The answer is no. NO, SHE DOES NOT.
I love a good meat sauce. ‘Cuz I LOVE meat. (That’s what she said.) But, seriously, a good meat sauce is so versatile, and if you make a big batch, you can freeze some for quick meals later. Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe that my Italian grandmother used for her delicious sauce. So for the past year, I have scoured the Internet and experimented with various recipes in order to create the perfect Sunday Sauce. (Foxy Sauce just sounded wrong.)
Each time I’d try a new recipe, my husband and I would enjoy the sauce, but we weren’t quite elated. We wanted more. We wanted a sauce that people would talk about for days. Or at least one that our kids would eat. (Just kidding. They don’t eat anything normal.) So we sat and brainstormed. I wrote down all of the things about each recipe that I loved, and we tossed around different ideas looking for that one magical ingredient. And then, one historical day, my husband had a flash of brilliance. (It doesn’t happen very often so I’m documenting it here.)
My son Colin and I pull into Target after dropping off my daughter at dance. His eyes light up. (He loves Target as much as I do.)
Me: “Sorry we have to go to Target, Colin. I know how much you hate it here.”
Colin (still grasping the concept of sarcasm): “I’m on to you, Mom. I know about your opposite jokes.”
I smile proudly.
As we shop, Colin comments on the prices of patio furniture and how one chair is considerably more than a set of 4 chairs. (He’s 8 and already a savvy shopper—his future spouse can thank me later.) I say something about how sometimes store prices seem out of whack.
Colin: “Yeah, they’re really wacky.”
Me: “Oh, believe you me, I KNOW.”
Colin: “What?! You’re talking funny.”
Me: “I know. Sometimes mom talks funny.”
Colin: “Maybe it’s all the wine you drink.”
So I burst out laughing. Pretty loudly. Because that’s funny.
And then I explain to him the difference between drinking a glass of wine and a bottle of wine. And drinking responsibly and doing stupid things (like driving) after drinking. I really think I’m hitting home with this talk. I’m feeling like a good parent. And then…
Colin: “By the way, can you not laugh that loud next time? People were looking at you.”
I stop. I reflect on everything he’s told me at Target. In the space of 15 minutes, he called me a sarcastic, funny-talking, wine-drinking, loud-mouth.
Yep. That about sums it up.
If you recall, my daughter Erin and I brainstormed ideas for her 5th grade science fair project earlier in the year. I threw out a few ideas based upon the science experiments we have inadvertently conducted in our house, and she had a hormonal meltdown and stomped off to her room.
After she settled down, she came back with one of the most brilliant science fair project ideas ever known to humankind:
“What Homemade Cleaning Solution Removes Wine Stains the Best?”
I know. She’s a creative genius. (She gets that from me.)
I gave you a little preview of the science experiment, and then I left you hanging. That was mostly because she didn’t get her report back until three weeks ago. But also because I was busy testing out sangria recipes.
Sorry about that.
I promised you the results of the science project, and I *will* deliver. Let me begin with my daughter’s own words:
The purpose of my experiment is to find out which homemade cleaning solution removes red wine stains the best. I am interested in this experiment because we get stains in our carpet frequently. The information gained from this experiment will help others to determine the easiest way to remove red wine stains from their clothing and carpet using simple products that they have in their house.
So, from this statement, the reader can draw a few conclusions:
Erin had done plenty of research on what causes red wine to stain and the different types of chemical reactions that happen between various cleaning ingredients. Read: she watched a video of some kids making a foam volcano using hydrogen peroxide and dish soap combined with yeast and water. I kid. She did watch that video, but she also did a bunch of additional research. She’s a smart cookie, that one. (Also from me.)
She came up with three homemade cleaning solutions (these changed multiple times throughout the planning process—this indecisiveness is from her father):
Her hypothesis, based upon her research on the ingredients and their chemical reactions, was that Solution C would clean the wine stains most effectively.
She created a test surface using a piece of spare carpet taped off in a grid pattern. She carefully measured out 2 tablespoons of wine for each section of carpet.
She let those stains dry for a week. And then she carefully tested each cleaning solution three times. There was a shit-ton of soap in all of them so it took some time to determine the results, but here they are. Drum roll, please….
The cleaning solution… that took out the wine stains the best… was Solution A: Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide!*
Of course, the experiment was only one part of the torturous science fair project. She still needed to write a report and create a project board. We had to spread this suffering out over a few days as we kept getting interrupted by meltdowns and crying fits. Not just from me.
While we were creating her project board (by that I mean she was whining and dragging her feet while I was shoving pieces of double-stick tape in her face and yelling at her to finish the frakking project already), I casually told her, “You know, I was a little surprised that your teacher was okay with this project. You know, the stains being wine and all.”
