Memories

All posts in the Memories category

The Saddest Ramen Ever

Published February 13, 2014 by Malia

My earliest memory is from January 28, 1986.  Since I was just over a year old, I’m sure you’re wondering how I remember what day it was.  Well, to be honest, I had to look the date up;  if you look the date up, you’ll find it’s the day the Challenger exploded.  Yup, my earliest memory is watching that tragedy.  It’s just as clear in my mind today as the day it happened.  We were living in Denver so my dad could attend seminary.  The church we went to/led music in, allowed us to live in the cottage next door to the church.  There was a daycare at the church, and they invited mom to bring me over so we could watch the Challenger lift-off with the daycare kids.  Clearly, the teachers had no idea (no one did) of what was going to happen.  The explosion happened, and there was this general scramble of panicked teachers trying to get the tv turned off, before we kids were scarred anymore than we already were.

Fast forward a few months to my next earliest memory (it was shortly before I was 2).  I’m sitting at home, it’s evening, and the atmosphere at the dinner table is uncomfortable.  I remember we were all eating Ramen, and I remember being incredibly sad about it.  However, I also remember feeling that I had learned my lesson.  So, what led up to the sad Ramen eating?

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning, dad was going to school.  Even though he worked whenever he wasn’t in class, we were pretty much broke.  Mom’s the budgeting queen, and to this end, she scrimped and saved so we could do something special.  We got to go to Chick-Fil-A.  We hardly ever got to go, and it was a family favorite.

We were standing in line, and for some reason I decided to throw a temper tantrum.  I’ve always been strong-willed, and my parents gave me an opportunity to decide to behave.  They told me that I could either stop and I would be able to have my chicken nuggets, or if I didn’t stop we would go home where there would be no chicken nuggets.  I decided to test their resolve and the boundary they’d established, and the tantrum continued.

And we got out of line, went home, and ate Ramen instead of chicken nuggets.

Now, I’m sure there are people reading this that are thinking that my parents were horrible people because they did this when I was so little.  I disagree.  I think my parents were completely right in their actions.  I was an intelligent kid (even when I was really little), and looking back on it, I know I completely understood what was going on.  By following through, on what they said would happen, I learned that they would do exactly what they said.  No empty threats, no, “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to count to ten,” which would be followed up by, “C’mon, stop it.  I’m going to count to ten again.”  By following through, I learned that my parents knew I was a manipulative little brat, and I was not going to get away with things.

So, what effect did that day have?  I never misbehaved in public again (you can ask my parents if you don’t believe me).   Mom and dad were able to take me to nice places, and not worry about my behavior.  It was common for other restaurant patrons to come up and compliment and thank my parents for doing a good job with me.  Not only that, but we had people pay for our meals more than once because they were so impressed.

Growing up, my parents were my cheerleaders, my support system, but most importantly, they were my parents and not my friends.  When I grew up they remained all the above listed things, and they became my friends.

Did something die?

Published January 16, 2014 by Malia

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, and this has led to my parents asking me when I’m going to share THE STORY.  The story that I’ve been sitting on, avoiding telling, and yet always seems to come up when my childhood is being discussed.  So, without further ado, here is the story of the time my parents thought a rat had died in the wall.

As a child, I wasn’t exactly a fan of vegetables.  That’s putting it mildly.  To eat any vegetable (other than green beans), I would douse the vegetable in question with ketchup.  I’m not really sure how I managed to eat that, because looking back on it, I get nauseous just thinking of it.

Now, I’ve always been stubborn, and as a child the main battle ground of my stubbornness came at the dinner table.  I remember several occasions of sitting at the table for 2-3 hours after the meal ended, staring at a plate of cold vegetables.  The stipulation was that I could leave when I had eaten all of them.  Funny thing, looking back, it wasn’t even that much, but it was enough to make me think it was important to fight about.

When I was seven, I came up with what I considered to be a brilliant plan.

I had come to realize that while I was sitting doing a stare down with the vegetables, I was allowed to get up and use the restroom.  I also had noticed that my parents weren’t too crazy about sitting at the table with me while I played my game of wills.  Dad had work, and mom had her own responsibilities.  Oftentimes, I would be unobserved for decent periods of time.

It was during one of these moments where I was unobserved that I put my plan in motion.  I scooped my veggies into my napkin and stealthily made my way to the bathroom.

Pause story…

I have to explain something about the house we lived in at the time.  It was quite a large house, and I had my own bathroom.  While this may seem like a dream come true, I was also responsible for cleaning it weekly.  Not exactly a dream come true.

Unpause…

So, when I got to my bathroom, I did what any kid would do.  I opened up an unused drawer in the vanity and stuffed the napkin and its contents into the very back.  I had momentarily considered flushing the veggies, but I was worried that they might plug the toilet, and then I would be caught.  I was reasonably certain that hidden in the drawer, they just dry up and turn to dust.

Now, I started this behavior during the winter, and for about six months everything went swimmingly.  Although, I did start to notice a weird smell, but I didn’t think it was noticeable.

