Sunday, August 23, 2009

On Sleepovers. And The Morning After. (Grilled Pork Loin)

I’m already bracing myself.

No, not for the start of school.  I’m preparing for the return of Darling Daughter (DD) and Satiric Son (SS).  Both had sleepovers last night.
SS celebrated a friend’s birthday at a nearby resort lodge with an enormous indoor waterpark, six-story slides and a video game arcade.  Yes, the host’s parents were in attendance, but wisely planned to make themselves scarce.  They also wisely planned to procure the necessary provisions, i.e., wine and a corkscrew, to enjoy their own pleasant evening.

Any mom knows that water activity – all on its own – is exhausting, but add a hotel room and four teenaged-boys – none of whom, under any circumstances, wants to be first to fall asleep – and, well, re-entry’s going to be a little rough the following day.

On the face of it, DD’s evening should’ve been less eventful.  She stayed the night with her preschool BFF who lives right here in the ‘hood.  From a sleepover standpoint, hers should’ve been a pretty mild – and recoverable – event.  But it was her second sleepover of the weekend.

I know.  What kind of mom lets her daughter go to back-to-back sleepovers?  Let’s just say I'd procured provisions of my own.

Five girls were at the first sleepover.  From what I heard, no one went to sleep before 3:30.  3:30 A.M.  In the morning.  And since it was a party, no one slept past 7:30.  7:30 A.M.  Again, in the morning.

Hmm.  When thinking of it that way, I’m kind of glad she had that second sleepover.  Who wants to deal with a 12-year-old limping along on four hours sleep?  Surely, her 12-year-old BFF could cope better than I.

Today, however, the Wiles chickens come home to roost.  The peace and quiet and venti non-fat, no-foam chai I’m sipping will do little to prepare me for the onslaught.

When the kids were little, I was so wary of the exhaustion and drama --real or, worse, imagined –- of sleepovers that I avoided them for years, favoring, instead, the “pretend” sleepover.  The kids' friends could come over, eat pizza, chug soft drinks, gobble popcorn, change into their jammies, snuggle down into their sleeping bags, watch a movie, and at 10:00 p.m., go home.

The problem with sleepovers is that, at some point -- usually well after midnight -- someone will get out of control.  Someone will whisper secrets.  Someone’s privacy will be invaded.  Someone’s feelings will be hurt.  Someone will cry.  Someone will stamp her foot and shriek that she'll never, ever, ever, ever have another sleepover.

Oops.  I kind of slipped back in time there for a minute.  Sorry.

But now, it’s T minus 40.  SS and DD are scheduled to return home at roughly the same time.  I’m hunkering down as if Hurricane Bill were headed in our direction:  stocking up on food, pulling out activities designed to distract (movies, games), checking our ice supply (in the event someone returns home with bruised joints – or egos), and securing all loose objects that might, under stormy circumstances, become projectiles.

I’m also planning a simple, quibble-free meal – pork roast, mashed potatoes, carrot-pineapple salad.  Maybe white sangria for me.

It’s now T minus 22.

Let us pray.

Grilled Pork Loin With Garlic, Mustard and Sage
As much as my kids enjoy pork roast, they love even more knowing that the leftovers will show up in pork fried rice a few days later.

2 1/2 - 3 lb. whole boneless pork loin (not tenderloin)
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3 leaves fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), minced

With a very sharp knife, lightly score pork.  Set aside.  Mince garlic.  When finely minced, use knife to "cut in" salt, until garlic becomes pasty.  Cut in pepper and sage.  Stir in mustard.  Rub paste over pork (all sides), and allow to rest about 30 minutes.  In the meantime, heat up your grill.  When meat is ready, grill over direct heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes per side).  Move roast to indirect heat and continue grilling until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (about 1 hour).  When temperature is reached, remove roast to platter and allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.  
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