Erin cocked her head and replied, “I’m not sure I told her that it was wine. Just that it was a stain.”
SCREEEEEEEECHHHH!!!! Wait. Hold the presses. WHAT?!!
“Uhhhh, you didn’t tell her you were doing WINE stains?!” I tried not to let my fear show. It was a long and painful road to get through this project; the thought of failure or rejection made my head explode.
“No, just stains.” she confirmed.
“Okaaaay. Let’s just finish this
torture project board.” I suggested through clenched teeth.
As she worked on decorating her board, I silently brainstormed what I would say to the teacher if my daughter’s (FINISHED!) project was rejected.
Much to my husband’s and my relief, she finished the damn project.
It all turned out okay. My daughter got an A-. Her project was missing a graph (a graph that both my husband and I told her to include, but she threw a hormonally-induced fit instead of listening to us. Sucks when your parents are right, doesn’t it?!), but otherwise she scored very well. She could have improved her… oh what the fuck do I care? The damn project is done. A+ in my book.
I never heard back from the teacher, although I imagine there was a lot of snickering going on in the Teacher’s Lounge.
*Seeing as though this science experiment was conducted by a 5th grader and overseen by a “sloppy wine-drinking klutz” and the idiot who married her, I would highly recommended testing the cleaning solution before using on your fine carpets, high-end rugs, expensive fabrics, etc. Read: we are not responsible if you fuck up your shit.
After I posted our recipe for red wine sangria, I received multiple requests for a white wine version. Because apparently some of you are babies and don’t drink red wine. No, I’m only kidding. Maybe. (I’m looking at you, Yoga Pants Mafia!)
Now, I’m not normally a white wine drinker, but I happily obliged because:
My husband and I brainstormed a bit on the ingredients. We wanted a different feel than the red wine sangria, but a similar alcohol content (read: IT WILL ALSO FUCK YOU UP).
We nailed it on the first try.
On the last morning in Vegas, again we got up ridiculously early. Again we drank coffee and ate banana bread. It took us a dreadfully long time to get ready and pack up all of our shit. It took us even longer to get our brains functioning well enough to decide where to eat.
My last meal in Vegas was a fucking amazing burger and fries. It was the Nom Nom Burger, and it came with cheddar cheese, thousand island dressing, and potato chips. I added pickles because, pickles.
Go big or go home is what I always say. Or, in this case, I went big and then went home. (And downed a bottle of Pepto.)
On our way to the airport, completely sleep-deprived and
massively slightly hungover, one of my friends told a (non-Vegas) story of sadness and regret. At one point in the story, she said, “I guess hindsight is 50/50.”
We all let that sentence hang in the air for a bit. It might have hurt our brains to think about it too much. Finally, the birthday girl said, “Wait. You mean hindsight is 20/20, right?” And we all burst out cry-laughing.
After we caught our breath, another friend countered, “Actually hindsight is about 50/50 when you think about it.” Another round of cry-laughter. She spoke the truth.
After we checked in for our flights and made it through security (I may have been dancing and chanting, “Dance it out! Dance it out!” while winding through that line), I headed straight to find coffee. Of course. And to pick up a few gifts for my kids.
While waiting to board the plane, I played some Keno for my Grandma. (I lost all of her money.) Of course, I had to ask the slot machine attendant how to actually make the machine play Keno. Did you know those modern machines can play multiple games? Amazing!
And did I mention that I have no idea how to play Keno? Luckily, it has a “quick pick” option and a very easy-to-use “Bet Maximum” button. My friend had to point those out for me, or I would have sat there staring blankly at the screen for a while.
And then I flew home and
collapsed settled back into my regular life. The one that doesn’t include dancing and drinking all night long while acting ridiculous with your friends. I barely made it through the kids’ bedtime routines and into my own comfy bed. And now, three days later, I’m still sore and tired. Which brings me back to the question: how old is too old to go to Las Vegas and pretend you’re 21? Well, your answer may differ, but for me, it seems to be 40.
40 is too old for that shit. Should I have stayed home? Should I have politely declined the trip and sent flowers instead? Should I have missed out on all of the fun?
No fucking way. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. But, then again, hindsight is 50/50.
Wait…have you read about Day 1 yet? Go do that first.
Waking up in Las Vegas on Day 2 was a bitch. A BITCH. Most of us woke up really fucking early because we’re used to kids waking us up early, and we no longer know how to sleep in. I woke up because I needed water. But sleeping in would have been helpful in Vegas.
