My strange day all started with a trip to the gas station. I went there to buy some milk for my wife. She was busy cleaning the oven so she could bake cookies. Those darn cookies. They were for the annual neighborhood cookie exchange, and every year our kitchen looked like a big explosion had taken place when the cookies were made.

I’m actually surprised Ginger, my wife, wanted me to get the milk. She didn’t trust me any farther than she could throw me when it came to baking ingredients. Never. It just goes to show that people are very different from each other, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of it. Like today.

I rushed out of the house so Ginger couldn’t bug me about other errands I should do. In my haste I forgot to take my mobile phone with me. No big deal. Why would I need to call someone (or, receive a call, for that matter) on a 10 minute trip?

I bought the last available milk jug in the convenience store part of the gas station. Nope, I didn’t check the expiration date of the milk. If it was the last one left, doesn’t that mean it was so popular that it flew off the shelf in a hurry? If it was so popular, the milk had probably been a fresh supply from yesterday.

It turns out I had guessed wrong. After I got out of my car back in the garage, I noticed the date. Ten days ago? So I knew that I wasn’t very lucky. I had to drive to the grocery store, and quick, before Ginger heard the car. The grocery store was farther away, but I needed that milk for Ginger.

When I purchased the FRESH milk at the store and was walking in the parking lot, I saw a little boy crouched over a hole in the pavement.

“See anything good?” I called out to the boy.

Apparently he hadn’t, because he grabbed some pebbles and threw them at me. A fine howdy-do! Whatever, I’ll get out of here and head for home.

Wouldn’t you know, I got stuck in a line of cars waiting to proceed further. A very long train was coming through at a very slow pace. I think I was about the seventh car in line, and there were many more behind me. There went my idea that I could quick turn around and take another route home.

I got home, finally, and promptly put the milk into the fridge. Ginger must have finished cleaning the oven–but where was the traditional mess?

“Oh, hi, George!” Ginger said when I found her in the living room. “Hey, I called you on your mobile phone but you didn’t answer.”

“I forgot my phone at home. So why is the kitchen so clean? Your cookie exchange is tomorrow,” I said.

“That’s why I called you–Suzy called me while you were gone and said the exchange would be a week from tomorrow–so I didn’t need the milk.”

“Oh–but then why were you cleaning out the oven? You always do before your big bake-off,” I wanted to know.

“Well, I wanted to make sure the oven didn’t blow up when I made your favorite dinner for tonight,” she said with a big smile.

That’s true–the racks were all splattered with baked on juices or whatever, and if there had been ashes at the bottom, it would’ve resembled a volcano. Better clean oven than blowing-up oven.

“Oh! Do you mean you’re making barbeque chicken and those special potatoes I love? The ones made with sour cream and cream cheese? Wow–I think I love you!” I joked, but I meant what I said about my favorite meal and the potatoes.

“Yup, that’s what I’m making tonight. I’m even making Baked Alaska for dessert. But there’s just one problem,” Ginger said.

What could be the problem about that dessert? Baked Alaska was chocolate cake batter, topped with ice cream, topped with more batter, and then meringue was spread on the top, and the whole kit and caboodle was baked in the oven.

“I need some ingredients. Sorry I didn’t get them at the store yesterday,” Ginger continued. “And my car is at the shop, remember? Besides, I don’t know how to drive your stick shift. Oh, and George? Could you possibly get the ingredients at that specialty cooking store, please?”

“Do you mean the one that’s twenty miles away? One way? Sure, I’d love to, Honey,” I said. Not! But I wouldn’t tell her that. I would “fake it until I make it” this time. Besides, the Baked Alaska would be worth it.

And it was.

Photo by Charles PH of Unsplash