Friday, 9 January 2015

Another "No Can Do"

As much as I feel I accomplished a lot over the holidays, I feel that there was so much more I wanted to do and didn’t get done. I still have that problem of high expectations.

For many years I was the official family birthday cake maker. I made fancy cakes in the shapes of ponies, guitars, spaceships and even a treasure chest. My cakes, when done from scratch, may not have been the best, but my icing has always been a fan favourite.

I soon realized that the younger kids liked the personal cake, but they all loved the candy that decorated it more. So, when the cut and shaped cakes became too much, I switched to cupcakes and just went with the candy for decoration. As the grandkids were getting older, they didn’t seem to mind.

We had a family get-together last week that happened to coincide with my sister-in-law’s birthday. She’s not a sweets fan, so she wouldn’t have expected cake, but the rest of the family would. As I had nothing to do for the dinner, I opted to make cupcakes.

I have resorted to using cake mixes as it is so much easier, only 3 ingredients to add and less than 3 minutes with the mixer. Sounds easy. The thing is, with my back, standing and holding the mixer, (and mine is on the heavy side), is not easy. I have my stool but I can’t use the mixer if I sit.

I persevered, got the batter done, filled 12 regular and 24 mini cupcake paper cups and considered the worst of the effort done. Once they were baked, I let the cupcakes cool while I rested for round two.

Hours later I was back, standing at the counter to make the icing. Using the mixer, again, I creamed the butter and added my secret ingredient, a small container of fruit flavoured yogourt. Then it was standing and mixing in the icing sugar a little at a time until I had it at the right consistency.

By the time I had the icing made, and the cupcakes iced, I was in such pain I had to lean an elbow on the counter to get the job done. It was one of those grit your teeth and push through the pain moments.

But pushing through the pain takes a lot out of you, and when things start to go wrong, your frustration level goes up. First, I couldn’t find my plastic containers, and remembered the kids had them from before Christmas. Trying to find containers that might work required a lot of painful bending to search my bottom cupboards.

I remembered the fancy cupcake/deviled eggs/cheese tray carrier in the closet, unused since I’d moved almost 2 years ago. I reached for it on the top shelf and, of course, because things were not going my way, other things fell down on my head when I pulled the box I wanted off the shelf.

It was a struggle to get the lid off, and more of a struggle, one that brought tears to my eyes, to get the lid securely fastened once I’d filled it with cupcakes. Who would have thought my thumbs were so weak?

The mini cupcakes I stored in one Tupperware and three empty Becel containers, the problem being, of course, that you can’t stack cupcakes. When all was done I felt such a sense of relief, had all containers on the table for the next morning and had a well deserved rest.

The next day, I loaded two gift bags, a bag of treats for the kids, and my variety of cupcake containers on my walker, ready to head out the door. The lip at the base of the door has always been problematic, and I have to lift the wheels over it, coming and going.

I lifted the wheels, must have tipped the walker or inadvertently nudged the pile, but suddenly I had three containers of cupcakes upside down on the sidewalk. “Fuck!” I looked around quickly to see if anyone was around to hear me, embarrassed because that is not my usual curse word. But it was indicative of my frustration.

As I drove from my place to my daughter’s, the next town west, about 18 Km, my frustration became tears. I had to finally admit that birthday cakes were no longer on my To Do List. I could not be relied upon to get the cakes made, let alone delivered in one piece. LOL

By the time the family was together for dessert, it was a funny story to tell and everyone laughed. I sat, scraped icing off the lid and re-iced the cupcakes... and the kids never cared that they had been upside down.

But, for me, it was another cruel reminder, one of those No Can Do, Not Any Longer, moments, and another lesson learned on trying to do too much.

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