Annually, about this time, I get a craving for a real, grilled burger, from our own backyard, with macaroni salad and corn on the cob. A little bit of summer in the midst of shitty weather (and I only use such extreme language here because the weather truly has been shitty–I think we broke a record for the most rain in February in the history of that data in our state). So when we decided to host a dinner for our son and his friends Wednesday night, and my husband suggested we get pizza, I thought, “wait, don’t give up, we could do something more interesting…” Burgers.
The occasion for a Wednesday night dinner party? We are headed out to Hong Kong Tuesday night to visit our oldest who is studying until May at Chinese University of Hong Kong. I haven’t had the chance to get excited yet because I have a ton of school work before I leave, both to wrap-up the quarter and to plan lessons for my absence. Which means that today is not a Saturday, relax-day, today is Saturday, work-day. That’s why I’m starting it on the sofa with coffee and a blog post.
What do a “burgers and boys” dinner party and Hong Kong have to do with one another? Said boy will be staying here during our absence, ostensibly house sitting, but in reality having a hang-out with all of his friends, seniors as well, who relish the opportunity to be on their own for a week, even with rules. And here are the rules that I shared, based on one principle: leave no trace. Don’t use my bathroom unless you want to clean two before we get home. Take a mental picture of everything as you use it and remember where things go so I don’t have to search for things like a spatula or a computer mouse when I get home or find all my finger bowls out of order (seriously, some teenagers just do not get the concept of nesting objects). Lastly, don’t eat us out of the house. The food in the kitchen freezer is yours, the outside freezer mine, and while I’ll buy you boys some food before I go, you’re going to have to chip in too if you’re all going to be here a lot next week. Hoovers (or maybe I should say Dysons) they are. Except for our son, of course, who eats almost nothing because he’d rather starve than put anything in his mouth that isn’t a quesadilla, chicken pot pie, pasta with marinara or pepperoni pizza. The point is, I said, when I walk through that door I want the house to look exactly as I left it. Or so close it takes me a minute to notice.
Do I trust them? Absolutely. They’re all rockstar students, heavily involved in school, headed off to college next year. Am I naive? Maybe a little. I know they’ll do some things that would make me cringe if I ever were to hear about them. Which leads to principle #2: Never tell. Unless you have to get the neighbor, who also is the high school vice principal, in which case we’ll find out.
And the burgers? They were a hit, even though, with five Dysons sitting around the table, I didn’t make enough.