Flying Potatoes and Stained Shirts

October 20, 2012

I find potatoes extremely difficult to prepare.  I hate to claim superiority here but I have to state the facts: Rice easy.  Potatoes hard.  Potatoes take FOREVER to cook through, and they’re only good crispy yet mine always turn out soggy.

This evening I tried a new recipe in which one boils the potatoes first until fork tender, then lightly mash them on a greased cookie sheet before roasting in the oven.  After 20 minutes of boiling and being able to fork the potatoes with ease, I figure it’s ready.  I was wrong.  A ready potato would have yielded to the pressure of my potato masher and result in a perfectly appetizing mound.  You know, the way it looks on Pioneer Woman’s pictures.

My undercooked potato slipped out from underneath my kitchen tool and aided by the slick olive oil on the cookie sheet flew through the air, achieving that appetizing mound I intended – right on the kitchen floor.  To make matters worse, as the cookie sheet was balanced only partly on the kitchen counter, the unexpected jar to the tray catapulted most of the other potatoes hurtling towards the ground.

Could I have declared major catastrophe on dinner, given up on the sizzling pork chops in my pan, threw out the steamed veggies, and ordered out right then and there?  The thought indeed crossed my mind, but Husband came to the rescue.  Together we picked up the hot potatoes (fingers still raging red here), rinsed them out and salvaged the potatoes.  Sure, they’re not pinterest pretty individual mounds of mashed potatoes like I originally expected, but one massive heap of scraped up potatoes didn’t taste half bad, if I may say so myself.

The point is, with all that kitchen drama going on, I neglected to notice my shirt and shorts were stained from the greased flying potatoes.  You know how grease stains at first just look like water stains, but then an hour later you wonder why your shirt hasn’t dried and BAM, you remember the greasy potatoes.  I immediately googled how to remove stains and proceeded swiftly with necessary action.  As I sat waiting for the detergent to soak through the stain, I muttered:  “Oh well, I didn’t like that shirt very much anyway.”  Except I did.  It’s one of my favorite T-shirts, but now with this stain I either have to throw it out or live with the defect.  Unless laundrymom’s tips work, my shirt will no longer be pristine.

Interesting how we are so quick to devalue something when it is broken.  Our justification serves to manage our pain.

When I feel excluded and hurt by friends, I tell myself I didn’t care for them anyway.

When a project you’re passionate about goes awry, you tell yourself it didn’t mean that much to you to begin with.

When we have to uproot from a beloved home to another community, we tell ourselves to move on.

But life is so often the opposite of pristine.  It is filled with disappointments, unfulfilled promises, broken relationships.  Stains even the most powerful cleaning agents cannot remove.  I guess the decision we have to make is whether to throw out the shirt with an indifferent shrug, or live with its defects.

My old T-shirt is in the washer right now, cold water cycle, just as laundrymom suggested.  If the stain’s still there, I’ll probably throw it out or give it to good will.  Let’s face it, it’s just a T-shirt.  But when it comes to my friendships, my most passionate projects, my beloved community, I hope the choice is always to embrace the stains.  Yes, the miscommunication stings, the lack of interest hurts, the conflicts bring pain.  But if I throw them out, I’ll never know how it ends.  I won’t get to see how redemption delivers.  I’ll miss the beauty healing may bring.

The stains may remain, but the rest of the outfit might create an ensemble more dazzling than we ever imagined.