When telemarketers call my home in the middle of the day and cheerfully ask, “Hi! May I speak to Mister or Misses Green?” I usually shout back woefully, “Misses Green has been dead for eight days now. Who are you… and why do you keep doing this to me?”
After a momentary gap of dread, the telemarketer begins desperately apologizing in clumsy stammers and half-sentences, and when I feel like they’ve suffered enough I interrupt them by saying, “You sound hot. What do you like in the bedroom?” Before they can recover, I hang up on them.
The tingling afterglow I experience from indulging in little weekday funsies like this has convinced me that I could be a stay-at-home husband for the rest of my life and never be bored. Why did I spend so many years convincing myself that the keys to a fulfilled life were challenging my creative limits and building myself a robust career outside of the home, when it’s just as rewarding to watch Franklin and Bash all day in my bathrobe while I’m drinking iced mochas and painting my nails?
Exactly one year ago this week, my last show was cancelled after a three-and-a-half year run, and in the time it took for the network executive to get out the words, “severance package,” I went from being a high-functioning, multi-tasking television producer to just another out-of-work Hollywood dude who looked at the busses going up and down Sunset and wondered if eventually he’d end up so broke he’d actually have to get a job driving one.
Meanwhile, MG has become the primary breadwinner in the relationship. He goes to work every day at a stop-motion animation studio in Burbank. He sweats under lighting grids, and strains his lower back muscles leaning over miniature sets and adjusting puppets so he can snap a single frame, and then he has to start the process all over again for the next frame. He sometimes slices open his fingers, or burns his arm, or gets headaches from the intense concentration he has to maintain to execute his work as phenomenally as he does. It’s always a grueling day for him.
And yet, he’s still considerate enough to stop and call to ask what I’m doing at home. I tell him I’m updating my resume or getting ready for a run, but really I’m pricing swimming pools on the web, alphabetizing the board games, or practicing my autograph for an hour to get it “just so” in case anyone ever asks for it.
And every Thursday, I make cookies for him take to work and share with all his co-workers on Friday morning. I do this partly because I know how slow and arduous the process of creating stop-motion animation is, and I think anyone who voluntarily chooses to work in that field deserves to be treated after a long, hard week.
But I also do it so eventually MG is making enough money so he can hire me a cleaning lady. I certainly don’t mind picking the occasional shoe up off the floor, but I’m a busy man. I don’t have time to dust and wax and polish this whole place while I’m waiting to convince the next telemarketer to hurry and call the police because any minute now my kidnapper will be back with the hacksaw and the sulphuric acid. Fun doesn’t just create itself. It’s hard work.
Browned Butter Sugar Cookies, found at Let’s Dish Recipes
- 14 tablespoons butter (1 3/4 sticks, 10 tablespoons separated)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch stainless steel (not nonstick) skillet or small uncoated saucepan over medium heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into the hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat with cooking spray.
In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar; set aside. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar along with the salt to the cooled butter and mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and roll them in the sugar mixture to coat. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft, 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake! Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.