I suck at...

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Practice Makes Perfect?.”

There are certain things I wish I could do, but somehow never mastered.

The Back Handspring
Oh, how I tried! I took gymnastics lessons on and off during my childhood, but I could never get the knack of this gymnastic feat. I remember the instructor telling me that you needed to almost crouch, and begin to fall backwards, which was when you pushed off and flipped over.

I never flipped, but I fell over a lot. Or landed on my head.

There was just something about the mechanics of this move that my brain could not put together. It’s sort of like learning a tricky dance move – like the running man. Except somehow I learned how to do that.

Snapping My Fingers
I just can’t do it. The sound I make is more like a wind fart, rather than a hearty snap.

Figure Skating
Now I have to clarify something. I can skate. I took figure skating lessons while at college at the University of Delaware – same facility Johnny Weir trained at in his youth. I even took it up again before I became pregnant with my second child.

Yeah, I can skate.

But I want to be able to really figure skate with reckless abandon. I have dreams at night sometimes of taking to the ice and just being able to glide and spin and twirl.  I can do the Beillman spin and the Michelle Kwan spiral and my footwork is as good as Scott Hamilton’s. Sometimes in my dreams there isn’t even ice – I can do these moves on grass or pavement.

Oh, and this goes double for roller skating. I always wanted to be the girl in the Dire Straits video Skateaway.

My mom was very handy. She made clothes for us, was a master at needlework of all kinds, and could whip out an afghan in a few weeks time.

All of my needlework skills stink.

I used to make my first daughter’s Halloween costumes until I realized the time and money it took to make my own was more than double of what it cost to buy a pre-made one. And to add insult to injury – the storebought ones were way better.

I have knitted a few scarves – all of which display a variety of dropped stitches and clumsy conversions from one colored yarn to another. They keep me warm though, which I guess is the point in the end.

I finally mastered the granny square last winter and attempted to make an afghan. While I got crocheting the squares down, knotting them off and then attaching them together was another matter. There is a very small afghan on the back of my couch comprised of very nice little squares replete with loose end strings. It’s not very attractive.

This is one case where practice is making – well, I wouldn’t say perfect – but palatable.

There are things I have mastered – I rock breakfast. I can turn an egg without breaking the yolk 9.5 times out of 10. I can whip up pancakes, french toast, egg sandwiches and home fries with ease.  I recently learned how to poach an egg the real way – without using one of those quartered pans over a double boiler.

There are things I can cook flawlessly without looking at a recipe – creamed spinach, mac & cheese and chicken noodle soup to name a few. Yet I can still fuck up the most rudimentary of dishes. Like mashed potatoes.

For me, cooking is pretty much a crap shoot. I mean, there are times my heart is just not into cooking the meal and it invariably shows. But when I’m really excited about creating a meal; work super hard at it and it still fails? That pisses me off.

But when it’s good…really good? There’s not a better feeling. Until you see the pile of dishes. Then you wonder if it was worth it.