Fire and Ice

Was thinking about a tweet I read stating you should wash your hands like you just chopped jalapeños and it reminded me of the time, the first year we were dating, that I made J some homemade salsa.

I was leaving for my annual Michigan vacation with my sisters and our kids, and wanted to leave him an I’ll-miss-you-so-here’s-something-to-think-of-me gift. We didn’t do much eating together back then, what with the whole living in separate houses and dating after Bunny went to bed on J’s “off” (air quotes) parenting days, but I knew from our conversations that he liked chips and salsa.

“Ah ha!” I thought, proud of myself for remembering that detail, “I will make him some homemade salsa!”

By now I had a key to his house, so I planned to drop it off on my way out of town as a surprise when he arrived home from work.

Why I thought I needed another chore on the night before leaving for vacation, I still can’t explain. (Love, you know). Nevertheless, I ventured out to procure the required ingredients.

I made salsa all night, enough to last a week. I did laundry and packed suitcases and chopped tomatoes. Pack the beach bag, chop onions. Switch the laundry loads, chop jalapeños. Pack the picnic stuff, chop more tomatoes. Load the car, chop peppers. Bake cookies, chop tomatoes.

In the wee hours of the morning, when all the vacation stuff was done, I finished the last few salsa steps and deposited it into the fridge before falling over into my bed for a few hours of sleep.

The next day, two fingers on my right hand were burning. I spent a minute trying to remember if I burned myself on the oven before remembering the jalapeños.

So many jalapeños.

J called to thank me for the salsa, acting all impressed with my culinary skills and telling me how delicious it was.

I held ice cubes to my fingers and said, “I wanted to do something nice for you before I left.” (Aw, we were so cute back then, huh?)

My fingers were on fire all day, so I spent much of the drive to Michigan trying out ways to soothe them and feeling miserable and sorry for myself. Ok fine, and also a little dumb. I mean, who sets fire to their own fingers? This was a wholly unavoidable problem.

It went on long enough that I determined I may never again make fresh salsa. In fact, I still haven’t to this day.

But that’s really because, I would learn later, J doesn’t even like fresh tomatoes!


Anyway, “wash your hands like you just chopped jalapeños” is great advice.


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