One of the benefits of living in our neighborhood (that we didn't know about before we chose the house, but were super-jazzed to discover after we'd moved in) is that both boys have friends within walking distance. For the high schoolers, this has led to the evolution of a Friday Night Routine, in which they pick someone's house to terrorize--I mean "congregate for dinner...and associated nonsense" (in fact, an enormous dose of the latter, as you'll soon see).
We're never quite sure when it's our turn in the rotation, as there doesn't appear to be an actual, you know, "schedule" of any kind. (No surprise there--I did mention they're 15-year olds, right? Truth be told, we're generally pretty darn happy if they remember to get fully dressed before they leave the house. You see, the key to happiness as a parent can sometimes be summed up thusly: "Maintain Low Expectations, and You Shall Be Rewarded". Okay, okay, I may be exaggerating just a wee little bit...but you get my drift....)
Anyway, sometimes Derek just calls Husband or me about an hour before the usual mealtime and says one of two things: either "I'm eating at so-and-so's house" or, as it happened this week, "I'd like to know if we have supplies available to feed 3 extra teenage boys tonight?" Now, this is somewhat of a trick question, since Husband generally does the evening food prep...but I'm the one who does the shopping, and therefore tend to be more aware of what's on hand in the pantry/fridge/freezer. Buzzing through the options in my head, I quickly determined that, "Sure, we could throw something together."
Now, one would think that this would be the natural end of the conversation, yeah? I mean, obviously he'd thank me profusely for offering hospitality to his buddies, and they'd all graciously accept the invitation and shower me with gratitude...hahahahaha! What, are you delusional? (Don't worry--me, too...) No, our heartwarming little chat continued with the following, "What can I tell them we'll be providing?"
I'm sorry...hold on a cotton-pickin' minute...are you freakin' kidding me? What do they think this is, Cafe WestEnders? Are they imagining that they actually have a menu to select from? Crazy 10th graders--they've got another thing comin', I tell ya! The previous rant occurred entirely in my head, of course, as I simultaneously considered what the "right answer" would be...in this potentially delicate situation. (I mean, what if they reject my child based on his mother's unacceptable offerings? He could be scarred for life...he could be a social outcast...oh yeaeeaah, but they're GUYS, so the more likely consequence is that they simply forget about the whole idea, and chow down at their own dang houses. Problem solved. Moving on...) I finally settled on, "Um...we have ham steaks...and french fries. How's that sound?"
I could hear him turn to relay the information to his pals, whose responses were also clearly audible as they boisterously interacted in the background. One of them, who I easily identified by his voice, enthusiastically replied, "Ooh, that's good, we can do that!" In contrast, there was the OTHER one, who scoffed, "Ham steaks? What does THAT mean?" The first boy tried to explain it to him, but it was apparently a losing battle, as the next thing I heard was Derek, in a tone of barely concealed amusement..."He wants to know if they're... fresh."
"What. The. HECK is he getting at--did I kill the stupid pig myself?" (This was actually conveyed out loud to my son, in an appropriately outraged tone.) Derek laughingly replied, "Yep, that's his question!" Unsure at to why I was condoning this ridiculous exchange by prolonging it any further, I nevertheless yelled, "NOOOOOO!" But wait...there's more (if you can believe it): "Do we know the person who killed it?" At this point I couldn't help but retort, with as much sarcasm as could possibly be conveyed via Samsung, "Suuuuurrrre....COSTCO!"
Undaunted, Derek brightly agreed, "He says that's fine--he knows them." Sadly, I didn't even have time for a world-weary sigh, as Derek pressed on to the next burning topic, "He also wants to know if there's any...non-alcoholic wine." No worries, I've totally got this one--"Absolutely. They're called juice boxes." I hoped that definitively wrap the discussion, but fortune was not yet favoring me, as Derek queried, with a slight hint of concern, "But we have the vegetable ones, right?" Evidently Fruitables are not necessarily preferred by the more annoying pain in the--ahem--"pickier" members of the visiting diners. Having by now worn out every ounce of patience I possess (which admittedly is not a whole lot to begin with), I said curtly, "He can have a milk box, then."
Derek came back with an air of finality, sounding for all the world as though this had been a contract negotiation and the terms has been settled to his utter satisfaction, "Okay, that'll do. See you soon!"
As he ended the call, I thought, "Oh, GOODY. Can't. Wait." And now, I've gotta go wake Husband up from his peaceful (hopefully restorative) nap, and warn him that he's about to be invaded...by a finicky bunch of adolescent males...that he's in charge of feeding. Mwah hah hah! Excuse me while I go hide somewhere and wait it out...perhaps with a grown-up "juice box"...