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Entry 9 -- Trip to Myrtle Hollow

I sniff Oisin. He needs to put on a clean shirt. Riding his bike home after math team meeting has left him sweaty and stinky. "Really do up that deoderant," I remind him. He winces, but someone has to tell him to manage his smell now that he is a big guy, metaphorically speaking.

None of my boys or my boyfriend is going to the Jameson's in dirty smelly clothes or with a dirty smelly body. Orel and the boys even shower. I hear them all head in to the bathroom together and then talk up a storm, mostly about school, work, sports...guys can talk and talk. Whoever said it was women who run their mouths never lived in a house full of men.

The triple layer white cake is now slathered in real fudge icing (no confectioner's sugar. I made sugar syrup and whipped it with melted Baker's chocolate. It resides in a cake safe with a handle, a container that Stasch has always found fascinating and Oisin also likes. Apparently, the lady in Duluth, Orel's exwife, does not own a cake safe. The more's the pity there if you ask me.

We ride to the Jameson's in the truck. We even close the shop for two hours. It is around 8pm when we get there. We are not alone. Apparently they get tons of visitors in the evening. Among the regulars is Pastor Davis, the preacher for whom I cleaned up a graphic that Orel and I made in to a banner for his church. He remembers me and greets me warmly. He is sitting next to a very spaced out and frail old lady with yellowish parchment for skin and two skinny hands that hold on to the preacher's fat pink hand for dear life. I guess life is dear even when you are dying. It does not take me long to figure out that the parchment lady is Clare's mother.

Clare takes my food and opens the container of bean salad. "What's this?" she asks. I do not look around to see if Stasch is smirking. I explain that it is bean and vegetable salad. Yes you can eat it cold. It's kidney beans and vegetables in Italian dressing. The peppers are roasted and pickled and there are both green and black olives, scallions, carrots, parsley etc... in it. She gets the idea and stows the salad in her fridge.

She then examines the cake. Several younger siblings go "oooooooh!" and I get to see my handiwork cut up and distributed. Pastor Davis is escpecially thankful, but he does not notice it is a white cake. He says "he's never seen a cake this color." I say white cakes are made with just egg whites and come out this color.

"What do you do with the rest of the egg?" asks the cooking illiterate preacher.

"Either freeze it or keep it in a sealed container for a day or two and amke quiche with it."

Pastor Davis raises his eyebrows. The kids groan with pleasure as does Clare and Pastor Davis who apparently has never had real chocolate fudge icing before. "You made this, he marvels. Hasn't he ever met any one who cooked and baked before. The compliments have started to get waring even though they are fairly new. I am not sure why.

Pastor Davis asks me about business and Orel takes over, fielding the questions while Clare talks about new safety rules at the plant. No one talks about or to the frail grandmother who seems just as content to keep silent.

Koli and Oisin slip in to the living room to have big kid talk. There are more visitors in the living room. Clare gives us sweet tea which is weak but achingly sweet as lives up to its name.

Then we head home. Stasch bounces in the car due to sugar, caffeine and the lateness of being out. I keep my eyes on the mountain roads feeling zingy from the drinks and the cake before dinner.

I put out supper mainly for Oisin and Orel that night. They take large bowls of bean salad and butter slices of bread to eat with it. I sit with them while they eat. Stasch watches TV and plays with Legos.

Later I go down to the shop. I am alone as I finish the runs and start putting them in the printer. It is close to two am when I am done with the last of the counting and collating. I'll get all this on the books and out of the temp file (off the big board where we keep records of done jobs) tomorrow when I'm a bit fresher.

I try not to think about Pastor Davis. Something about him strikes me as oddly insipid. It's not a feeling I get around Rabbi Aviv. I wonder if I just gave bean salad to the wrong people. Oh well, when I make dinner tomorrow, I'll send some extra over to him. Oisin can make a delivery.

I'm glad Oisin is asleep when I get upstairs. I am glad my own mother is still alive and that I do not have to go back to Duluth to care for her or even worse, bring her here. I am glad Orel and I are self employed and have no boss. We are the boss, even if it means being up to two am working. I'd rather lose sleep than deal with a boss any day of the week.

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