The ‘twin mom-ness’ category

Soothing Juice

January 26th, 2024

A week or so ago, when Phoebe had both strep and the flu simultaneously, sweet industrious Eliza came up with a few great recipes to help her feel better. The first was “Peppermint Ice,” which involved melting a leftover candy cane from our Christmas tree into a glass of water, adding honey, and freezing the resulting concoction in snowflake-shaped silicone molds. Strangely good! 

Screenshot 2024-01-26 at 8.52.04 AM

The second recipe was similar, but also included fresh-squeezed orange juice (quite a production). Once mixed, the “Soothing Juice” was poured into a thermos and left sitting in front of poor feverish Phoebe for much of the day before I finally bothered to stick it in the fridge. 

Over the next week, I developed this superstitious aversion to throwing out the Soothing Juice lest yet another family member come down with strep. Not because I thought we might need to sip on it. Frankly, it was gross before it even sat out all day getting strep germs breathed upon it. But Eliza was also vehemently opposed to tossing her masterpiece out, so I let it lie.

When I finally did decide to throw it out, a few days ago, I realized I couldn’t get the lid off. I left the thermos full of Soothing Juice in the sink so I would remember to ask Jon for help later. But Jon couldn’t get it off either.

For a good 48 hours, the thermos sat in the sink as we periodically discussed whether to throw it out — a perfectly good thermos — or try some stronger force on it, like maybe a vice and a wrench. It would come up in conversation periodically amid the myriad more pressing things we triage on a daily basis: “Shoot, can you drop the kids off at school tomorrow? I have to be at work early. Is winter sports going to get canceled because of rain? Did you remember to pay the mortgage? By the way, I still can’t get the lid off that stupid thermos.”

On Thursday night, I was rinsing off dinner plates in very hot water, which I guess warmed up the thermos, which, from out of nowhere, exploded like a bomb going off in my kitchen. The lid shot down and the thermos shot up, hitting the ceiling so hard it made a dent, then landing squarely on my skull with a loud THUNK as rancid fermented orange juice rained down upon me. It splattered in my eyes, went up my nose and into my shocked open mouth, and I screamed.

The slamming thud into my head made my stress headache even worse, but mostly I was just shocked at the vicious behavior of the thermos. Apparently we were totally out of touch with what was going on inside it, and it was mad. The kids ran into the kitchen, worried when they heard me scream. Jon didn’t know what to do, so he tried to hug me, but I was covered in putrid fermented Soothing Juice (not soothing, so much) and desperate to get in the shower.

I have to admit that one of my first thoughts, upon being nearly concussed by an accidentally fermented homebrew, was that my death was going to be very difficult for Jon to explain to people. “Freak accident,” he would have to say. I never really thought that would be the way I would go. 

Fortunately, the damage was mostly psychological, and after the headache wore off and I took a shower, and Jon scrubbed down the entire kitchen with cleaning spray, and we adjusted to the fact that we now have a small hole in the ceiling above the sink, everything was fine. 

My daughters are  so imaginative, and I never want to squelch their inspired ideas. But sometimes, it nearly kills me.


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