Thursday, October 27, 2011

Got Skillz?

Hello. My name is Melissa and I'm a Wannabe Suzie Homemaker.

There, I said it.

Would I like a career as well?

Damn skippy.

But right now, I'm 'mom' and I'm 'home' and I'm relatively...mostly...on odd numbered days...happy with it.

I had a conversation recently with a friend about skills, specifically my lack of them.

To be clear, these are *technical* skills that you'd use in a cave, um...I - where they give you a little 3x3 space and a phone and computer and they hook you up to the life sucking machines (a.k.a. they turn you into a manager) then make you talk to these creatures called 'customers' who are something akin to the Yeti or Sasquatch that can only speak through screeching howls and grunts.

I'm sure that isn't all office jobs...don't let my experience taint your opinion - but you know I'm right.

I do have a lot of mad skillz - you can tell by my use of a 'z' in place of an 's'. It's the sign of someone truly skilled. If you have to ask, then friend...are not part of the skillz elite (with a 'z').

So, while I'm home making my presence a very annoying constant in my children's lives, I am working on improving my domestic-ness - which includes trying to save money.

So, I went to the store and spent almost $200 on stuff so that I can make other stuff from scratch - but cheaper, ya know.

Or so I'm told.

I may, possibly, be slightly out of touch with reality.

Let's take a little peak into Melissa's reality, shall we (you might want to sit down, it's one of those spinny-dizzy rides).

You didn't expect this, did ya? That my reality would start with butter...

Well...if you have a teenage son who insists on buttering the entire surface of his toast - leaving no nekkid spots - then you no doubt hear "cha-ching" in your head as you watch. You also know, that if you were to just buy butter in the stick it would be hard and lumpy and your son would be bitchin' and moanin' about it tearing the bread. Solution, butter mixed with canola oil. If you've bought it in the store, you've then had your second "cha-ching" moment of the day. Solution? Make it your-own-damn-self with your trusty mixer and canola oil and whip-it, whip-it REAL good!

Viola, cheaper spreadable butter - SHAZAM! You now have a conversation with son about the evils of butter, heart disease and that slathering now will come back to haunt his ass later.

My reality also includes flour and yeast.

A friend asked me on Facebook if I was a "hand kneader or machine kneader", knowing that I was making bread. My first response was wondering how long it would take the conversation to turn naughty. Because, really...can you ask such a thing WITHOUT it turning naughty? Especially when also discussing such things as "rise" and the number of inches your pan is (10 by the way). SEE!!! You went there, didn't you...??

Back to bread.

The flour turns into this (notice the plastic wrap - always use protection...I mean cover to protect the dough):

And then it becomes this...

To eventually become this...

Anyone can make bread. Not everyone can make good, EDIBLE bread.

I've succeeded at edible, the daunting task of 'good-fluffy-make-a-sammich-with-it' kind of bread is still just beyond my grasp. BUT I'M NO QUITTER. (one of them skillz I have)

After I made bread and cleaned up the mess - well, after I attempted to make bread and botched it, I cleaned up THAT mess only to RE-attempt and NOT botch the second attempt to make yet ANOTHER mess that I also had to cleaned up. (more of my mad skillz)

I bet right now you are sitting in your little 3x3 cave thinking that you've got it pretty damn easy that you are not sporting dish-pan hands. You probably won't get the term 'dishpan hands' if you didn't watch a lot of T.V. when you were a kid. Provided you were a kid when I was a kid...which was like only a few years ago. WHAT??

So...2 messes a day (or like 10 or 12) isn't enough for me, so I decided I need to make taco seasoning. Those little envelopes you buy have weird stuff in it and oodles of salt that you should avoid because your heart will go kaput on you and then you'll be D.E.D. dead. Which, is a sorry state to be in, if you ask me...unless you're a Zombie, then technically you are UN-dead and could probably eat all the salt and fat you want because by that point, who cares?

This is what it takes to whip up a taco seasoning that is much like what you buy in the envelopes. It was rather tasty and much better for you!

Look at how nicely they all posed for me.

Finally, the topper of the day...dessert.

I made chocolate ice cream in keyoot!! little jars for a dinner guest that ended up not being able to come. Phooey.

