An Evening Out
Yeah, me neither. In any case, I went out last night.
It was a long week. And I was hungry. So I proposed a date to the Outback, and was escorted by four fabulous Stream gentlemen. I gracefully clambered from the front of the Pilot into the back of the car to land clumsily take my place between the car seats. Upon arrival, Jon freed the boys from the child-lock secure doors and I (once again with the grace of a beautiful ballerina – at least in my head) twisted myself under the seats to slide out onto the asphalt.
What used to be a simple dinner dash to the local chain restaurant becomes an adventure unto itself when you add toddlers to the mix.
“Table for five please. Two booster seats.” Already, I could see a look of fear on the assistant manager’s face. Search shot him a wicked side eye with a mischievous cackle and the denim-shirt clad booster bearer scooted out of sight right quick.
I immediately plied the muppets with crackers. Jon broke open a box of crayons – one for each kiddo, with spares for provision when the initial found its way to the floor. Search promptly began chewing on the green crayon. Destroy colored his cracker blue.
I teased the muppets with their water bottles while I played three-card monte with the utensil napkin wraps. Outback Steakhouse includes a fork and large steak knife with each cloth napery. (This does not a good toddler table toy make.)
- Uncle Jeffrey: One bowl of broccoli soup.
- Jon: Grilled chicken salad.
- Search and Destroy: Split order of grilled chicken on the barbie.
- Me: Margarita (x2), bread, my fill of the Bloomin’ Onion, dinner salad with ranch dressing, medium-rare steak fillet, and a side of green beans. (Dessert was forgone in favor of that second salty tequila beverage. That totally counts.)
My boys may have decided to eat like birds in order to watch their girlish figure, but hell if I wasn’t going to show them how it should be done!
(Admittedly the muppet meal was added for effect. Those kids know how to eat and may have also consumed an entire roll of Outback knife-stabbed brown bread. A piece. In addition to the column of Ritz crackers used to bribe them to sit still. Which didn’t work, but they did eat the crackers. Also, as I type this, they are eating an entire bird’s worth of turkey. They have also been yelling for beer all afternoon. Or possibly berries. But I digress.)
After the boys watched me eat my fatty fried onion (you know you want one), I tucked into my salad. I offered Destroy a deliciously crisp leaf of lettuce. He sniffed at it before suspiciously opening his mouth to take the bite. He gave it a single thoughtful chew. Then, with no fuss, he quietly and calmly removed the offending vegetable from his taste buds and politely placed the slightly used lettuce piece back into my salad. Yum.
Destroy resumed practicing his newfound throwing arm abilities by flinging pieces of grilled chicken on the barbie across the table restaurant. Unfortunately, his sippy cup got caught in the cross-fire. Three adult heads ducked under the table, soundtracked by the knowing laughter of two highly amused fidgety toddlers.
Guess who drew the short-straw for the retrieval mission. Beneath the booth crawled I. It was dark under there. To be honest, I had not foreseen a future where I was huddled under a restaurant booth groping for a blue sippy cup – leveraging my iPhone for lighting. I did find a whole collection of crayons though.
Back above ground, I suddenly heard a banshee scream “Hi!” I crawled out from my cave of shame to find myself eye-to-navel with our waitress. Destroy was waving and batting his lashes.
Gesturing at my empty Margarita glass, she began, “Can I get you another…”
“Dear God, yes.”
The muppets burned through the last little big of patience shortly thereafter. It was time to go. Just like a raucous Friday night from the days of yore. It was 6:45 p.m by the time we got home. I was exhausted.