Sunday was a nightmare rush. Up at nine for church (and still feeling the alcohol from the night before), then grocery shopping, then time to pick up Ashes, then Theo (who slept at a friend's house), then back home to get ready for the afternoon performance of the show I was in. P.S.: I was already late by the time I arrived at home to take a shower.
As I started to get dressed, however, I could pick up the sounds of an argument in the living room, between Corb and Ashes.
"I don't want to do it!"
"It's all there, and it's easy!"
"It won't be as good."
"How can it not be? It's just two slices of bread and some ham!"
I buttoned up my shirt and headed to the living room. "What's going on?"
Corb was sitting on the couch, looking amused. "Ash won't make herself a ham sandwich for lunch."
Ashes sat next to him, looking less than amused. "It won't taste as good if I make it!"
"You're just being lazy!" said Corb, with equal intensity. "You just don't want to go into the kitchen and make one. Which is ridiculous, because you're seventeen years old."
"No, it won't taste as good. Daddy makes it better than I do."
I grinned, and headed back into the bedroom, to put on my purple tie for the show. And as I was standing there, putting together a Windsor knot, a thought struck me.
I headed back into the living room. "Ash, follow me."
Ashes made a face. "Where?"
I grabbed her sleeve. "Into the kitchen. I'm going to show you how to make the perfect ham and cheese sandwich."
Corb made a face. "You're going to make it for her, you mean."
"No, no, no. Show her!" Ashes looked amused and stood up. We headed into the kitchen, and I grabbed a loaf of bread. "Now, see, this is bread. What I want you to do is reach your hand in and select two really delicious slices. Go ahead, reach right in!"
Ash did as instructed. "Look at those! Wow, they look absolutely delicious. Mmm, I may have to eat them, myself. Now, place them in the toaster...good. Now, let's do the same with our slices of ham."
"All the slices of ham look the same," said Ashes, questioning my sanity.
"But you get to choose! Isn't it great? So, just pick two, okay? Make sure the slices aren't fatty or anything...now, same with the cheese."
We waited a few minutes for the toast to pop up. "Now, this part real is important. You want to take your mustard, turn it upside down, and shake it. Shake it! So, when it comes out, it's right there at the top of the bottle. Now...and this is important, put some on the ham, but also, put a little on one piece of bread. That way, they kind of combine together, like some kind of yummy paste."
"Yummy paste?" Ashes wrinkled her nose. "That sounds plain gross."
"Now! Here's the extra special thing that I do, that makes my ham sandwiches taste extra special, and way better than yours. Cut the sandwich in half and..." I lifted the ham sandwich up to my mouth, and whispered to it. "I hope this sandwich tastes really special today." And then, I handed it over to Ashes.
Ashes looked at me as if I were insane. "You just breathed all over my sandwich." Shaking her head, she took it out of my hands and headed back to the TV.
I was telling my friend Jo-Ann the story, later on, backstage at the performance. "Oh, my daughter does the same exact thing. 'Tastes better when you make it.' Isn't that just a load of crap?"
I explained what I did, and she laughed. "Actually, that kind of does sound better than the way I make it. You're getting me hungry! But Corb's right, she really is just being lazy. I always give in when I'm asked that, though. I mean, my daughter's only going to be in the house another year and will have her whole life to make ham sandwiches without me."
"Exactly!" I said, and everyone backstage looked at me, because I was being too loud. "That's the way I look at it, too. How many more ham sandwiches am I going to have to make for her, really? One more year's worth? It's totally worth it."
That night, when I returned home from the performance, Theo was in the living room, sitting on the couch. He had a pencil in his hand and a notebook in from of him. He looked up from his work, the minute I entered the room.
"Hey Dad, can you do my homework for me?" he asked. "It always gets better grades when you do it!"
I grinned and turned away, hearing Corb's booming laughter in the background. Some beds are just better left unmade.