Going out to dinner at a restaurant with my family is part of how I like to celebrate my birthday (yes, it’s this week — March 25, to be exact). Going to a restaurant is always a fun treat. Plus, I don’t have to cook or clean or stress about Enviro-spouse cooking or cleaning.
The challenge is figuring out which restaurants can cater to my family’s food needs. As far as I can tell, the four of us only eat five of the same foods: pizza, waffles, French fries, carrots, and grapes. This significantly limits our dining choices — both in and out.
About this time last year, I overheard my kids discussing what we should do on my birthday. Here’s my girl suggesting one option.
“Mom kind of likes baseball. That’s it! We’ll take her to a Tourists game! They have pizza and French fries there.”
Then the realization hits her. “I love baseball, but Mom gets kind of bored with it.”
“Yeah,” chimes in the boy. “I don’t think Mom wants to go to a baseball game.”
Hurrah, I think, he’s starting to use sarcasm correctly.
More musing from the girl. “Well, we know Mom likes to eat at nice restaurants.”
This sounds promising.
“Should we go to Marco’s or Asheville Pizza?” asks the boy.
At this point, I intervene. I adore both these restaurants, and, in fact, we’re on a first name basis with the owners of both establishments, because we’re at one or the other every week. But Mama could use a change — something a little bit special for her special day.
I interrupt the kids: “How about we try a new restaurant. One that Mama really wants to go to?” I know I’m wheedling when I start talking about myself in the third person.
“What kind of restaurant?” asks the boy, fear lighting up his hazel eyes.
“How about the Indian restaurant?”
“Nooooooooooooo!!!” Screams of terror emanate from both my children.
I must have misheard myself. Did I just threaten to make them drink poison? Did I ask them to give their allowance back? Did I try to force Vindaloo down their soft, sensitive throats?
The drama continues for several minutes. Forget the fact that this is about my birthday, and I should, just once, be allowed a unilateral decision. As always, the whining eventually does me in.
“OK. OK. We’ll go someplace where they serve pizza, French fries or waffles. Maybe we can even find a place that serves all three.”
Slowly, the noise level decreases, though the boy still hiccups back sobs for several minutes. Oh, the drama.
Thus, last year, we ate at Marco’s on my birthday. The food was delicious, as always, but it was pizza. Again. Now it’s that time of year again, and I’m trying to figure out how to broach the topic.
First I think I’ll make some phone calls. If I ask nicely, do you think the chef at Mela would make waffles out of pappadum flour for my kidlings? Or fry a few potatoes, without garam masala? Or perhaps, the folks at Chorizo, my newest favorite spot of culinary delight, would let us bring in a pizza for the kids.
After all, it’s my birthday.