Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dinner on Paul's last night in New Jersey

I've got to tell you, I don't want Paul to leave in the morning. I'm almost hoping the expected storm will cause his flight to be canceled. I know he'll still go, but I'm hoping he'll see it as a sign that he should be here and not back in Utah. It's not that I don't want him to keep his promise to his sons to come back so they can go fishing. I do want him to do that. But, his life has improved here in a way it hasn't, and probably can't, in Utah.

He'd been unemployed a full 99 weeks (his unemployment ran out while he was here). No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get work out there. He supported his children and the mother of the youngest on his unemployment. When that ran out, they moved in with her parents (and the six or so kids they still had living at home). That was just too many people in close quarters. Everyone was fighting, so Paul, Nina and Taylor came back here.

That didn't last long. First, the local schools flat out refused to allow Taylor to attend school because they didn't have FIVE proofs of residence. Impossible to do since they weren't renters here and the utilities are partly in the name of our landlords and my daughter. The best they could do would have been two proofs. The state says a child cannot be denied attendance for lacking proof of residence, but they wouldn't budge. So, Taylor didn't start school in August (which is when Utah starts) and didn't start school in September (which is when we start in NJ). It wasn't until we'd bought tickets for their return to Utah (just Nina and Taylor) that we learned of the change in state law where you can choose your child's school. She could have attended in the neighboring town's school district and only needed ONE proof of residence, per state law.

In the meantime, Paul and Nina broke up, so he stayed put and got a job here through a mutual friend of him and his sister. The owner of the company as said that if he returns, the job is still there for him with full benefits from day one. Considering he hadn't been able to find work out there before, and knowing just what the overall culture is like there, I don't expect that he'll get anything decent, so here is where the work is.

Anway, tonight's dinner consists of baked chicken breasts (with different toppings), Brussels Sprouts, broccoli (just a little for my daughter) and French style green beans. Not the fancy rolled chicken I had considered making with the flavored cream cheese filling, but still decent. I'm satisfied. Paul seems to be satisfied. It remains to be seen how Deb will view it since she's not home yet.

I used Thai Green Coconut cooking sauce, Cilantro & Citrus Mexican Salad Dressing and powdered Ranch dressing mix all separately on the 8 pieces of chicken (four breasts cut in half). Because the Thai sauce was garlicky, I assigned that to Paul who likes garlic. I took a Mexican topped piece and Deb's are the Ranch Dressing pieces. I did take one of them, but there are two left. I enjoyed it. Paul said he did, too.

I totally forgot to take a picture when I first took the chicken out of the oven, so here is one of what's left on the baking pan.

Honestly, it still looks good to me!

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