My Trip in Pictures… Sort Of…

Here’s some pictures and related observations from my recent trip:

This was not my burger.  Mine was a lot of food but still manageable.  The salt shaker and glass are there to provide reference.  The coworker who ate it had to eat it in layers, using his fork.  I think he was a little embarrassed at how many of us wanted to take a picture of it before he dug in.



I stood next to this sign waiting for the elevator at the hotel long enough to begin questioning whether the man escaping down the stairs was properly proportioned or whether he was built rather like Barbie, with excessively long legs.

I then pondered whether that was acceptable since the goal was to show walking and thus there should be some emphasis on the legs.  Surely it’s a more acceptable reason than Barbie’s.

I think perhaps the hotel elevator was a bit slow.



The problem with juxtaposing these two bumper stickers on a nearly black tinted window is that it really looks like one bumper sticker.  I couldn’t figure out for a minute why the driver’s German Shepherd looked so much like Master Yoda in sunglasses.



Okay, ladies and gents, this is why grammar is important.  My response to this board at an airport restaurant was, “Hell no, I don’t want to try one of the burritos you sold last year!  Even if you do still have one that the purchaser hasn’t already digested.”

They wanted to convey two points.  One, that they sold a lot of Cancun Burritos last year, implying they must be pretty good.  And, two, that you should really try one.  Trying to combine those two thoughts into one sentence didn’t work too well.

Bagel Burger

On our way home via a familiar route, my husband noticed that a new eating joint that he had been wanting to try was now open. At the last minute, he quickly turned. “Let’s eat here! I’ve been wanting to try it! I want a bagel burger.”


I glanced at the windows as I put on my shoes. I saw a picture of a hamburger on a regular bun. I saw pictures of donuts, bagels with cream cheese, a salad. No bagel burgers. I began to get suspicious, but the sign did seem to imply the kind of place he was hoping for, so I swallowed my reservations and headed to the door.

Upon entering, I found myself standing in a very typical donut shop, complete with the friendly Asian woman behind the counter. I scanned the menu quickly and saw that there were no bagel burgers. I began to ponder the merits of a croissant sandwich vs. a standard burger, when my husband entered the store.

“I’d like a bagel burger,” he announced to the woman behind the counter.

She stammered, “A bagel? Wait, I think we might be out. Hold on.”

I could tell she hadn’t understood what he asked for but before I could speak up, she returned. “We have a few bagels left. Only plain, blueberry, sesame seed, and wheat.”

“Ok,” he said, undaunted. “I’ll take one on a blueberry bagel.”

“You want a blueberry bagel?”

I started trying to get his attention. My frustration was rising. They were misunderstanding each other and the three children who had spent most of the morning and all of the previous day in the car were beginning to ratchet up the noise.

“Yes, I’d like a bagel burger on a blueberry bagel.”

“Ok. Do you want cream cheese?”

“Honey!” I whispered urgently, “They don’t have bagel burgers. She doesn’t understand what you are ordering.”

“They don’t?”

“No! Do you see bagel burgers anywhere on the menu?!”

“Oh.” He turned to the woman. “Can I get a hamburger but on a bagel?”

After some confusion, she agreed. During all of this, Hal was loudly calling “Daddy! Daddy!” and pulling on the front of his shirt. Daryl was repeatedly asking if he could get a fountain drink. Jane was moaning about how much she didn’t feel good. The woman was having trouble keeping track of everything that was being ordered and communication was sketchy.

I finally walked away and tried to calm down. When I get frustrated, I need things to be input to my brain one at a time. This isn’t possible with three children. Eventually, however, I had my croissant pig-in-a-blanket and bagel with cream cheese, although it took a couple of tries to get the right cream cheese. Jane had her hamburger and fries, while my husband had his on a blueberry bagel. Daryl got a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a root beer. Hal rejoiced over his breakfast burrito and star-shaped donut with star sprinkles and an Iron Man ring on top.

“We don’t have to come back,” my husband said. “I take it you saw what kind of place it was before we came in.”

“I wasn’t sure or I would have said something but I definitely had my suspicions.”

And that was how we ended up having lunch at a donut shop. Before we left, I had managed to find my smile. But just barely.

Riding in Cars with… Whomever

I am still trying to teach my husband the proper way to interact with other people in certain social situations. I’ve been trying for quite some time now and so far my teaching skills have proved sorely lacking.

