Because our birthdays are less than 2 weeks apart, Brian (2/2/72) and I (1/21/77) make a big to-do of celebrating jointly each year. This year, the two aquarians hired a sitter (thanks, Mimi!) and went out on the town.
We hired our newest childcare discovery to watch the boys: a fun MALE sitter from our church, who is in college and works the nursery on Sunday/Wednesday nights and came with glowing recommendations from the children's minister, who personally completed his background check. His first night with us was New Year's Eve, and the boys were so enthralled by the "Manny" that we asked him back for the annual birthday bash night. He is from Georgia (the country) and his name is Irakli. Like it rhymes with broccoli. That, in itself, is fun worth $12/hour.
So the first time he came, we had the boys fully ready for bed and fed and all of that. But last night, we were more relaxed and confident that Irakli could handle things, so we prepared macaroni for him to feed them and left them in their street clothes.
Just as we were walking out the door, Sam said, "No my macroni. I eat noon-ulls." So we whipped out a bag of penne and a tupperware bowl full of Brian's sauce, and left Irakli to handle it.
Oh, what a joy it is to hear the children say, "Bye Mama! Bye Da-Da!" and not cry. It is such pure pleaure to just drive somewhere where there are waiters to bring sustenance and none of the diners have yogurt in their hair. In fact, we enjoy restaurants so much, that we went to three last night.
First, we tackled Suzy Wong's House of Yum. We ordered three "starters" in succession and shared them as a meal: Red curry queso dip with won-ton chips, pork & bacon spring rolls (be still, my heart), and some vegetable potstickers. I mean, please tell me what can go wrong with BBQ pork and bacon wrapped up in a fried shell and dipped into sweet/sour sauce? No.thing. So good I wanted to crawl up into the spring roll like a papoose.
For dessert, we went to "Nashville's first and only green certified restaurant," which of course is owned by a family whose kids go to John's school. There were numerous disconcerting first-impression things about this place -- the lighting wasn't fun, there were people in there with fox stoles around their necks, and the waiter told us that the dessert menu was "simply verbal" and he'd be right back. All we wanted was some doggone chocolate cake. So after listening to the descriptions of their first two desserts, I was getting pretty discouraged. But then there was a light at the end of the tunnel: I heard the word "chocolate." And I must've blacked out for awhile, so bad was my need for chocolate after the curry/queso, fried wonton, pork, bacon, potsticker feast, because I remember asking him to repeat and explain exactly what he meant by "a chocolate burrito with pomegranate salsa." It was some sort of thing concocted to look like a real burrito (I guess it's like those cupcakes that can be made to look like pizza or golf courses or whatever), and there were all these ridiculous details about how the chocolate looked like black beans and the cheese sauce wasn't really cheese but creme brulee, and the "salsa" was made with bright red pomegranate seeds to mimic the red of tomatoes. All of the dessert options were priced at way more than Irakli was making per hour.
Well, we considered the burrito for about two point two seconds before looking at each other and saying in unison, "Let's get outta here ... jinx buy me a coke."
I just cannot bear pretension about food. Food can be good whether or not the menu is half-written in French. Chocolate can be good even if you find a piece unwrapped in the bottom of your purse with fuzz and hair all over it.
So we booked it outta there and went to another tapas-style place where we ordered some chocolate mousse for two. It was like a combination of pudding and icing and whipped cream and paradise, and I nearly licked the plate clean.
Home again, home again, hippety hop.
Irakli is doing homework at the kitchen table. All is quiet. He says it went well but that "Sam didn't want to go to sleep and wouldn't eat his noodles." That seemed strange to me, but it was late, so I didn't ask too many questions. We bid him adieu.
I venture into the kitchen to load the dishwasher, and there on the counter is Sam's bowl, full of plain noodles and a purple Mickey Mouse fork propped askew on the side.
Irakli apparently forgot the sauce. No wonder that baby didn't want his noon-ulls.
Then, we go in to check on the boys. John is in typical John position: Sleeping in jeans with his belt full of paraphrenalia (his pocket knife, a 2-way radio, etc.), spread eagle, mouth agape with his Christmas lights on. And Sam is in his crib with the gate down, fully clothed in dirty jeans, a nasty, yogurt-caked t-shirt, some dingy white socks with raisins ground into the bottoms, and a diaper that must've had at least 7 hours of experience prior to bedtime.
A lesson in writing things down and giving specific instructions to the babysitter.
But it was worth it. A night filled with cheese, bacon, and chocolate can really inspire you to make all kinds of excuses for the people who take care of your children.
Happy 35th & 40th birthdays to us!
(I am NOT the older one.)