My Sommelier

I’ve never been much of a wine drinker. My preferences lean more towards harder liquors like scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. Occasionally I’ll order a Dirty Vodka Martini or Moscow Mule (because I like that Pimm’s Cup.) But, I have had a difficult time appreciating wine. Maybe there are too many varietals or maybe I can’t wrap my head around tastes described as “leathery” or “dirt.” The appreciation has been lost on me. Until now….

Now, I’ve begun to appreciate it a little more. I’ve discovered that it’s not about the tannins, body, or alcohol content. It’s about the Sommelier. And, I have the best!

Occasionally, GWE will have a glass of wine with dinner. Garrett and Justin aren’t very interested in tasting it, but they do insist on smelling what we’re drinking. One evening, Garrett decided to take it one step further by serving us.

Once my glass was empty, Garrett vanished into the kitchen only to re-emerge minutes later with a towel over his arm and the wine bottle tilted as to “present” the wine label to me. I thanked him as he poured me a healthy glass. He returned my bottle to the kitchen, but promptly returned with GWE’s bottle. We had both been served.

Garrett has served us over and over again during family meals over the past few months. At first, I was concerned that we were enabling him in some way…or that he was enabling us. I decided to Google whether on not I was a good parent for allowing this to happen or if I was adding to his already long list of issues that he’d have to discuss during his “Mommy and Daddy Messed Me Up” therapy sessions as an adult.

According to the World Health Organization, if children see adults appreciating wine – smelling, tasting, discussing, and consuming it with meals – it may bode well for their drinking habits in college. And, those who learn to appreciate wine, become “pricklier” about the alcohol they consume, which reduces their consumption at parties.

So, while you might see an underage child Sommelier serving his parents alcoholic beverages, I see this as a great moment in parenting! (And, yes – I wrote this sober!)

Justin’s First Futon (Gimme Shelter, Part 3)

On Saturday, Justin and I hopped into the car and drove off in search of comfortable seating for his (currently-being-renovated) shed. We made it a whole 3 blocks when Justin suddenly announced that he was hungry. Knowing that dealing with a happy and fed Justin is much better than dealing with “low blood sugar Justin,” I made a detour and we stopped for turkey burgers. (Justin had no idea he was eating turkey. He kept humming and dancing in his seat over how good his “cheese burger” was.) When we were finished with lunch, we resumed our journey.

Since we are doing this project on a budget, I decided to start with a trip to The Salvation Army. As we walked in, Justin looked around and was immediately drawn to the most breakable items in the store. He was compelled to touch everything. I pulled him away and dragged him over to the furniture section. Lots of crap! There were huge sofas, outdated sofas, ugly sofas, sofas with chalk outlines from where the owner’s body had been discovered after her cats had eaten her….ok, that last one’s not true – but you get the idea.

Laying in the corner, Justin found a black mattress which was on a metal frame. I knew what it was, but Justin had no idea. I instructed him to lay down flat on it. Skeptically, he did as he was told. I then lifted one of the ends until it clicked into place, creating a “chair”. Justin’s eyes grew wide and he asked “how did you do that?” I told him it was magic. I then lifted it all the way up to release and laid it flat again. Finally, I grabbed the base of the frame (long ways) and lifted again from a different direction and the other end popped up creating a “couch.” Justin was amazed. He had just experienced his first futon! To him, this was a Sofa Transformer. (We shall call him “Lounge-imus Prime!”)

To me, this was a reminder of college debauchery. It’s difficult to explain to a five year old that “Daddy did some things on futons at college that he’s not proud of and there were OTHER things that Daddy did on futons that he was VERY proud of.”

He insisted that he wanted this futon for his shed. Since I didn’t see a price tag, I told Justin to stay on the futon to prevent anyone from “stealing it.” In retrospect, I probably should have explained that concept better, because when I returned with a saleswoman – Justin had a look of panic on his face as he was spread out all over the futon belly-down and clutching it like a rock climber.  The woman told me it was $80.00, but today everything was half off so this was only $40. SOLD!! (And, it was write-off to a charitable contribution!)

A new problem arose – how to get it home. As I was purchasing the futon, I asked the checkout woman if she had any twine. Luckily, she did!  I lifted the futon onto the top of the car, strapped it to the frame of the car, and then drove home…..very…….slowly.

One night, when everything is put together, I may put on my Syracuse Orangeman t-shirt, turn on some classic Hootie and the Blowfish, chill a bottle of GWE’s favorite wine cooler from college (Bartles & Jaymes Strawberry Daiquiri), and invite her over to check out Justin’s futon!

The Sparkling Rabbi

It was the middle of the night and GWE and I were staring at each other silently during yet another early AM feeding of Garrett. It had been a very long week since the arrival of our new son and neither of us had slept much. As we drowsily looked at each other (and Garrett), it became obvious to me that this week had taken it’s toll in many ways. But, we were both doing everything we could think of to get through.

As the dutiful husband, I lifted by weary head and asked my wife if she wanted anything from the kitchen. She simply asked for more ice water. Since this was the least taxing thing asked of me in the past 100 hours, I was happy to oblige. As I stood in the kitchen, it dawned on me that I too was thirsty. But, how do you quench the thirst of a new (again) Jewish father who knows he will be up most of the night with a screaming/hungry child while watching QVC and rocking this very cute “poop machine” to sleep? I now have the answer!!

I surveyed the kitchen which was packed with new items that were specifically brought in for the Bris 48 hours earlier. I noticed a bunch of sodas and wines that were off to the side. I quickly channeled my inner frat guy and mixed a few things together. Proudly, I marched back into the baby’s room with my purple designer cocktail. I raised my glass and proclaimed that I had created – “The Sparkling Rabbi!”

GWE looked at me skeptically and asked what I had done. I told her that I mixed three parts Sprite Zero (gotta watch the calories) with two parts Manischewitz Kosher Wine. She laughed and then asked to take a sip. After the first swallow, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Oh god, that shit is good!!!”

So now you know – when it’s 4am, the kids are crying, and you want something to take the edge off, plus the added bonus of feeling like it’s Passover – make yourself “The Sparkling Rabbi!”