Then, one day I heard my parents talking about this weird smell they had noticed in the house.  Basically, the conversation boiled down to, “Do you think we had a rat die in the wall?”  answered with, “It’s possible, I can’t think of anything else that would cause a smell like that.”

Fast forward to midsummer…

I was in 4H and we had a picnic coming up.  I was responsible for bringing cookies.  I had helped mom numerous times when making cookies, and since I had helped her so many times I felt confident that I was capable of making them on my own.  I begged and pleaded with mom to let me, and she gave in.  It was a simple recipe, and I had shown plenty of times that I was smart enough to use and oven without burning myself.

I had put the first batch in, and that’s about when everything fell apart.

First off, I noticed that there was something going seriously wrong with the cookies.  Instead of rising and looking cookie-like, they were spreading out thin and bubbling.  Just then, I heard my mom calling to my dad, “Come look at this.”

Next thing I know, my parents were in the kitchen asking about what mom had discovered filling the drawer in the bathroom vanity.  It was then that mom noticed the strange bubbling cookies.

I learned two important lessons that day…

1.  Vegetables will mold.  Mold looks and smells disgusting.

2.  There is a difference between baking soda and baking powder.

Everything’s Fine, Mom!

Published January 11, 2014 by Malia

Once upon a time, I was a child.  A weird, quirky, and-according to adults who knew me-precocious little child.  My parents gave me chores, and responsibilities, but never anything beyond my capabilities.  Of course, when they gave me the responsibilities, I knew they were giving me their trust as well.  I wanted to please them, and so I tried my hardest to do things properly.

The summer I was twelve, my mom got really sick.  We were living up in the middle of the hills, miles away from any signs of real civilization (malls, movie theaters with more than two screens, fast food establishments…you get the idea).  Most importantly, we were a good half hour’s drive away from the nearest hospital, and that was just a small county hospital.  There came a night in mom’s illness where a frantic drive delivered us to said hospital.  The doctor informed us that mom needed lots of bed rest.

Now, over the years, mom had taught me the basics of things like how to cook, how to do laundry, and other household things.   Since my dad was working three jobs (pastor of two churches that were 40 miles from each other, and town garbage man), many of the things mom had always been responsible for doing fell to me to do.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I knew mom wouldn’t have let me do it, if she hadn’t believed I was up to the task.  Plus, I still had time to play with my friends.  Besides, cooking meals, and doing laundry seemed a fair trade-off to me, if it meant I got to keep my mom.

Things had been going pretty swimmingly.  My Gramma and her mom had come for a visit and I had cooked my first big dinner.  I made a roast, green beans, and dad helped me put together a cherry angel food cake.  I didn’t ruin anything, and no one got sick.

It was a couple weeks after the midnight trip to the hospital, and it was laundry day.  I remember that the dishwasher was full, so after lunch I made sure there was soap in the dishwasher, and then headed to the basement to work on the laundry.  (The stairway to the basement was located in kitchen.  Handy.  Also, it’s a semi-important detail in what comes next.)

All was well.

I was practicing useful life skills.

And then, I emerged from the basement.

As I neared the top of the stairs, I was surprised to see that there was some sort of weird, white covering on the kitchen floor.  Getting to the top of the stairs, I found that the ENTIRE kitchen floor was covered in about a foot and a half of bubbles.  My first reaction was to get my dad to help me, but he was off visiting with a parishioner.  Which left me to figure out what to do.

I started scooping up the bubbles and putting them in the sink.  I thought I was doing well, until I heard my mom calling from upstairs.  There is nothing like your mother’s voice to send you into a complete tailspin of panic when you’re twelve and don’t know what you did to screw up, but know that you screwed something up.  I ran to the foot of the stairs and called up, “Everything’s fine, Mom!  Just stay up there!”

Hearing the obvious panic in my voice roused my mom from her bed.  As I heard her heading towards the stairs I found myself repeating over and over, “Everything’s fine!  Don’t come down here!  Really, don’t come down here!”

Now, I wasn’t worried about mom being mad at me.  I was worried, because I knew the doctor had said that she needed to stay in bed and not move around much.  Coming down the stairs, in my mind, qualified as disobeying doctor’s orders.  I didn’t want to make mom worse, just because I had somehow filled the kitchen with bubbles (which were waist high at that point).

Down the stairs, my mother came.  She took one look at the scene, and gently asked me what had happened.  I stood there going, “I don’t know.  I put the soap in the dishwasher, turned it on, and then went to change a load of laundry.  I don’t know what happened!”

It was at that point that mom put two and two together, and then I learned the very big importance between dish soap and dishwasher detergent.

It wasn’t my first time running the dishwasher, but it had been my first time on my own.  I knew that the detergent was in a squeezy bottle, and so I had just grabbed the bottle that I thought looked right.

My mom then helped me empty the kitchen of its temporary carpeting.  Ended up using a shovel (there’s a handy hint, in case any of you have a kid that does the same thing I did).

Also, in case you’re wondering, mom didn’t die.  Which made me a happy girl.