This past week provided some of what you might call...Valuable Learning Experiences for Team WestEnders, whether by choice...or by having them thrust upon us. First off, there was the optional Junior Parent Meeting at Chapel Hill High School (which of course we didn't need to attend, since we've been at this "parenting thing" for quite a while now, so there's no WAY we can be considered "junior"...oh wait...I get it...never mind...).
Now, I'm the one who normally--okay, "always"-- shows up at these shindigs, collects the handouts, listens attentively to the presentations, takes copious notes, and returns home to give an oral summary on what I absorbed. However, this particular timeslot interfered with my new passion, PopUp Chorus, so I deputized...or, you know, "assigned"...Husband to go in my stead. (I can't say he was overly thrilled to be appointed, but since that turned out to be the night I was very ill, I couldn't have done any singing OR seminar...izing...anyway.)
Reportedly there were representatives from two of the three local universities (that would be the Friendly College Up the Street--UNC...and that other one...with 4-letters...that we decline to name...kinda like the Voldemort of our area--ha!) who shared information about the application process. The Counseling department also lectured on what 3rd year students should be doing--and when--in the whole upcoming season of "preparing for Life After Graduation".
One of their topics, naturally, centered around those dreaded exams-from-hell...you know what I'm talking about: diabolical SAT, and his evil cousin ACT. This was quite timely, since I'd signed Derek up to take a practice SAT on Saturday. (Yes, this would be one of those...ahem..."involuntary" events to which I was referring...) He accepted the fact that he would be getting up early and spending his entire weekend morning on a fairly unpleasant activity with good grace...mostly. His one, vehement comment when I told him about it was, "There had better not be any good college football games that I'm missing that day!" (Um...since even I know that they don't play at 10 a.m., you should be fine...but consider it "noted"...)
And Saturday, as it happened, was the day that we here in North Carolina received our portion of Hurricane Matthew...so it didn't really matter as much that he was spending a couple of hours inside while it poured...and gusted...and flooded...in the Great Outdoors. (Right...except for the whole "very long test" issue....but whatever...) One nice feature of this particular mock exam was that you got your scores right away when you finished--apparently the students themselves entered their responses online at the end, so they basically graded their own work! Therefore you left with some idea of your strengths, as well as the areas you might want to focus on when you prep for the actual one that gets reported to your preferred institutions of higher learning. All in the category of "very good to know".
With that out of the way, it was time to figure out how to spend an exceedingly rainy afternoon. Let's see...stuck indoors...time to kill...I know: might as well bake something...preferably under the heading of "decadent, gooey and cocoa-licios", yeah? This of course was not a spur-of-the-moment inspiration, given my current dietary guidelines. Nope, it took thought, and research, and a trip to the grocery store for provisions--but by the time the storm hit, everything was ready to go, for the creation of (drumroll) a Vegan...Flourless...Chocolate Cake.
C'mon, before you roll you eyes or dismiss it as sounding weird and unappetizing, keep in mind that I was super-excited about this; not only did the total lack of flour mean I didn't have to deal with purchasing and substituting almond or rice or some other kind for the usual (non-gluten-free) wheat, but this recipe didn't call for any eggs (or, as I like to call them: My Arch-Nemesis). Total WIN, y'all! To my surprise, when I asked Riley if he'd like to get in on this creative cooking session, he readily agreed. (Thanks to the Middle School elective he chose last year...Family and Consumer Science...what we used to call good old Home Ec back in the olden days...he's seems much more enthused about...culinary concocting. Yay!)
So we measured, and mixed, and melted...and then when I finally got to the bottom of the page and read the last instruction...it said to allow the finished product to chill...OVERNIGHT...before serving. Dude! Clearly, you (shadowy Internet chef person) haven't met us--we don't possess anywhere NEAR the kind of patience...or self-restraint...for that kind of...nonsense. So we decided to give it a couple of hours--until after dinner--and then take our chances. (I mean, it's chocolate cake, not brain surgery...what could possibly go wrong?) And you know what? It was utterly DIVINE. Okay, so it was kind of a cross between a thick pudding and a cake, but you could not ask for more over-the-top chocolateness. (Now if I only had a blast chiller, like they always show in the Chopped kitchen on the Food Network...hey, Christmas is coming, right? Hmmm...)
Okay, now we arrive at: Derek. He had asked me--maybe the week before--if it was okay for him to go to the UNC football game with friends who had tickets. At the time I'd given permission, but obviously that was looking reeeaaally...ill-advised...in the current conditions. Even the night before, when we'd revisited the topic, he'd stubbornly insisted that they were still going. I'm not honestly sure if he didn't believe me about the forecast, or if he was just consciously choosing that blissful state known as Denial, but I finally dropped the subject in exasperation, since we were butting heads and getting nowhere.
In the morning when I brought it up again, however, in the indisputable face of the driving rain and howling wind outside the house, he laughed and said, "Oh, I'm not going!" (I resisted the urge to throw something (soft) at him...although it wasn't easy...can I get an Attagirl from my fellow moms out there, for not punishing the ridiculous behavior of my adolescent son ? Thankyouverymuch...)
But after he returned from his testing adventure, he relayed that some of his buddies were, in fact, planning to show up at the game. I'm sorry, WHAT? Have your formerly rational, intelligent pals suddenly lost their ever-loving minds? Which part of "hazardous driving conditions", "meteorological warnings from the National Weather Service" or...SOAKING WET UNDIES sounds appealing to you people? And can I just tell you the boatload of grief he gave me for even suggesting that he might be forbidden to go?
I'm not kidding, he actually pulled out this line as a fundamental part of his argument, "Mom...you're preventing me from having stories that I can tell my grandkids one day!" (Sheesh! How uncharacteristically melodramatic...) Let me be the first to share something with you, my child: just because something is dangerous and stupid does not necessarily make it a stellar memory. (Weeeeellll....sometimes, yes, but that doesn't support my side of the disagreement, so SHHHHH!)
He got a little persnickety with me about the fact that I was squashing his inalienable right...to go out and be an idiot...or whatever...but meanwhile I was wondering: what's up with these other parents that are evidently just blithely permitting their kids to go sit in the stands during hurricane-fallout...to watch a silly football game? Seriously? (So, I guess I'm the hard-ass on the block. Eh, I'm totally comfortable with that.) Anyway, one of the other guys finally regained his senses and came to the conclusion that he didn't want to go, either, so in the end Derek got together with 2 other friends to do some sports viewing in front of a big TV...with snacks....and need I mention: completely warm, dry clothing.
So there you have it. another week of boys being boys...and their loving Mom and Dad trying their best to keep them on the straight and narrow...and out of the storm (yes, sometimes literally). Today I'm happy to tell you that in the After-Matthew (ha!) we're being treated to blue skies, Fall temperatures, and bright sunshine. And whatever the coming week brings, I know I can whip up an awesome vegan, gluten-free treat to help me get through it...and even send Derek out (safely!) for some whipped cream, if necessary! Mmmmm......it's all good!