One of the fun things about being me is that I manage to get myself into trouble just because I don’t do things halfway. It’s all or nothing. Like the time I ordered all five levels’ worth of a language-learning software program to brush up on and perfect my seven years of high-school-through-college French. My thinking beforehand? Great! I’ll tackle the whole thing and be finished — and completely fluent — in no time. My thinking after getting through just one level of talking back to my laptop? Merde.
Or when I decided that the perfect opportunity to conquer Anna Karenina (my fourth attempt) would be on an LA to NY flight (and the NY to LA return). Wrong. So wrong. Not only could I not stay focused for a fifth try on why “all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” — trying to read a heavy 800-page book while scrunched into a seat in coach made me unhappy in my very own way.
And then there’s the time I thought it would be fun to make a freezer full of ice cream sandwiches to have on hand whenever the craving struck for something a little bit decadent. I wanted to re-create the Chipwich (big in the 1980s) — vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies with the edges rolled in more chocolate chips. To make it easier, I decided to use store-bought cookies (three dozen to be exact). How big an undertaking could it be?
One more thing about the melting. (I swear I could hear the Wicked Witch of the West — Wicked Sand-witch of the West? — screaming “I’m m-e-e-e-e-lting!”) You’ve got to get the sandwiches into the freezer really fast. Like make one, open freezer, pop it in, close freezer. At this point, of course, the temperature of the freezer drops from the door being opened so many times. (And flying monkeys show up to carry away any ice cream sandwiches — or small children — left untended.)
My collateral dessert damage was impressive. Eight cookies broken, myriads of chocolate chips rolling in all directions, four scoops of ice cream fleeing from their cookies. Final number of ice cream sandwiches that made it to the freezer? As I growled at B. when he innocently asked that question: Do. Not. Even.
The story has a happy ending, though (unlike poor Anna Karenina). We found a showing of Amélie (French with English subtitles) at an arthouse movie theater not too long thereafter. And found Nestlé Toll House ice cream sandwiches at the concessions counter.
ⓒ 2017 Claudia Grossman