Then there's the $227.00 Charlie spent yesterday on a new drill because the battery could no longer be recharged on his old one - and as he convinced me - if he was going to buy all new parts for his existing drill, it would cost more than if he just bought a new drill altogether.
Keeping in mind that his desire to purchase a new drill had everything to do with savvy spending and nothing to do with the fact that the new Makita has a super-cool neon guide light.
Then there are more tools and equipment, yet to be purchased, that Charlie told me today he will need. Additional wood clamps, a carpenters angle thing-a-ma-jig, and a yada-yada-ma-bob.
Then there are the days of vacation time Charlie has taken off from work to build this play set, only to discover that after four hours of working, two of the load bearing beams were completely cracked and required replacement. And they won't be here until Saturday. Or maybe Monday. But no later than next Friday. Until then, everything is at a standstill and our back yard is entirely OFF LIMITS.
Let's do some more math!
Add the expenses expended and yet to be expended and the the pain and suffering and whining and inconvenience that has been endured. Multiply by two, carry the one. Now, subtract that figure by the cost of a new Rainbow play set.
Even though we could have bought a very nice Rainbow for what we (and by "we" I mean "him") have spent putting together this play set, Charlie's two brothers are both accomplished contractors. One of them is a custom cabinet maker, the other can build anything - including houses. This whole "let's build stuff!" gene is in my husband's blood.
He enjoys working with tools and wood more than he enjoys cooking.
And I've already mentioned how much he enjoys cooking.
It's been awesome having him home, especially since I've been sick, because today, before he realized two of his load-bearing beams were split, he was ratcheting and drilling - and taking breaks to come in and prepare one of the most awesome meals I've ever had.
He's like a kid in a candy store working with all the odoriferous lumber and spanking new tools. And can I really place a price tag on my beloveds happiness?
Sure, I could.
But I won't.
Instead, I'm going to tell you about the most awesomely easy and deliciously tasting bread recipe ever concocted. Of course it came from my mom, because almost all of the awesomely easy and deliciously tasting recipes I have ever been successful with, hail from my mother.
You will need:
1½ tablespoons yeast (two packets)
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups unbleached-all purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
In a large bowl (or plastic container - or Kitchen Aid if you are too
Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.
Let dough rise at room temperature for two hours, or up to five hours. Bake at this point, or refrigerate - covered - for as long as two weeks.
When you are ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Turn the dough in hands to slightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. At this point, you can either put the dough on a pizza peel - sprinkled with cornmeal - or - you can put it in a greased loaf pan. Repeat this process with the remaining dough that you have - or - put it back in the refrigerator.
You will have a lot of dough.
But it is a different variety than the type that is necessary to purchase a pre-assembled play set or fund the education of your children.
Every time I've ever made this bread, I will put it in a greased loaf pan. After letting it rest for approximately one hour, I bake it in a preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Boom! Just like that!
If you opt to cook it on a pizza stone and desire one of those artisan looking loaves that are nice and round, place a broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. Place your pizza stone on the middle rack and heat the oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated knife three times - pat your head and tummy and turn yourself around - slide from pizza peel on to stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, approximately 30 minutes.
Now, we have a bread maker, but with this recipe tastes better than anything I've ever been able to turn out with our machine. This recipe yields bread that tastes like something I would buy from a bakery - beautiful crusty loaves that are soft in the middle.
AND (this is the best part): because the batch is so big, you can have fresh bread every night for at least four nights, once you have your dough prepared with MINIMAL effort.
Or, you can make pizza.
Or, whatever you want to make that requires dough.
I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to add some variety to the next batch that I make. Perhaps I'll throw in a cup of chopped Kalamata olives or maybe some sundried tomatoes and fresh basil.
I might even go door-to-door selling loaves to help offset the cost of tools and equipment that my husband will be purchasing to replace our entire fence, paint the exterior of the house, and replace the shower and tub in our bathroom. He informed me that those are the next items he'll be tackling once he finishes the play set.
Which will be completed approximately 28 man hours after Saturday.
Or maybe Monday.
But no later than next Friday.