I was cooking dinner last night. AND that’s not easy sitting in a wheelchair. The wheelchair doesn’t position me high enough to see into the pots and pans that are sitting on the burners, so a big part of my cooking is prayer and the other part is smell. I ‘pray’ it wont burn, and because I cant see into the pot I often don’t know if it's burning until I ‘smell’ the smoke. If I do smell the smoke then the prayer part really kicks in. “Dear God, You see this mess down here. Encourage my son to offer to turn on the bar-b-que.”
The other problem with cooking from a wheelchair is reaching the pot on the back burner. If the pot needs to be stirred I have to stretch my arm across the other bubbling or frying pans and ’pray’ that I wont burn my exposed arm. It often feels like a sauna with a flame when I try to turn a spoon in a pot.
Pulling something out of the oven requires a great deal of prayer too. If I drop whatever hot object I am taking out of the oven it’s going to fall directly into my lap. The fear of roasted anything, including hot juices, tumbling on to my thighs has me repeating a mantra of “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God” until I get it securely planted some place safe.
Frying anything is scary. My face is a bit above the rim of the frying pan. Hot grease splatters tend to fly directly onto my cheeks and forehead. I’m playing with the idea of taking one of my kitchen towels and cutting two holes in it. Then when I do the fry bit I can drape it over my head for protection, but I’ll still be able to see what‘s cooking in the pan.
God hears the prayers of this wheelchair cook, but every once in a while his attention gets diverted, and I end up with a nice burn that I would never have gotten if I had been standing. So when I am cooking dinner I try very hard to stay in concentration mode.
Last night I was in major concentration mode while I was cooking dinner. I had pots and pans on all the burners. In the back of my mind I could hear murmuring and laughter from the living room. I had a fleeting moment of contentment knowing that the teenagers were spending time with the disabled ones (the ‘disabled ones‘ refers to my son and John who have found a new common denominator, bodies that don‘t function exactly as they would wish). Surely the disabled ones would be on their good behavior with the teenagers in the room. You know, setting an example for the young and impressionable.
I heard the words, "The cat almost jumped to the ceiling," accompanied by muffled laughter, but I didn't pay a whole lot of attention.
I was just beginning to take the meatloaf out of the oven when my dog came running pell mell into the kitchen. I almost dropped the meatloaf I was so shocked by his abrupt appearance. My dog is old and he doesn't run pell mell anywhere any more. He was running so fast that when his paws hit the tile on the kitchen floor he went into skid mode. Skid mode took him right to the edge of my wheelchair and under my legs. And there my sweet, old dog hid.
The laughter from the living room got so loud that there was no way that I could sanely assume that the disabled ones were being 'adults of responsibility'.
"What the heck have you done to my dog? He's scared to death!"
"One of you better own up to what you've done or I'll put the meatloaf in the doggie dish!"
"OK, that's it. The dog and I are going to out to dinner. You conspirators can finish cooking this food!"
I bent over to ask my dog where he thought he would like to go for dinner. We had just started commiserating with one another about the inconsiderate people that live in this house when all around us bubbles began falling from the ceiling. Bubbles floated everywhere. Big beautiful iridescent bubbles, small, perfect, diamond like bubbles. The kitchen windows were open so there was a slight breeze that made the bubbles whirl and swirl all around me. It was lovely. Magic in the kitchen.
Behind me the teenagers and the disabled ones were smiling as they blew through their wands to make the magic bubbles appear. When I said, "This is the nicest thing that has ever happened to me while I was making meatloaf," we all laughed harder then we have laughed together since my son had his accident. It turned a corner for us. The tension and fear for the son/father/friend that had been so badly hurt has released itself and our family is once again feeling like we are on safe ground. Bubbles of magic will do that every time.
As for the dog and the cat? It took them 30 minutes to find the cat and another 2 hours to get her to speak to them again. My old dog? He doesn't trust any of them. He treats the bubble incident like he treated his first experience with beach sand. If he sees the bubble bottle come off the shelf he instantly plops himself on my lap and hides his head under my arm.