Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wanna Go Out To Dinner?

Sure!  Maybe we can go to that nice Italian restaurant in Boston, have a couple glasses of wine and maybe catch that movie we wanted to see.  That sounds so nice, I can't wait, we can top it off with cannolis from that corner bakery we like...

Oh...shit...we have kids.  Never mind, spaghetti and meatballs sounds good again.

Having kids a blessing and a curse.  I mean I wouldn't trade any of the Minions for all the gold in the world but goddamn they make it hard to have a life.  This one goes out to the kidless people, enjoy it while it lasts.  This is the 23rd reason to stay kidless as long as you can.  Something so simple as going out to dinner is now a tedious task, you have two options:

1.  Pay a teenager a bunch of money to come over for a few hours, just so they can eat your food, watch your TV, make out with their significant other and defile your couch.

2.  Take the kids with you.

Goodbye Italian restaurant, hello Friendly's (wait Friendly's is too fucking expensive), hello Chili's.  Arrivederci wine, aloha water with lemon. Sayonara, cannolis, bonjour store brand Oreos.  Instead of wasting $50 for a babysitter, you opt to take the kids with you.  Now, one kid...easy peasy, two kids, doable, three or more...good luck with that, you're outnumbered.  For those of you who need it, here are 10 steps to help you manage this fiasco the best you can.  I also did a "Kidless List" under each step to make it feel like you have a case of the heathens.

1.  Don't Make Plans, Just Do It.  If you tell the kids you are going out to dinner any sooner than when you step foot out the door you'll regret it.  It will be like you telling them you're going on vacation in July or that Christmas is next week.  They. Won't. Shut. Up. About. It.  Wait until the last possible minute to disclose where you're going.

Wake up one day, slap your significant other in the face, have them kick you in the balls and then start getting ready it's about that painful.

2.  Start Getting Ready At Least 3 Hours Before You Have To Leave.  (The hours are based on the number of kids you have, 1 kid = 1 hour).  Unlike adults, kids need to pack random crap for the 30 minute car ride.  Gameboys, iPods, DVDs, toys, random shit.  All because they have the attention span of a newt.  It also takes time to get each kid ready.  After the barrage of "Let's go!" and making sure they have socks on, you're ready to go...and late.

Grab a Transformers backpack and shove as much shit in it as you can.  Make sure it's stuff you haven't used in three years.

3.  Set The Ground Rules In The Car.  Be smart, purchase a vehicle with a third row, you'll thank me.  Position the kids where they will annoy the shit out of each other the least, buckle them in and lay down the law.  No touching each other.  You are a foot away from each other, no yelling.  You have your shit, they have their shit, don't take your sibling's shit.  Don't look at each other.  On second thought, save your breath, it's not going to work anyway.

You sit in the front and your significant other sits in the back seat.  Turn the radio up loud and make faces at each other while occasionally poking each other in the ribs.

4.  Avoid Driving Past Recognizable Places.  You know your own kid's favorite places to go, avoid driving near them.  Kids are like Garmin GPS units, they stay inactive, buried in a screen when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you hear "Can we stop at Toys R Us?".  Instead of being the bad parent, avoid it, take the back way if possible, it will throw their internal GPS units off....if you're lucky.

Take all back roads so that the trip takes 45 minutes longer than it should.  Don't think about stopping at Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee even though you REALLY need that dose of caffeine.

5.  Before Arriving At The Restaurant Ask What They Want.  Chances are you know the menu left to right because it's the only place you go with the kids so take their orders ahead of time.  Tell them to pause the game and ask them what they want, it will save...dammit, I can't even complete that sentence, don't even bother, they will change their ever moving minds at the restaurant.  Scratch this step.

Play the old, "What do you wanna do?  I don't know, what do you wanna do?" game with each other over and over and fucking over.

6.  Upon Arrival Leave Things In The Car.  Instruct them to take one and only one thing into the restaurant, this way you can keep track of their shit.  Be aware though, kid are like ninjas with terrible attention spans, they will sneak other crap and you won't notice until it's too late.  How the hell did you bring your Build-A-Bear in without me seeing it?  They will smuggle things in like drug mules, just don't ask where they hid the item.

Leave that Transformers backpack in the car but make sure you bring one thing the other knows about and then one item that is smuggled in your hoop as a surprise.  Your significant other needs to play "Where'd you hide it?"

7.  Just Accept The Failure And Prepare To Tip Big.  You've made it to the restaurant, you're sitting in the booth, you're ready to order and it happens.  The waitress asks the kids what they want.  They have choices, many choices and holy crap on a cracker they can't handle that many choices, it's overload for them so it takes 5 minutes per kid to order the chicken fucking nuggets kids meal.  By the time she gets to you guys, you forgot what you were going to order so you panic and order the first thing you see.  You thank the waitress for her Jedi like patience and know that a much bigger tip is appearing when the check comes.

Open your wallet and drop $150 on the table and tell the waitress to take it, no questions asked.  Don't look at the menu, ask the waitress to hang the menu on the wall and throw a dart at it, whatever it hits is what you're having.

8.  Don't Make Eye Contact With Other Adults.  Unless it's another parent who has the same problem, then you can lock eyes and sympathize with each other.  Look down at your plate and eat, calling out the kid's names every 5 minutes, knowing that they are doing something that needs to be addressed.

When your food comes, grab your fork and eat it as fast as you humanly can without looking up. Develop tourettes for the meal and randomly shout out things like "Don't stick that up your nose." or "Turn around and stop bothering those people." over and over again.

9.  Pay The Bill and Apologize.  Look under the table, there's enough dropped food to feed Ethiopia for a month.  The top of the table is a militarized zone and the kid's haven't eaten any of their food.  Give the waitress your card and leave more than 20%, 40 or 50% should cover it.  Make sure you take the leftover food though, you will have snacks that night while the kids eat their Hannaford Oreos.

Remember the $150?  That was a courtesy, like when you were 23 and you tipped your bartender first to ensure good serive.  Don't even look at the bill, pay it and get out, there is no time for small talk.

10.  Take The Walk Of Shame And Go Home.  Put your jackets on and walk through the piercing eyes of what use to be your peers.  You get in the car and vow never to take the kids out to dinner anytime in the foreseeable future.

You know that walk of shame you took when you were younger after a one night stand?  That was practice for parenthood.  Good luck and avoid the rotten tomatoes.

So that reminds do you like your spaghetti and meatballs prepared?

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahaha! Yes to #1 because you also don't want anyone to think you are soliciting advice on where you should go to dinner (because what the hell difference does it make as they are ordering chicken fingers anyway!) This brings back fond memories, as now we have teens who order of the real menu.