That morning, we sat on the couches drinking coffee and eating homemade banana bread (yes, I brought that with me in my carry-on). And we spent a good part of the morning discussing skincare products and what people use on their faces for lines, wrinkles, sun spots, etc. THIS IS 40, PEOPLE.
As we reviewed the itinerary for the day, one of my friends lamented that she wanted a better dress for that night’s festivities. So we headed down to the shopping area to look for dresses. I wasn’t in the market for a new dress, but I happily accompanied her to Rent the Runway. I sat on a comfortable couch, critiqued each of my friend’s dresses, and drank complimentary champagne.
Comfort + Judgement + Free Alcohol = Dream Morning
It took some time (although I was in no hurry and frankly my knees were killing me from all of the stairs from the night before), but my friend finally found a fabulous dress. She looked spectacular, and I was highly entertained, comfy, caffeinated, and slightly buzzed.
At one point I may have even texted a picture of my GIANT FOREHEAD WRINKLE to my friends who weren’t in Vegas.
After a lovely lunch, the rest of the girls went to the hotel spa for massages and skin treatments. Again, I opted for a nap. It was a really good nap, too—complete with pillow drool. (No sex dreams about Jason Bateman though. I guess a girl really can’t have it all.)
When I woke up, it was time to shower and head out to get our make-up done. I can’t resist a professional make-up application every once in a while. And this was Vegas so I needed over-the-top Vegas Eyes. The make-up artist did a fabulous job; my eyes were sparkly, dramatic, and somewhat whore-ish. Perfect for a night on the strip.
Except we didn’t go on the strip. We didn’t actually leave the hotel. Once we were all dolled up, we headed out to dinner at a fabulous steak house, which was located in our hotel. We all indulged on wine, appetizers, and incredible entrées. (I had a petite filet with crab and asparagus. Heaven.) And we ordered one of each dessert. In honor of the birthday girls, of course. Not because we’re gluttonous, indulgent pigs.
We spent a couple of lovely hours at dinner (sitting and eating are two of my favorite things), and then we had to make some decisions about what to do next. Half of the group opted to go to the hotel bar for pre-dancing drinks. The other half opted to take power naps prior to staying up WAY passed our bedtimes. Guess which half I was in?
If you didn’t say “power nap,” then we may need to rethink this relationship.
The amazing part is that us power-nappers actually got up at 11:30 p.m. to rejoin the group. (The only thing more amazing is that my Vegas Eyes remained intact.) We all met up at a new club in the hotel. Some club promoter (I’ll call him, “<VERBALJAZZHANDS>Guy Vegas</VERBALJAZZHANDS>”) promised us complimentary table service for the next show. He got us into the club with free drink coupons, but then he disappeared. Fucker. So there we all were standing in the club, trying to get to our promised table (I’m 40. I need to sit.), and furiously texting Guy Vegas to see where the hell he went.
He never did reappear, and we all stood there watching the show. Even the free drinks didn’t help our feet and knees. It was a good Vegas show though—music, freakish performers, acrobats, strippers, dancers. It just would have been more enjoyable SITTING DOWN. (Yes, I am well aware that I sound about 80.)
After the show ended, the dancing began. And then another decision. The power nappers blew that joint and went to bed (but not before spending about an hour chiseling make-up off of my face). The party goers stayed out until 4:00 in the morning. I vaguely remember them coming back to the suite. It’s possible I mumbled something incoherent before covering my face with a pillow and passing out again.
Continue on to Vegas Day 3: “Leaving Las Vegas” or “Hindsight is 50/50”
I spent last weekend in Vegas celebrating two of my closest friends’ 40th birthdays. I should preface this by saying that I hate Vegas. HATE. IT. But I love these women so I’d do just about anything for them. (Unless it involves clowns. I hate clowns. Even more than I hate Vegas.) And we’ve been planning (and saving for) this trip for over a year.
I’ll cut right to the ending. No one got arrested. No one did anything that she regrets. (At least that we remember.) We ate too much. We drank too much. We acted ridiculous and danced like we were in our 20s. We had a really fabulous time, actually. But as I sit here with my pinched shoulder nerve, my sprained wrist, my slightly-out-of-whack digestive system, and my sleep deprivation, I’m asking myself the question, “How old is too old to go to Vegas and pretend you’re 21?”
Before I can answer that question, I need to review some highlights from the weekend. Think of it as a lawyer building her case. A scientist collecting data. Or just me lamenting how old I feel.
The afternoon we arrived in Vegas, we checked into the hotel and immediately settled into the suites. And by that, I mean we set up the bar. Priorities.
