So for those of you who read Part One, you understand that as my eldest sons are finishing up their 4th quarter grades, they each had a Passporte due for their Spanish classes.
Part One identified the issues that we had with Son #2 as his Passporte was due prior to Son #1's deadline.
After watching the escapade unfold with Son #2, you have thought that Son #1 may have been a bit more stealthy in his endeavor.
...Well, at least that is what I had thought.
Perhaps hoped is a better word.
We would soon learn that was not the case.
Early in the week as Son #2 was scrambling to put together his version of his Passporte, Son #1 made his first declaration.
"Mom, just to let you know, I have to do a Spanish food presentation with my Passporte, so I am going to need your help."
I like the "Just to let you know" part, don't you?
"Ok. Just make sure you give me enough notice. I won't be caught at the last minute. When is your Passporte due?"
Son #1: "This Friday."
Tuesday evening arrives. I normally enjoy Tuesdays because I do not work on Tuesday evenings. I get to focus on just being a mom.
This particular Tuesday I take Daughter to dance and then proceed to do the grocery shopping. I come home two hours later, unload the groceries and send my husband to pick up my daughter from dance classes so that I can begin making dinner.
I start making dinner at 6:15. I've decided to prepare a gluten free version of a "normal" recipe using the new gluten free Bisquick. I am very excited to have an oven baked fried chicken as I have not had fried chicken of any kind in over year since my diagnosis.
While cooking in the kitchen and starting to get tired as the evening turns to night, I glance over into the family room to find Son #1 and Son #2 watching television. I don't verbally say anything, but I am annoyed that they appear to be watching some ridiculous show rather than working on their schoolwork, knowing that the last day of the quarter was Friday.
My husband arrives home with Daughter and then he asks me how long do I think it will be before dinner. I open the oven to check the chicken and realize that the chicken is taking an usually long time to cook. Annoyed, I tell him I am unsure.
It is at this time that he tells me he is going to cut the grass. I am shocked. He has 3 teenage sons, and been working on painting our sailboat by himself all week and now HE is going to cut the grass?? I question it.
"Why are YOU cutting the grass?"
"Well I asked both of them to do it and they didn't. I'd rather they just focus on finishing out the school year and their grades."
As he says this, both of us look over to see Beavis and Butthead (oops - did I really say that out loud) watching their MTV show.
So my husband goes out to cut the lawn at 7:30 pm on a Tuesday evening.
Dinner is finally ready and I call everyone.
I clean up the kitchen from dinner.
It is now 8:25 pm. I retire to my chaise lounge in the family room, prepared to do a bit of work on my blog and settle in for the night.
Son #1 is in the kitchen and announces:
"My Spanish food is due tomorrow. Remember I told you about it?"
My husband is standing in the kitchen with Son #1.
I look at my husband and ask him to make me a drink...
...with my new bottle of Black Raspberry Belevedere Vodka.
He begins to make the drink.
As he is making the drink and walking it across the room to me, I can see Son #1's lips moving - I know he is talking - but apparently due to the fact that my brain was about to come spewing from my eye sockets - it shut down the capability of actually hearing his words.
Son #1 disappears into the living room.
He reappears very quickly and begins asking me if we have ingredients like:
I take a long swallow of my vodka...
(Notice that since the time of his declaration - I have given no response. At all.)
I finally answer my son:
"It is my suggestion that you let me drink a little bit more of this, before I have to engage with you. It is entirely possible that if you push me to engage with you at this moment - the consequences could be less than favorable."
He laughs and says, "That's funny. Do we have any of those things?"
-- Apparently, he didn't understand the kindness of the warning I had given him.
So I say:
"Here's the thing. You can make anything you want. You have a license. You can go to the grocery store right now and buy whatever ingredients you need to make whatever recipe you'd like. I told you that I wasn't doing this at the last minute. Now go get whatever you want. Procrastination on your part, does not an emergency make on mine."
(Remember I warned him.)
Son #1 looks shocked.
I thought I remembered the due date of the Passporte being Friday. So why are we in panic mode on Tuesday?
Apparently, he failed to tell us that the "food portion" was due on Wednesday...
He starts galloping around looking for his car keys in quite an angry huff.
I ask him to show me the recipe he is planning to follow.
I scroll down to the instructions - that apparently he hasn't taken the time to read.
I begin to point out the problems that he will encounter with that recipe.
It is getting later and later...
But the more sips I take of my drink - the more patience I feel coming to me.
Suddenly, my husband, who is NOT drinking any vodka, speaks up in a very irritated tone:
"I suggest you find a recipe that includes flour, sugar and eggs because that is about all you have to work with and it is getting late."
