Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Footloose and Fancy Free!

Last night was quite the wild and carefree evening! The two older kids were at summer camp, and we dropped off Junior for a little sleepover at grandma's house. (Turns out there was no sleeping -- it was more of a stopover at grandma's house. But that's a whole 'nother story...)

So what do a couple of unfettered middle-aged folks do on a rare evening out like this? Why, dinner and a movie, of course! Now don't get me wrong, we both manage to get out a fair amount...it's just usually more of a tag-team situation. One of us is home, one with the kids. Or we do have a sitter, but in the back of our minds we are wondering how it's going for her. Or we are with a group of people. But just the TWO of us? Alone?! That rarely happens.

We decided to go eat at a nice local restaurant we've been wanting to try. Pops bought a gift certificate at a fundraiser last November, and it seemed like we finally had the perfect opportunity to go use it.

We were ready and rarin' to go...at 4:45pm! We were so excited to hit the town that we took Junior to his grandma in the parking lot at work! No time to wait 5 more minutes and actually take him to her house, ya know. We had places to go, things to do!

We made the transfer of last remaining child, and set off with grins. I called the restaurant on my cell phone just to make sure they were open, and asked if we needed a reservation. The guy on the phone actually laughed at me and said he thought we would be fine. (I mean, seriously, 5:00pm on a Monday? Was I worried the senior crowd would have filled the place up already? This place doesn't even serve jell-o!) (heh, heh -- just kidding, mom!)

So we walk into the restaurant as they are still lighting candles on the tables and arriving for the evening shift. First ones! Whee! Bring on the party!

We ordered appetizers (shrimp cocktail and crab dip with garlic & olive oil bread crostinis). And drinks (pomegranate fruity martini thing for me). And then we proceeded to clean up every last little crumb and scrap and bit of dip on those plates! And by "we", I mean "me".

We still hadn't ordered our meals by this point. Two other tables in the restaurant had filled. I leaned into Pops and said, "I think they think we are here for a long, romantic dinner or something!" And then we giggled and giggled, because that was so funny to think about. (And by "we, I mean "me".) I mean, obviously we were there at the crack of dusk for some chow! And so we could have time for the rest of our wild evening plans!

So we ordered (herbed filet mignon dotted with homemade butter, served with grilled asparagus & chef's mashed potatoes for me) when she came back to refill our drinks (a fruity "august apple" little number this time).

When the food arrived, the presentation was lovely. It was served on white, square plates, with everything attractively arranged and garnished, finished with a colorful sprinkling of chopped parsley confetti all around the edges. I wished I had taken my camera to capture the delicious beauty.

I took my first bite, and as I was chewing, Pops said something that made me laugh. Through my nose, obviously, because I was chewing. The gust of air it produced caused some of the parsley confetti to fly off the plate and land on the tablecloth. Which made me blow-snort-laugh again! Which of course caused a second little flurry of green activity.

"This is so much fun!" I thought to myself as I sipped again on my martini and went back to speed-eating my gourmet meal.

Well, before you know it, we had both finished our entire plates. I mean, we practically licked those suckers clean! And by "we", I again mean "me". Pops's plate still had a bone on it, after all. And of course it also still had lots of green confetti. But mine? By this time, mine was bare, I tell you! A one-inch piece of asparagus stalk and a small bunch of mint garnish was all that remained. The tablecloth surrounding my plate was rather colorful, but the plate itself was impressively clean.

The waitress removed the plate, asking, "Was everything ok?"

I teasingly replied, "What does it look like?" and we all cracked up!! We just laughed and laughed! And again, by "we", I mean "me".

For dessert, I drained the last of my drink.

About this time we realized we completely forgot to order our salads. Turns out some meat and seafood and good old starch was really all we needed, though, so it was fine. We wrapped everything up (bill-paying, that is -- certainly no food left to take!) and started to leave, both deciding to visit the restroom on the way out.

The waitress was sitting just outside the bathroom doors, which were located right at the end of the bar, incidentally, where several people were sitting. The doors were unmarked, but she helpfully encouraged us, saying, "They are both either/or. Go on in!"

Unfortunately, the bathroom I chose was out of toilet paper. But there was a nice new roll on the back of the toilet, so I started to unwrap it, suddenly aware of how LOUD removing the crinkly wrapping was! And thinking everyone could probably hear it and knows that, for whatever reason, I needed more toilet paper! I gently pushed the foot pedal on the steel trash can to open the lid and dispose of the crinkly wrapper as quietly and discreetly as possible...but the lid wouldn't open. So I pushed a little harder...and the whole can tipped over and clanked loudly on the stone floor.

By now I was giggling quietly and telling myself that my audience listening a door's-width away was likely wondering if everything was ok in there and feeling bad for me since I was obviously caught up in some kind of loud & unfortunate bathroom-emergency situation. I proceeded without incident, until it came time to dispose of my hand-drying paper towels...which again required me to wrestle with the trash can.

On my way out, I noticed a neat & convenient open-topped wire trash can right by the door! Who knew?!

I noticed the waitress had discreetly moved away from the bathroom doors by the time I re-appeared. I straightened my shoulders and we waved and left and giggled our way out to the car. And by "we", I mean "me", of course.

I had a great time. Loved my meal, loved my martinis. I did really well on the "footloose" part, but I don't think I performed too well on the "fancy" part. Just add a hyphen between the words fancy and free, so that it becomes a more apt descriptor. Fancy-free: no need to use your inside voice; shoes & discretion optional.

How did the rest of our evening pan out? Well, we went home, curled up on the sofa, and watched a movie! We stayed up late -- 11:30pm!! And enjoyed deep uninterrupted sleep!! We were wild party animals, I tell you!

I love a night out on the town, but really, when you get down to it, sometimes you just can't beat staying home in an empty house.

We had a great evening. And this time, by "we", I mean "we"!

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