But, that just means more for me...I mean more for us, as a family...right....

So that's what I do.

This is my current, albeit short list, of skillz that I've been cultivating since I've been home with my kids the last 13 years.

I'm sure that some people reading this will shake their heads and think, "Really? That's it? That's your life?

The short answer is, "Yes and No". That's all you'll get, because you won't understand.

Sure, Hubbypants could drop dead tomorrow (unlikely, since he's been rather good and hasn't inspired me to poison him lately) and then I'd be in a heap o' poo.

Anything could could be me that drops dead, but then my family would starve. So, I'll make sure to avoid it at all costs.

The reality is that I'm not going back to work in the immediate future (Hubbypants will read this and immediately calculate how much longer he'll have to put off retirement), so then how does one cultivate skills when there are no immediate plans to return to work outside of the home?

What do you do to stay current? And then, what if you don't want to return to the old way of working, before kids and being a 'home-maker' (which is a term that I think unfairly excludes working parents...just my opinion)?

There is a huge disconnect in the perception that a person can keep up marketable skills if they've been out of the 'market' so damn long.

That isn't the same case with part time people, self employed folks, etc. If you've dabbled while home, then you've kept somewhat fresh. But if you've been WAY THE FUCK OUT...of any working environment then you are stale as a moldy potato chip. If that is the case, you can't just tell that moldy chip to go develop some skills that they won't be using, because they have no immediate plans to join the Zombies...I mean workforce (come on, you've seen Shawn of the Dead, right?).

Now that I've purged my thoughts on this subject, I'm going to be less inclined to dismiss what I do to help my family.

I'm trying to save money, because I'd like to take a real vacation some day.

I'm trying to feed them better, because despite their rants, fits and occasional smelly-ness, I love my family immensely and I want them to be as healthy as possible.

I'm trying to be here for my kids after school, because I was that kid home alone and hated it. And my kids are also coming into a stage where all sorts of things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Teenagers - need I say more?

I'm doing all this because I can, I've been lucky to be able to 'work' from home. And while I may currently only qualify to spin an advertising banner on a street corner, I will still be confident that I am not completely devoid of skillz. They just might not translate into something our busy high tech world deems useful- but if you think about it, we all have to eat. So there.

But I'm a quick learner. It only took me 13 years to learn to make bread - in geological terms that is faster than a blink of an eye! See...there is hope for me yet!


There is a chance that this post is a mash up of two entirely different topics, that I've force together to make a point of which I'm still not entirely clear on. Just thought you should know.

It was not my intent to insult Zombies. Some of my best friends are Zombies, until they try to eat me...then it's on like donkey kong!

I haven't been sleeping well and my brain is somewhat fuzzy, therefore the content of this post may be best read with a class of something 80 proof.

Have a nice day.


  1. the homemade taco seasoning was a big hit here. i'll never buy packets again. or return to the rat race either i guess. :)

  2. Whip it! Into shape! Shape it up! Get straight! Go forward! Move ahead! It's not too late! To whip it! Whip it good!
    See, right there I was totally acknowledging Divo AND your connection between your Skillz and what you think may be your lack of Skillz. Does that even make sense?

  3. I just wanted to say I believe without a doubt there was some sort of fold or black hole in the universe that I got sucked back in time through because I think you are my future self!!! haha I loved your mad skillz!! :D

  4. You go lady!! I love your mad skillz and your 'wannabe' suzie homemakerness! I think that there is definitely an alternate universe where I am you...or you are me. Or there is just one of us. Because you are awesome!! (so am I as it were, so that must be the only option!)

  5. Ba ha haaah! I'm laughing at the zombies, not at your mad skillz. As someone who is more-or-less a homemaker for a living, after having served my 10 years in the cubicle/desk/office-with-windows hell I happen to think that making bread is a seriously kick-ass skill. Surpassed only by the making of chocolate ice cream. EVERY office would be a better place if making chocolate ice cream were a job requirement. And, yet, wearing pantyhose and doing one's hair are evidently still preferred.
    Clearly, it is MUCH better to be at home!

  6. Lovin' all the great comments! Thanks everyone!! I wish Blogger would let me comment within a comment...but no such luck...phooey.

  7. Can I get the recipe for the chocolate ice cream??

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