Since Matt has been away, I have had to take on some additional responsibilities as a “single parent”.  It isn’t easy being both mom and dad.  For example, I have suddenly had to figure out how to be both the softie (my normal role) and the hard-ass disciplinarian (Matt) at the same time.  I also have to be the no-nonsense drill-sargeant (my normal role) when it comes to chores, while also having to be the fun one (daddy) when the kids want playmates other than each other.  But I have to say, the most uncomfortable role I have been forced to play since Matt left has nothing to do with parenting.

I will be grilling.

I haven’t minded some of the other typically “husband” activities…without said husband, the “honey-do” list has become a simple “to do” list with my name written all over it.  Most of the tasks are manageable and I already enjoy doing home-improvement stuff anyway, so power tools don’t scare me.  (Dude, I can totally rock the power saw!)  Occasionally I will find myself resenting the absence of someone with more muscles and less fear than me (climbing ladders and heavy lifting are not my favorites), but mainly it’s the sheer absence of another set of adult hands that I miss.

But the grill.  Lord help me.  It’s not that I think it should be a male-dominated activity.  It’s just, well, too much like cooking (which as anyone who knows me can attest, I don’t do).   With more flammability.  (As I write this, I keep hearing the distant voices of Beavis and Butthead saying “FIRE.FIRE.”)

So this is how I know I am now officially certifiable–I invited people over for a good ol’ Fourth of July cookout.  Me.  The person who stresses out when the pizza delivery guy comes to the door.  The person who has such a social and attention deficit disorder that it has taken me a full hour of guests being in my house before I’ll remember to offer them a drink, and then it’s usually Matt who is already whipping up impromteu Margaritas (I blame him for setting the bar too high and making me complacent in his presence).  Me, the one who DOESN’T COOK.  Unless you count microwaving Kid’s Cuisines.

And now I find myself hosting a houseful of guests for a cookout.  “Cookout” is just a fancy word for outdoor cooking.  With fire.  Flames! Near body parts that I’d like to keep.  I don’t cook inside, nevermind outside.   Do  you think they’d notice if I ordered pizza instead?  Yeah probably.  Me and my big mouth.  “Oh, you have no plans for the Fourth?  Me neither.  Hey, you haven’t been to my house in forever [no shit sherlock, it’s cause your nerves are made of bits of shredded crepe paper and can’t handle dinner parties], so why don’t you come over?  Oh, and incase you and your husband and 3 kids aren’t enough to turn me into a weeping mess, why don’t you bring along those friends you mentioned that were tired of doing nothing for the holiday?  You will?  Fantastic.  Just let yourselves in when you all get here, as I’ll be busy reading the directions for the grill while simultaneously dialing the suicide hotline.

Happy Independence Day people!