For Future Reference

Dearest Rachel –

I propose that New Year’s resolutions are difficult to keep in part because we tend to put the bar way too high for our own safety. We make these grandiose promises to ourselves as to what we plan on doing in the coming year, only to be discouraged as it becomes evident that these promises are not going to be kept, at which point we simply give up and let go of them all too soon.

With that in mind, it’s probably safest to, if you must make promises to yourself, to make them small and easily manageable, and then take further steps from there. Perhaps it would be best it’s not so much make New Year’s resolutions as New Month’s resolutions, under the assumption that each baby step you pass from one month to the next can be ratcheted up further as necessary. Take incremental steps, rather than attempt one giant leap. Then, at the end of the year, you can impress yourself with how far you actually managed to go with so little in the way of expectations from the outset.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s how I manage to keep you up-to-date every single day for…what is it been? three hundred thirty-some days in a row? If I had told myself at the beginning of all this that I would do this (not like this seems the most obvious way to honor you or to grieve for you, to be sure), generating content every single day for the next year or so (or more, at this rate), I’d never be able to do it. There’s no way I’d be able to keep up; even as it is, there are some days that just don’t seem noteworthy enough, but I just keep going, day by day, rather than trying to get through a whole year all at once. That’s just not how time works, and perhaps, that’s not how resolutions for a year should work.

Be that as it may, my point is that, sometimes it’s the little promises that we can keep that are more useful than the big promises we won’t be able to.

And so that’s why I am up here in the office, dictating to Siri another letter barely an hour after finishing my last one to you, because I have to write down a lesson learned for future reference, before I forget it.

There were some things in the household that you took care of. Actually, what am I saying: there were a lot of things you took care of, but certain ones I knew nothing about (or at least, nothing about how to do them), and therefore they haven’t been done since you’ve left. Most, if not all of them, could be considered inconsequential, but it would be nice to be able to do them, for Daniel’s sake.

This morning, shortly after finishing up and sending my last letter to you, I heard the boys knocking about downstairs, and since it was going on nine o’clock, I figured I’d make an appearance, and offer to make breakfast. It’s the one way a parent can make themselves useful without imposing themselves upon their children and their friends. And we had plenty of material to work with; mostly leftovers in the form of excess eggs and sausage from the Christmas brunch soufflé, but also some little fried treats picked up at Whole Foods (yes, I finally darkened that door, rather than try to order certain esoteric foodstuffs via Amazon – I think Ellen was vaguely amused at my attempt to find… nothing in particular. Of course, she and Daniel kept up a running conversation as well).

It’s tricky, juggling several things being cooked at once. Between the air fryer, the saucepan and the skillet, I had to warn the boys to eat what got done when it got done, because there was going to be no way everything could be ready all at the same time.

Especially the eggs. It turned out none of us one of our eggs done the same way. Logan wanted his scrambled, which is easy, except I was going to need to use the skillet that the sausages had fried in (no sense wasting the grease). I had planned to fry an egg or two, and set it on toast as an open-faced sandwich.

And Daniel? Well, he seem to want his soft boiled eggs, also on toast. I’ve never made a soft boiled egg, honey; that was something you did. As I recall, you would either put them in warm water before or after having them boiled for a short time – or was it that you boiled water, and took it off the heat and then placed the eggs in there? Either way, part of the time – or maybe all of the time – the eggs were not on the stove proper, but just sitting in hot water. I think that one curry restaurant at Mitsuwa, Sutadonya, referred to that process as ‘hot springs’ eggs. But I don’t remember the process, and I can’t ask you what you did.

However, Daniel simply thought he remembered it being two minutes in boiling water on the stove. Honestly, that doesn’t sound at all like what you ever did, but what other option do I have? I did just that, using my phone as a timer (because our regular timer fell off the refrigerator several months ago and broke). I ladled the eggs into the boiling water carefully, in order to make sure they didn’t break falling in, and almost as soon as my phone went off, I got them out with a pair of tongs, and scurried into the dining room with them and a couple pieces of toast to put them on.

According to him – although he admitted that he needs to learn how to scoop the eggs out of the shell a little better – they were almost at the perfect level of runnyness for his tastes. Maybe just a few seconds longer in the water, but otherwise, just the way mom used to make.

So, I’m keeping my resolution to write that down as soon as I learn it. Two minutes and fifteen seconds, and we should have the perfect soft boiled eggs for him whenever he wants them (assuming we have the eggs). And all without you at my side to instruct me how to do it. I can only hope you’d be pleased with the results, but as long as he’s happy with them, I think I can consider it a success.

So I guess there’s no need to wish me luck on this, honey. Just… keep an eye out for us. We’ll talk later.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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