Take today, for example. A friend and former coworker stopped by for a tour of the studio and to say hello. Our plan was to go out to eat lunch afterwards. This friend is still in his twenties, single, no kids – still enjoying a much more carefree life than ours. In fact, he ended up being a bit late because he was slow to get up after some heavy drinking at a party the night before. While he and my husband had met and like each other, he is essentially a stranger to Hal.

This doesn’t particularly bother Hal. You know how some kids have to try every public bathroom they encounter? As soon as you walk into a store or restaurant or someone’s house with such a kid, they immediately express an urgent need to use the facilities? Well, Hal has a similar obsession except his is an unquenchable desire to ride in other people’s cars.

As I walked into the house to get my things, I heard Hal ask the question.

“Daddy, can I ride in his car?”

I held my breath because I knew he would likely not answer appropriately.

“Well, Hal. That’s not up to me. You’ll need to ask him.”

Oh, no! I thought to myself. Wrong answer! See, my husband is of the opinion that everyone should be able to speak their mind and be truthful, no matter how uncomfortable. He’s not into the social niceties and hinting phrases that should be employed in situations like this.

By the time I got back outside, Hal was crawling into his booster seat that had been installed in the back of the other car. The friend was laughing. It sounded to me as if he was a bit in disbelief that he was about to transport our child into town in his car.

When I got into our car, I told my husband what he was supposed to say in a situation like that. “You don’t put people – especially people without kids – in a situation where they have to say no to a four-year-old. You just don’t do it. You should have said, ‘No, sweetheart. Why don’t you just ride with us?’ That way, if they are truly ok with him riding with them, they can say, ‘Oh, that’s ok. I don’t mind.’ But if they don’t want him to ride, you’ve let them off the hook.”

“If they don’t want him to ride with them, they should just say so.”

“Say no to a four-year-old?!”

“Yes. If they don’t want to do it.”

“Honey! You shouldn’t force people to do that.”

“I’m not going to serve as a barrier between my kids and other people.”

“Uggh! This is a tactful way to give them a way out if they don’t have it in them to tell the kid no but really aren’t comfortable taking the kid with them.”

“So what you are saying is that the next time a situation like this comes up, I need to tell him, ‘I don’t know. You need to go ask your mother.'”

“Well, I guess if you want it to go through two layers instead of just one, yes.”

“If that’s what it takes because I’m not going to do what you suggested.”

When they got to the restaurant right after us, I was waiting to open Hal’s door. “Is it everything you thought it would be?” I asked him.

The friend climbed out of the car laughing. “Oh, man, did we have some interesting conversations!”

I’m sure you did, buddy. I’m sure you did. The Facebook posts and blog entries pale in comparison to the real deal.

Happy Mother’s Day

As we left the ball fields tonight, we tried to decide where to go eat. The kids (for once) presented a unified front and asked for Chick-Fil-A. I was considering a local place that serves great catfish on Fridays, but was concerned about eating too much.

“It’s your choice,” my husband said. “Wherever you want to go.”

“Not fair!” Daryl called out, “You always let her pick!”

“Yes, see, we’re married. I like to leave the choice to her” was the response from the front seat. In the back, the following argument ensued.

“Well, you never listen to what we want!”

“That’s not true,” his sister butted in. “We just left a baseball game. That’s something you wanted. You said you wanted to play baseball and he listened.”

“But when we pick restaurants, he always tells her that she gets to pick!”

“That’s not true. Sometimes we get to pick. Besides, Sunday is Mother’s Day. She ought to get to pick.”

“So?! She’s going to get tons of presents for that!”

I’m getting tons of presents? I quietly asked my husband. Do I normally get tons of presents? I don’t remember that. He shrugged.

“She’s not going to get tons of presents, Daryl.”

I knew it.

“Yes she is. I’m giving her two presents and something else.”

“Was it expensive?”


“Then what’s the big deal?”

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money for it to be valuable…”

That’s true.

“…and she shouldn’t get to pick what we have for dinner.”

“You aren’t being very nice to her. It’s Mother’s Day.”

“Not yet it isn’t. She should get to pick on Sunday. Not today. I want to go to Chick-Fil-A.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to go where Mommy said to go!” adds in Hal as we pull into the parking lot of the location I had quietly chosen during the argument.

“Oh, wait,” I told my husband. “We can’t eat here. Hal said so. I guess we’ll need to go to the catfish place after all.”

“No! We want Chick-Fil-A.”

“Then why don’t you guys quit arguing and open your eyes? We are here.”