Several of us had also brought snacks with us (can you tell we’re moms?) so no one would go hungry that afternoon or evening. So we set up the snack bar too. After lunch and a review of the itinerary for the weekend, some of the girls headed out to get their make-up done. I opted for a nap. Again, priorities.
That evening, we started our celebrations with
a shit-ton of some drinks in the suite. Over conversations of the Grammys and popular music in general, I realized how woefully “out of it” I am when it comes to mainstream music. The other girls made fun of me because I didn’t know who any singers were or what they sang. (I only recognized one Bruno Mars song.) And then, as I was defending my taste in music, I couldn’t actually remember the name of my favorite singer. After 5 minutes of deep concentration, I had to text my husband to get the singer’s name. (It’s Mat Kearney.)
As a thank you to Mr. Foxy (and a little jab that I was in Vegas and he was not), I took a picture of my champagne and sent it to him:
He texted back, “I like the coffee in the background.”
Shit. I hadn’t even realized my coffee (double-tall non-fat latte, actually) was in the picture. It was a such necessity—kinda like the air I was breathing—that I hadn’t realized I was consuming it. But it was only 8 pm, and I was already tired. I needed fuel to make it through the night.
The fabulous birthday girls put together gift bags for all of the attendees. So lovely of them, but also slightly revealing.
Wet ones? Visine? Advil? Tissue? Yes, clearly we’re moms. Yes, we’re all over 40. The reality of this stings a little, but at least we have chocolate to console us. These items were going to be put to good use.
That first night we went out dancing. At 10 pm. 10 PM. I’m usually passed out on my couch drooling on a pillow while my husband watches a show that we thought would be fun to watch together but I fell asleep again so he can’t delete it from the DVR until I stay awake long enough to watch the episode and that could take weeks.
So at 10 pm, we arrived at the club. The birthday girl had arranged for table service which sounds fabulous and VIPish, and it was. But what it really meant for me was that I could be lazy on a couch and not have to fetch any drinks at the bar. (High heels hurt, y’all.)
We drank and danced. And drank and danced some more. The cocktail waitress called us all “Baby.” We stayed out way too late, couldn’t find our way out of the club, had to walk down thousands of stairs, and then conveniently landed in pizza heaven. We bought a ton of pizza, and then we ate a ton pizza at 3 in the morning back at our suite. It’s possible I fell asleep in my chair. Fortunately, I remembered to take out my contact lenses before I collapsed in bed.
Will one crazy night be the end of me? Or can more naps save me? Read about Day 2 and find out.
With a couple of modifications, Erin’s 5th-grade science project was approved. After so much turmoil and distress, it was very welcome news. If you missed the story about Erin and me brainstorming potential projects, then you really should start there. You may pick up a few brilliant ideas for your child’s own science project. (You can thank me later.)
Erin’s teacher-approved science project is entitled, “What Homemade Solution Gets Stains Out the Best?” And guess what type of stain she is using? Red wine, of course. (I’m so proud. Or embarrassed. I’m still not sure.) In her background information, she states, “I decided to choose red wine stains because we get red wine a lot for family parties, and sometimes there are accidents.” I’m sure I have no idea what she is talking about. Okay, truthfully, I’m just relieved she didn’t report that her mom is an enthusiastic wine-drinking klutz.
Anyhow her investigation is going very well. She has researched exactly what causes red wine to stain carpet. She has researched various homemade solutions for removing such stains. And she has come up with three different homemade cleaning solutions to use for her experiment:
Erin also created her test wine stain carpet grid for the experiment.
I wept a little when she measured out the wine for each stain and poured it on the carpet. Eventually, I had to leave the room because I was distracting her with my muffled cries. Fortunately, I gave her the dregs of a bottle of a not-fantastic Malbec so my grief was relatively short-lived. Still, it was no small sacrifice because, normally, I would have finished that bottle myself. But I sacrificed my wine LITERALLY in the name of science. Regardless of how her project does in the Science Fair, I should win some sort of award for that sacrifice.
Erin is now researching what reactions will occur with the ingredients in her three homemade solutions so she can come up with her hypothesis of which one will clean the red wine stains the best. And then she will perform her tests later this week. It’s a very tense and exciting week here in the Fox household. I’ll keep you posted on her results.
Are you going to be able to wait until the end of the month? Can you stand the suspense? Any guesses on which solution will clean the best? I know I’m very invested in the results of this project. However, it’s highly likely, given the amount of Nature’s Miracle I have around right now, that I’ll just keep using that for wine stains. Not that I have any. Ever.
A ridiculous amount of coffee and booze is consumed in the process of writing these stories. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going!