I’ve spent the last 24 hours preparing for this weekend’s family cook out. We’ll be making my now locally famous (soon to be world famous, I’m sure!) pineapple salsa chicken, a big pot of creamy mac n’ cheese, and who-knows-what-else.
I’ve also made nearly 80 hand dipped chocolates as a gift for Father’s Day on Sunday. There are four different chocolates I’ve made. One of which is an orange Crush creamsicle flavored petit four cake, with a creamy layer of orange buttermilk frosting in the center, dipped in either white or dark chocolate. Another is a Mt Dew flavored petit four cake, with a lemon-lime layer of buttermilk frosting, dipped in white chocolate. My dad lives off of Mt Dew. The last petit four cake is a layered banana pudding, since banana pudding is his all time favourite desert. It’s a spongy banana cake filled with a creamy banana pudding, with a miniature crunchy Nilla Wafer cookie on top, then dipped in dark chocolate. I had so much leftover cookies and pudding that I decided to sandwich the remaining pudding between a pair of cookies and then dipped those in milk chocolate to make bite-sized banana pudding snacks. All of which are absolutely amazing.
Carefully handcrafting each individual item in such a small kitchen with such limited resources proved difficult, but I feel like I’m finally getting into the swing of it. The new silicone mold I used proved to be far superior to the mini muffin tin I was using up until this point. I’ve also gotten pretty skilled at tempering chocolate and dipping with ease. I feel pretty confident in my talents as an amature baker, which is saying something. I hate baking, but I guess I can manage just fine after all.
Today, we received some upsetting news. My fiance’s aunt lives just a few houses away from us, and last night, someone tried breaking into her home. We live in a rough neighborhood, and we, ourselves, have had multiple attempts on our own home. What’s worse is, we’re pretty sure it’s our neighbor just a few houses down in the opposite direction. She’s taken from us many times before, as well as from others in our area. She’s strung out on drugs, and will do anything to get her fix. She regularly has yardsales, which she will literally peddle the stolen goods for her habit. She once stole $600 from our nearest neighbor and his ladder (which he had his name on.) The next day, she held a yardsale where she tried to sell that ladder. He confronted her on it, she claimed it was hers, and feigned ignorance when he mentioned it had his name on it. We found this out when he stopped by one of our yardsales, where in the same day she tried taking things, switching price tags, and was generally just acting odd. That same day we found this out, she made us hold back merchandise so she could go get money, come back, and pay for it. Which isn’t unusual, hardly anyone carries cash any longer. Her car broke down, so she said, so it would be a little while, as she had to walk to the bank. The bank was only a mile away, so the trip shouldn’t have taken too long. But she went in the opposite direction, towards the apartment buildings where drugs and crime are very high. She came back three hours later, stumbling, slurring her words, falling over herself. She kept talking loudly and saying really inappropriate things. She also kept trying to go around the back side of our house, looking through windows and asking things like “How many people live here? Where do you all work? When do you work?” But, she still had no money on her, so she left again saying she’d be right back. She didn’t come back… for the yardsale anyway. No, later that night, I caught her trying to break in our backdoor. She’s done it several times before then and again since then, but in the past, I had no idea she was our neighbor. She shows up at my fiance’s work, asks when we both get off work, and then leaves in a hurry without buying anything. And several times that this has happened, I’ve been home and just moments after I get a “Crackhead came in, be on high alert!” text, she comes barreling up our driveway, or walking down our street, craning her neck to see better into our house. Once, she even pulled up in our driveway after showing up at my fiance’s work with her car rigged up with pallets and chains on them, as if she was about to load some of our things on top of her vehicle and leave with them. The night this happened, I get the warning text. Within twenty minutes, she’s pulling in our driveway and sneaking around our house. It was a nice day, so I had the windows and wood door open to let all the sunlight in. I don’t think she thought anyone was home, since I usually sit in absolute silence with all the lights off. When she realized someone was home, she jumped, got real nervous, and started shouting “Oh, I-I’m your neighbor! I’m your n-neighbor!! Hi, um… I just, umm… You interested in selling your tables? I want them.” For reference, we have a small glass table on our front porch that is not visible unless you are actually on my front porch. I have a second table in my backyard that is, again, completely invisible unless you are in my backyard. She had admitted without realizing that she had been poking around my private property (a single family home) and couldn’t find a way out of it.
She’s regularly visited by law enforcement, but we’ve never seen her in cuffs. I’m not sure why not, because with several attempted burglary charges, a dozen cases of theft and trespassing, countless accounts of shoplifting, not to mention the drugs- how does she not have a permanent bed at the local prison? Why is she still on the streets?
All I know is, I’m awfully glad that I work from home now. Being a homemaker and odd-job kind of guy might not be a glamorous or well paid kind of life, but it means I can protect my home from crazy addicts and their antics.