Sep 10

Just A Nice Weekend

Friday night I walked home after work and waited anxiously for my new stove to be delivered. All the appliances in this flat are hilarious for their own various reasons, but the stove was not funny at all because a) all its various temperature markings had been worn away so you just sort of had to run various tests to see which dial went with which burner, and there was no way to tell how hot the oven was and b) if you did sort out which dial belonged to which burner and attempted to boil some water for pasta, the stove would not do its job, its one purpose on earth, but would lie and cheat and betray you, bringing the water to a veerrrrrryyyyy sllllooooowwwww boooooiiiiillll and then…just turn off, just because it felt like it. My landlady, when notified of this problem, came to check it out and said, bafflingly, that since I was Italian I would probably want to eat a lot (unlike every other nationality?) so she’d get me a new one. This was excellent news for me because although I love toast and at one point in my young life thought I could live on it quite happily, it turns out I require a little more sustenance to keep living this fabulous stove-having lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. Anyway, the dude (who, oddly, had a Texan accent) came to install it and got a bit reproachful with me for electing to look around Etsy in the lounge instead of watching him go about his work. “You must be real busy in there,” he said with meaningful eyebrows as he was packing up his toolbox. “Because usually people hang around and have nice conversations.” I thanked him for his time and celebrated by boiling up a pot of water just for fun.

My old flatmate from the as-of-two-weeks-ago-old house came over and we went into town for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Sweet Mother’s, of course, was already crowded, so we just went around the corner for upscale Thai food. It felt slightly funny having the kind of chat we used to have in our pajamas in front of the fire while we were actually at a nice restaurant in outdoor clothes, but we had a good talk anyway. We walked over to the library to get separate movies and saw two little girls in striped knee socks in the window by the childrens’ section, curled up in comfy chairs and reading intently. “That’s us twenty years ago,” my old flattie said, and we pondered how our life paths had taken us to the place we are currently at, where going to the library on a Friday night seems like pretty much the best idea ever.

I’d been invited to a party but couldn’t bring myself to leave the house once I’d walked home again, so I made a cup of tea and dragged out this foam mattress that my other old flattie left behind when she moved to Germany. It had a tear in it from when it got stuck on a nail when I was experimenting with various storage solutions for this thing so I mended it and then cut out some star shapes from the leftover purple sparkle contact paper I lined my drawers with and stuck them on my kitchen cabinets in a pleasing formation. I snuggled down with my tea and my foam mattress and my big blanket and watched a movie alone by myself in the dark, completely comfortable and happy, desperately grateful not to be at any sort of party at all, and vowed never to go out again ever.

Saturday I slept in late and inaugurated the new stove by making porridge on it. I went into town for a while to do things like take the last of the crap from the old house to the Salvation Army and walked back from Lambton Quay along the waterfront where they’re building the new big cultural centre. It was absolutely a perfect Wellington day and everyone was out, rollerblading and jogging and strolling around, eating ice cream and going “What a gorgeous day!” I stopped by Moore Wilson where I probably should have got another bottle of olive oil as it was on special and definitely should have got some more sundried tomato pesto since I’m out of it and I put it on basically everything I cook, and walked home.

I had this great idea to make this awesome Louise slice thing that I’d been introduced to last weekend at Yentl, where I pretty much ate five one right after the other. I mixed everything up while I was listening to OK Go and Janelle Monae and thought the dough looked a little weird and came to the conclusion that, much like Anne Shirley, I’d actually forgot to put the flour in my baked good—a baked good whose recipe very clearly calls for flour: two cups of it! I put it in the oven anyway just to see what would happen, and what happened was that the meringue cooked up just fine, but it was riding on this layer of basically just melted butter and sugar—which you think would taste all right, but no. No it did not. I hate to throw food away but there was no other alternative so with heavy heart I set about making dinner for Alice, who was coming over to get ready for this party we were going to later in the evening.

I managed not to mess up the pasta (pumpkin ravioli with grilled onion and fresh spinach and olive paste and the last of the tomato pesto) and we sat at my dining room table, which is the first table I’ve ever owned. I had flowers my friend Lisa had brought me for a housewarming present on it and everything. I am usually a couch-eater so I still feel a little funny attempting to sit at a table to eat when I’m alone, but it’s fine when other people are there. We got ready and went to the party and felt slightly awkward at the party because we didn’t really know anyone there except the host but since it was a costume party like every party in Wellington, we got to comment on everyone’s costumes and that was pretty good. She went out dancing afterward but I just walked home and re-set my clocks for Daylight Savings and went to bed.

This morning I woke up slightly disorientated because of the time change but managed to haul myself out of bed and to the Sunday market. It was only okay—it’s sort of inbetween season time and it was mostly potatoes and carrots and onions and leeks. I got some of all those things and hurried home to get changed for the Italian festival at the stadium because I am trying to look like less of a schlub when I’m around the Italians, you know?

Giulia and Filippo picked me up and we paid six bucks for parking and eight dollars entry basically so we could have five dollar pork sandwiches—Sybilla was working one of the food stalls and saw us and yelled “Ragazzi! Porchetta! Cinque dollari!” and kind of threw them at us. It was sort of loud and crowded and while we did run into lots of people we knew, it was just a little overwhelming so we got out of there pretty fast, stopping only to eat pizza and hug and kiss people hello and goodbye.

I had been expecting to stay out a bit longer so it was like this total gift to have more time alone at home—because time alone at home is basically my favorite thing right now, with time at home with other people visiting a close second—so I roasted some of the potatoes I made to have later this week in a leek-and-shallot frittata, and then made another attempt at the good old Louise slice. I added the flour this time, just like the recipe says, even though I was distracted by a) the smoke alarm going off and b) the lounge curtains spontaneously just falling down for no reason. It baked up great (Marilla would be proud!) and I think there really may be something to this 125 grams of butter thing because DAMN! I texted Rachel to let her know about my success and she responded with “I’ll be there in ten minutes!” and she was! We had tea and Louise slice (“How much butter does this have in it? Do I not want to know?” she said) and caught up re: our weekends and then she left for temple and I made a quickie birthday card with my glitter paints and some more of that purple sparkle contact paper for Jez’s dinner at the Mongolian grill down the road that I’m supposed to be getting dressed for right now instead of writing about my weekend.