Brian and I have birthdays that are 12 days apart, so each year we celebrate together. Normally this happens in between our birthdays, but due to inclement weather and viruses, this year it happened about 2 weeks late.
We decided to go to Ken's Sushi, one of our favorites, and afterward we attended a movie (we are SO adventurous).
At this point it becomes necessary for me to insert two very important side notes. Normally my side notes are meant to be comic relief from whatever mundane thing I'm attending to, but these are actually integral to the plot, so please read them in full, no matter how painful.
Side note #1: Two months prior to our birthday celebration, I had had a couple of bad days. On Thursday, December 12th, we had a holiday potluck at my work. I signed up to bring Green Bean Casserole (GBC). But of course I can't just make a plain old GBC, I had to go over the top with it -- local, organic green beans, extra sauteed mushrooms, real bacon bits, etc. Upon arriving at work, I exited the driver's seat and proceeded to the backseat to procure the GBC. However, instead of gracefully hoisting it from the floorboard, I clumsily let it slip from my hands and crash into the backseat like, for lack of a better simile, projectile vomit. Forgive me. There's been a lot of projectile vomit in my backseat over the years. Now. Could I have handled this situation better? Yes. But I was pre-menstrual. See, that TMI moment was almost worse than the projectile-vomit moment, but you're still reading. Hang in there. I could've just said, "Oh phooey," and salvaged what was left. But no. I proceeded to fling my oven mitts (and some mild swear words) across the parking lot while stomping my feet angrily. And then the worst of it all happened: A handsome young man appeared, holding out my oven mitts (which were lovingly knitted by my mother's across-the-street neighbor, Peggy -- thanks Peggy! We love those things ... they're so thick and protective!) as if they were a peace offering for the war I was fighting with the GBC. I stopped stomping and cursing. I accepted the mitts with a slight smile and "thank you," and he walked away, presumably to call all of his young, hip, single friends, and tell the story of the middle-aged mom throwing a tantrum in the parking lot. His nonchalant behavior inspired me to pull it together, and I ended up saving about 75% of the GBC and -2% of my reputation.
Side note #2: The next day, Friday, December 13th, I created for myself an itinerary that was -- if you can believe such a thing -- much much worse than the previous day's minutiae. When I got up, my phone had a reminder notification about my Sunday school class's Christmas party. But of course, this was at 6 a.m., and I hadn't yet had coffee, so I dismissed the reminder without looking at the details, and proceeded to frantically text every potential babysitter I know in an attempt to find a way to go to the party at the last minute. Then I remembered that it was a potluck, so I started making a grocery list. Next, I recalled not having bought any new clothes since the children were born, so I wrote down "Find new outfit -- at least a decent shirt" on the to-do list. A babysitter texts back that she is available. Score! I go to work. At some point midday, I emailed Brian to inform him that our Friday night plans had changed a bit and to please not exhaust himself teaching 6th grade math. I worked until about 2 p.m. and then went to the mall, got a new shirt, came home, downed a coupla cups of coffee, and cleaned the house so the babysitter wouldn't call the DCS on us. There was a poptart under Sam's bed. (Just realized that the downside to side notes is that one feels compelled to keep it to one paragraph.) I make a black-eyed pea and feta with quinoa salad to bring to the potluck. I slow cook the black-eyed peas from scratch. I go and picked up the boys. Brian arrives at 5ish, and we are to leave at 6:30. The party starts at 7:00. The babysitter arrives at 6:15ish. I'm in the shower. I quickly attempt to make myself presentable in my new shirt and standard black pants. By 6:45, I'm totally ready. Where is Brian? The boys note that his car is still in the driveway. The sitter corroborates this allegation. I go to the laundry room to check. (???) He's not there. I check the bathroom, his car, and I even call the neighbors to find out if they've seen him. Finally, I go into our bedroom because I had forgotten to put on earrings (the horror!), and notice him sound asleep next to a ginormous pile of clean clothes that I had not had time to fold and had dumped on our bed. I clap my hands twice. Because, you know, husbands like that. He bolts up, confused. I clap again, twice, to the rhythm of my words, "Let's GO!" And he is so sleepy that he actually and amiably gets up and walks to the car. At this point, we're late, so I'm in a hurry, but I'm trying to avoid the babysitter's car in the driveway. I'm backing down with what I think is a careful eye when all of a sudden I realize I'm on top of the low brick wall which lines our driveway (again -- my car had just gotten out of the body shop because I had straddled the wall in Novemberish and caused significant damage), and Brian is yelling STOP! STOP! STOP! So, I go with my instincts, which were to put the car in forward and drive off of the brick wall. This cued more STOP! STOP! STOP! so I stopped. Brian got out, surveyed the damage, and yelled for me to climb into the passenger seat and roll down the driver-side window. I complied. He climbed through the window (the door was stuck on the brick wall) and successfully reversed the car back onto the driveway. I was so happy! Brian had saved the day like always. I let him drive while I input the party address into my phone's GPS. We arrive. There are no lights on in the house, no cars parked in the driveway, nothing, in fact, that even hints that there is a party at said house. But I am sure that everyone else is late and we are just the first ones there. I skip up to the door, black-eyed pea salad in hand, and knock excitedly -- yay! A holiday party! After a few minutes, my friend shows up at the door in sweats and graciously greets us. I'm like, "Where is everybody?" and she's like, "Um. The party is ... um, the party is not until tomorrow night." And then we laugh like hyenas because there is nothing else to do in the face of such awkward idiocy. Brian promptly turns and sulks back to the car. She and I laugh for a few more moments, and I insist that she keep the salad for tomorrow night, giving instructions about how to serve it cold with lemon juice. I walk back to the car and totally, completely burst into tears that can only be likened to the kind of thing that teenage girls do. The sort of tears that turn your face into a speckled trout, and if you are, say late 30s or so, can cause your right eye to twitch uncontrollably for hours. Brian intrusively announces that we are going to end this pity party and go get sushi; he is starving. I'm heaving. Sobbing hysterically about how unorganized and unfit I am -- why did he ever even marry such a stupid loser? We park at the sushi place, and he waits a bit for me to stop crying. I don't stop. We enter the restaurant. I proceed to cry throughout the ENTIRE meal. The waitress keeps bringing me green tea ice cream because I haven't ordered anything -- I'm too upset. As we leave, she says, "Honey, you have GOT to get rid of that cold, and I start boo-hooing again and practically yell, "I'm not sick!!!" Brian respectfully berates me in the car for not catching on to her attempt to cover for me. The end.
So, tonight we go back to the restaurant where, two months ago, I had sat compulsively crying and eating green tea ice cream. We sit in the same place. We have the same waitress. I tell Brian that tonight I'm going to redeem myself. We order slowly, taking a long time between soup and entree. The waitress is attentive but not nagging. Finally, we're done and she comes to bring the check and remove the plates. She asks how was the sushi, and I say, "Delicious!" I'm thinking, "Thank GOD she doesn't remember us."
As she's leaving to get our change, she says, "I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And (looking at me) you held up quite well through the whole thing."
At first, I sat astonished. Then I said, "Right! I didn't even cry! Yay!"
She got our change, and we left ... even though I wanted to tell her all of the above.
But I didn't.
Because despite my supercoolness, I'm mysterious. Which makes me more supercool.
There's no lesson here. Were you waiting on one of those, "This is what I learned" concluding sentences? Well, you're going to leave disappointed. There is no take-away from this except that waitresses have good memories. I wish I could find a silver lining in the compiled narrative of it all. But sometimes I think it's enough just to tell the humiliating story.
Onward and upward,