mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Farewell, Restaurants. I will miss you. June 16, 2012

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…

Advertisements
 

Shape up, Son, I’m serious! May 22, 2012

After the baseball game Friday night, we went to a very late dinner at McDonald’s.  And not just any McDonald’s.  We went to the fancy schmancy one near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  It’s a strange place, really.  There’s a “magic” grand piano that plays itself, a fireplace, real art…but they still serve the same squashy burgers wrapped in paper.  The whole experience is like an oxymoron.

Fancy Biltmore McDonald's

Fancy Biltmore McDonald’s (Photo credit: Steve and Sara)

Well, there we were.  Eating cheeseburgers at 10:30 at night.  And, for whatever reason – probably because we were grossly overtired – the kids and I had the giggles.  Everything was funny.

“Oh, you got some fake hair extensions in your Happy Meal?”  Hilarious.

“You’re putting ketchup on your fries?”  Stop, stop, my stomach hurts from laughing.

When Max looked at us and asked, “What does moist mean?”, we kind of got carried away.  Well, I guess you would consider it carried away if someone chokes.  And Max did indeed choke.

I ran him to the bathroom so he could hack up the bite of food that was lodged in his throat, and to be honest, we laughed the whole time.  We were just being plain silly, and we couldn’t stop.

When we got back to the table, Ronnie had had enough.  I guess Max’s choking was the final straw.  In retrospect, I guess I can understand where he was coming from.

“No more laughing at this table.  And I mean it.  Just sit there and eat your food.  Stop being ridiculous,” he scolded us.

Max whipped right into shape.  He straightened his posture and transformed his expression from jovial to stoic in a matter of seconds.  Wow.

He looked over at me, and very seriously inquired (with intense interest and focus), “So, have you ever heard of peanuts taking over the world?”

Kendra and I laughed so hard that we both had tears running down our faces.  Ronnie gave Max “the look”.  Max didn’t flinch.  He met his father’s gaze with confidence, shrugged, and gestured towards me with his thumb.  What did he mean by that?  He meant Why Father, I’m shocked that you would accuse me of disobeying your wishes.  I, unlike my sister and mother, am quite seriously sitting here enjoying my late-night cheeseburger.  I’m insulted by this false accusation.

And with that, Ronnie lost his composure and joined in our silly laugh fest.  As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them!  And there’s clearly no beating Max!

 

Would you like nuts with that? April 27, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting,Silly Situations — mandyholbert @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , ,

It all started with a typical communication breakdown.  We were on our way into McDonald’s for a nutritious dinner.  Max said he needed to use the bathroom really bad.  So, I told Ronnie to take Max to the restroom and that I would take Kendra, and then we would order our food.  Easy enough.

 
I subconsciously noticed that Ronnie and Max were standing admiring the Happy Meal toy display as Kendra and I entered the restroom.  But, when we emerged they were nowhere to be seen, so we girls went to order up some food while the boys finished taking care of business.  I ordered, got the food, poured the drinks, set everything up at the table, and still there was no sign of the boys.  Hmmm…

 

Several minutes later, I heard Ronnie laughing, and I looked up to see him carrying Maxwell.  Max was wearing these strange red pants that I had never seen before and Ronnie was laughing his head off.  What is he wearing?  I was puzzled.

 

Turns out, Ronnie did not take Max to the restroom when Max had to go really bad.  Instead, they looked at the Happy Meal toy display, and Max took a leak in his pants right there.  Ronnie rushed him to the restroom, too late of course, and had to figure out a quick fix.  I would have simply said no sit-down dinner for us and gone through the drive-thru.  Ronnie, on the other hand, used his creative parenting skills and made an unusual, though somewhat effective, pair of pants out of his shirt.

 

Seems he put Max’s legs through the arms of his long-sleeved shirt then tied a knot at the waist.  The result was something I would imagine old dancing drunk men to have worn in ancient Russia.  Maybe kind of Fiddler-on-the-Roof-ish.  If I were a rich man,Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum…Anyways, there was my son sporting his new dry pants and my husband giggling his brains out.  Time to eat.

Well, as if that weren’t enough for one outing, Max somehow managed to pour about half his bottle of chocolate milk on his shirt-pants.  At least the wetness wasn’t a bodily fluid, I guess.  I blotted him off best I could, and laughed it off since that seemed to be the thing to do for the night.

 

He ate his food, then sat happily playing with his Happy Meal toy – a talking Alvin, the head chipmunk of the famous rodent trio.  For whatever reason, Max looked at the toy, pushed the button, and when the toy said, “Hello, Gorgeous!” Max said in delight, “It’s baby Jesus!!”  Don’t ask me!  We laughed again.

 

Everyone wanted dessert, so I went to the counter still chuckling about baby Jesus.  I ordered our sundaes, and the young fellow put them on a tray along with spoons.  I looked at him and simply asked, “Do you have nuts?”  He turned around to get the chopped peanuts, but couldn’t hide his amusement at all, and when he handed them to me he was openly laughing.  Well!  Excuse me!  I didn’t know we were in elementary school.  I laughed along with him and went back to the table.

 

Max made a few more jokes while eating some ice cream, the funniest of which was his naming the nuts “little seeds”.  We finished up and were getting ready to leave.  Max, poor boy, tried to get up from the table holding the rest of his chocolate milk, and somehow managed to pour it on his head and fill his hood with it.  At this point, what do you do?

Ronnie quickly grabbed my purse.  Now, in the ten years we’ve been together, he has never, ever held my purse.  Tonight, though, he grabbed it up with gusto.  I think he even swung his hips a little as he walked.  He would have put lipstick on if it would have sealed the deal that I had to carry that little bundle of mischief out to the Jeep.

