We are halfway through our life lessons series about the top 15 dishes to master by the age of 30. So far, so good, right? Well, not so much over at our house. Looking back to yesterday’s “incident” I am amazed at how I can go from blood boiling anger to gut wrenching laughter all in one day. Let me tell you a little story.…All I wanted was some chicken noodle soup. Paris has been windy, chilly, wintery and quite frankly I have been a little bit afraid to go outside. I don’t want to get sick again and these incessant French commercials about “la grippe” aren’t helping. I am terrified of invisible germs and all I want to do is stay healthy. It is a well-known fact over my house that “Ellie is on a health kick.” I have been juicing my little heart out… Spinach, blueberries, carrots, cucumber, celery, kale, ginger, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, tumeric, lemon, beet and apple. I have been meditating, researching a new acupuncturist, having daily kinesiology therapy sessions, drinking warm chai lattes with almond milk, plenty of rest and keeping warm.
All of the caregivers, nurses and therapist are instructed to wash their hands with warm soapy water until they get through two renditions of the happy birthday song. If I see a sniffle, hear a cough or witness any sort of malaise, that person will not make it past my front door. This is a germ-free zone. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have not gotten the stomach flu that Gracie had, her boyfriend had, her roommate had and my mother-in-law had. For some reason I have been spared and thank God because I do not have the muscles to actually throw up. I will most likely choke and die a horrible death. So, we are all on high alert at my house… High alert!My husband has been a witness to all of this but apparently none of it “sunk in.” It is a good thing that I’m completely paralyzed otherwise I would have smothered my husband in his sleep for what he did. Since I physically cannot harm my husband, my only recourse was to punish him with my smarts and wit, basically the only things that I have left. Make yourself a drink, sit back and let me tell you what he did…
Continuing my health kick and research for the blog, I decided to make homemade chicken noodle soup. As you know, I cannot do this on my own due to my “situation” so I have to enlist the help of my caregivers. Usually I don’t trust any of them to even help me make croutons, but my new caregiver Joel is a fantastic cook. He doesn’t just slop everything into a pot and cook it. He actually cares, like I do about making the perfect chicken noodle soup. We even had a long conversation about it! So, off to the streets of Paris Joel went to collect the ingredients. I sent him to my favorite roasted chicken boucherie to buy the most succulent, flavorful roasted chicken in all of Paris. All of our vegetables were organic… Carrots, celery, onions, potatoes. We added pasta noodles, herbs de Provence, rock salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, cilantro and even a few juicy cherry red tomatoes because I like that. We added the skin of the roasted chicken for a little extra fat and flavor. We simmered it for hours and the whole house smelled delicious. We made enough of the soup to last for days.That evening, my husband brought a big bowl of this hard-earned chicken noodle soup to me for my dinner. This soup was so unbelievably good, so rich, so flavorful and I could tell that it was the perfect soup to ward off any germs, illnesses or flu. I kept saying to my husband, “This soup is so delicious. I cannot wait to have it tomorrow for lunch. Gracie and her friend, Maggie, are going to stop by our apartment after they go to the Louvre so they can have some of this delicious soup. It is so good! It’s going to be even better tomorrow! Oh, I can’t wait.” Yes, things like this get me excited. All I could think about was this chicken noodle soup. I literally could not shut up about the soup to my husband.
My husband has this unlawful and annoying personality trait of telling white lies to me. He is convinced that I do not need to know the whole truth. He thinks that he is protecting me. I am completely paranoid about everything and interrogate him on a daily basis… Did you lock the front doors, does the cat have fresh water because you know she only drinks fresh water, does my feeding tube look swollen, remember you are not allowed to have gummy bears because you will choke, did you wash your hands, is my cell phone charged because I might have to call the paramedics if you have a heart attack in the middle of the night, do you think Gracie is having sex with her boyfriend, did you move the curtains away from the heaters because they could catch on fire, do we have a backup plan in case the elevator stops working and there is an emergency in the apartment, if a terrorist breaks into our apartment and takes us hostage do you think I will be able to reason with him, don’t forget to watch out when you are pushing my wheelchair so that nobody hits me in the face with their cigarette, is my electric toothbrush charged, when does the crème fraîche expire… I am exhausting so David’s usual answer is always, “Yes.” He says “yes” whether or not he means yes. He knows that it’s just best to say yes otherwise I will panic and then he will have to go fix everything. But here’s the thing, I hate it when he does that. I hate white lies. I just want to know the truth so I can remedy this situation. I am always considering the snowball effect. If the cat doesn’t have fresh water she will not drink the water and then she will get dehydrated and die. She is a Persian and a diva and it is my responsibility to cater to her needs. Yes, these are the things that I think about. David wouldn’t care if the cat had to drink toilet water for a week. One of the most difficult aspects of having ALS is losing control of your own house. It drives me crazy and I cannot police everyone every moment of their lives. So, now you have a little history and we can get back to the soup story…
I spent the entire evening looking forward to my chicken noodle soup the next day. I had a perfect night sleep and at 8:30 AM I woke up in a panic… David was sound asleep next to me and I started screaming, “David! Did you remember to transfer the chicken noodle soup from the stock pot on the stove into a sealed container and put it in the refrigerator last night! David! Wake up! Is the soup in the refrigerator? You didn’t forget to put it in the refrigerator last night, did you? It is not still out on the stove, is it? David, wake up!” David just loves waking up to this kind of panic from me. In his barely audible lack of sleep voice he says, “Yes, I put the soup in the refrigerator last night.”Because I have lived with this douchebag since 2006, I know when he is lying. My intuition told me that that soup was not in the refrigerator. Luckily, my caregiver had just arrived to work that very second so I screamed at him, “Joel, please go to the kitchen and see if the chicken noodle soup is still on the stove or in the refrigerator.” I knew it! I knew it! Joel told me that the soup was still in the pot on the stove. I went from a perfectly sound sleep to raging bitch within 30 seconds. David was still half asleep and had no idea the wrath that was about to be bestowed upon him. “David! You are such a white liar. The soup is not in the refrigerator! It is still out on the stove. You were not going to tell me and you were going to let me eat leftover soup that has been left out and now it is laced with every sort of foodborne illness on the face of the earth. You can’t leave food out overnight. I don’t care if you are French, you can’t do it! I have a weakened immune system already and the last thing I need is fucking salmonella poisoning. I hate you and want a divorce. I’m going to tell the judge that it is dangerous to live with someone like you because you have no regard for food safety. David! Wake up, did you hear what I said?”
