Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buffet Etiquette

First of all I want to say thank you to all the family and friends who left comments, messages on facebook and otherwise reached out to let me know that we are not facing this new chapter of our lives alone.  Your words of encouragement and concern were definitely balm to a troubled heart. It helps just to have a place to vent when the stresses start piling up.

So tonight I am going to blog about what I was originally going to blog about yesterday, before the whole evaluation thing happened.

Yesterday was Tuesday, Movie Day. Same as it's been for a month and a half now. But for some reason I got the times mixed up in my head and we showed up for the 10 am show at 10:30. My kids were crushed, and I felt like a total bone head. So we decided to splurge and go to a matinee showing of Cars 2. The kids were thrilled and my coolest mom status was saved. (I am really trying to work on my numbers for this week, I want to get a better satisfaction rating than 82% and I definitely do not want any ish!) Caite was able to come with us and we all really enjoyed the movie.

Lila spent a good 10 minutes singing "Here we are together, together, together..." towards the end, not quietly. But otherwise was pretty well behaved. Evie lost one of her flip-flops which inspired her brother to ask in a very exasperated voice, "Who takes off their shoes in a movie theater?" Fortunately we finally found it wedged under a seat, three over from where she was sitting. I'm still not clear how that happened, but at least we found the shoe.

Since we went to a later movie we were all pretty hungry when it got out. So we decided to grab a bite to eat so we could hang out longer with Caite. We settled on Chuck-a-rama. I know that many people probably just said "Ew, gross, why?" but let me explain why that is a treat for my kids. Brian doesn't do buffets. Even before the leg issue which makes it impossible for him to carry anything and walk, he just doesn't do buffets. I don't know if it's an OCD thing or just a Brian thing, but I can count on half of one hand the number of times I've seen that man in a buffet line. The last time Jake and I went to Chuck-a-rama was with Josh and Elena (I can't remember why, but Brian was out of town) and I was pregnant with Evie, so at least five years ago.

We got seated at our table and then I explained the basic concept to my children. We would walk around and they could pick out whatever they wanted to eat. Their eyes were huge as they contemplated the ramifications of that statement. My only stipulation was they had to have real food before they hit the dessert bar. After we had gotten everyone their first plate and drink one of the servers came around and asked if we needed anything. Jake looked completely confused and said, "Well if we do, don't we just get it ourselves?" She ignored that and said, "If you need anything my name is Kathleen." Jake got an even more confused look on his face. He leaned over to Caitlin and asked, "So... what? We just yell 'Kathleen' across the restaurant?" We laughed and explained that she was just being polite and was there if you needed help. Satisfied he went back to his food.

Things were going along just fine. Jake and Evie were ready to sample different things so Jake picked up his plate to head back. We quickly stopped him and explained that he should leave the dirty plate and get a clean one. He felt that was a somewhat inefficient business practice, but bowed to our superior buffet experience. Then the server came to bus our table and picked up the half-eaten plates. Lila watched her with a startled expression and then yelled after her, "Hey! That's our food!" She turned to me and said, "Mom! That lady took our plates!" I tried to explain to her again why they took the dirty dishes because we were finished with them, but every time an employee would walk by us after that she would eye them suspiciously and lean over to protect her plate like it would be snatched out from under her fork.

It was a pretty funny lunch, watching my children discovering this unknown concept. It will be even funnier if it's another five years before we go back and they have to relearn it all over again...


Sarah said...

Sounds fun! I wish I could have seen it in person. Your kids crack me up. :)

Emilie said...

We love Chuck o rama. I know. But the kids don't have to wait and everyone gets exactly what they are craving.

I can totally picture Lila guarding her food!

Natalie said...

I love your kids and the way you narrate their stories. Cracks me up!

Noelle said...

This is great storytelling! Jake is so intelligent. I don't know your kids very well but he constantly amazes me. I love the picture in my head of Lila protecting her plates of food. :)