Tag Archives: Life

The Triangle Dilemma

1P_WC_MainBG_Transition_Moment_07_00011There’s an adage in business that goes something like “You can have it fast, you can have it cheap, or you can have it good–but you can’t have all three.”

The drive-through window is usually cheap and fast, but seldom really good.
A sit-down restaurant might be good and (relatively fast), but it’s usually not fast.
Cooking at home is almost always good, and more often than not cheaper than a restaurant, but hardly ever fast.

This triangle—cheap, fast, and good, in varying combinations—has been the dilemma of our spring. Really, it wasn’t a triangle; perhaps it was a pyramid. Really, it was a Pyramid.

This Pyramid.

I’ve loved this game since I was a kid, and, after many years, lots of conversations, the faith of friends, and quite a few prayers, I was invited to join the staff of The $100,000 Pyramid for the season that’s about to start airing. It was the most fun I’ve ever had working, and I was grateful for every moment.

This isn’t a story in which I geek out about working on the best word game ever to air on TV, though; it’s a story about what happens when the opportunity of a lifetime comes along when I’d already cobbled together lots of freelance jobs that equalled a full-time job: lots of church things, lots of theatre things, lots of teaching things, and enough juggling to make a circus act say “Whew!” (But that’s another game show.)

For most of the last 12 weeks the routine of our days was: get up before 6AM, feed the cat, pack breakfasts and lunches, drive to the train station, commute two hours one way, work a pretty-full day, leave one job and commute an hour to one or another of the cobbled-together gigs (and then sometime commute to another one), and meet for a train home arriving sometime between 9 and 10PM. Weekends, too. On a good day, we’d put something in a slow-cooker. On a less good day, we had some more-or-less convenient food in the freezer that could be augmented with relatively healthy side dishes that we’d batch-cooked or that took very little time to prepare. But since, to be perfectly honest, sometimes the 20 minutes it takes to steam a pot of rice and bake some chicken was just more than we had the emotional fortitude to endure.

There was a lot of take-out. There were many sandwiches. It wasn’t a total disaster. It wasn’t bacon-double-cheeseburgers and super-sized fries from morning ’til night. There were salads. There were vegetables. There were bowls of really good oatmeal.  The choices just weren’t as healthy as we might have hoped.

And at work there were meals from the bountiful tables of Craft Services—catering companies who support the crew and staff during the long days in the TV studio with generous portions, plentiful desserts, and meals tasty enough that you don’t mind seeing no sunlight for 12 hours at a time.

I’m not complaining. I’m saying I have three hopes.

  1. That you’ll tune in every Sunday night starting June 10—and tell your friends and family to do the same—so that we become a big fat hit and ABC has no reason not to renew us.
  2. That I’m offered a chance to return to the staff on that still-hypothetical next season, and perhaps on another show between now and then.
  3. That the pick-up order and the re-staffing happen before I start the cobbling-together for the fall and winter, such that I don’t have to juggle quite so much and have a little time to breathe and cook such that any new trousers I order between now and then purchased because I want them, not because the old ones don’t fit.

But this time, I hope not to have to choose only two. 1P_WC_MainBG_Transition_Moment_07_00011

Certainly Not the Last Supper

It’s been a year.

The Country House looks very different than it did a year ago. There are beautifully painted walls, shiny flooring, and plush-though-hard-to-keep-clean carpet. There’s no clutter–mostly because we want to live that way, but also partly because we can’t have personal items on display while the house is on the market.

I didn’t think it was possible that we’d post here less frequently in the second half of the year than in the first six months, but I’m sorry to note that we have. It’s not from lack of interest, or lack of stories to tell, and certainly not from lack of good food. It’s just been awfully busy. Shows and meetings and rehearsals and late work nights followed by early work mornings, and, of course, preparations for our wedding. Even a simple, small wedding takes plenty of preparation.

The last two Dinners at weren’t even cooked at home: perfectly adequate Tex-Mex after we finished cat-sitting duties for friends, and chicken sandwiches and fries from the drive-through that was just about to close after a tumultuous evening of theatre and the re-claiming of a lost wallet. Last night, the Dinnerversary, was leftovers. I don’t think either of us remembered the date. (And the leftovers–Moroccan-spiced skirt steak over hummus, served with warm pita bread, farmer’s-market-fresh grape tomatoes and sliced cucumber–were excellent.)

Skirt-steak and hummus, the first time around.

Skirt-steak and hummus, the first time around.

It’s been a year since that first overcooked burger, a year since she fell asleep on the couch the movers just delivered. Well, it hasn’t been a year since she fell asleep on the couch; that still happens now and again. Burgers get overcooked from time to time, too, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Romance isn’t gone. Good cooking isn’t abandoned. We do what we can with the supplies we have, with the time we have, with the energy we have.

We took a break from commuting and rented an apartment in New York during my busiest month. It was the home of an acquaintance of mine, a composer and music director who was working out of town and visiting his family. That temporary City House was nowhere near as lovely as her former apartment–and certainly not as beautiful as the suburbs were on weekends. Sadly, it wasn’t even as convenient as we hoped it would be. It’s giving us reason to think maybe we shouldn’t move after all. Even if we do, we’ll still update this journal, at least from time to time. Even if we don’t have a Country House, we’ll still have Dinner.