Monday, January 18, 2016

Set it and forget him.

When my last boyfriend and I broke up and he moved out of our (my) apartment it was, of course, somewhat sad. I was going to miss him even though we were 500% wrong for each other. He was a kindhearted person, came from a nice family, and was patient and brave enough enough to live with me in the world's smallest one-bedroom apartment for an entire calendar year plus two weeks. 

I didn't hate living with him. Okay, maybe I hated it a little. But in some ways it was nice to have another human being in my home for a year. Company during blizzards. He forced me to actually recycle properly so my conscience was a bit more clear. Someone to split the electric bill with. He'd replace lightbulbs as SOON as they went out instead of waiting until we were down to one working bulb for the entire apartment and on the verge of living in complete darkness like I do. Do I sound like a jerk? Maybe. I'm about to sound jerkier though, because one of my favorite things about living with him was that he cooked dinner on Monday nights. 

Monday is my long day. I arrive home between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. after working all day and then teaching two hours of fitness classes. (I'm not complaining, it's the highlight of my week.) When I arrive home I walk in the door and immediately feed my obese cat so he doesn't burn the building down. Then I stand in my living room with my coat on and stare into space for a solid 10 minutes because... I just do. Then I have to get in the shower. THEN I start cooking. At the end of Monday I need a BIG meal, not some microwaved Amy's lasangna and a glass of tap water. I need to EAT. So it was really nice during the year I lived with my ex-boyfriend that I could text him on my way home and he'd start cooking. 

Over the past year and few months since he scooted, I'd often wished I could figure out a way to have someone head over to my apartment at 8:30pm every Monday night and throw a potato in the oven to bake or turn a pot of water on to boil so I could come home and be a bit closer to dinner. I know what you're thinking. "Can't you just make something on Sunday and eat leftovers? Can't you make a big batch of chili and freeze little containers of it and microwave them?" Nope. No. I cannot. I'm never going to regularly have my shit together on Sunday enough to make big batches of things and portion them out into little "grab-and-go" containers and baggies. I'm never going to be a person who brings her lunch to work everyday. Not happening. The end. 

I'd accepted that I'd eat dinner at 11pm every Monday night. Until today. Hello, CROCK POT. I'd never owned one until my brother gifted me one this past Christmas. They seemed... not for me. Crock Pots are always marketed to "working families." So in my mind, they were for people who owned cars and had 5+ mouths to feed and who bought 900 pounds of chicken at Costco every week and had refrigerators large enough to accommodate that chicken. People who had L-shaped couches and Fios. People who knew their neighbors. Not me.

But what could be more useful to a person who lives alone and works late than an appliance that literally cooks for you all day and has dinner READY when you arrive home? You don't need to muster up the energy to say hello to it, to tell it about your day, or to ask it about its day. You can still stand in your living room with your coat on and stare into space for 10 minutes and no one will tell you you're a weirdo and to hurry up and shower. It just sits there on your counter, quietly keeping your dinner warm. Not overcooking it, not shutting off and turning it cold and congealed. Just keeping it warm for when you're good and ready. 

I don't understand why Crock Pot isn't marketing itself to single people. Even the little one I have says, "Perfect cooking capacity for a couple or small family" on the box. They should change that to, "Perfect cooking capacity for a single woman with a large appetite who works hard for the money and has earned a huge dinner. Let us open that wine for you. Go sit down, you gorgeous creature. Look at all you've accomplished and it's only MONDAY." Why not put that on the box? I'd have purchased one years ago. 

I wrote a Facebook post yesterday sharing with my friends that I was about to put a toe in the Crock Pot water. That sounded gross. Anyway, 50 people "liked" that post which, for me, is huge. People are PASSIONATE about Crock Pots, as well they should be. I arrived home tonight and my apartment smelled incredible. I had my coat-on decompression time. I fed my obese cat. I cleaned myself up and put on my flannel pajamas and poured my wine and ate the best beef stew I've had in a while. I had three things to wash after dinner: bowl, spoon, wine glass. I put the "crock" itself in the refrigerator to store the leftovers, threw the base into a cabinet, and was done for the day. I want to SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS how amazing this is. I saved so much time tonight, that I was able to sit down and treat myself to writing this post. I never have time to write on Mondays. I'm up until 12:30 a.m. pouting and washing my cutting board and two wooden spoons and three pots. 

I don't mean to diminish the importance of my ex-boyfriend in my life. He was a lot more to me than the person who cooked my dinner on Monday nights. He is a sweet person and I met him for coffee two weeks ago and it was fine. No hard feelings, no bad blood. I also don't mean to diminish the value of living with someone you're in a relationship with or saying hello to them at the end of your day. I'll do that again, eventually. All I'm saying is that sometimes, as a single person, I tell myself that there are certain things I can't do or own or attend. Things that could make my life easier, more interesting, more joyful. I won't go to that New Year's Eve party because it's all couples and I'll stick out. Who cares? I shouldn't take myself to Sportello for dinner when I get that giant check from all the extra teaching I did because I can only go on Friday night and it will annoy them to have one seat taken at the counter instead of two. You're a paying customer, Ann. Just go have your bolognese and enjoy it. I'm destined to eat dinner at 11pm every Monday because I have no one to turn my oven on and bake me a potato. Not anymore! I no longer need a boyfriend to make Monday night dinner a relaxing reward instead of a tedious project. I can set it, and forget him.

So hey, Crock Pot. You aren't hurting for fans, that's for damn sure, but you're missing out on a sliver of the market that could and really should love you. Start marketing to single people. We need you just as much as "couples and small families" do, if not more. 

** Yes, today is a holiday and I didn't have my usual Monday, but due to unconventional work and gym commitments I was just as busy and arrived home just as late. 


  1. I swear to God, we are somehow the same person? But like, different people? I feel like you are the alternate universe me, the one who made it to the big city and does all the shit that you do.

    Also? You can do baked potatoes in the crock pot. Just FYI.

  2. dude. i love you. crock pot lovers freaking unite.