Yesterday morning dawned perfectly blue and sunny. Instead of our usual lazy Saturday mornings that precede Shabbat services, we got up, got dressed, and got out of the house early. Wizard convinced us to take the boys to the Ritz Carlton for breakfast. The boys were so handsome and well-mannered. Everyone at the hotel commented on how good they were. From there, we attended Saturday morning services and the kiddush lunch afterwards. I had a mandatory chorale rehearsal that afternoon, so I left WineGuy and the boys at synagogue. After singing in shul all morning, my voice was warmed up well. Rehearsal went pretty smoothly, although I need to put in some serious time learning my music.
The three boys accosted me as soon as I walked back in the house. “We’re going to the beach, Mom. Get your bathing suit on!” (It was just like that old commercial where the mom agrees to play hookey as long as the kids are ready to go in 5 minutes.) I quickly put on my swimsuit and threw a change of clothes into a bag. We drove down to the beach and enjoyed a glorious late afternoon in the sun. The boys played in the sand, digging a giant trench and covering themselves in sand. WineGuy took them swimming in the Gulf, while I read a few pages of my book. As the shadows grew longer, we watched that giant orange disk sink slowly into the horizon. We washed the sand off, changed clothes, and hopped back into the car.
WineGuy wanted to see “The Bee Movie,” so we grabbed a quick dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Steaming bowls of pho warmed our chilled bones. We ate quickly and drove on to the independent movie theater. It wasn’t crowded, so we easily got tickets for the 7:00 p.m. show. Moose and I parked the car while WineGuy, Wizard, and Wild Thing bought tickets and popcorn. We all settled into the movie. Which was totally forgettable. And not funny enough. And, it didn’t have enough pop culture or musical references to satisfy me. Even Moose gave it a 6/10! Stuffed to the gills with popcorn and soda, we drove home and put the kids to bed.
Today, the kids had Sunday School. I dropped them off and came home to watch the morning talk shows with WineGuy. We read the local paper and The New York Times. WineGuy finished his half of the crossword puzzle; I am still struggling with my half. We picked up the kids at noon; then, the boys and I dropped off WineGuy at the new wine superstore, which just opened. He wanted to explore the store and do some tastings, so I took the kids to Target for an hour. The boys helped me finish Chanukah shopping for their cousins. So, I gave each of them a pen and paper and told each to make a Chanukah wish list. They had 20 minutes. They were allowed in the Toy and Electronics departments. They had to choose a range of things from cheap to expensive; they had to write a price down for each item; and they had to write neatly. My caveats were that they were not going to get everything on their lists, and they might not get anything at all! Mean mommy, I know. I wanted to show them that it’s okay to want things, but that we don’t get everything they want. I also wanted to see what interested them.
Wizard took off like a bat out of hell for the iPods and XBoxes. Wild Thing wandered aimlessly through the toy department, analyzing every piece of crap there. Moose immediately asked for my help. As Moose and I wandered up and down the aisles, discussing the relative merits of Hot Wheels vs. Legos, Wizard followed my instructions exactly. In 20 minutes, he crafted a list of electronics and toys ranging from $20 to $200+, whereas Wild Thing handed me a list with three things on it, one of which is a noisy toy. Noisy toys are verboten in The Zone! I hate them. Moose chose all kinds of things from toys to board games. We finished up at Target and picked up WineGuy, who made a few purchases of his own.
Our deal for the day was that if the boys behaved well enough for WineGuy to enjoy the wine store, we would take them back to the beach. Funnily enough, Moose did not want to go. I had to con him into putting on his swimsuit. We piled our towels and chairs into the car and headed to the beach. It was another picture-perfect day at the Gulf of Mexico. Wild Thing and Moose played in the sand, while WineGuy took Wizard far out into the shallow water. Later on, WT and Moose had their turns swimming with their dad, and they were happy. Later on, one of Wizard’s friends walked by and started building a huge sandcastle with my boys. It was a postcard scene. This afternoon, we packed up our things long before sunset, so we could have dinner at home.
WineGuy helped the boys shower, while I fixed dinner: Wagyu (Kobe) beef hamburgers. I know, you’re thinking “Who, in their right mind, spends a fortune on Kobe hamburger?” Well, I do; and it’s not a fortune. At the butcher the other day, regular ground chuck was $2.99/lb.; the ground Kobe chuck was $4.99/lb. The extra couple of dollars per pound yields the all-time best hamburgers you’ve ever had. Tonight, I managed to grill them just right: medium rare. I served them with homemade macaroni and cheese; fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and sweet onion; and sliced cucumbers. WineGuy served an Australian Shiraz (Shotfire 2005 Barossa Valley) for us and microbrewed root beer and ginger beer for the boys. Yum, yum, yum!
I bundled the boys off to bed, finished reading the papers, and watched “The Amazing Race” and “Desperate Housewives”. Now, it’s almost bedtime, and I really need a shower. For the first time in weeks, it was a really good weekend. Thank-you, boys, all of you.