Deck dinner; Black hole upstairs; new outfits

T felt that our delicate flower of a newly lacquered table still wasn't ready to be set for dinner last night, so we were prompted to head outside. This gussying up of la table has been awfully good at forcing us out of our regularity: a new restaurant one night, supper al fresco the next. Lovely, lovely. T had been in a bit of a funk all afternoon because the straw he got to go on his newly laid grass seed wasn't the regular type and the soaker hose he rigged up to gently irrigate from above was too powerful, even at a slow drip, and so sent the seeds a'swimming down our street. I understand the disappointment, but "T," said I, "you remind me of a depressed, large-mouth bass and you need to get over it." At this point, I mimicked a large-mouth bass opening and shutting its droopy mouth slowly and pitifully until T smiled, just a bit.

"T," said I, "we are child-free right now, and I simply can't have you whining about. Let's go take Percy for a walk and then come home and I'll make dinner and we'll sit on the deck."

He considered this, and so I large-mouth bassed at him until he agreed. I had to keep large-mouth bassing until he finally got his Tevas on and until I actually got him walking.

"T," asked I, "are you hungry? Because you seem like you're hungry and when you're hungry, it's no good." He admitted to a pang in his stomach, and so I walked him to Le Pain Quotidien and instructed him to hop inside and purchase a coconut macaroon. He didn't even attempt to argue and afterwards seemed loads improved.

Once home, he made the excellent decision to stir up an Old Fashioned and fold the laundry. Meanwhile, I: made a plum tart; smoked a pound of King salmon over hickory chips in my smoker box; made a fruit salad and also a really lovely veggie salad of fresh tomatoes (my friend brought me more!), shaved summer squash, grated Pecorino (a softer, younger one) that my sister brought me from Italy, sliced celery and celery leaves, salt, pepper and a vinaigrette made from garlic- and lemon-infused olive oil + champagne vinegar. Isn't this pretty?

For the smoked salmon, I made a sauce of Dijon, olive oil and reduced Balsamic vinegar. Not pretty but very good. And, as always, I love the way smoking meat and fish gives the exterior such a cured look. Pretty and inviting!

Most unfortunately, I have had a hell of a migraine all day. And though I have been working in Jack's room for three days, it appears no tidier. Are any of you missing hex wrenches? Because I found so many in his various Lego bins that I can't imagine any are left in the rest of the world. Mom, the boys and I were video-calling earlier, and I showed her Jack's floor. Friends, let me tell you that she agreed that it was infinitely worse than I'd been able to describe. I quote: "How does one person even get that much stuff into a room?"

Exactly. It has been my pleasure to throw much away, but don't tell J that. The boys then showed me the new outfits they picked out and Mom bought them today.

You should see the shirts underneath: they're shiny polyester, sleeveLESS, slightly V-necked and have Angry Birds and How To Train Your Dragon imagery on them. When they remove the hoodies, they look like pimps crossed with the Beastie Boys crossed with greasers. Mom was laughing so hard she was wheezing, the boys were beaming with pride. I reminded them that they couldn't wear the slippers or shorts to school.

Jack then said, "And, we had Fruit Loops for lunch!"

Mom said, "Jack, I thought we weren't going to confess that!"

I said, "Wow, Mom, you are really getting them on the right path to head back to school."

She continued to wheeze.