Department of pleasant surprises: dinner tonight

I’m one of those people who wants to eat dinner with the family every night, but manages to pull it off about once a week. That made tonight’s family dinner–myself, Zack and his girlfriend Megan–especially pleasant. Somehow, in the space of an hour, I went from planning to eat microwaved veggie riblets (they taste only a little better than they sound), to cooking Chicken Culets Meuniere out of a Mark Bittman cookbook, breaking out the Trader Joe’s Oven Fries, and making both sauteed spinach with chickpeas and mushrooms and string beans with sauteed sliced almonds. Megan stirred and chopping like a pro, and within 40 minutes we were sitting down to a feast–together!
Why did we end up with such a nice dinner, on the fly, you ask?
Answer: There’s a steady drumbeat in the back of my head: He’s going away to school next year! He’s going away to school next year! Enjoy this while you have the chance.