Fast Food

Saturday, January 24, 2009

With James out of the country, my only incentive for creative cooking (okay, for cooking at all) is gone. With my girls, there's an inverse ratio between the amount of effort put into a meal and the amount it will be eaten and appreciated. Macaroni and cheese from the blue box--no leftovers and a round of compliments. Beef curry stew with sticky rice--a meal with at least two encores, and scores of complaints.

Since Friday night is supposed to be date night around here (and I just don't feel like cooking), I let the girls pick where we go for dinner. Luckily, Moe's wins over Micky-D's this time. If we can leave around 6:00, we'll beat the dinner crowd.

Unfortunately, I get bogged down with IM'ing and phoning work friends due to yet another round of IBM layoffs and lose track of time. At 6:15, I call out, "Let's go to Moe's!" At 6:20, Doodle can't find her shoes, Louie can't find her coat, and CeCee insists she doesn't need to wear a coat and is on the verge of a tantrum because I won't let her come without one. At 6:30, we pull out of the garage.

At 6:44, after dodging a bale of hay in the middle of the road, one possum, three deer, and a black dog that I slam the brakes to miss (sending my purse flying off the seat and its contents all over the floor), we arrive at Moe's. As I put everything back in my purse, I realize that my wallet with my cash and credit cards is sitting back home on the kitchen counter! I explain that I don't have any money and we'll have to go home, and suggest I make quesadillas instead. The crew insist on Moe's, we turn back, and for the next fifteen minutes I get suggestions from Doodle and CeCee about how I should never take my wallet out of my purse, how I should get a leash for my wallet, perhaps use an old shoelace to tie it on, or a stapler to attach it to the purse. The conversation would be amusing, except that they want me to answer them every so often, and I'm steamed that this "easier than cooking" night out has become "not so easy". At least I don't have to dodge anything except the hay bale on the way back.

At 7:08, we arrive at Moe's again, with the wallet. Louie is fast asleep. I carry her in, lay her down at a booth, and she wakes up. I warn CeCee and Doodle that any fighting will mean we go home for dinner, and get into the long line.

As I peruse the menu on the wall, I hear them fighting already. I get out of line for damage control. They're fighting over who gets to sit by me. I'm so touched, I want to leave. I remind them not so gently, "Fighting means we go home. Let's get back into the car."

"No, we want to eat here!" they cry. "We'll be good." They're tired, they're hungry, it's 7:15. I really should've cooked dinner. I get back to the end of the line.

Luckily, the line moves fast. Amazingly, their mood improves. I bring one Joey Bag of Donuts (burrito) and three Mini Masterpieces (kiddy quesadilla meals) to the booth and they're making silly jokes. Louie eats EVERYTHING--she really was starving. CeCee eats three bites of her quesadilla and declares that she's full, except that she wants two refills of Sprite, and maybe she'll eat some chips and salsa (as in all her chips and salsa), but she's much to full to finish her quesadilla so she can have dessert. She gives me her cookie. Doodle takes a full thirty minutes to eat her meal, methodically dipping everything into sour cream and salsa.

As we're finishing up, a gentleman stops by and declares, "This is the Princess Booth! You have Three beautiful princesses. How wonderful! I bet they're a handful, too, sometimes."

They're smiling angelically at him, and giggling that he called them princesses. "Well, that depends on the night," I answer.


Tia Juana said...

It is always so hard for me to cook for my kids when Rod is gone. I have zero desire and find every excuse in the world not to cook and then I'm just crabby from eating crappy all the time.

Do you do a meal plan? They tend to help me and the kids because if we are eating something gross one night, they know that something good will be the next night.

I admire your good attitude at your husband being gone. It can't be easy. Hang in there and keep your wallet handy.

Tamara said...


Great idea about the meal plan. 90% of the hassle of cooking is deciding what to make. I should also get them involved in the meal prep and cleanup. When I worked full-time, I used the excuse that I was too busy to make the time to prepare, but now I think I'm starting to do the girls a disservice by turning into the maid and cook.

The Clayburn Family said...

Sorry about the hectic friday night. However, it was very enjoyable for me to read. I can totally relate!!! (fortunately or unfortunately!)

MJ/Mom/GrammaJ said...

Hi all you cute princesses! I have missed your blogging and am glad that your are "back". I know about the cooking. C was out of town and I did not cook and was very content.

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