The Boy Can Cook!!
Sep. 21, 2012 1:45 pm
Updated: Sep. 26, 2012 3:16 am
My son, Steve, just recently moved out on his own. He's been gone from the nest since January when he packed up his bags and headed west. He got a job as a youth corrections officer at a state facility in South Dakota, which is 1,400 miles from home.
My older sister lives out there and he moved in with her. I don't think I could have "let" him move that far from home if she wasn't there to look after him. Steve is 23 years old, but he's my "baby". The facility he works for has housing available on the
grounds and he quickly put himself on the waiting list for a place. His name came up the beginning of September and he officially moved into his own place two weeks ago.
Steve has always been very independent and I've had to listen to him since he was 16 years old tell me just how many months, weeks, days until he was a "man". Then, every time I tried to give advice, I would be reminded, "Mom! I'm a man!". Yeah, yeah, yeah.
A man he certainly is! As soon as he was informed there was a place available for him, the phone calls began... "What are the things I should get first?" "How much do you think my electric bill will be?" "Do I really need a landline?" And the questions
went on and on. Yup - he's definitely a man.... Trying to set up a new household from 1,400 miles a way was different, but I think between the two of us talking we covered the most important "first" purchases.... bath towels - check. dish soap, laundry
soap - check. toilet paper - check. He informed me he was going to use his backpacking dishes, pots, etc. at first. He also borrowed a portable gas grill from my sister and brother-in-law; that way he could cook meat and not dirty a pan. If nothing else,
Steve is always thinking of ways to cut corners! The next day he calls me to say he decided he just may head over to the center for all his meals. Employees can eat for $1.25 a meal and the food is not too bad. I figured he would get tired of not having
food in his house and only eat there when he was actually working.
His new home is nothing fancy - it's a mobile home located on the grounds. First he described it as "not a trailer park because there was lots of room between him and his neighbor, but maybe more like a campground." Then he called and said he prefers to
describe that he lives in a community with security guards, password-coded entry, a track, baseball field, chef, a gymnasium, and many other amenities. It does sound like a pretty good place, and better than how I described it to my friends at work: "Steve
lives at a Juvenile Detention Facility".
Then, last Friday he called to tell me he was cooking his first meal at home. Ooohh.. I couldn't wait to hear what it was going to be! He says, "I'm grilling hot dogs.". "Oh!" I say, "What are you having with them; pasta salad, baked beans, macaroni salad??".
"Oh no... nothing like that. Just hot dogs. Oh and buns. I got a pack of 8 hot dogs and a pack of 8 buns. I figured I should go all out." So, I ask him if he remembered the ketchup, mustard, relish?? Oh no, he says. He was simply grilling the hot dogs
and eating them in the buns. I began to worry....
Steve has Thursday through Saturday off, and this past Thursday he called me on his way to my sister's house. He joined a trap-shooting club and they shoot on Thursday afternoon/evening. When he's finished there he has a standing invitation to have dinner
with his aunt and uncle. I began to worry a little less. At least he'll have one good meal a week; my sister is a pretty darn good cook.
This afternoon I got a phone call from Steve. He was heading home from the store where he had just purchased $26 worth of food and he seemed quite proud of himself. He had purchased some cereal, milk, and other items. He was going to cook at home again.
I hesitated in asking, but I really did want to know, "What are you making tonight?" He said he bought boneless/skinless chicken breasts and some fresh basil and some cheese and some walnuts. He planned to grill the chicken and season it with the fresh basil.
Then he was going to melt the cheese over it and top it off with some of the walnuts. Wow! From hot dogs with no toppings, to a pretty decent sounding chicken dinner!
And that's when I remembered - when he was a kid, I learned that in order to keep my sanity it doesn't pay to worry about Steve! Somehow he always manages to come out on top of a situation! If I wasn't so far away I'd hop in my car and join him for dinner.....
I'd have to bring the salad, though, he doesn't "do" vegetables.