#SOLSC21: Timing

It used to be . . . . 35 minutes from start to finish. it’s a bi-weekly ritual. Pan, water, eggs, timer, tray of ice cubes and 30 minutes to that finishing ice water bath.

So why was today different? All because of that new black appliance. That new black appliance has different settings. Large pot for the front burners? Setting for large pot? What shall I use?

It used to be a “6” on the double side.

Today I’m facing uncertainty because instead of the usual 20 eggs, it’s 6 dozen for the annual Greubel Easter Egg dyeing. 6 dozen. Two pots x two batches. All on the first use of the burners on the new stove. (And yes, it was St. Patrick’s Day, but the kids won’t be back for Easter.)

Make a guess. Try a “5” at the mid-point and take a bit longer.

It used to be 4 minutes to a gentle rolling boil.

Today it took six minutes. Already feeling the pressure of having the eggs boiled before half the kids woke up and the other kids arrived. Schedule already awry.

Timer set. 20 minutes to cook.

I perused “slices” and responded while the timer slowly ticked away. I tried to avoid looking at the clock. It felt so incredibly slow. How could a two minute change seem so enormous? It was the two minutes times two batches and who knew what other difficulties still were on the horizon.

The timer dinged as I pulled out a stack of hot pads ready for the next part. Perfect. One cracked egg so I can legitimately check to make sure they are done without spoiling the count. Yes, done. Yes, hot. And one more extra minute added to the process. Water poured out. Cool water covering. Ice cubes dumped on.

It used to be that I would only need to remove the eggs and refrigerate them at this stage.

But today I had to cool the eggs and then refill the pans. I had just passed the one hour mark because I let the eggs cook for two extra minutes . . . because of all my worries about the new settings and simmering eggs. Off schedule. Feeling frazzled. Caught between the known and the unknown.

So batch two prep. A repeat of almost everything from the first time. With one extra caution, carefully drying off the bottom of the pans before they were returned to the glass top.

Ten minutes less than two hours and the eggs were ready. My major cooking task for the day complete. Success in the form of 6 dozen hard-boiled eggs ready for kids and dye cups.

What happens when you have to REVISE your timing for a familiar process? How do you adjust? What is your response? How do you celebrate the changes?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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16 responses

  1. I love the repetition of “It used to be.” This could be a great model for any post about revising something you’ve done, whether it’s a new appliance, car, job, relationship. Thanks for the idea! I hope your eggs turned out. What a great tradition!

    1. Love your idea for a model or demonstration text!
      Eggs… all dyed and much fun!

  2. I always hated boiling eggs. First, I seem to completely forget how to do it every year, Lol. And then It never matters how much or little time or how I put them in the pot, they never boiled right and I always get a ton cracked.

    My husband loves hard boiled eggs, so a couple years ago, I bought him an egg boiler. It still takes 20 minutes, but it’s perfect every time. And consistently cooked. And no cracks!

    1. I wonder how long a boiler would take for 6 dozen? It’s a short step from boiling water to a cracked egg. I am happy when there is one so it is a legitimate test of doneness. But, if you watch them, it takes forever to reach the boiling point. They are teicky!

  3. The uncertainty of using a new appliance for a task we have timed down the minute on the old appliance. The stress of will I or won’t I be ready when I planned to be using a new appliance. How does adding something new (a word, a character, a setting) change the dynamic of a story?

    1. tricky!. . . All different! But critical!

  4. I can relate to this since I had to relearn how to make several of my recipes once we moved to our new house and had an induction cooktop instead of a traditional electric top. It took quite a bit of time to get used to it. I think I’m almost at the point where I’m feeling comfortable with it. (I know, it’s been over a year.) That said, I haven’t hard-boiled eggs yet. I have to do that for Passover next week. Wish me luck since that’ll likely be different too!

    1. Boiling… pasta can be a rollicking boil. Eggs have to be gentler. I can now remember some differences going from gas to electric some 20 years ago. You will be fine!

  5. Also love the repetition!! Your slice shows you are a problem-solver. It also shows much love and persevernace which ended in a success. Looking forward to reading the slice about the egg hunt!

    1. Rainy day so no hunt but all the eggs were successfully colored.

  6. Fran, I hope you post some pictures of all those eggs that the kids dyed/decorated. You are patient and determined. The attention to detail in this piece is incredible. It is easy to mess up – I have had a fair amount of experiences with cracked eggs. Thinking of Easter and Easter eggs this rainy afternoon in Dresher!

    1. In all the busyness of the day . . . Rotating groups, eating breakfast and solving tech issues, I sadly do not have pictures of the finished eggs!

  7. All of the inner monologue fretting about getting the eggs just right in time says so much about the love that goes into this preparation. This annual ritual–and your key role in making it happens–clearly matters very much. Lovely!

    1. Thanks, Amy. Being aware of that inner voice is so helpful for a writer!!!

  8. It is amazing how we and our schedule can be put out by just little things, that then start to make us feel stressed, in case it doesn’t work as planned. Well done, for getting through it all and colouring the eggs!

    1. Thanks. So many ways to define success.

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