How I canned salsa today

1. Jonathon obtained a bag of tomatoes from a family in our ward.

2. I posted on Facebook inviting women from the ward to come and can if they wanted to.

3. I arranged a day and time to can with a few women, one of whom happens to be my visiting teacher. (The other two ended up cancelling at the last minute due to circumstances beyond their control.)

4. 11:00. We started an hour later than the time arranged because that’s how life with four kids goes, for both of us. (She was cleaning up a massive honey mess involving her one-year-old. I was dealing with a baby and cleaning my kitchen to pre-canning standards.)

5. 11:30. I went to the school after getting a phone call saying that Duplo had fallen on the playground at lunch and that the nurse wasn’t there so they couldn’t send him back out to play without me giving them permission to.

6. 11:45. At school, I got the details. Duplo had been running away from a bee and tripped on a rock. He was pretty badly scraped up on his arm, shoulder, and back, and he was saying it hurt a lot to move his arm. I had him squeeze my finger, which is what my mom (a nurse) did to determine if a bone was broken. He had a good grip. I was able to take his arm out of the sleeve of his shirt to get a look at his shoulder, but I didn’t see any bruising, and his range of motion seemed okay, even if he said it hurt when I moved his arm certain ways. I held him for a while as he cried and ultimately decided to check him out for the rest of the day.

7. 12:15. Finally back home. The lady who just moved in across the street and was going to can with us today came over to share some tomatoes from her garden in exchange for some of our salsa. Noticing Duplo, she sent her husband, who is a nurse, over to take a look at his arm. Her husband said he couldn’t tell but thought he’d dislocated his shoulder, and if he wasn’t using his arm within a few hours, he’d recommend taking him in.

8. Finally got to do some canning. I peeled tomatoes for a bit before taking a lunch and nursing-the-babies break.

Please note that my lovely canning partner had been working on canning this entire time.

9. 1:00 to 3:00. I alternated between productive chopping and whatnot, and caring for a VERY fussy baby, managing a three-year-old who seemed to need me every five minutes for some crisis or another (including going swimming in our kiddie pool in 60-degree weather in all his clothes, changing clothes and getting wet again, stripping to his birthday suit outside, putting shorts back on, peeing his pants, etc.), and tending to an injured six-year-old.

10. 3:00. I picked up Lego from school. THIS went uneventfully.

11. 3:15. I finally decided that there was absolutely no way that the canning was going to be done before my 4:00 piano teaching appointment. With my canning partner’s encouragement, I also decided to take Duplo to the doctor because, while he said his arm wasn’t hurting as much as before, he wasn’t using it at all either. His left shoulder was hanging lower than his right, and his arm hung limply at his side.

12. 3:30. After rescheduling the piano lessons for tomorrow and calling the doctor, I left with Duplo, Robo (who was too fussy to leave), and El Guapo (who just really wanted to come). Lego stayed home with my canning partner and her four boys. (Are you getting seriously impressed with her yet?)

13. Around 4:00. Finally got to see the x-rays: broken clavicle (collarbone), and very noticeable. Duplo gets to wear a sling until he doesn’t want/need it anymore. The doctor said that clavicles tend to heal really well, especially in children, so that’s reassuring. I feel bad for waiting so long to take him in now.

14. 4:30. We finally got back from the doctor. Meanwhile, my canning partner had finished the chopping and had combined all the ingredients into a stock pot (with a little help from me over the phone so she could find things like sugar, vinegar, and salt). It was on its way to boiling when I returned, and she was getting to work on the second double batch (we ended up quadrupling the recipe). She had also called her husband to bring over a frozen pan of chicken enchiladas she had to feed her family and mine tonight, so he was there for a few minutes.

15. 4:30 to 6:30. We both worked pretty hard. She filled jars and processed them while I chopped green peppers. I removed jars from the canner while she finished chopping tomatoes. She processed a second group of jars while I mixed together the second pot full. We both took turns dealing with dishes. And Robo was fussy fussy fussy, so I took quite a few short breaks to try nursing him, putting him to sleep, snuggling him, etc. Even when I was working, he was on my lap or on my hip.

16. Around 6:00. My friend’s foreign exchange student from Denmark showed up to help, and mostly she took over caring for Robo, which was WONDERFUL.

17. 6:45. We finally ate dinner. After dinner, we finished processing the last few jars. (Okay, she did. I was finally managing to get Robo to sleep.)

18. 7:45. She finally finished labeling everything, then gathered up her stuff and left.

Can I hear three cheers for the best visiting teacher and canning partner ever? She deserves a medal, I swear. And I deserve some chocolate, I think, for surviving this day.

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