Chapter 2: In Which Some Bad Things Happen, Plus Some Good Things

Afternoon Readers!

When we last left off, my clever plan to feed my kids concession-stand fare in lieu of cooking dinner had been foiled due to a thunderstorm. I now present to you  the rest of our ill-fated evening, this time in handy Good/Bad format.

Bad: Arrive at restaurant to find that the rest of the Tri-state area has apparently had the same idea as me, as there are no parking places to be found. Who thought this was a good idea again? Oh, right, it was me. Ahem. There is much whining and grumbling from the back seat.

Good: After circling the parking lot six times, magically a space opens up right in front of the restaurant. I take this as a sign I made the right decision! See kids? Look how great this is! Look how chipper I am!

Bad: After putting our name in, the hostess cheerfully informs us that it will be a TWO HOUR wait for a table, and hands me a pager.

I’ll pause here to let that sink in. She is telling me it will be approximately 10:00 by the time we even get seated. That obviously is NOT GONNA HAPPEN. These are kids, y’all. Some of you may be wondering why I don’t, at this point, about-face and head for the nearest drive-through. Short answer: My kids don’t like fast food. (What I can’t answer is why they will deign to eat concession stand food, which is much worse. My kids are odd.)

Figuring maybe we will luck out, I decide we can wait about twenty minutes. I begin formulating a Plan B, which involves scrambled eggs and toast at home. Meanwhile, my kids are piled in a heap in front of a funhouse-style mirror. While watching their reflections squoosh into weird shapes, they have temporarily forgotten their hunger pangs and threats to call Child Services.

Good: After only two minutes, the pager buzzes. Perplexed, I approach the hostess stand, figuring there must be a mistake.

Reading my quizzical look, the hostess puts her finger to her lips and gives a subtle shake of the head, but reaches out and takes the pager from me. I’m not sure what is going on, but sure, I’ll play along. At this point what choice do I have?  A gentleman approaches, points to us, and says, “Johnson? Party of four?” Oh. (Sound of other shoe dropping). I start to tell him that isn’t our name, but only get out, “That’s not…” before the hostess interrupts me.  “Yes, yes, that’s them,” she says, shooing us into the dining room.

Readers, I’m still not sure what happened. Probably another party of four took their name off the list, so she took pity on me and my pathetic mewling pile of children and put us in their spot. Regardless, it is an incredible act of kindness.

Also Good: The service is super quick and cheerful, plus our waitress has pink hair. Which always helps.

Bad: In the middle of our meal, a shoe comes flying across the restaurant and lands in the middle of my daughter’s plate. The people who possess the shoe flinging- child are apologetic, and my daughter promptly receives a new plate. So all in all? Could be worse.

Good: Our waitress, she of the Beauty School Dropout-hued locks, is great about making sure my ice water is always topped off, even toward the end of the meal.

Bad: While handing me the check, Pinky Tuscadero accidentally knocks said full-to-the-top ice water all over me and my five year old, who at this point is sleeping on my lap.

Imagine poking a sleeping bear with a stick, then dumping ice water on him, then trying to stuff him in a car and drive him home. Yes, it went that well.

But on the plus side, it makes for a great story, and I’m all about a great story. Now, where will we go next week? I know, let’s try a 4 star French restaurant! They just love kids at those places.

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