 

I scooped Max up, trying to hold him in a position that would keep his shirt-pants on and still keep me from being covered in chocolate milk.  It was awkward, but I thought I was doing a good job.  The McDonald’s employees gave me some really memorable looks when I passed by, but I attributed it to the shirt-pants.

 

Only when I got outside did I realize that Max’s “seeds” were exposed.

 

Oops!  What do you do?  We just laughed some more and drove on home.

 

Driving Victory April 14, 2012

Filed under: Arguments,family,humor,parenting — mandyholbert @ 7:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m not the world’s best driver; I’ll readily admit that.  I usually consider the yellow lines more of a suggestion than a rule.  The speed limit is more advice than the law.  I’m more of a creative kind of driver.

My husband, on the other hand, is a total show-off.  He can drive down a curvy hill in the dark at full speed all while in reverse.  He can squeeze through the tightest spots that make me cringe because I think we’re sure to lose a side-view mirror.  Ronnie is the complete opposite of me – he is a very talented driver.

And it drives me crazy.

When we went to eat the other night at our favorite Mexican restaurant, there were no available parking slots.  There was, however, a space between the dumpster and another car that someone could feasibly park in if they were willing to back in the very tight spot.

I was driving.  Ronnie told me to park there, so I did what I always do.  I told him to steer and I closed my eyes and operated the pedals.  Once we were through the hairy part, I took the wheel back and finished backing in.  There was a concrete retaining wall back there.

Ronnie sometimes overreacts when I’m driving.  I don’t understand why.  Anyways, as I was finishing backing in, he all of a sudden looks over at me with bugged out eyes and snapped, “There’s a wall back there!  Stop!”

So, I naturally went a little farther and then stopped.

We got out, and here’s what we saw:

He swore I hit the wall.  I was sure I didn’t.  Well, actually, I was pretty sure I probably did, but I didn’t want to admit that I should have stopped when he told me to with his goofy bugged out eyes.  He could have told me more politely.  Like, “Dear, please stop reversing as there is a wall back there that I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you in any way.”  That would have been much nicer.

We had to get on our hands and knees to determine whether I hit it.  And HA! I didn’t hit it!

See that tiny gap?  That was talent if I ever saw it!  It was enough room for me to slide a piece of paper between my car and the wall, which I happily did as my symbol of victory.

Don’t tell my husband, but I honestly had absolutely no idea that the wall was even back there.  I don’t know how in the world I didn’t hit it, but the point is that I didn’t!  As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t have maneuvered more precisely if I tried!

Who’s the good driver now?!

 

Waiter, I’ll have the French toast with a side of earplugs. March 27, 2012

Filed under: family,humor,parenting — mandyholbert @ 6:37 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When a restaurant is promoting the most popular kids’ movie currently showing in theaters, it is safe to say it is a family restaurant.  Right?  So, when we go on a Sunday morning for a breakfast with our kids, we can expect a family atmosphere.

This didn’t happen last Sunday.

The table behind us had two girls and a guy who had apparently just worked a horrendous night at some other eatery.  They had choice words as they compared customers and co-workers.

The f-word is not okay in IHOP, is it?

I looked at the surrounding tables, all of which had kids seated at them.  Surely, I was not the only one who could hear the constant barrage of bad words coming from the guy and girls.  They weren’t even trying to be quiet.  Or considerate.

I thought about saying something.  I thought about nicely turning around and simply asking them to tone down the language in front of the kids.  But I didn’t.  And neither did anyone else.

To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed in myself and all the other parents sitting there.  It ruined my French toast and my conversation with my little family as I just could not manage to block the voices out behind me.  I should have said something.  It was IHOP, for crying out loud!

That’s why, when I was presented with a similar situation only days later, it was more than I could stand.

I was really trying to be on good behavior that day because Kendra had a friend along.  I was trying really hard.

When the girls went to the restroom, and Ronnie took Max, I was alone at the table.  Sitting next to us were two men chatting it up, rather loudly.  And pervertedly.  The sexual references and vulgarities were just out there for everyone to hear.

I’m sorry, I don’t mind a conversation about pirate booty, but my four-year-old son does not need to hear about a butt pirate in a bar-b-que restaurant.

At one point, one of the guys even told his friend to cool it a little and quiet down.  The goon just laughed it off and continued.  Thankfully, when their food arrived, their ribs occupied them enough to shut them up for a while.

I was just itching to say something.  I knew we had a friend along.  And I knew Ronnie wouldn’t want me to start something that he would likely have to finish.

But, I couldn’t help myself.

When we got up to leave, the guys got up too.  And the loudmouth stretched as he got up from the table, clearly showing his fly completely down and open.

I walked by him (thinking this was what people call karma – the perfect opportunity for me to embarrass him, thus getting him back for ruining my fried-green tomato BLT) and said (very loudly), “Your. Fly. Is. Down.”

I walked away, so satisfied with myself.

I didn’t understand why Ronnie was so mad when we got to the truck.  And we couldn’t talk because, you know, the friend was along.  So we rode home in silence.  He was seething.

Finally, after an eternal ride home with my squirming in my seat and shooting him puppy-dog eyes and nudging him apologetically, we got the chance to talk.

“What’s the big deal?  I actually helped him!  Imagine how embarrassed he would he would have been if he walked around like that all night!”

My husband looked at me.  “You didn’t hear what he said to you after that?”

Ummm…obviously not.

“What?” I asked, a little sheepishly.

“He said, ‘Oh, you noticed!’ I wanted to punch him in the face!”  That blood vessel in his forehead was still sticking out a little bit.

Well, that sure explained the angry ride home.

Next time, when the conversation isn’t kid friendly, I think we’ll just move tables.  I think we’ll all enjoy our meals more that way.