Archive for November, 2012

Oh … romance. What is that?

So the lack of dating for most parents can be the result of several factors. Time is usually a huge one, and finding a night to go out in and of itself can be a challenge. Then there is finding a sitter, plotting and planning for your child to be fed/bathed/rocked while you and the other parent are absent. For some parents, you may even weigh the financial setback of a date night. Between dinner, drinks, movie, show, whatever … and paying a babysitter … it seems easier to order pizza and cough up the five bucks for pay-per-view.

But, my mom was visiting from Ohio and stayed for a whole week, so Saturday night, it felt like we had the time. Ned and I talked about it and thought we’d have a relaxing dinner, go see a movie … things we don’t really do anymore.

So the movie was a challenge, not really much that we were dying to see, and what we did really want to see wasn’t release until the following weekend. But we settled on Cloud Atlas, and dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. I was ready for a cocktail, heels and a nice bag-o-popcorn.

As I’m putting on makeup and Ned gets out of the shower he says, “Do you really have your heart set on seeing a movie?”

Oh boy, here it comes. He doesn’t plan the date, but now here is a new, bigger, more appealing idea. He wants to drive to a little town over in West Virginia, which has a German restaurant that we really like (goodbye, gnocci) and then hit up one of the other little places in the quaint college town for a drink.

I say okay. I’m trying to be agreeable.

So with no movie to make, I finish drying my hair, put on my face and we head out. It is a half-hour drive, one I rarely enjoy. A windy, hilly country road equals a nauseated Molly. So Ned takes care to drive slowly for me, and we get to the Bavarian restaurant around 7:00 p.m. A huge tent is set up on the property (which doubles as an inn), and we walk up to the pub entrance. It’s closed. We find our way to the main entrance to discover that the only way we’re eating weisswurst is if we crash the wedding that is taking place there. The entire establishment is reserved for the private party.

So we head off to the nearby town and quickly find a cute-looking French bistro. We head in and are asked if we have a reservation. My husband tells the hostess, “No.” She proceeds to tell him that the restaurant is full for the evening. Ned asks, “You mean you have no tables available for the entire night?” She confirms in a voice that says, “Duh. That’s what I just said.”

So we head out, find another restaurant, Italian. Again, we’re asked if we have a reservation. Again no. The hostess walks away from us and returns a millisecond later to say she can seat us at 9:00 p.m. Ned checks his watch. It’s 7:30. Not one seat available out of the dozen at the bar.

We put our name in and leave to wander the streets again, and after ten more minutes in the 40-degree cold, we’re no closer to finding another restaurant. The options for food aren’t great. We’re in a teeny town in the middle of nowhere, civilization is at least another forty-five minutes away. It’s now 7:45 p.m. I’m trying not to curse under my breath. Had we stuck to our original plan, we’d be having dessert and heading to the theater by now.

As we pile back in the car, we spot one last restaurant, and I hop out. They have a beef wellington special and a full bar. Sold. We are ushered in to a dark and dated space, but after a drink we’re feeling better. And just when our date night seems to be salvaged …  the food comes. Oh, boy. Stale bread. A “pizzette” that is nothing more than dough and cheese. The worst beef wellington I’ve ever tasted, which managed to be soggy (pastry) and dry (beef), with mushrooms that still tasted of the earth they grew in. Ned’s food was cold, and the ravioli’s on his plate were clearly created in a factory, not a gourmet kitchen. It was one of the most awful meals we’d ever had.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

I mean, really, what are the chances? Of changing plans at the last minute, one restaurant totally shutting down for one client and two others not leaving tables open for walk-in guests? On the one night we had chosen for a date, the last night my mom would be with us? Holy shit.

Ned tried to save face by taking us to our local coffee house for a drink and dessert. I ate a sugar cookie and drank a chai; but the sweet ending didn’t seem to fit. We hadn’t had a satisfying first or second course.

The upside is, now we owe each other a real date. Sometime before we run out of Saturdays in 2012.


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I love Halloween. The planning, the decorations, the costumes. The candy. In our household, we go for all things witches (me) and pirates (Ned). The Maximillion hasn’t quite hit a theme yet, even though this was his third Halloween.

Max’s first Halloween, he was a monkey. I found a suit in a catalog and couldn’t resist it. Since he was not yet two months old, I bought the smallest size they had, which was listed as 6 – 18 months. It was so huge, he probably could have worn it for his second Halloween. It also was covered in this synthetic fur, and thank god I put a onesie on under it, because when I took him out of it he and I were covered in brown fibers; his sweaty (Florida Halloween, people) hands were clenching fists of it. That Halloween ended in a shower.

But darn it, that kid was so stinkin’ cute. I think part of the fun was Ned and I giggling hysterically while we were dressing him, ’cause of course he was just cruising along with it; and dressing him in this silly/cute costume left us drunk with power.

The next Halloween, he was a cowboy. My mom bought him a button down shirt that reminded me of the boys in Oklahoma, so I searched the Internet for cowboy boots and a hat. Two days before Halloween, I couldn’t find the hat, and my practice runs to get my now 14-month-old into cowboy boots was a mess. The night of trick-or-treat it was 85 degrees and humid as hell (again, Florida Halloween). Max wasn’t walking much on his own, so I carried him to a dozen houses, the last of which was a neighbor who gave Max a sucker. We arrived home sweaty and sticky with blue-flavored drool. Yeah, that Halloween ended in another shower.

This Halloween Max was a biker. Oma bought him a no-foolin’, toddler-size leather jacket when he was just a year and we’ve been waiting for him to fit into it. My aunt found him this crazy, mowhawk skull winter hat, and I found him some a@#$-kickin’ shoes at the resale store. (Seriously, he loved those. Couldn’t get him outta them.)

There are moments as a mom when you fall in love with your kids again, and this night was one of ’em. We only got one “trick or treat!” out of him, but he ran up and down the street like a trooper, all tucked up in our 40-degree Halloween night, rockin his superstar outfit. He had little boys handing him candy, he tried to bite a few all wrapped up, he ate Pez from a pumpkin dispenser like he’d been doin’ it all his life.

We got him home, chilled, while he played with a glow light someone had handed out, and stomped around the kitchen in his tough-guy shoes. I thought, “Oh, I love him so much it’s impossible to not smother him in kisses.” Really, I don’t know if it’s a mother/son thing, but sometimes at random moments … clomping around the hardwood floors and waving a glow light, having fits of laughter … my heart just feels like it’s going to explode. I want that joyful face to fill every moment of every day.

To top off our night, it finally was time for candy, and I gave him his first Reece’s peanut butter cup, he took one bite, giggled … and shoved the rest in his mouth.

Now, if only we could get his momma to stop shoving pb cups into her mouth!

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