Andy looked me in the eyes. He'd cornered me by the pantry.
"Are you having an affair?" he asked.
I gulped. I hadn't thought he'd noticed how distant I'd become or how my evenings have been spent focused on matters other than him. But I had to tell him the truth. I was having an affair. One that was hot and steamy, with just a tinge of danger.
"Yes," I fessed up. "With my hot water bath canner."
What started out as a single batch of jam, quickly turned into an obsession. Things have only escalated since the "putting up" post. The last four weeks have been a frenetic flurry of food preservation. If I wasn't out picking berries, I was buying a lug of peaches. I've spent so much time standing at the kitchen counter, chopping, stirring, scooping that I developed shin splints this week.
Here's the damage:
4.5 pints raspberry jam (tame raspberries, from Mom's garden)
7 pints peach salsa
4 quarts blueberry pie filling
3 quarts peach slices
3 quarts sauerkraut
4 pints peach jam
3 pints blueberry jam
Like any affair, I feel a little shame about the whole thing. When did I get so stinkin' domestic and focused on home economics? What 26-year-old in her right mind can't wait to get home so she can stand in front of boiling vat "canning things for winter?" I've been known to cackle in delight when I hear the "click" of the can lids sealing. It's all disconcerting.
But while I might wish from the bottom of my heart that I could quit the whole thing, by this point, things are too complicated for that. Anymore, it's hard to relax if I don't have a spoon or knife in my hands. I feel a little lost if my face isn't flushed from the steam of the burbling canner.
Still, at some point, it has to end. (Doesn't it?) Andy's tired of sharing me. Heck, there are even times when I want the life I had before back. I have to promise Andy (and myself) that it will all end soon . . . right after I make another batch of salsa . . . and pickle some jalapenos . . . and . . . .