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Monday
Sep222008

I Want My Grandma

My Grandma Norma fought a long battle against bone cancer and eventually passed away just before I started second grade. Since she passed so early in my life, I don't have a lot of memories of her, but I do remember black cherry Jell-O with Cool Whip, snowstorms so bad we had to hold on to a rope tied between the house and the barn when we needed to go feed the animals, and a very deep and life-changing discussion about boogers.

I was probably about 4 or 5-years old when she caught me digging for that golden treasure. She sat me down in the kitchen and told me how it wasn't very lady-like to pick your nose. Somehow our conversation meandered into booger-eating territory and she told me all about how that was just plain yucky. She even went so far as to demonstrate. I learned a valuable lesson that day and never again got caught picking my nose.

Now that I'm adult (sort of), I'm willing to argue that EVERYBODY has times when the only way to get the treasure out is to go digging, but I can absolutely agree with Grandma Norma that you shouldn't get caught with the pinky shovel up a nostril. There should be no picking while sitting at your desk. There should be no picking while shopping. There should be no picking while at the movie theater. There should be no picking while in the car, despite the feeling of invisibility inside all that metal and glass. You have to save the treasure hunting for a time and place when you are truly all alone.

This evening as we were driving back from our usual bike ride, I glanced over at Alexis and caught the sweet child knuckle deep digging for gremlins. I said, "Alexis, please don't pick your nose." She responded by yanking her finger out of her nostril and shoving it in her mouth. Then she cackled with glee.

I think I need Grandma Norma to come explain about boogers.

Sunday
Sep212008

7 Things All Servers Should Know

We eat out way too much. We're trying to cut back on it, but the fact of the matter is that after a week of everybody working, the last thing we want to do on the weekend is hang out in the kitchen pushing buttons on the microwave. We've always had a tendency to eat out on the weekends while running errands, and the habit has resulted in Alexis being really pretty good at sitting sort of nicely when we go out.

Despite the fact that she's pretty good, I am forever living in fear every moment that we spend in a restaurant. I recognize that toddlers in restaurants are like tiny terrorists looking for a victim or ten, but apparently not all servers realize that. I can't tell you how many times things have turned ugly in no small part because some goober server has done something incredibly stupid. So, I bring you 7 Things All Servers Should Know:

1. Toddlers are ticking time bombs. Your job as a server is to do whatever you can to diffuse that bomb, or at least get it the hell out of your restaurant as soon as possible. Your first step to get food to the table ASAP. Find some crackers, chips, salad, or steal a glop of mashed potatoes off some guy's plate. Just get food to that table before the kid is even sitting down.

2. Right after you throw some food in front of the kid, go grab a wad of napkins. I don't care if the table already has napkins, go get more. You want the parents to be able to clean up any shrapnel if the bomb goes off. If you don't give them the proper tools, you risk spending your evening trying to figure out how to remove dried spaghetti sauce from the ceiling fan. (Hint: Formula409 and lots of paper towels. Or a hose.)

3. I personally keep a ton of crayons in my handbag. (Purse? Handbag? Whatever.) They come in handy whenever I need to take notes in a meeting, and very handy when your cheap-butt restaurant can't manage to scrounge up 3 cents for a little package of colored wax. Since I'm kind enough to pick up your slack, I expect you to bring me paper. Don't give me that stupid blank look that makes me think you have no idea what paper looks like. I'm guessing that children's menus must cost a small fortune, so I'm willing to settle for blank paper. Paper napkins. Scraps. Boxes. Whatever, just something for the kid to color on.

3. Drinks. In cups with secure lids and straws. Any time a tiny terrorist spills liquids, the bomb automatically detonates. This includes any adult beverages. Assume the kid has a six foot reach and you MIGHT be safe from disaster.

