We’ve had some unexpected expenses come up lately. Kendra needed braces at least three years earlier than I anticipated in our long-term budget. Our air conditioner in our house went kaput and cost about a thousand dollars. In spite of it all, we’re doing fine, but…
We want to put in a zip line off the tree house, build on to the kids’ bedrooms, finish the bathroom in the garage, put a roof on the tree house, take down some trees, go on vacation, and put in a pool (to name a few things…).
So, Ronnie and I decided to give up something we both love. Something that keeps me sane after long days at work. Something relaxing, enjoyable, and easy: eating out. We eat out a lot. It’s so much easier after both of us work long days just to stop and grab something on the way home instead of planning, preparing, and (the worst part) cleaning up meals at home.
But, eating in restaurants is expensive. And, trust me, we’ve tried to justify our spending in this category for a long time. We’ve used all the normal excuses – if we drink water it’s not that bad; if we eat on kids’ nights, it’s pretty cheap; when we eat out, we don’t spend money on groceries, etc. But the fact remains, eating out is throwing money away. Money that we could use to accomplish the things we want to accomplish and to pay for some of the things we’ve already accomplished and haven’t quite paid for yet (but that’s a whole other post!).
I will now bid farewell to some of our favorite places.
1. To Blue Sky Cafe – You are one of our favorite places to eat as a family, which is why we eat with you every Tuesday night. Tuesdays just won’t be the same without your eclectic menu and quirky setting. I especially will miss your Hawaiian wrap with sweet potato fries – oh, and the lemon layer cake – don’t get me started on that! We know your staff by name, and it’s so nice to be asked if we want “our regular” when we go in. The occasional “hook-up” is great, too – there’s nothing like being sent fried ravioli compliments of our favorite cook in the kitchen. Not to mention our favorite waitress in the entire world, one who hugs my children and walks us to our car when we leave, one who sits with us when she’s not busy and always makes us laugh – my beautiful baby sister Vanessa.
2. Papas & Beer – I’ve never really understood your name, but that’s okay. The thought of missing out on our typical weekend meal of a fajita quesadilla makes me want to cry. You just don’t understand how much we love sliding into one of your booths after a long, hard day of working outside on whatever project we had going on that day. And you never judge! We have eaten chips and bean dip in every state of disarray because we’ve worked too long and didn’t have time to shower and change and still make it in before you close. Whatever marinade you use for that steak is perfect! And who would have thought to add zucchini to a quesadilla? Not me, and you know what? It’s perfect.
3. Acropolis – You say tomato, I say to-mah-to. You say Acropo-lis, I say Acropo-lee. Who cares how we say it? You’re wonderful. All of your wait staff know us and put our order in before even asking: a basket of fries, Greek salad, and a large cheese pizza. The waitresses even give the kids quarters to get prizes from the gumball machines. Your atmosphere is relaxing, and we love your outdoor eating area in the nice mountain weather.
4. Hot Dog World – You are legendary in Hendersonville, NC. Ronnie is partial to your foot-longs with mustard, chili, and onions; Kendra loves your tater tots; Max prefers a grilled cheese; but I love your Greek salad with chicken. Who would have thought a hot dog joint would make one of the best Greek salads I’ve ever had? It’s absolutely delicious. And the fact that you are next door to Yogurt World only makes eating with you that much better.
5. Uncle Scott’s Pizza – Uncle Scott, I see you so much, I feel like you are actually my uncle. Even though you recently added a seating area, what I love to do is call in an order on my way home and swing in and pick it up. You are the closest eatery to our house, so even if your food weren’t delicious, we’d probably eat it anyway because of convenience. But it is wonderful! Our favorite is your meatball sliders – a garlic knot stuffed with a meatball, marinara, and cheese – heavenly! And thanks again for giving me a second chance after I wrote you that check I had already used at the grocery store. I’ve started writing VOID on those now after you had to hunt me down at work…
Goodbye to you all! And to the others we eat at less frequently – Chick-fil-A of Hendersonville, Firehouse Subs, and French Fryz just to name a few, we’ll miss you, too.
Now it’s time for me to focus on creating a meal plan for the week and sticking to it. I actually love cooking, and I’m pretty good at it, but I’m so used to not doing it that it will take me a while to get back in the groove.
To start the weekend, I think we’ll have a cook-out. Burgers and all the fixings…
…at my parents’ house. Thanks Mom and Dad.
Tomorrow, I’ll cook. Unless someone else wants to invite us over…