The Parsonage Kitchen Shutdown Threat

A certain situation has been building in the Parsonage for the last several months. At first, I did not think it too serious but alas, we have reached a terrible impasse.

It started a few months ago when I came home, walked into the house and was hit in the face so hard I almost passed out. At the time, I was hoping I would pass out, but no such luck.

I think everybody knows what it is like to be hit unexpectedly by something you do not actually expect. I guess that is why it is called unexpectedly. It happened to me and I am not sure I am over it yet.

Even though I have been married 46 years, of which most of it has been happily, I did not see this one coming. Just when you think you have your spouse figured out, they do something off the radar. Every husband knows exactly what I am talking about.

This makes it hard to buy Christmas and birthday presents. What they liked last year is not what they like this year. I remember buying my wife a watch one year for Christmas of which she was so delighted that for the next four years after I bought her a watch for Christmas. How was I supposed to know she only wanted one watch!

I think we hit one of those impasses.

Walking into the house, I was hit with the horrific smell of broccoli cooking on the stove. I do not know if you ever smelt such a smell as that but if you are not prepared for it and even if you are prepared for it, it can smack you in the face like you have never been smacked in the face before.

When I came to myself and gathered what little composure I could find, I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who was in the kitchen.

“What is that awful smell?”

“I don’t know, have you taken a shower yet?”

After being married for 46 years, I know when to respond to a question and when not to. I knew if I responded to this question the way I wanted to respond to this question, the smell of broccoli would be the least of my worries at the time.

“No,” I said gathering a little bit of manliness about me, “Something in this house smells dreadful. I smelled it as soon as I walked in the door.”

Then she chuckled. I hate it when she chuckles.

“Oh, that must be the wonderful aroma of broccoli cooking on the stove. Isn’t it marvelous?”

Adhering to my rules about questions, I tossed that one aside and opted for another one.

“You’re not cooking broccoli for supper tonight, are you?”

I was hoping she would catch my attitude of disdain and disgust in this question. Obviously, for whatever reason, she did not catch the drift.

“Yes,” she said as chipper as I have ever heard her chip, “I thought I would surprise you with a wonderful dish of broccoli for supper tonight, to go along with our pork chops.”

Can you live with a person for so long and not know what they like or do not like? Nobody has to be around me for five minutes before they will understand that broccoli and I have had a feud that has been going on since before the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.

“But I thought you knew I do not like broccoli?”

“Oh, that,” she said with another chuckle, “I just thought you were joking.”

Nobody jokes about broccoli, especially me.

Then a brilliant idea reverberated between my ears. I thought I could take advantage of this situation and sneak in something forbidden in our kitchen and house for that matter, a rare delicacy.

“I will then run to the store and get some fresh Apple Fritters for our dessert.”

I figured if she wants to put in front of me broccoli the least she can do is allow me an Apple Fritter or two.

In a moment, all the chipper drained from her person and she looked at me and said, “Apple Fritters are not allowed in this house.”

“Let’s negotiate,” I said as calmly as I have ever been in my life. “I will allow you to eat broccoli tonight if you allow me an Apple Fritter for my dessert.”

I wonder if there is a husband living today, that has ever successfully negotiated with his wife.

“This is how we will negotiate, we will have broccoli tonight without any Apple Fritter. I am only thinking of your health.”

The way she glared at me I knew negotiations were off the table at this time and in its place was some steaming broccoli.

What I am going to do is sneak behind her back and eat two, not one but two, Apple Fritters and I will savor every bite.

If only we could act like grownups, come together, voice our differences and strike a compromise. After all, our government works that way.

I thought about this and came to a certain conclusion. The Christian life is not really negotiating your preference but rather honoring Christ. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 KJV).

When self is at the center of my negotiations, Christ is never honored.

Believe it or not, you are a walking message to others.

'Looking the Part' communicates an attitude toward the goals you are pursuing. People see what you are before they hear what you are. Your clothes sends a message about you. Your style of attire speaks of your economic status, social circle, sophistication level, morality and mood. Right or wrong, clothes often generate judgments about a person. Make sure you know what your clothes are saying about you.

Presentation is your gift to others. It reveals what you consider most important about yourself to a client, employer or potential mate.

Regardless of the dress code at the potential client, employer or social gathering find the best appropriate outfit to wear. The chosen ensemble should make you feel like a million bucks.

What to do days before:

It is often said 'proper planning prevents poor performance'. It is true in accomplishing any goal, especially fashion.

Try on your outfit for the occasion. If your suit is too large, pants / sleeves, see a tailor. If your suit / outfit is too small purchase a new one. Make sure all buttons are present and that there are not any stains on anything you are wearing. By all means, make sure your shoes are polished. Oftentimes hiring bosses, clients and potential mates determine what type of person you are based on how your shoes shine (no scuffs).

The Night before:

Determine what you will wear, entire ensemble, suit, jewelry, handbag, shoes, watch. Iron anything in your ensemble that needs attention. Determine how you will style your hair? Men keep it neat, Women keep it stylish to the occasion. Make sure you give yourself a 'spa bath' and apply a 'feelin fresh' deodorant, just in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable environment that makes you start to sweat.

Ladies Helpful Hints

Make sure the ensemble fits correctly (as close to the perfect image as possible). In the personal grooming area remove unwanted facial hair, upper lip area, chin, eyebrows, fingernails / toenails manicured, make sure polish is not chipped, nails are not too long, light on the perfume. Although you've brushed in the morning, chewing gum or chewing a mint before entering the doors of the event does not hurt.

Men Helpful Hints

Make sure the ensemble fits correctly (as close to an athletic look as possible). In the personal grooming area trim ear, nose hair and eyebrows, trim and clean fingernails. Also get a haircut, if you are wearing a suit make sure you can button it. The pants need to have the crease, no stains on shirt, tie, pants and polished shoes. The socks need to be long enough not to show skin when sitting in a chair. Accessories need to be color coordinated, for example if you do not know how with color, most occasions you can get by with black belt, black shoes, black socks and a black band watch. If wearing a suit, the tie needs to be the correct length, end of the tie should be right by your belt buckle, sprinkle cologne on lightly, add a simple watch and ring. Finally as you are driving to the occasion chewing a mint or gum can save the day.

Remember, there are four basic body types; the inverted triangle, rectangle, triangle, and hourglass. Within those body types, no two are the same. Before you shop it's important to start with an understanding of your body type and then dress to balance. Other tips to help you project the right image include:

  1. Consciously choose clothes that make you feel authentic, that say something about your personality before you even say a word.
  2. Align your clothes with your personal and professional goals. In other words, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
  3. Use your clothing as a form of social communication. The clothes you wear can change the professional attention you get, the kind of people you befriend and even the kind of dates you attract.
  4. Shop your image. Do not simply focus on the style of the moment. Shop at the stores that project the image you want to send.
  5. Consider conceal and reveal strategies which help you show off your best.
  6. Find your best color and body scent.

Scan fashion magazines to find someone you admire how they dress to figure out what you could do differently to enhance your look, add color and accessories. Men if you are looking for role models in the fashion area to follow Michael Jordan, George Clooney, Russell Simmons, and Ryan Seacrest are not bad to follow. Women, Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Faith Hill and Kate Middleton introduce you to a world of colors, scents, styles and accessories.

Your career and life is much likelier to blossom if you look like an extension of your dream job or the company's public face rather than an eyesore who escapes from the 'dawg pound'.