Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Left Behind (Day Nine)

Yesterday was Day Nine of the Kids-At-Camp-Mom-Not program. Ideal day to chill some white wine. It was, after all, a Monday.

Don't judge me.

So I swing by The Wine Shop (truly, that’s the name of the business -- The Wine Shop) for a bottle of my fave sauvignon blanc. So far, so good.

Once home, I open the fridge to realize that there is zero room for wine. I can't jam in a single sprightly bottle of New Zealand’s finest. (Since I’m the type to plan ahead, I’d been hoping to chill two.) I’m dumbfounded. What gives?

Well, even though Darling Daughter and Snarky Son have been away for over a week, it appears they left mementoes, including such oddities as a one-gallon 1% organic milk jug holding nothing but the dried film of 1% organic milk, a space-hogging plastic gallon container encapsulating less than half a gallon of Gatorade, a two-liter bottle of Cherry Sprite holding two liters of Cherry Sprite less two sips, a two-quart Rubbermaid bowl of two-week-old Sausage Pasta (click here for recipe), four jars of assorted jams and jellies (notable because my kids don’t like jams or jellies), and inexplicably, two packages of Oscar Mayer Steakhouse Beef and Pepper Jack Deli Creations.

Say what?

Being the thoughtful kids they are, they wouldn’t dream of confining the treasured reminders of their existence to the fridge alone. Nope. After they left for camp, dirty laundry paved their bedroom floors, candy wrappers cluttered the dressers and plastic cups of Coke sludge could be found on the windowsills. “Sludge” of course, is what remains after the popular soft drink has roasted in a windowsill for 10 days. The resulting residue has the "stickability" factor of day-old chewing gum combined with Super Glue served to a patient with lockjaw. Never mind that neither kid is allowed to have food or drink in their rooms. Whatevs.

I’ve also found countless random price tags – ripped from items such as wind pants, sunglasses and other essential items that they just “had to have” before heading to camp, unopened bottles of sunscreen which were cast aside as unnecessary, as well as the flotsam and jetsam dislodged from their lockers at the end of the school year.

Hmm. Time to make good use of some 13-gallon plastic kitchen garbage bags. Because even now, as the kids are at camp, they are sending reinforcements home. But this time, I’m not complaining, because the reinforcements are in the form of envelopes containing the most precious items of all – letters home.

Sigh. I love these kids.

I can't even begin to pretend to be annoyed by their mail. In fact, it was fortuitous that I wasn't home when Mike The Mailman came by with the precious papers. I likely would've kissed him square on the lips.

What I learn from the kids' letters is that each of them is fabulous, fine and funny. Snarky Son, inexplicably, has been re-named “Brad” by his cabinmates. In the event that “Brad” doesn’t take, “Drake” is the name-in-waiting. Darling Daughter, who’s never been to a camp like this, declares that everything is fabulous, -- the activities, the friends, the counselors, the sleep and most shocking of all – the FOOD. She would, however, like me to send her a Crazy Creek chair. Whatever that is.

On the other hand -- fabulous food? Sign me up.

But first, I want to make room in the fridge here at home. I trash the empty milk jug, the outdated Gatorade, the unloved Cherry Sprite and two of the jam jars. Perfect. I now have ample space to chill three bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and some seedless watermelon. Which is just what I'll need to get started on some Watermelon Sangria for the Independence Day weekend.

Watermelon Sangria
2 cups of seedless watermelon puree (just toss chunks of watermelon in a blender or food processor)
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup watermelon schnappes
1/2 cup sugar
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 cup ginger ale, chilled
1 bottle sauvignon blanc, chilled
kosher salt

Combine watermelon puree, vodka, schnappes, sugar, peppercorns, ginger and lime in a lidded container. Shake or stir to dissolve sugar, and chill -- at least four hours, or better still, overnight. After flavors have melded, stir in chilled ginger ale and wine, strain into stemmed glasses with ice. Sprinkle with salt and garnish -- either with lime wheels, watermelon wedges or (for Independence Day) blueberries. Cheers!
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