As usual, because David has trained himself to ignore me, David just rolled casually out of bed and went to make himself a coffee. He didn’t care about the soup. He went to his closet, without speaking, put on his jeans, a black cashmere sweater, a scarf and his cute jacket, grabbed his cell phone and quietly walked out of the door. He knew it was best not to engage me. He knew it was safer for him to be at his office.
As I sat in my bed fuming for all of the right reasons… David told me a white lie, David tried to poison me, now I have no soup for lunch… I decided that it was high time to teach David a lesson. David needed to be “schooled” old-school style and I was just the girl to do it. I started to hatch my revenge…
I waited about three hours until I knew David was deep into his work at his office. David’s office is about 10 blocks away. He chooses to walk to work instead of getting his car out of the garage, driving to his office, trying to find a new place to park etc. Believe it or not, even though David has a tiny little Smart Car, it is still a nightmare to park in Paris. So, David walks to work every day. Yesterday, it was particularly windy and rainy and I knew it was not a pleasant walk to work. Can you hear my evil laugh? I knew David had a very busy day at the office and needed to get a lot of work done. So, I called David at his office and started my lies by saying “Hi, Bunny. You’ve had a delivery here at the apartment that we had to sign for. Were you expecting a delivery from Hermès? There is a huge orange box that was delivered from Hermès.” There was silence on the other end of the phone for about five seconds and then David said, “Uhhh, no, I wasn’t expecting a delivery.” I could hear the panic in his voice. I knew he did not want me to think that he had bought anything at Hermès because all of our money has to go to my caregivers, our rent, my medication, my hospital bills etc.
I said, “Well I don’t know what you ordered, but there is a huge box here.”David said, “I’ll be right home.”
Can you still hear my evil laugh? My sinister plan was working. Now David had to leave the office, leave all the work that he was doing, put on his jacket, grab his umbrella and walk 10 blocks home in the rain to our apartment expecting a big fat (non-existent) Hermès box. I could barely contain my laughter. I knew that David was stressed out his entire walk home thinking… “Oh my God, what did I buy? Is it something that I custom ordered a long time ago and now it is ready and I have to pay for it? Is Hermès delivering a gift for me because I’m such a good customer? Do I have a secret admirer? Oh my God, Ellie’s going to kill me.”I could barely contain my decorum thinking that this was the perfect punishment. It will send him a message, it will teach him a lesson, it’s clever, and see if he ever tells me a white lie again and attempts to kill me with day-old rotten chicken noodle soup.
20 minutes later I could hear David unlocking our front door. I kept saying to myself, “Keep your composure, Ellie. Don’t laugh, keep a straight face and say your line. Don’t blow it.” David walks directly into my bedroom and says, “Where’s the box? Where’s the Hermès box. I didn’t see it in the foyer. Where is it?”I said to him with perfect composure, “I think it’s in the kitchen, in the refrigerator…right next to the chicken noodle soup.”
David started walking towards the kitchen, I kid you not. He had no idea that I was fucking with him. I had never done anything like this before. I have never played a joke on him. I could hear him open the refrigerator door. He came back to my room and said again, “Where’s the box?” I said again, “David, the Hermès box is in the refrigerator right next to where you said you put the chicken noodle soup.”David was still confused and said to my caregiver, “Joel, where is the big Hermès box that was delivered this morning?” My caregiver just kept his head down and did not answer. I knew what my caregiver was thinking, “How did I get in the middle of these two lunatics?” Luckily, my caregiver knew what was good for him and he did not rat me out. He kept his game face and just shook his head. David started looking all over the apartment. I thought I was going to implode from trying to contain my laughter.
After about five minutes, David came back towards my bedroom, stood at the doorway and just looked at me. He finally figured it out and he was quite frankly astonished. I think he was astonished that I would actually go to these lengths to trick him just over chicken noodle soup. He just stood there and looked at me. The amount of pride I had for myself was overwhelming and I started laughing internally and my body was shaking and tears were coming out of my eyes. I could not stop. I knew David wanted to kill me but he had to keep his cool for several reasons...He knew that he deserved this, he knew he could not explode in front of the caregivers, he knew he looked like a fool. He didn’t say a word, he just went to the front door, opened it, walked through it and quietly closed the door and went back to work.As soon as he was out of our apartment, I burst out laughing. I called everyone I knew to tell them. I honestly think it was the best thing I could’ve done because I don’t think David will ever, ever white lie to me again or dare question my food safety concerns. Please feel free to use my methods at your own households if necessary. Tomorrow, we will actually learn how to master chicken noodle soup now that I’ve calmed down a bit. :-)