Note To Myself

This blog entry is for me to read next time I don’t feel like cooking dinner. This is to remind myself why we don’t go out to eat.

Friday Night…

We leave the house at 6:30 PM– first mistake. Yes, we’ve lived here for over two years. Yes, we know everyone and their brother hit the main drag in Columbus on Friday night. Yes, it would be prudent to get there early since we’ll have to wait at least thirty minutes to get a table anywhere. We still leave the house at 6:30.

We arrive at our favorite restaurant at 7:00 PM. First glance at the parking lot tells us all is not well. This is the favorite restaurant of everyone else in town too, judging by the line of hungry people standing out in the cold, rubbing cold hands and stamping their feet to keep warm, and still waiting for a table.

We ride through the parking lot of our second choice restaurant. No line outside the door, but that doesn’t mean much since this restaurant has a BIG lobby. I hop out of the car and run inside. “It’ll be a 45 minutes-1 hour wait,” I hear, as the lady takes down my name. “Thanks anyway,” I tell her. “My kids need to be in bed in one hour.”

We continue on to restaurant #3. We decide to just wait in line at this one. The boys are hungry and we can’t keep playing “musical restaurant”. One look at the line outside the door and we leave again. Jackson is in disbelief. “Eat!” he screams in the backseat.

We spot an IHOP. We’re a little overdressed, and it’s not exactly what I was hoping to eat this evening, but with very few cars in the parking lot, it’s starting to look pretty tasty. Besides, we know Jackson will eat pancakes! It’s 7:30…

We sit down and I quickly survey the menu and pick the first thing I see, then I pry the creamer from Jackson’s right hand, and the salt shaker from his left and throw a kid's menu and two crayons on the table in front of him.

Meanwhile Jonathan looks around and finally realizes we’re sitting at a table. Where’s the food?? He lets out a blood-curdling squawk that instantly halts all conversation and makes every person within a twenty foot radius look our direction, craning their necks to see the exotic parrot this couple must have brought to the restaurant with them.

Caleb sprinkles cheerios in front of Jonathan and I recover my wits in time to glance over and see Jackson standing up on the bench, using the green crayon to scribble huge circles on the glass partition separating our booth and the next. The couple sitting there stares in horror. 

Just then the waiter returns with Jackson’s meal. “The rest will be out in a minute,” he says. Caleb and I exchange a look of relief. Jackson will be minimal trouble while he’s eating. “Wait,” I take a closer look at the basket of food. “This isn’t what we ordered for him.” The waiter is already gone. I eye the chicken fingers, while holding them at arms length, and for ten seconds I consider just giving them to Jack, who is at this time climbing across my legs grasping for the basket and yelling “Chicken! Please!”

The waiter walks back by. “We ordered pancakes for him,” I explain. I know Jackson won’t be happy unless he has on his plate the exact same as what Caleb and I have on ours. “Oh,” the waiter says. “Wrong table, I guess.” He takes the food and leaves. Jackson starts to wail. I guess he thinks we’re trying to starve him??

Finally the food arrives. Thank God! I start to cut up Jackson’s pancake. Meanwhile Jonathan suddenly realizes he’s still eating dry cereal while the rest of us are eating hot food. He screams in protest. Caleb hurriedly breaks apart some small pieces of pancake for him. Jackson starts to wail again. What now?? Apparently while cutting his food I destroyed the pretty whip cream mound that he was planning to eat in one huge spoon-full.

With both boys semi-happy and eating, we start to scarf down our food. No time to taste, no time for any sort of conversation other than the brief “How’s your food?” and “Good… I think.”

I stuff a huge bite of egg in my mouth while pinching off more pancake for Jonathan. I figure if I put several pieces in front of him, it might buy me a few minutes. He responds by raking up as many pieces as he can fit in his little fist and shoving them all in his mouth at once. “No, Jon!” I stare in disbelief as he starts to hack and choke and eventually spits a huge glob of mushy pancake back onto the table. Gross!

“Potty! Potty!” Jackson says. Oh great… That’s our cue to leave. We pack up and Caleb takes Jackson to the bathroom on the way out. We pile into the car and Caleb says “Just don’t look at the clock.” I look anyway. It’s 8:55 PM.

Well, I don’t remember what I ordered… and I’m pretty sure Caleb and I only said about ten words to each other (other than “Hurry, give him more cheerios” and “Watch him! He’s getting in the syrup!”) but we did make some memories and I know we’ll look back on this one day and miss it. Maybe one day, after we’ve had time to forget, we will go out to eat again.

If you’ve made it this far with me you must be incredibly bored brave. I thank you for your loyalty :0)