of things like wayward children, filling up coolers, etc. Normally, my wife and I do not get to enjoy the party.

This year was especially daunting as we tried to offset the scheduling conflicts of family and friends by moving it to the week after the fourth. That gave us extra time to clean, shop, etc. Still, we both looked at each other and wanted to cry.

We’ve been having issues with our pool. It’s one of those Intex brands one that I inherited from my brother. He bought a new pool and I got that one. The pump/filter that comes with it couldn’t cycle a 50 gallon fish tank properly. The pump barely sucks enough water to get a flow going and the paper filter cartridge suffers from poor design issues as it never fits right, leading to the pump not working properly. So, I had been in the market for a better pump since last year.

One of my old teachers from high school happened to have a Hayward DE pump and filter. It was a couple years old and hadn’t been used for a year. I bought it for $200 along with various parts and fittings over Memorial Day. With a vacation at the beginning of June we didn’t get it set up until the middle of the month. Now, I must say that because I’m an idiot and didn’t have a proper cover, the pool remained exposed to the elements all fall and winter resulting in lots of leaves, bugs and dirt residing in it.

Trying to clean a 16 ft. pool with even a more powerful than needed pump/filter is going to be hard. If I would have just resigned myself to draining and refilling the pool, I would have saved myself two weekends of screwing around with trying to keep the pump working.

Needless to say, I finally got it up and running, properly, on the Fourth of July weekend. That left me with a week to get everything else done. That meant yard needed cut, house needed cleaned and food needed to be bought. It was just too much for us to handle.

My wife made the executive decision at the beginning of the month to just get the party catered. Is that lazy of us? I say no. Is that frivolous of us to spend the money? I say no. Here’s why.

In the scheme of things we would have ended up paying the same amount for all of the food and then cooking it ourselves. Because we were cooking it, we would have lost time that we so desperately needed to run around and pick up supplies, the cake, the balloons, and anything else needed. We’d also find ourselves taking longer to eat as you can only prepare so much food ahead of time, leading to later meal times and less time for enjoying the other stuff.

We went with a local place called Skis and Nick’s. I’ve had their food before and it’s pretty good. We ordered one of their predefined menus which included batter dipped chicken, penne noodles and sauce, a potato, a vegetable, a deli tray, a garden salad, a fruit salad, rolls, buns, and relish tray. At $9.25 + tax, per person it might sound like a lot. However, we also got all of the napkins, plates, utensils, condiments and carryout containers to go with it. Not to mention, they included the use of a hot box to keep the hot items hot. Now, all I had to do was go pick it all up, uncover it and serve.

By the way, the food was delicious. We had leftovers which was great because we were dead tired yesterday and didn’t want to have to worry about dinner. And, we got to visit, eat and enjoy the party, for once. Like I said, we’ll never cook again for parties.

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