Zap Frying my Pop Tarts

So, I’m sitting at the kitchen table yesterday evening, rubbing my temples and trying to remember everything I have to do this coming week:

Working late Monday and missing Janie’s softball practice—again; finishing up a review/give-away for Tuesday; helping Janie figure out how to work her new super-ultra private blog because she must have one and it could help her typing skills and spelling, you never know; buying flour and sugar because I didn’t see them on the grocery list that I’d written myself; find a graduation card for my nephew that should be mailed Tuesday; calling Janie’s piano teacher because she has a softball game on Thursday, which I’m going to miss—again*; checking my desk hours Wednesday to see if I can meet my husband—who is working late—to lunch for his birthday, for which I still need to buy cards; figuring out what to do for our anniversary this weekend; beta-ing the last few chapters of a friend’s manuscript; working on Sunny’s alphabet recognition, because she’s missing a couple of letters in there somewhere; scribbling down my chapter for the round robin project; trying to finish a gift for my Dad that will let him know how wonderful it is that he’s been around for 80 years so it can be mailed by early next week, along with the anniversary gift I did find that will let my parents know how happy I am that they found each other 49-plus years ago;**  and obsessing about where to plant a necessary clue in Pigeon without rewriting the whole bloody thing . . .

And working on Saturday. Maybe.  I’d lost track.  Averaging 4 to 6 hours of sleep for a week and a half can do that, even if I’ve been mainlining caffeine and chocolate for most of that time.

“You okay?”  asked my SIL, over the gourmet meal of boiled pasta, bottled sauce, and slightly browned peas I’d managed to toss together, hoping the ice cream I’d bought—because it wasn’t on the list—might make up for it.

“Yeah,” I said.  “I’m just a little tired.”

She gave me one of her Looks.  “You need to stop zap frying your Pop-Tarts.”

I opened my mouth, then shut it.

Point taken.

The point was actually taken from Brian Regan, a comedian we watched a couple evenings prior—in my case, over my laptop, as I sent a couple of e-mail replies I’d been meaning to write, or had written and hadn’t noticed were still sitting in my draft folder.  He was talking about how confused one had to be to need the directions on a box of Pop Tarts and how weird it was that there were microwave directions as well:

“Listen, if you need to zap fry your Pop Tarts before you head out the door, you might want to loosen up your schedule . . . If you’re wakin’, eatin’, and haulin’ in three seconds, you’re bookin’ yourself too tight. “***

Man makes sense.

So . . . I wrote one of Josey Fritz’s lists, of things I needed to do.  And another one, of things I wanted to do.

And I took a nap after dinner until the kids’ bedtime.  And had a bowl of ice cream and finished the story I’d promised to beta.

This morning, I dropped Janie off at school and took a walk along the river, with my headphones playing “Walking in Memphis” and Ella Fitzgerald singing “Tain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do.”

During my walk, I figured out where to plant that clue and why another scene wasn’t working.   I jotted it all down in the car and went to work—I might have sung along with Marc Cohn as I drove, and also with Alannah Myles.^  Loudly.  Possibly with gestures.

When I indexed the newspaper, I noticed my horoscope:^^

Self care doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant.  Simply taking a walk, reading what you like, or talking  to your favorite friend could lift your spirits more effectively than anything you could buy.

I’d already done two out of three, so, on my break, I wrote this and dropped a note to the co-ordinator of my round robin group.

Lunch with my husband can’t happen Wednesday, but I was offered an extra half-hour on Thursday, if I want.

I want.

On my dinner hour, I worked on Dad’s gift and received notice that I could have a month’s extension on my round-robin chapter, since the next person in line is going to be gone in June.

Tonight, I’ll be coming home, putting kids to bed, grabbing a snack, and getting to work—until ten-thirty at the latest.

No more zap-frying.  At least not this week.

So . . . How are YOUR Pop Tarts doing?


*I did see her play Saturday, for once.  Her team won 6-0!

** Because if they hadn’t . . . I’d be a lot less stressed about things?

***The golden moment is around 2:50:

^ Only one of whom sings entirely in my range.  And before you ask, I was in a blues mood, not an Elvis mood.

^^I don’t believe in them, exactly, but I do notice them.