4. I know you all like to let cooked food sit under heating lamps for twenty minutes before taking it out to the table, but for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT STICK A HOT PLATE WITHIN REACH OF A KID. I wish I could say such a thing has never happened to us, but it has. It was ugly. And loud. I'm pretty sure a lot of people lost their hearing that night.

5. Make sure the tiny terrorist has some silverware, and preferably some silverware that will actually fit in his or her mouth. I'm pretty sure you see kids eat with their hands all day every day, but there are some kids who like that choice in life. Sure, they will always choose to eat with their hands, but if that spoon isn't sitting there? Duck. And run.

6. Stop by every once in a while and pick up empty plates, trash, etc. You may be shocked to learn this, but even a straw wrapper can be used to cause mass destruction. It's best if all things not in use and taken away from time-to-time.

7. This last one is a biggie. In fact, it's The Biggie. The Make It or Break It. Your life depends on this last step. Ready? Listen carefully . . . Drop the check off early and be REALLY quick about coming back with change or the card. Far too many times we have had a delightful dinner full of Toddler giggles then were caught off guard by a sudden explosion. Once the kid is done eating, the kid wants to leave. Immediately. When you disappear into the bowels of the kitchen for 20 minutes and the kid is done eating? It ALWAYS turns ugly. If you want us to pay, you need to give us the check and run as fast as you can to settle the bill.

If you carefully follow each and every one of these steps, I can guarantee you that nobody in the entire restaurant will even know a tiny terrorist was in their midst.

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We're donating all September ad revenue to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund, and could use a little help in reaching our goal. Every little click gets us closer, so why not take a second and read all about some other restaurant adventures?

Saturday
Sep202008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Once upon a time, Dawn lent me a ponytail holder during a softball game. There was nothing special about the ponytail holder, it was just a chunky silver/gray band that came in very handy in keeping my hair out of my face on a hot Wednesday night. Giving me the ponytail holder was a kind gesture, or so I thought.

Holy hellinahandbasket do I hate that ponytail holder.

I'm a loser and forgot to give it back to Dawn at the end of the game. Instead, I took it home and tossed it onto a side table. Alexis found it, decided that it was a "bwacewet" and made it her own. She stuck that sucker around her wrist and toddled around with it there all day.

Somehow she ended up losing it for a few weeks, but it was recently rediscovered. In fact, it was rediscovered last Wednesday. Alexis was the one to find it, and she was quick to shove it back on her wrist. She went to daycare with it still securely in place. She came home with it still securely in place. She went to sleep with it still firmly in place.

The following morning I decreed that 24 hours is the maximum allowed time for any accessory to stay on a short person's body, so I slipped it off while taking Alexis' pajamas off. She didn't notice, and I figured we were done with the "grey bracewet" for a few days.

Uh, no.

Because I'm an idiot.

When we went to ride bikes later that evening, I happened to grab that exact ponytail holder on my way out the door. I twisted it around a nice neat ponytail behind me head as I walked to the car, not even thinking about the drama that could ensue. Once we arrived at the bike trail, as per usual, Alexis immediately set to ripping the ponytail holder out of my hair. She has issues and can't stand my hair up, so I didn't even think to stop her.

The moment that she realized she had THE ponytail holder was priceless. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she quickly put her Gray Bwacewet on. I, being an idiot, was all, "HEY! That's my ponytail holder! I need it!"

Oops.

Um, toddlers don't share. And they certainly don't willingly hand over cherished items. After a few minutes of attempting rational negotiation, I stooped to the two-year old's level and just snagged the thing then jumped on my bike and took off. I figured Alexis would realize she had books and dolls and all kinds of fun stuff in the bike trailer and would immediately forget about her bwacewet.

See? I'm an idiot.

Mr. Husband finally caught up with me about ten minutes later. Alexis had been screaming the whole. freakin. time. Non-stop. He says people were actually staring at him because she was WAILING as if she was going to die. Surely that has happened--kids die from not wearing bwacewets all the time.

When will I ever learn not to get between a girl and her accessories?