Monday, July 31, 2017


Greetings, WYMOP readers!

Recently, Handsome (my son) and Miss D (his girlfriend) had their first anniversary. If you’ve read my post about the break-in we performed last Christmas morning, you may have some idea what lengths Handsome will go to to surprise and impress the girl. He plans in advance, gathers his materials, makes sure of his timing, and executes. I sometimes help out in these little ventures: with regard to Miss D, I am the Robin to his Batman, the Watson to his Holmes.

So it was no real surprise to me when, for their anniversary, he had a plan. Since it was summertime they could spend the whole day together, followed by dinner at a local place they both like. After dinner the day would culminate in a romantic little picnic dessert at a nearby park with a public rose garden—dessert he would bake himself.
Most of the women reading this just made a little Aww sound, didn’t you?
The big day was on a Saturday, so the baking happened on Friday. It was my weekend off, and his mom was away, so it fell to me to make sure he didn’t burn the house down. Actually, all I did was sit at the dining room table and work on some editing while he destroyed the kitchen. Ingredients we had purchased and packed neatly away days earlier (none of that boxed shit for Miss D, no sir) came out and spread themselves around—sometimes way around. There were pans and pots and bowls and spoons—no two spoons used twice, apparently, just grab a fresh one—and, of course, food.
I did help out in the middle, when he needed an extra pair of hands. Hard to make three different desserts, pretty much at the same time, when you’ve barely ever baked before, in a small kitchen, all while thumbing rapidly back and forth between three recipes downloaded to a phone. He was doing it, though, so I helped out where I was asked, tried to get the pots and pans he claimed he was finished with into the dishwasher and out of his way, and went back to my editing.
I’m a pretty good sidekick. Narf.
By the time he was done, even with my efforts to tidy a bit mid-process, the kitchen looked like food had just had a frat party. The chocolate chips lay passed out on the counter with the baker’s chocolate, looking like one or both of them had a walk of shame in their future. The flour had thrown up on the floor. Twice. What was left of the eggs huddled, cartonless, in the corner like high-schoolers who’d crashed the party, realized they were in over their heads, and never made it out. The measuring spoons were assaulting the measuring cups, the tsp raised and waving in the air as the whole set let out a drunken “Whooo! Whooo! Whooo!”
In the midst of this chaos, however, on the counter beside the (nearly unrecognizable) stove, lay two pans and an egg carton. The pans contained two kinds of brownies (blueberry and frosted zucchini—and yes, the frosting was made from scratch), while the egg carton—aside from explaining why the eggs lay exposed on the counter—contained chocolate-filled strawberries, each nestled into its own little cup. The boy looked happy. The boy looked tired. The boy looked about the frat-party kitchen and his expression went a little less happy.
“Sorry, kid,” I said with a grin. “The cleanup is part of the process.”
I helped clean up some, right at the end. I’m still a good sidekick. Narf.
The next morning was the big day. I was writing in the dining room while Handsome played video games. Time passed. Handsome appeared at my elbow.
“D just texted,” he said. “Her mom should be dropping her off in about a half an hour.”
“Roger that.”
The boy jumped in the shower, got dressed . . . and then broke out a bunch of tupperware, a knife, some brownie pans, and the picnic basket. He’d done all the baking, then all (okay, most) of the cleanup the previous day, but neglected to cut up and pack away his homemade treats in preparation for the surprise picnic—something that might be hard to do once Miss D was actually in the house. He made two cuts, and popped out a single brownie.
“They’re here,” I said.
You know that thing you see in cartoons, when someone is surprised, and their eyes get so big they actually pop off their face? I had no idea that was a real thing.
“They’re here,” I repeated, pointing through the window to the SUV parked in the driveway, Miss D already slamming her door and waving goodbye to her mother.
Those huge eyes shot down to the knife, picnic basket, two brownie pans, and four tupperware containers scattered across the counter, then back through the window to where Miss D was running up the front stairs.
Panicked hilarity ensued. There was grabbing, there was tossing, there was desperate whisper-shouting. There was the juggling of tupperware and a quick sprint to his old bedroom, right off the kitchen, where everything wound up sprawled on his old bed and the door slammed. I stalled Miss D in the kitchen while Handsome washed brownie off his fingers in the bathroom. There was barely controlled breathing and Oscar-caliber acting while Miss D was greeted and escorted downstairs to watch a movie before they actually went anywhere.
I breathed a sigh of relief and got to work.
Ten minutes later the boy came bounding up the stairs. “I told D I had to use the bathroom,” he whispered as he passed me washing my hands in the kitchen. “Can you help? I have to get everything done before she comes looking for me.” He dashed into his old room. He came out a second later, looking confused.
“Where is it?”
“TV room,” I said.
He dashed into the TV room, then came out, still confused. “Where?”
I walked to the doorway and pointed in. “There.”
He looked over my shoulder, starting to sound a little panicked. “Where?”
I walked across the TV room to the corner where the couch and loveseat butt together, leaving a void. I pointed down. “There.”
Nestled into the void, invisible unless you were looking almost straight down at it, was a neatly-packed picnic basket full of tupperwared brownies. He looked down at it, then up at me. “I guess fourteen years of being the Easter Bunny paid off,” he said, and then he hugged me—and he’s a big kid, and an excellent hugger. “Thanks, Dad.”
And he went back downstairs to watch the movie, take his lady-love to dinner, and surprise her with a sunset picnic in a rose garden, said lady-love none the wiser.

Talk to you later!

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