20 thoughts on “Zap Frying my Pop Tarts

  1. I needed to take a deep breath only halfway through your to-do list, Sarah. Good Lord! I’m glad you saved your Pop Tarts and that things are starting to jiggle themselves into place, with your gentle guidance, of course. 🙂 Your dad’s gonna LOVE his gift.

  2. Probably too late to note: I picked up sugar and flour already. So on the good news front, there’s still chocolate fudge pie left for you (mmm Aint Grace’s recipe – the “aint” is phoenetically how Southeners say “aunt” for the uneducated). Don’t let it be said I don’t get the weirdest most insistent and specific cravings that really just benefit everyone.

    Hope we didn’t double buy – but if so, we’ll put Momma to work on cookies tomorrow (bonus!).

    On the good news front part deux: you have a built in babysitter this weekend, so one less pop tart to zap fry.

    On the bad news front, Janie keeps forgetting it’s “DAH-ling!” and keeps saying “darrrrling.” Not to worry, I’m working on it.

    I got yer back.

  3. Thank you, DAH-ling.

    You don’t know how much I appreciate all of it, especially the pie—got a big piece right in front of me right now. Bliss!

  4. It’s weird the way walking works for writing-related hangups. It never fails. Get blocked? Go for a walk. Need to untangle a plot snarl? Go for a walk. Can’t figure out how to get your character from point A to point Q? Yeah, you guessed it. It’s the writer’s version of, ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning.’

    • Or the healthy writer’s version of take two vodka martinis?

      Walking has always cleared my head—I wonder why I don’t do more of it?

  5. I’m glad you consider sleeping more. 🙂 Walking (running) helps with a lot of things and singing loudly off key (my only option) in the car is relaxing and lifts the mood immediately. Just one question: “What is a Pop Tart?”

    • Well . . . i stayed up 15 minutes later than I said i was going to—but i was finishing a sentence! 🙂

      I can sing on key (with help), but the key is very, very strange. 😀

      A Pop Tart is an oddly yummy commercially-manufactured insult to the pastry world. It’s basically a very thin layer of filling sandwiched between two, un-tender rectangular crusts and sealed around the edges. There might also be a wide, thin streak of rock hard royal icing on top. And maybe sprinkles. They’re sort of a cult snack food? Honestly, I can’t see them doing well in Germany at all. 😀

  6. God, I love pop tarts. I haven’t had one since I was a kid. I remember loving to tear open the metallic covering almost as much as that first bite.

    You are insanely productive. You know that, right? Yesterday I finally managed to clean out the kids’ winter clothes. Forget zap frying, I’m walking the mile down the hill to the reservoir to grab the bucket of water that I’ll need to boil just to wash the fruit that’ll be my pop tart fillers. Oy.

    You’ve convinced me. Today I’m making a list. And going for a walk.

    • I don’t think I’m insanely productive, MSB, just insanely busy and slightly overwhelmed. My way of cleaning out the kids’ winter clothes is to take it away piece by piece as I tell them each morning to change into something that won’t give them heatstroke. . . .

      If you’re making homemade Pop Tarts, you win. And also, I want one.

  7. Oh my dear. When I read this I can only think, uggh, you poor thing. And being that we’re living parallel lives, Ii know sometimes it has to be done. There is nothing to cut, we have time-managed until the cows come home. So I will tell you what you tell me, Breathe.
    And don’t zap your poptarts (how much do I love that??).
    Poptarts…funny thing. When my husband and I had first met, he had just qualified for Boston (the marathon). He was running over seventy miles a week and the only way he could keep the weight on (should we all have such tragedies…ahem) was to eat PopTart sandwiches, two chocolate tarts with a thick smear of peanut butter to hold them together. I thought then (as I do now) that THAT is a solid reason to do that much running, being able to eat PopTarts to your heart’s content.

  8. Mmm. Pop tarts. You are fortunate to have so many tag teamers at your disposal. Sometimes it is not easy to let go. The river keeps running, just hop out, dry off, get back in again. Have a great day!

  9. One of the best pieces of advice I read before I spent a month’s vacation wandering Europe was to schedule some down time. Even if it’s just 20 minutes, it’s amazing how much it can rejuvenate your spirits. When things get to be too much, I work hard to plan some down time. Best of luck with your list.

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