Son #1 is beginning to get very angry with us now.
Let us please remember that I had just returned from the grocery store THAT evening. Let us please remember that I had made the announcement to all of my children that I would be going to the grocery store - yet Son #1 didn't mention ANYTHING about needing ingredients for ANYTHING!!
I find it quite ironic that HE is angry with US.
So I help him find a recipe that includes very basic ingredients that I am hoping we have. I am concerned that we may not have enough powdered sugar, so I send him to the kitchen to measure if there is enough.
He believes there is.
I inform him that he best get to work as the dough has to be refrigerated for an hour before he can make the cookies and it is getting later and later.
He goes into the kitchen and begins to make his cookie recipe.
As my husband is passing through the kitchen, Son #1 says these words to my husband:
"Does this look like 1/4 of a teaspoon?"
My husband stops.
"What are you saying to me?"
"Dad, the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon - but I'm using a tablespoon - so does this look like a 1/4 teaspoon?"
My husband looks at me. Then he says,
"Why aren't you using a 1/4 teaspoon then? We have one of those you know. We have all of the spoons you could possibly need. Why would you think to do it that way?"
Son #1 responds: "I couldn't find anything else. It's fine. Just answer me. Does it look right?"
Now remember - I have had a few swallows of vodka. I am feeling MUCH more relaxed than the husband is about right now...
My husband shouts, "Knock it off! Go find the right measuring spoon!"
Then my husband walks over to me. He picks up my empty glass. He walks back into the kitchen. He mixes another drink. He walks back across the room and just as I think he is going to put it down next to me. He begins to take large gulps himself.
Now I feel that I should clarify that my husband and I are NOT drinkers by any means. I drink a glass of wine occasionally - but honestly, the number of alcoholic beverages that we consume as a couple in a year are more what another couple would in a weekend.
Son #1 finishes mixing his dough.
He samples it.
He is very disappointed.
He thinks it tastes terrible and begins to rant.
This draws the attention of his 3 siblings.
They all walk over to taste the dough.
All of them begin to make gagging and choking noises telling Son #1 how terrible his dough is.
Now Son #1 wants to go to the grocery store and make something else.
Then he has the nerve to say these words,
"I really wanted to make something good for the class!"
My husband and I begin to laugh.
"Let me get this straight. You REALLY wanted to make something GOOD for the class? So good in fact that you began the project the night before at 9 pm? "
I continued -
"If I am looking for a new recipe for a dinner or party that I am hosting - I practice that recipe in advance. I don't just randomly use a brand new recipe the night before with limited ingredients and hope it all turns out for the best."
I went on -
"If you REALLY cared about making a GREAT recipe and getting a GOOD grade on this - you would have been researching and trying different recipes for the past couple of weeks."
Son #1 retreats to his bedroom while he awaits the one hour refrigeration of the dough.
After about a half and hour - I decide to sneak into the kitchen and investigate the the dough.
It is wrapped in wax paper.
I pick it up and realize something is terribly wrong.
It is not firm nor is it EVER going to be.
I know right away what has happened.
I put the dough in the freezer. It is Son #1's only hope.
I return back to the family room with my husband and tell him what has happened.
We patiently wait for Son #1 to return to his cooking project.
He goes to the refrigerator and is alarmed when his dough is missing. Then the following conversation takes place:
Son: "Where is my dough?"
Me: "I had to put it in the freezer."
Son: "Why did you do that? You will ruin it!"
Me: "Actually I probably saved you a big headache. I have a question for you..."
Son: "What's that?"
Me: "When you measured the 1/2 cup of butter - what did you use?"
But before I could finish my thought he interjected -
"The measuring cup! I'm not stupid. I know what I'm doing!"
Me: "Really? Then what did you put in that measuring cup?"
Me: "Right. From where? What KIND of margarine did you use?"
Son: "From the tub - I scooped it out."
Me: "Right. That was not the right margarine to use. You needed to use a stick of margarine."
Son: "Who cares. Does it matter?"
Me: "Well, check out your dough and then you tell me..."
Son: "What's wrong with it?"
Me: "Did you not hear everything I just said to you?"
Now he is angry at me again, of course.
Son: "Well, that's just GREAT! What do I do now? That's it - I'm going to the store and I'm going to make something really good. Can you give me some money?"
My husband who has been patiently watching the clock is now seriously up past his bedtime and has not had enough vodka to deal with the direction of the conversation begins to speak...
"THAT IS NOT HAPPENING! You will make those cookies right now and that is what you will take to school for your project. That is what I will sign off on. Turn on that oven right now. Get the show on the road - I am tired and I want to go to bed."
