Because I would have had to have refunded it to him this week.
So, yeah, not only was this week the week James had to deal with things and stuff (ahem), but the day my blog was, um, not here was also Valentine's Day.
And not only was the day my blog, um, wasn't here Valentine's Day, it was also Matthew's 18th Birthday. Because Matthew is a Valentine's Day baby, that's why. And nothing says Happy Birthday! and Happy Valentine's Day! like having to also deal with things and stuff on a day meant for birthdays and romance.
So all of that stuff, above, would be grounds for me to have refunded James any and all Housewifely Salary he would have paid me for the week, had I been getting such an income. (Which I don't. Not that I deserve any, of course.) But then, oh, then, my friends, I proved and yet more worthless on that same fateful day.
You know how, when it's someone's birthday, and you're living in the United States, it actually really doesn't matter if the mother of the home is proficient in the kitchen because you can just go out to the grocery store or a bakery or Costco or Sam's or any number of zillions of places and buy a birthday cake? That arguably tastes better than a homemade one because those sorts of stores add Glycoaminolacticgalactate and Red #40 and lard and all manner of stuff that actually tastes really good but that you wouldn't use at home? With the end result being a scrumptious birthday cake that the mother of the home didn't have to bake herself? And then all is well and the birthday is fabulous?
So... they ain't got those cakes here. Which meant that while my husband was off dealing with things and stuff, I was home tasked with baking and frosting a birthday cake for Matthew, who already doesn't really like being here anyway, and who doesn't really feel that it's a blessing to spend any random day here, let alone his 18th birthday, which comes along once in a lifetime, etc.
So I used a dear friend's layer cake recipe and somehow I eked out three round cake pans full of perfect, springy chocolate cake. For a chocolate layer cake! And I looked at the three round cake pans full of perfect, springy chocolate cake and my little heart swelled with pride, for BEHOLD! Everyone knows that mixing and baking the cake is the hardest part!! SUCCESS!! I might have screwed everything else in the entire universe up, and my husband might be off dealing with things and stuff, but goshdarnit, I COULD BAKE A BIRTHDAY CAKE.
I had a box mix for the icing - no one screws up icing! - and I set about to whip the boxed icing.
I frosted the cake. Then I picked out colors that were as manly as I could find them (you can't argue with a red, white and blue theme, especially for an Eagle Scout) and I wrote Matthew's name and "Happy 18th Birthday" on the cake. I tossed around a few sprinkles just for additional flair and I stood back and admired my handiwork.
I may have shed a few tears, because tears were flowing fast and thick that day anyway, and anyway I was making MY ADULT SON A BIRTHDAY CAKE, which is bound to make any mother weepy. No joke.
I put the cake in the fridge and went on with my day, such as it was.
A couple of hours later, just because I couldn't believe that I had actually accomplished something correctly and well, I pulled the cake out of the fridge just to gaze at it lovingly.
And the moment I looked at it, it seemed to me that... the frosting and the writing on the cake sort of looked like they were... sliding off. Was it my imagination? Or did the end of Matthew's name sort of look like it was slowly falling off the side of the cake?
I realized that something was wrong. And I began to panic. Because my family wasn't even there to see the cake that I had made (in what, at that exact moment, was as pretty as it would ever be), there was no time to make another one, and LORD HAVE MERCY, I CAN'T EVEN DO SOMETHING SIMPLE LIKE MAKE A BIRTHDAY CAKE.
I decided to take a picture *then* so that at least I would have one somewhat decent shot of the birthday cake for posterity:
The afternoon passed by. James got home from things and stuff, the boys got home from school, and we headed off to Tony Roma's (yes! They have one of those here! And it's real!) for a special birthday meal.
Each entree was roughly $50. Yes, US dollars. Per person. For ribs, corn, coleslaw, your choice of soup or side salad and bread on the table. Which means that we got out of there for about $200.
But 18th birthdays come only once, and we hardly ever go out to eat western food here. And it made the birthday boy smile:
So it was money well spent.
By the time we got home and got around to doing cake, the frosting landslide was even more evident:
I can't even describe my sea of utter despair. I mean, seriously. Things and stuff and now the evidence that I can't even make a birthday cake for my son. The sad part is that the above picture really doesn't do the UTTER CAKE FAIL justice. Here's another angle:
I mean, HOW HARD IS THIS?!?! I wasn't even responsible for making the birthday dinner! Just the cake!
The guys cut some cake and then used a spoon to sort of scoop up the frosting from around the sides in order to use it as a makeshift cake dip. Lame, lame, lame.
The next day, the cake was so way worse:
I can't even make this up. Tell me that cake doesn't look like death. They continued to eat it, because even cakes that look like death are better than no cake at all here in China, but my shame and utter despair continued unabated. I mean, just LOOK at this hideous thing:
It looks like it has mange or some sort of flesh-eating-bacteria issue. Mercy.
And on that day, when I put away some groceries, I saw a package of locally-made hot dog buns that I had bought. They were "Good Manufacture!" and got a big thumbs-up:
Which is a whole lot more than can be said for my son's pathetic melted birthday cake.
STAY-AT-HOME-MOM HOUSEWIFEY SKILLS FAIL.