Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dinner Plans

"Stop whining," said the Lovely Bride.

"But I don't want to go," I said.

"What you want doesn't matter," she said.

"It never seems to," I muttered.

"Your mother is taking us out for your birthday," she said. "Be nice to her."

"My birthday was five months ago."

"And this is the first date that worked for everyone."

"Why don't you take the boys and I'll stay home?" I suggested. "That would be a real present."

A few minutes later we were in the minivan. It took less than half a block before an argument erupted in the back seat about a choice of radio stations. I resolved it by picking a classic rock station and turning up Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" until I couldn't hear my family. The Lovely Bride closed her eyes and pretended to sleep.

I had stupidly picked a restaurant twenty miles from home and by the time we arrived, we fled the vehicle as if it was on fire. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece were already seated and it took a few minutes of jockeying to make sure my own kids were widely dispersed.

"You'd think you were all four years old," I snapped at my middle son as I pushed him toward the end of the table.

"I'm a big boy," he said, loud enough to attract the attention of the waitress.

"I'm going to kill him," said my oldest.

"You're all going to kill me," I said.

The waitress smiled nervously and asked me if I'd like anything to drink.

"A martini," I begged.

My mother and the Lovely Bride both frowned at me. Stupid cardiologist.

"Never mind," I said. "A strawberry lemonade. Put some cyanide in it."

Dinner itself was a relatively painless affair, except for a brief discussion with my youngest about one of the entrees on the menu.

"What kind of cheese do they use?" he demanded.

"I don't know," I said. "Probably cow cheese. I suppose it could be from sheep or goat milk, though."

"Cobra milk?" he exclaimed with alarm.

"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked.

"You said it might be cobra milk."

"I said goat milk."

"You can milk cobras," the middle kid added helpfully.

"Is it cobra milk or goat milk?" the youngest asked.

"These family outings were bad enough when I could drink," I told the waitress who was refilling my lemonade class. "I can't drink much anymore. Heart problems. Hard to imagine why, isn't it?" She bleated uncomfortably and skittered off to another table.

Dinner finally ended, which meant it was time for my mother to demand a family photo.

"Do you really want to remember this?" I asked her as she handed her camera to the hostess with unnecessarily complicated instructions on how to aim and click.

"Be quiet," she replied. "And get your niece to smile."

I patted my niece's head. "Hey kiddo, smile for the camera. We have to hurry up so we can get grandma back to the home before her day pass expires."

In the car on the way home, the radio was broadcasting a story about New York's gay marriage legislation.

"Good for New York," said the Lovely Bride.

"Why are Republicans opposed to gay marriage?" asked the middle kid.

"Because they're stupid, hateful people," I said.

"Yeah, but they'd say that about you," he said.

"They'd be wrong," I replied.

The Lovely Bride rolled her eyes. "It's more complicated than that. Your father and I believe that two consenting adults who love each other should be able to choose to get married. People on the other side of the question want to prohibit that, even though there's no fact-based evidence to suggest that gay marriage harms individuals or society."

"What your mother is trying to say is that Republicans are assholes," I explained.

"Hey, I've got a question!" the youngest piped up.

"What is it, sweetie?" asked the Lovely Bride.

"It's sort of two questions. Or maybe one. No, I think it's two. Kind of one and a half."

"Jesus, just ask the question," I said.

"What's the deal with Ancestry dot com?" he asked.

The van went quiet for a moment.

"Huh?" asked his middle brother.

"You know, how do they figure out who your great-great-great-great grandfather was?"

"My head hurts," I said.

"We should take a family vacation," said my oldest in his most sarcastic tone of voice.

"Happy birthday to me," I said.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

She bleated uncomfortably and skittered off to another table.

Are you saying your waitress was sheepish, Snag?

Hamish Mack said...

Did she look at ewe funny?

fish said...

How does do it?

Brando said...

Snag, that was hysterical.

Mandos said... was shockingly ineffective for me. Well, actually, I should not be shocked; they haven't imbibed Indian genealogy records apparently.

Substance McGravitas said...

Contended cows do not look the same as contented cobras.