Now Son #1 begins to roll the dough into 1 inch balls as the recipe calls for...
Now he realizes that he doesn't have enough powdered sugar to mix with the cinnamon to then roll the dough in before baking.
He informs me of his dilemma.
I answer, "Welp - I guess they will be more like Snickerdoodles then. Get the granulated sugar out and mix with the cinnamon. That's the best substitute you have."
He begins to roll the dough balls into the sugar mixture.
When it is time to place them on the baking sheet - he is following the directions.
"Hey Mom. Do we have any parchment paper?"
"Well, do you want to give me a clue what I should do?"
"Use cooking spray and hope for the best."
I decide that I should try to fend off another disaster. So I ask him,
"Which oven are you using? The top or bottom?"
Son: "Does it matter?"
Me: "Yup. The top oven heats much more quickly - gets much hotter - and cooks in a very short amount of time - sometimes burning..."
Son: "How long do they bake for?"
Me: "What does the recipe say?"
Son - "It says 15-20 minutes. But how long do I leave them in our oven?"
Me: "I don't know. You'll just have to watch them."
It is getting late. Everyone is irritable. It is nearly 10:30 and Son #1 begins spouting off about the other homework he still has to do.
Again - I try to remind him that he chose to do this project at the last minute completely unprepared.
The first batch of cookies is finished.
He removes them from the oven. Takes them with a spatula from the baking sheet and gently places them on the waxed paper.
Now he begins rummaging through the cabinets to find a container to put them in to carry to school.
I glance at the recipe directions.
The next step is to sprinkle confectioner sugar over top of the finished cookies.
Hmm. The confectioner sugar that he ran out of about an hour and a half ago...
The confectioner sugar that he said he had enough to do the whole recipe...
I decide to share the information with him.
"I don't even care."
The siblings have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the first batch. They scramble to taste one.
Everyone begins to choke.
"Those are awful!"
"They stick in your throat!"
"They are crumbling!"
"They aren't sweet!"
Then Son #1 tastes one.
He concludes they are terrible.
My husband tastes one.
He doesn't say anything - just crinkles his nose.
Because I have Celiac Disease, I cannot taste them.
My husband finally speaks up...
"You better make sure you take some milk to the class to wash them down."
I return to the recipe. I read allowed from the TOP of the recipe:
"No fuss, no muss... Polvorones de Canela, or I like to call them Mexican cinnamon cookies, taste very much like little shortbread with a cinnamon flavor. Along with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, they make perfect meal ending treats."
They are not meant to be sweet. But they ARE meant to be sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar..
I find my sifting container and manage to eeek out enough sugar to gently cover the first layer of cookies. I'm simply trying to save the class at this point.
Son #1 begins to rant again.
"I am throwing these away. I'm not even taking these in. These are terrible. It's embarrassing. No one is going to want to eat these."
Then he says those famous words again -
"I REALLY wanted to take in something good. I wanted to do a good job on this. But you wouldn't let me go to the grocery store."
That child - after all of this - still is upset that he doesn't have a great food presentation to give tomorrow after waiting until 8:30 pm the night before to begin the project.
I wondered - Did he think that the magic cooking fairies were going to descend upon the kitchen and rapidly produce a fancy arrangement of homemade churros?
He packaged everything up neatly and I was preparing to go up for bed.
As I rounded the corner to the stairs, I heard him murmur -
"I might forget to take them tomorrow..."
So the next morning - I made sure to get up early to come downstairs and remind him...
I'm not sure. While I do think he was embarrassed and I do believe that he wished he had something more glamorous to take -
I am quite sure that he wouldn't be willing to exert the effort necessary.
Actually, he is sitting right here as I write this.
Let me go out on a limb and ask him -
Okay - I just asked, "After the whole Passporte cookie experience, how did you feel about it?"
"I didn't feel anything. I made the cookies. I took them in. Now give me my 'A'..."
It would appear that he learned nothing.
What did I learn?
Life as the mother of a teenager means I am destined to spend many evenings in a Rubik's Cube solution challenge with my teens.
I will sit diligently turning and twisting for hour upon hour... accepting the challenge of the brain teaser.
...while my sons retire to their bedrooms where they close the door - one takes it apart and puts it back together piece by piece...
...and the other removes the stickers and moves them around until it is complete.
We all arrive at the same point in the end.
One day they will learn - they only cheated themselves.
It is then they will want to beat the puzzle of their own volition - and then like every other adult, they will realize they learned the lesson too late...
...Then they will try to teach their own children.
~ Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will. ~ John D. MacDonald