TRIVENTO AMADO SUR WHITE WINE (2012)—Good, but not quite good enough for V’s teacher

My Fellow Inebriates,

Once a month each kid in V’s kindergarten class gets to be the Special Helper. What the Special Helper’s tasks are we’re not sure; all we know is that Special Helper Day is not to be missed. It’s the one day of the month on which V will spring from bed, choose her very best outfit, cooperate all morning, and voluntarily leave the house at 8:15 without thinking of some dramatic objection at 8:14.

Special Helper Day requires some prep, which V does without urging. The Special Helper carries a Mystery Bag, preferably decorative or fancy. Into this bag goes a Mystery Object of the Special Helper’s choosing, along with a sheet of paper.

mystery bag blank

V didn’t decide until the morning of her Special Helper Day what she would put in the bag. Or at least she didn’t mention what she had in mind. But she had the bag chosen and the sheet filled out within five minutes of waking. In the past she’s brought her bead collection, her Chihuahua, various rocks, bugs—that kind of thing. For V, a found object is the best kind of Mystery Bag item, so we should have known she’d select the special piece of tree branch she’d found a couple of weekends before in Campbell Valley Regional Park. That’s what went in the bag this time.

It was 8:14, a time V has the uncanny ability to intuit each morning despite a nebulous understanding of clocks—a time Mum fears because it so often occasions some kind of hissyfit about hair-brushing or boots or which jacket fits which weather, and so on. So when Mum saw the Mystery Bag item she just sighed and went with it. Anything to get out the door.

mystery bag filled in

That’s a “g.”

So… the reason V likes the tree branch she put in the bag so much is that it’s shaped like a gun. When V first found the branch she went nuts for it and thereafter fought with P and two friends for possession of it throughout the day. P and V don’t have any toy guns, so the tree-branch gun was a huge find for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If Mum had any qualms about delivering V to school with a gun, she did her best to be preemptive. “Hope this isn’t controversial,” she said to V’s teacher as V handed the bag over.

“Now I’m intrigued,” said Mrs. R.

And Mum beat it out of there. We forgot about the gun until 2:30, when V emerged from class (Special Helper always leaves first.) She was beaming. Whatever the hell they do on Special Helper Day, it must be freaking amazing.

“How was your Special Helper Day?”

“It was awesome!”

“Did the kids like the Mystery Bag item?”

“Yes,” V said. “Except I wasn’t allowed to play with it.”

Fair enough. Mum’s not a total twit. Taking a gun to school—even a tree-branch gun—is pretty tasteless, and if the only downside was that V couldn’t play with it, and the rest of her Special Helper Day was still awesome, then Mrs. R is pretty awesome too. A more officious teacher might have sent V to the office, arranged a parent-teacher meeting to discuss the gun, or even confiscated it. But if what V describes is accurate, at the moment V pulled the gun out of the Mystery Bag, Mrs. R had to stifle a laugh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“We should buy Mrs. R a bottle of TRIVENTO AMADO SUR TORRONTES/VIOGNIER/CHARDONNAY (2012),” I said. “It has the rich lushness of Argentina’s signature white wine grape with playful Viognier tartness and disciplined Chardonnay structure.”

Trivento amado sur torrontes“Nope, not good enough,” Mum said. “Mrs. R’s getting CUMA.”

Well, kick me in the nads, I thought the CUMA was for us. But Mum’s right—the TRIVENTO AMADO SUR isn’t good enough for Mrs. R. Sure, it’s a tasty wine but it’s not quite as luscious and enveloping as CUMA. Its small percentages of Viognier and Chardonnay, while strategic, nonetheless operate against the hedonistic fruitiness of the Torrontes, reining it in if you will. If you’re not a complete hedonist, you might appreciate this. This wine has excellent structure and acidity, notes of mango, melon, and jasmine, and a lingering finish. It leaves you, somehow, wanting more—a little more lushness and depth, and more follow-through on the fragrance. Not a disappointment, but not quite in the same league as CUMA.

