Everyone is still alive.
No one is bleeding.
My dogs are going to HATE me when I bring them home. They think they're in heaven here. They get to go in the car to the barn and back an average of 3 times a day. They get to go out the front door and run and sniff and bark and sniff and bark and run and sniff and bark and bark and bark. There are CATS. And HORSES. And MICE. And the bed is HUGE (in fact, I haven't slept this well since Shea started sleeping on the bed- I think I need to upgrade to at least a queen.) The WHOLE back of the house is WINDOWS! LOW windows, so they can look out them and BARK. They can go on the back porch and its like being outside without getting your feet DIRTY or WET (okay, so they're still house dogs...) The one thing they don't appreciate is that Amy's dogs get really, really yummy food and they just get kibble.
What do Amy's dog's eat that is so yummy? They eat a variety of things... oatmeal being the base of their meals.
Amy and I have very different talents. We've discussed and agreed on a couple of them. For example, she is a better rider than me. I am a better facebooker than her. She is a better teacher than me. I am a better cook than her.
Well, I thought I was a better cook than her, anyway. I finally met my match. I have completely and totally given up on successfully cooking oatmeal. Yes. Oatmeal- you know, boil water, add oatmeal, let sit, serve?
Amy, you win. You can cook oatmeal way better than I ever will be able to.
My Mortal Enemy
Here's the problem. I have to cook one giant canister of oatmeal at a time. In one giant pot. One canister of oatmeal feeds the dogs for three meals. So, I've been here for almost six days. That, if I'm counting correctly, equals four oatmeal preps. Amy left me a pot when she left. It was lovely, creamy, easily spooned out and served.
I made my first oat meal on Monday night. The water boiled. I added the oatmeal. It cooked for awhile, and then I turned it off. I was sitting on the coach on my laptop, so I didn't pay any particular attention to the timing of the oatmeal. When I went to serve it, it was chunky. Thick. They probably had to chew it. By the last feeding (it only lasted me two meals, by the way) of that particular pot, I had to add water to the blob of what was, I assumed, the petrified version of what was once oatmeal, to get the spoon to penetrate the crust that had developed.
Monday's score? Oatmeal-1 Lauren-0
Okay, the next oatmeal would have been on Wednesday. In the morning. Usually, it takes me about two hours in the morning from when I wake up to when I leave the house. I figured I could make oatmeal in that time frame, right? Wrong.
I put the pot on to boil. I filled it with piping hot water. I covered the pot. I put the stove on high. (No, I didn't add salt. Hindsight.) I'm fairly certain it took 90 minutes for the !#%$%^ water to boil. Maybe I wasn't paying attention to the clock well enough, but the (@&;#$*&; water took forever to boil. Remember, the EFFING oatmeal is advertised as quick oats. So, I added the oatmeal and sat down to wait for it to cook. I checked it about 10 minutes later. It was still water with oats floating in it. I got dressed. Still water with oats. I sat on the couch, checked my email, facebook, COTH, email, facebook, COTH, email, facebook, COTH, oatmeal. Thickening, slightly. I took it off the heat, thinking it would thicken. HA. I put it back on the heat. It cooked about 20 more minutes and then took it off the heat, swore at it and told it I would deal with it when I got home. So there.
Of course, when I got home, it had reached a reasonable consistency, it wasn't thick enough to spoon out in chunks, but it was decent. Of course, I found giant blobs of partially cooked oatmeal in the rest of the watery mess. I think I could have drank it through a straw. It'd be like drinking a shake though- you know, where you get the cherry stuck at the end of it? I'm pretty sure they had to lap it up.
Wednesday's score: Oatmeal: 2 Lauren: 0
Next try: I ran out of oatmeal on Thursday morning. I saved myself the grief of making it in the morning and thought I'd make it when I got back, before I gave them dinner. Uh-huh.
So, I put the water onto boil. It finally boiled (like, four hours later) and I added the oatmeal. I used less water this time- faster cooking, thicker oatmeal, right? Sure. So, same deal. Waiting.... waiting... waiting... it finally cooks to a reasonable consistency and I turned it off to thicken. About an hour later, I was about to beat my head against the wall. So, I started to spoon it into the dogs bowls and put them in the fridge to help it thicken. You know, smaller amounts split apart and all that jazz. Well, the @(#;$@(#* oatmeal was so thin it was running down the sides of the spoon. So I got out the LADLE and dished out the oatmeal. It thickened in the fridge in about 10 minutes and the dogs were able to eat it in a fairly normal manner.
Thursday's score: Oatmeal: 3 Lauren: 0
OKAY, that brings me to tonight. WHAT ELSE CAN GO WRONG, LAUREN?! WHAT ELSE?
I filled it with the "perfect" amount of water. It boiled (seven hours later), I added the oats, I left it to cook. I kept an eye on it while it cooked from my spot on the couch. I hear a sizzle. And another, and another. I RAN to the stove where about three cups of oatmeal had caught a bubble from the water and boiled over the side of the pot. *insert massive amounts of cursing and screaming and contemplating going to Kroger and buying individual packets of instant oatmeal!* I cleaned the range, scooped the salvage-able oats back into the pot and continued on my way.
The oatmeal is now sitting on the stove, cooling and thickening to what I hope will be the perfect consistency.
Friday's Score: Oatmeal: 4 Lauren: 0
Sunday will be my last "go" at making oatmeal. Hopefully it will go perfectly. Probably it will not.
Tomorrow's story: What Goes With Oatmeal?