Friday marked a big day in our house—Daddy’s birthday! (He’s a whopping 10 days younger than me—11 during Leap Year.) If we were not in debt up to our eyeballs and I was independently wealthy, I would’ve loved to buy him an assortment of gifts—an iPhone, a MacBook, or just a new outfit that didn’t come from Goodwill or the clearance racks at Target. But alas, all I could afford was one small belated gift that has yet to arrive in the mail (Did you expect me to actually order something in time for it to arrive on his actual birthday? Hello; it’s ME!)—and to go out to eat.
Now, we usually get a sitter when we want to go someplace besides McDonald’s or Applebee’s, but since Jake, the favorite baby-sitter, had a hockey tournament, I decided that it would be okay for us all to go out to eat somewhere kind of “nice” together. We’d go early since it was a Friday night, and I’d bring things for the kids to do. What could possibly go wrong?
Yeah, well…I suggested that we try The Waterfront in Ankeny because we’d never eaten there and I knew Husband loved seafood. Being a Friday during Lent, we’d go around 5:00 to avoid the crowds. And when we arrived, we were lucky: they had a booth in back just for us. I like to refer to this as “the honyock booth.” You know the one: the big, curved booth where the parents can sit on the ends and “trap” the kids in the middle. Located at the back of the dining area, the honyock booth sometimes even includes a high back on the benches so as to protect the rest of the diners from the emanating “honyockiness” even more. This one, unfortunately, did not have the high backs, but it was in the back corner, so I THOUGHT we couldn’t possibly disturb TOO many people. Oh, ye of little faith…
First there was Boy #1’s sulkiness. Horrified because he was given a “kids’ cup.” (Couldn’t the waitress see that he is 11?! ELEVEN, for crying out loud. I mean, he’s practically eligible for the senior citizens’ discount!) Then pouting because he wanted, of course, lobster. (“What kind of a seafood place doesn’t have lobster?”) I went on to explain that they do have lobster, but it’s listed at the bottom of the menu without a price, which is code for: really expensive. To which, I was met with his patent reply: “How do you know?” I forgot—I’m an idiot. He GUESSED he’d settle for the shrimp—if he had to. Preteen angst is going to be the death of me yet.
Then there was Boy #2’s squirming. Honestly, the boy cannot sit still. He was squatting on the bench, sliding all of the place, and at one point, actually sitting on top of the back of the booth, in the corner, against the wall. Sucking his thumb.
And finally there was Boy #3—the grumpiest child in the tri-state area. The screaming (and I mean SCREAMING) began when Boy #2 accidentally colored on his fish coloring page/children’s menu. The kind of scream that propels you out of your seat. Fabulous. The screaming then continued to resurface sporadically throughout the dinner because: he wanted pepperoni pizza and, being a seafood place, there was no pizza; he couldn’t find the blue crayon; he had to go to the bathroom; there was ice in his water; Boy #1 said he was stupid; Boy #2 touched his paper; he had to go to the bathroom again (and then wouldn’t go when he got to the bathroom); and he wanted the ketchup.
Poor Husband. Fortunately, the restaurant had a drink menu as well, and the beer was able to calm his nerves just a bit. Finally we were done eating, and the waitress brought our bill. Somehow, paying $50 for a meal you had to snarf down in between bursts of threatening whispers to your children doesn’t quite seem worth it.
But the waitress was sweet and told us that our boys were really good. I laughed, thinking she was a very nice woman who probably also wanted a very nice tip. We talked and realized that our children go to the same school. Then she pulled a business card out of the back of her waitress notebook, told me she owned a fitness center, and said, “Call me if you want to tone up.”
Apparently, the concealer I had put on in the morning didn’t conceal my double chins or belly flab.
And that’s what it’s like when a honyock family tries to blend in with the normal folk on a Friday night.