This morning our pastor asked us if any in the room were perfectionists. Shannon started gesticulating wildly from the back, indicating that he thinks I’m a perfectionist! Granted, my socks must match (each other as well as whatever else I’m wearing), I straighten pictures in doctors’ offices and public buildings, I can miss a whole sermon if the banners in the sanctuary are even a little distractingly off kilter, and if there aren’t the right number of ingredients in a pre-packaged kit of anything, it can ruin my day.
But all of these traits indicate a mild case of anal retentiveness, not perfectionism. Certainly nothing approaching mental illness!
Shannon is the kind of wonderful man who will see a perceived threat to my sense of the correct order of things and strive to fix it before it causes me any lack of sleep.
Case in point: One of the coolest Christmas presents we received this year was a Date Box from our niece Shannon and her husband Montana. This is a club that sends you all of the ingredients for a perfect date night, because “your relationship matters”. Our box contained everything we needed for a sushi date, except the fresh fish and veg. Included in the box were the rice, the nori wraps, a wooden paddle and bamboo roller, two tea cups, some siracha and soy, rice vinegar, chop sticks, tea bags and fortune cookies. Also in the box were a play list (only accessible to club members), instructions and paper for making origami cranes, and a shopping list and instructions for everything we would need to complete our sushi experience.
Armed with my sushi shopping list, I talked to the fish lady at our local market and she suggested that we never eat raw fresh fish in New Mexico, because it’s a long way from the boat and we just don’t know where it’s been in between. Her suggestion was to buy fish that was flash frozen on the boat, and that was the only way to guarantee that it was safe. So, equipped with our date box, a flash-frozen salmon fillet, flash-frozen shrimp, some cooked crab meat (that’s crab with a “C”), an avocado and a cucumber, we were prepared to create our own little Rockin’ RV Sushi Heaven.
First thing we did was watch a video put out by the Date Box folks on how to make Sushi. Making Sushi Rice bears no resemblance to cooking any other kind of rice. The process took over an hour and a half, but we were left with perfectly seasoned slightly sweet slightly vinegary sticky rice.
In the video, they then proceeded to make three perfect Sushi Rolls out of three whole square sheets of Nori (the seaweed wrap). Our kit had only 5 half sheets and that is when I started to stress. How could we make the perfect sushi we saw on the video without square nori? If we used not-square nori which way were we supposed to roll them? And most importantly, five nori sheets are not evenly divided by three kinds of sushi. . .which roll would take the hit, the crab, the shrimp, or the salmon? What to do, what to do?
Here’s where Shannon is my hero. . .he gets dressed for public and goes to town to buy square nori, all of this while suppressing the “are you kidding me?” in his head. He also looked for sake while he was out, thinking that alcohol might be needed before the night was over.
After he left, I looked at the instructions for making sushi in the date box, remember those? Granted, neither one of us can count “read instructions first” as one of our strong suits, but in the instructions, it said to cut the nori in half and roll from the long side. Basically, they gave us two extra sheets of nori in case we messed up!
Shannon returned with the square nori (we can do this again sometime!) and no sake (bummer) and we proceeded to read the instructions. We ended up with a perfect California crab roll, a skinny spicy salmon roll, a perfect spicy salmon roll, and an unwieldy spicy shrimp avocado roll, which we tried to construct with the last two sheets of nori. Our date night was a perfect blend of working together, listening to each other, communicating, mis-communicating and apologizing. All the things that make a good marriage. And great sushi.