Incidentally, by the time I finished writing this, my mum and her friend L had polished off the whole bottle of TRIVENTO AMADO SUR. Holy crap, my fellow inebriates, they really sneaked it past me. L is the friend whose kids accompanied P and V when they found the tree-branch gun in the park. L finds me creepy but says: “At least you don’t have button eyes.” To which I respond: “At least I didn’t let my kid take a gun to school.”

Hot Lunch returns

The first thing I saw when we hit the playground this morning was this:

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Yes, Hot Lunch is back despite urgings to call it “Fun Lunch” by less innocent members of the school community. Fun Lunch is good, if you care about such things as lunch. Hot Lunch is something utterly different.

It’s Hot Fun Lunch today because it’s also Sports Day. When the kids finish sack-racing and tug-of-warring and something called the shoe relay, they get to have hot pizza instead of resorting to whatever desperate mix of randomness parents like my mother put in their lunch bags. Although Fun Lunch represents a minor shakedown for money that could arguably have been spent on liquor, it gives parents a break from packing lunches and breaks up the monotony for the kids.

Hot Lunch is something utterly different.

Hot Lunch is something utterly different.

I started mentioning this to the kids this morning and was immediately shut down by our mother, who said the information was strictly need-to-know. She then put an oven mitt on my head.

Surrounded by Cuisinart swag

Surrounded by Cuisinart swag. Look how excited I am.

It was a Cuisinart oven mitt, a second generation of the failed Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip I complained about last week, which had arrived via FedEx with a lovely note encouraging us to enjoy it along with another mitt, a silicone hot mat, a potholder, and a dish towel, all sent by Best Brands, Cuisinart’s manufacturer of said items.

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Truth be told, my parents were one hundred percent more slightly more excited than I at the arrival of free Cuisinart swag. I hadn’t written my letter to Cuisinart with any ulterior intentions of getting free stuff, you see. I was just being a jerk that day and wrote a horrible letter thinking that it would be promptly round-filed.

One good aspect of that horrible letter (aside from the kitchen freebies) was that my mum announced the end of Dry Weekdays. She said obviously I was under a great deal of stress and that she would therefore relent, otherwise I’d end up badgering everyone we’d ever bought something from and being even more of a nuisance than I was already. Booyah!

BOOMSMA YONGE GENEVER—Here’s to you, Miss P, poor kid

My Fellow Inebriates,

Miss P accidentally left her spelling words at school today. With a ten-word test looming tomorrow, we had no choice but to try to imagine what ten words might be on the list. Our only clue:

The words relate to the province of Ontario.

“How many do you remember, P?”

“Um, none.”

“You don’t remember any words on the list?”

“Zero.”

Wow. This from a kid who remembers the name of every damn pony in that kingdom of ponies she and V are collecting. OMG, what the hell are those things called? I can’t remember.

my filly

Fortunately, as we tried to guess P’s spelling words, she was able to confirm when we hit one. By bedtime we’d scored seven:

  • Ontario

  • Niagara Falls

  • Toronto

  • Great Lakes

  • Ottawa

  • curling

  • hockey

She didn’t want to do it, but Dad made her copy each one out multiple times. In the morning she’ll at least have seven under her belt, and she can try to cram the other three into her brain when she gets to school.

Except Dad had spelled “Niagara” like “Viagra.” Which meant P had copied “Niagra” ten times on her practice sheet, effectively cramming her head with a misspelling.

bOOMSMA

By that point she didn’t care. She’d already had too much drama. Forgetting your spelling list at school is apparently a big deal, and she’d cried actual tears. Four hours earlier she’d been stung by a bee. She was stressed about the odor her orthodontic Schwartz appliance container has taken on (it’s bad). And Mum had suggested she eat vegetables.

If I could have offered P a gin-and-tonic I would have. But I couldn’t, so I had one myself. Made with BOOMSMA, now down to the dregs following our recent Shoot-Out, it was pretty good. Not BROKER’S good or even GORDON’S good, but pretty good. BOOMSMA is a creeper. It’s light and slightly sweeter than typical London Dry gin, which tempts you to add more to your tonic, which I couldn’t because everyone had emptied the bottle. When it was gone, I felt a little like P. Worn out.