We started the weekend picking up the boys (yes, both of them for a change). I had some trepidation about how it would go to have Boot around again. In fact, my chest got progressively tighter as we drove toward their home. It was certainly different than weekends with Pie only, but he was very nice to be around and we didn't even have to contend with them fighting all weekend. I wasn't too keen on his conversation in the car the whole way home, all about his aspirations to join the mafia or the military, his plans for bootlegging whiskey (he tells us he has a still now, which I actually believe but can do absolutely nothing about but pray that it breaks before producing anything or blowing the house up with my babies inside), etc. He elicited several "That's nice, Brother" comments from Pie, which cracked us up. He said it in such an offhandedly calm yet thoroughly condescending manner. Boot cracked us up by telling us how amazing "ladies" are & that we don't even realize we're amazing. He said, "A lady could get me to do a lot of things" and I responded, "Well, we certainly haven't managed to!" Pie said, "Oh, burned, Brother!" to that.
Once we got home, Pie descended to his cave to play X-Box Live while Boot climbed up to his room to fall sound asleep. He'd been at a slumber party (Pie's term-Boot says, "It's not a slumber party when it's men! It's a sleepover!) the night before and had only gotten 2 hours of sleep. So J and I ate some of her plant's amazingly good bean soup and settled in with recipes (me) and a jigsaw puzzle (J). I also got to talk to my dad about our upcoming visit. He is encouraging us to check out Key West while we're down there. I think we shall, although it will have to be a down & back trip in one day because the room rates are exorbitant this time of year. 6 and a half hours on the road for a day and sunset in Key West somehow seems quite reasonable to me after doing nearly 4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays just for classes for the past 2 and a half years.
Saturday morning, J brought my gift to bed, in a beautiful bag with lovely tissue that had hearts cut out from it. She gave me a sweet collection of gifts: a book on the Beats, a "Bee Mine" bear, Valentine-themed stickers, a Dragonfly tin that's designed to hold a mini pen and paper, a deck of slumber party activity cards, a mini heart box of chocolates, a bouquet of heart candies, some conversation hearts, a packet of Hershey Kisses that says "You go, Social Girl" (although Boot, helping pick it, wanted to get the Sporty Girl ones. LOL!). I hadn't got hers finished yet, so after a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a trip to the grocery with my love, I dropped her off and went to the bookstore for the rest of Valentine's (I gave her an "I love you to the moon and back" mug and a booklet of love coupons that I hope she'll actually redeem) and for her birthday, which is tomorrow.
Pie played his games most of the afternoon, emerging for homemade pizza, and Boot hung out with J while she worked on her puzzle. I spent much of the afternoon researching new recipes. It was such a grand luxury to have the time to do that and not feel guilty for playing when I should be doing something productive. I made Alice B. Toklas' gypsy goulash for dinner. Pie was not hungry (could it have been all the brownies & cupcakes?) and Boot found it was not to his liking, so J heated up some alfredo sauce for him to have over his noodles. Then, the boys went to bed and we watched a little t.v. and sipped some Framboise.
Sunday morning, I got up and taught Sunday school (K-2, which was really fun) while the slugabeds dreamed away. By the time I got home after church, only J was up. She made grilled chocolate sandwiches for us and wondered whether she should wake the boys and make them spend some time with us. While I would've liked to see more of them Sunday, I also feel like they don't get much chance just to relax and be teenage boys at home. So, I suggested just letting them sleep in. We did rouse them for another homemade pizza before leaving for their father's, but otherwise let them sleep while J worked on her puzzle and I looked at magazines. Very relaxing Sunday. Until, that is, Pie decided to play his techno music so loud through his headphones all the way home that I wanted to bang my head against the steering wheel. J could hardly hear it, but it was loud & clear to Boot and me. Neither of us particularly likes techno, but we just had to put up with it. I wanted to play the audio book I'm listening to (Isabel Allende's The Sum of Our Days) but since I knew no one else wanted to hear it, I just gritted my teeth and listened to the same exact damn beat for almost 2 hours. Ugh! Toward the end of the trip, Boot got thoroughly irritated and said, "Okay, if you're going to play that game, I'll play, too" and turned on his country music blessedly loud, drowning out the incessant dance beats. Really, as annoying teenager traits go, listening to techno too loud is hardly on the scale. It may have driven me batshit, but it's tame & we're lucky.
After the boys were deposited back at home, we drove home and I made our real Valentine's dinner. I went bistro-style, with croques monsieurs, pommes frites and steamed artichokes with lemon butter and garlic dijon aioli for dipping. It was all amazing and we had a good time remembering our first artichoke together at Tarpy's Roadhouse near Monterey and the croques monsieurs we had at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas. That Tarpy's artichoke was J's first ever and she has loved them since. I was introduced to them as a small child when visiting a family friend in Toronto and I adore them, too.