First of all, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of the in-home gym equipment, because I logged 20 minutes on my elliptical this morning while wearing fleece pajama pants, slippers and a bathrobe! Workout clothes, schmorkout clothes.
Okay, now for the reason you’re all here…
Like most single moms out there, I live on the standard every other weekend schedule. This weekend my two sons are home with me, and they did all of the typical boy things: video games, sleepover with the neighbor’s kid, ate half a bowl of miniature candy canes, and watched YouTube. Now Hunter, my oldest son, views YouTube as an avenue to watch gaming videos and listen to rock music, very loudly.
Logan, on the other hand, uses YouTube as an idea factory. Every other week he has a new hobby, compliments of YouTube. This week’s hobby — wine making. What 10-year-old boy is interested in making wine? Mine, evidently.
I guess I can’t give all of the credit to YouTube for this one. It really started a few months back when he was visiting with the neighbors up the street and was intrigued by the grapes they have growing in their back yard. They planted them years ago to make wine, but have since outgrown their love of wine making and the grapes have become a yard ornament. So they told Logan if he wanted to pick them he could have all he wanted.
So here he comes, blowing through the house in a haste on a search for a bucket. I’m in the kitchen prepping dinner and casually asked him what he wanted a bucket for. “So I can pick grapes! The neighbor said I could have all I wanted!” Now at this point, I’m not surprised. This kid is constantly full of ideas. He’s the biggest mess-maker and the biggest packrat I’ve ever seen. Anything he thinks he can make something with or do something with, he clings to it like it’s the alethiometer and he’s Lyra Belacqua.
This time he wound up with a couple of gallon-size bags, stuffed almost to bursting full of grapes. He decided he was going to take some to his dad’s with him so he could make grape jelly that weekend with his Grammy. The other bag he stuffed into our freezer for another day. Well my friends, that other day came this past week on Tuesday. He and his older brother were home from school on their last day of Christmas break, but I went back to work. When I came home at lunch, I found him in the kitchen, grapes thawed and various bowls and utensils scattered like shrapnel across my counters.
“What in the Sam hill are you doing now?!” He announced, “I’m making wine! I learned how to do it on YouTube!” I felt the impending loss of my sanity creeping into the back of my mind at the condition in which he would no doubt leave my kitchen. But I shook it away and asked him what he needed to get his task accomplished. I helped him acquire the appropriate tools, outfitted him with some empty wine bottles and a couple of my vacu-seal corks, and told him to remember to clean up after himself when he’s done.
The next night I had to make a run to Walmart, and he decided to come along so he could buy yeast to finish up his wine. While we were there, he wanted to “look at things,” and the trip to the toy aisle took us past the housewares department. There at the end of one of the aisles, was a juicer. He spotted it, and I’m pretty sure I actually saw the light turn on in his proverbial attic.
“A juicer?! What in God’s creation do you want with a juicer??” He said, “so I can make wine! Smashing grapes is a pain, I can just juice it with that and it’ll be easier.” I told him we have zero room in the kitchen cabinets, that the crockpots and cake carrier have already overflowed into the hall closet, and there’s nowhere to put it. He said he would keep it in the basement. I told him that was a lot of money to spend on something he’d never use. He was adamant that he would use it ($20 says he puts wine making behind him before the month is out) and that it’s his money and he can spend it on whatever he wants. So I threw up my hands and said okay…go ahead and get it.
That night he put the yeast in the wine bottles and kept the YouTube channels hot. The next morning, as soon as he woke up he ran to the basement to let the pressure out of the wine bottles. Now if I wasn’t busy getting ready for work, I might’ve had the foresight to warn him about what would happen when he pulls the cork… He bolted back upstairs panting dramatically. “Mom! Holy crap it was like champagne! The cork flew up all the way to the ceiling and I was like ‘woah!’ I did not see that coming!”
That evening when I had to run out for a few groceries, the boys wanted to come along so they could go to Target and spend their Christmas money. Our first stop was the grocery store, and Logan was fresh off his wine-making YouTube binge. He bought Mangoes. He bought pineapples. He bought honeydew.
“I can make wine out of all of this!”
“Pineapple wine?? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“I can do it, I watched it on YouTube!”
*sigh* “okay, put it in the cart”
Friday evening he juiced all of the pineapple, and before bed he put sugar and yeast in a glass jug, screwed on the lid and left it on the kitchen counter for the night. Now luckily, the new spin mop I bought from Amazon after Christmas had just arrived the day before…
Saturday morning he was out of bed and in the kitchen before 7 a.m. He twisted the cap on the bottle just a little bit, and air and bubbles started rushing out. He twisted it a little bit more, and they spilled out a little faster. He said he was afraid to take the top off, no doubt remembering his first morning with the wine bottles, so I went over to help him.
I grabbed the lid and gave it a good half-turn. Remember that impending loss of sanity? Well it immediately escaped along with a packet of yeast and a geyser of foam, all over the counters, the kitchen window, the front of the cabinets, the tile floor, and the sleeves of my shirt. Logan, of course, jumped back just in time to escape the launch radius.
I quickly tightened the cap back down, tossed a towel over the bottle, then twisted it again, turning it until it was completely off under protection of the towel.
Logan waited for the bubbles to stop, added some water to make up for the juice he lost in the explosion, screwed the lid back on and went back to his Saturday morning as usual. Meanwhile I stood in the kitchen, surveying the site of destruction. Sticky puddles of yellow stood on the counter and the floor. Spatters of juice laced with pineapple pulp coated cabinet doors, the window sill and the kitchen sink faucet. The towel was matted into a sticky knot in the sink, and the smell of rising yeast wafted through the air.
I wrung out the towel, dried up the puddles, and took a wet sponge to the spatters. Then I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t cleaned the floors yet, and went to pull my new spin mop out of the box. As I popped the handle into place, attached the scrubby pads to the bottom, and pulled the canister loose to fill it with cleaner, I thought, “and that awesome, creative, messy little blonde haired boy over there on that couch is the reason this will probably be the best $90 I ever spent.”
And then I went to work, thoughts of being a wine tasting guinea pig dancing in my head.