What's the easiest way to do dinner for 7 (and a half) people? Eat out! Oh, but it wasn't so simple. We went out for the most complicated dinner ever.
The purpose of eating out was to meet Andrew's parents. Andrew is the boyfriend of our oldest daughter. Katie and Andrew really wanted us all to meet and have dinner together. They've been dating for more than a year and he is headed off to Navy Boot Camp in a week.
Getting all of us parents together was a complicated mess. His parents work and his dad is often out of town on business. I'm sure they have their personal obligations also. My husband works, and has an evening job too. Otherwise we don't really have a lot of things going on, except holiday parties and things like that lately.
For the past month, Katie and Andrew have been trying to find an evening that would work for them (they work too!), his parents and us. Finally, found one! Last Sunday. Lexie could stay home with Gracie and we'd take Libby along. She's portable. No problem...
Then we all got sick with a terrible cold. And Katie and Andrew both got called in to their jobs to work that day, so that didn't work at all. Which brings us to last night, ok, sounds fine.
But, Lexie had to work. Well, if Lexie works that means I don't have a babysitter for Gracie. I called two girls, neither one could sit for Gracie. Lexie working also brings up another problem: getting her home. She has a driver's license but doesn't have a car. So, I am her taxi. Her shift was 4 - 9, which means she starts at 4 and ends sometime between 4 & 9.
So if I find a sitter for Gracie and we go out to dinner, she'll call and need a ride home and I'll have to leave the restaurant, go pick up Lexie, drive her home (20 mins if there is no traffic), drive back to the restaurant (another 20 mins at least). Wouldn't that be polite to sit down to dinner, order a meal and then leave for nearly an hour? And pay a sitter for that?
I decided since I couldn't be at the restaurant, driving the mom-taxi and staying home with Gracie all at the same time - forget it! This is just too complicated!
I told Katie the bad news, we can't go. Lets try lunch tomorrow or something else. Poor kid acted like the sun would never come out again. She was so upset! Hmmm.... apparently this dinner is awfully important. After all, she said it was more important than anything ever. Ok, then. I'll continue to work on organizing things so that we can go.
Off to work she went. Upset and on the verge of tears cuz once again I am ruining her life. Sigh. Now I have one kid upset, one needs a ride, one too loud, and one needing to nurse - in public or not. Deep sigh.
ok... lemme think. If Gracie comes with us, she'll be loud and bored and fidget and distracting and cute. Well, cute works. She can just come with us and that solves that problem. The whole world is her playground, I'm sure she'll have fun driving us all nuts.
Now, how to get Lexie home from work. Wait a minute... who says she has to go home? She can just call us when she gets done working, and one of us will leave the dinner table, pick her up and bring her back to the restaurant turning a 45 - 60 min absence into a 15 min absence. She can sit in the restaurant wearing her Shakeys Pizza uniform, that's ok with me. Not ideal, but it'll have to do.
I'll bring a bottle for Libby. Lets hope she takes it.
My husband then had an idea. Lets cash in a favor with the neighbors. They owe us since we babysit their dog a lot, most recently, he was in our house for 9 hours being a big baby. So I called them and asked if they could watch Gracie while went out to dinner. Well, they were going out of town to pick up their son who lives with them every other weekend. Darn. Then they decided they could leave their 18 yr old daughter home and she could watch Gracie. Yippee! Its good to have your neighbors owe you favors!
Now, we have things arranged as best we can, let's go do this dinner! I'd been working on arranging the evening all day long! (not to mention trying to figure it out the day before too). Now it was 3:00 and time to get ready to leave to take Lexie to work, I have to leave by 3:30 to get her there on time at 4. We made it, I got everyone fed, diapered, and nagged at and out the door we went at 3:30. After I got Lexie to work, I decided to drop by Katie's work and tell her everything is arranged and we're good to go. Because she was still all upset that we couldn't go.
Wow, she was busy at work! She is a bridal consultant and she was working with brides. Apparently, it's been very busy since a lot of grooms proposed to their brides on Christmas Day. And the Valentines Day Brides are getting anxious too. Katie was super happy to hear that I got things organized for dinner.
She said meet up at On The Border at 6:30. Yikes, that's in 2 hrs! I still needed a shower and find something to wear, yikes!
Thank goodness for the baby swing. I got so much done with Libby napping in her swing. I managed to get a shower and find something to squeeze my post-holiday flub into. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get everything sucked in, tucked in and zipped up. Whew!
Now that it was 6:30.... how about if we meet up with everyone at 7? Lexie called. She's done with work. It's 6:30! Well, that works I guess, we'll pick her up and go eat. She doesn't like the idea of going anywhere in her work clothes with her hair up, you know, her world revolves around her hair. She had a shirt in her purse and I grabbed some shoes for her so she wouldn't have to go in her ugly work shoes.
We finally get there, with Katie and Lexie and Libby and Gracie is next door... whew! We got out the door! It took me 10 hours to get out the door for dinner! I tell ya, that food better be good tonight! We arrive at OTB and guess what. The place is dark and the parking spaces out front are empty. It's closed. Out of Business. El Fin.
Another change of plans. We'll go to Johnny Carinos.
Finally! We're there! We're out to dinner! We met Andrew's parents! Woo hooo! Mission Accomplished! Everyone sat around one table and had a nice meal together (except Gracie and their 19 yr old daughter). We ate, we had nice conversation about nothing in particular, Libby charmed everyone (and refused to drink from her bottle), and then everyone turned down desert because we were all too full. That was it.
All that preparation and worry and juggling of everyone's schedules. The kids are happy that we finally all met each other, I guess that is what was so important. You'd think going out to dinner would be easy. Not one bit. It only sounds simple.