Spouse versus THE PAN

  

It began, as so many things do, at Christmas. A cheese-soaked lull between brunch and dinner, early… but not too early for drinks.

(Never too early for drinks.)

Spouse and I exchanged presents with my family, and he received a shiny, fancy, ceramic-coated frying pan. (To ground this for those who may be confused: In our relationship, he’s the cook.)

Spouse is very excited.

But, it is a new pan, and he decides to treasure its unused state for a time - this is called seasoning, right? Finally February arrives and with it, a long weekend in BC Canada. Family Day. This is the perfect time to use the shiny pan, and its first culinary task shall be making an omelette.

This will not be any omelette, he says, this will be ONE OMELETTE TO RULE THEM ALL.

Soon the happy cackling of a new pan user and the cracking of eggs fill the air. I am in the next room, frantically typing away at the sci fi novella I was supposed to have finished in January. So I’m occupied, with coffee in hand, and fully prepared to let Spouse revel in his new-pan-ness without interruption. But eventually I realize it has gone rather quiet in the kitchen, and yet, I still do not have breakfast.

I glance at the doorway, seeking signs of movement.

Nothing.

“Hey, hun,” I call out. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

I shrug and return to my manuscript and glare at a particularly unruly sentence. I will fix it, I will… I pause. Head tilting, I look back at the kitchen. I know that ‘yeah.’

My eyes narrow. “When will breakfast be ready?”

<Inarticulate grumble from kitchen.>

<Large bang.>

Now, you must understand, my husband comes from loud humans. His father is possibly the loudest human known to humankind. So I am used to bangs. However, I also know that long pauses between bangs is a form on non-verbal communication, usually taking the place of four-letter words.

I sigh. “I need to make toast, don’t I?”

After a long moment, Spouse says, “Yeah…”

(On an unrelated note, his patronus is Eeyore. Or a morose Elcor from Mass Effect).

Putting down my laptop, I walk into the kitchen. He is standing before the oven, staring at the pan. A sheen of sweat on his bald head and a maniacal gleam in his eyes.

<More inarticulate noises emerge, like a grizzly bear is wrestling with a horde of ill-tempered squirrels in his chest.>

Following his gaze, I look at the pan and notice there is a lid on the pan.

Rather, there is a lid IN the pan.

“Huh,” I say.

I shift my eyes to Spouse, lift my left eyebrow, and wait.

“It won’t come out,” he says. “The omelette is inside.” His eyes widen with what I assume to be hunger-edged madness. “I. Can’t. Get. It. Out.”

This explains the bear sounds.

“Huh,” I repeat. Aloud. Internally I’m yelling, WHY DID YOU USE A SMALL LID FOR A BIG PAN? But I am not so hungry that my Marriage Preservation Filter has been overridden.

“All the bacon is in there.”

My eye twitches. This knowledge challenges my filter, but somehow it holds firm.

“I’ve tried everything. I’ve pulled really hard. I put it in the oven and got it really hot. I put it on the floor, stood on the edges and yanked. I even put it in the freezer.” His voice drops to a whisper. “I think I welded them together.”

I decide it is good the lid remained stuck, because I no longer want that omelette. Though, it is the lid for all the nice, stainless steel pots we got for our wedding. But at this point, I’m certain we’re not getting it back.

To benchmark his effort, my spouse is nearly 240 pounds, over six feet tall, and renowned for what we fondly refer to as his ‘resting serial killer face.’ He looks like a wrestler who got kicked out of the club for being too mean, or a biker the tattoo artists were too afraid to work on. In short, Spouse is neither small nor weak. So if he can’t wrest that lid free, it is not happening with anything less than a watercutter slicing both pan and lid in half and then seeing if they can be separated.

“My new pan.” He grips the lid’s handle and, sure enough, the entire pan lifts as one.

He shakes it. The sad thwap of an unreachable omelette fills the kitchen.

“Maybe I can use WD-40? Or fill it with flammable gas and hold it over the BBQ and--”

I take his hands, cutting off the ramble before any of those cockamaymie schemes can dig into his brain. Because they will. He comes not only from loud stock, but from irrationally-bull-headed stock with a penchant for self endangerment. I’m reasonably certain our marriage contract has fine print, stipulating it's my job to save him from himself for, you know, as long as we both shall live.

Sometimes this vow feels unduly ominous.

“It’s time to put the pan outside,” I say gently. Because the longer he stares at that pan, the more likely he is to try one of those schemes.

“But my omelette. It was so fluffy.”

“I know.” I pat his hands and carefully extract the pan from his grasp. “And now you’ll have toast.”

***

Epilogue:

Despite my quietly putting the pan outside before distracting him with toast and video games, he rescued the pan from the recycle bin and tried for a whole week to separate pan from lid.

These efforts were not successful -- he claims that is because I banned the use of explosives.

Remarkably, I am not sorry.

We are lucky enough to find a kitchenware sale, replace the pan and debate never telling my parents the true fate of their Christmas present, but it’s just too good a story not to share. So on Tuesday, after we gather for dinner and enjoy a glass of wine with my folks, I pour a little extra wine and read them a little story...