It's 5:30 p.m. and I'm staring a deadline in the face.
I have mail and e-mail to answer, 20 phone calls to return, a field-trip form to fill out, homework to check and two hungry girls hanging all over me.
"When's dinner?" the oldest one whines.
"I'm hungry, Mommy," the youngest one chimes in.
It's the moment I've dreaded all day dinner time. So what will I cook for dinner?
Not a thing.
Tonight I'm going to relax and let my personal chef go to work.
Entrepreneur Susan Bayer Johnson, who has 15 years of experience in the catering industry, is willing to do the cooking for me and for you, too.
She is a personal chef and a member of the United States Personal Chef Association.
It's a fast-growing industry, says Johnson, who whips up lasagna, roasted chicken, Irish stew, veal chops, meatloaf and a variety of other tasty dishes for her clients.
As your personal chef, Johnson spends one session in your kitchen whipping up 10 meals for your family. Reach into the freezer, pop a pan into the oven for about 30 minutes and, voila, a home-cooked meal.
Johnson brings the utensils and the ingredients, and she cleans up the mess.
"Your house smells good and your freezer is stocked," she says.
For her basic rate, she provides a consultation to determine food allergies and likes and dislikes, then she cooks up 10 meals for two adults. She makes sure you have disposable or reusable storage items, and the meals include an entrand two sides a starch and a vegetable.
"I'm sorry you don't get out of this without a veggie," she jokes as she pulls my family's dinner out of the oven. She does, however, include a dessert with her basic order.
At a cost of about $285 her basic service costs less than $30 a meal, a bargain when you consider how much shopping and cooking time you'll save.
Tonight, Johnson served lasagna, tossed salad and garlic bread. The food was sumptuous, I had leftovers for workday lunches and, best of all, I had time to spend with my family.
To contact Susan Bayer Johnson, call 476-2020.