Restaurants We Love and Restaurants in Which We Are No Longer Welcome, One and the Same  

Posted by Heidi in

Going anywhere with the Big Guy is a challenge. When we take him out, there is very often a ruckus of some kind, an Event, if you will, a Reason To Skulk Home with our knuckles scraping the pavement. An example of such induced knuckle-dragging follows.

However, before I whine, I want to throw in this disclaimer: We love the Big Guy. Even the Big Guy’s least biggest fan who has made it clear her entire life has been marred beyond recovery and she is the unluckiest girl who ever lived to be saddled with such a family of misfits and odd-balls, if given the choice between the Big Guy living here at home or going to live at some special Big Guy Facility who takes guys like the Big Guy into their bosom, she would choose keeping him here with us. I know this because I have discussed with her the remote possibility that such a facility exists and have asked her what she thought. She thought it would be too sad to contemplate and I know she was telling the truth because she was contemplating it and crying right before my eyes.

So, having said this, I hope you can see that the Big Guy is greatly loved (though it would be hard to love him otherwise, being as he is large in girth and larger than life--a small amount of love just won’t cover it no matter how you look at it) even whilst his faults are being trumpeted for all the world to see.

It was back in what I like to call the Dark Ages, back when things were very stressful and money was super tight. The Spouse was in school getting his teaching credential and going out to dinner was a huge treat. The Little Guy had just turned three and was an unpredictable quantity at this point so we decided we would celebrate the first day of Christmas vacation by going to IHOP, a nice family-friendly restaurant where the worst the boys could do was spill syrup on the plastic seats.

Dinner went just fine which is usually the case. If the Big Guy is preoccupied with his food and the Middle Child is preoccupied with the novelty of eating out, all we really had to worry about was keeping the Little Guy from hitting his head whilst crawling back and forth under the table. This was something we could live with.

Generally the problems start once the food is consumed. As soon as The Spouse and I as much as make eye contact, the kind that says, “It’s time to ask for the bill”, that’s the Big Guy’s cue to say something along the lines of “I have to use the bathroom.”

Now, the Big Guy has some kind of problem with restaurant bathrooms. He has to use them. Every single one. He is like an alpha dog that must make its mark. It doesn’t matter the time of day, the circumstances, or the alignment of the moon, the Big Guy MUST use the facilities as soon as we decide it is time to pay the bill and flee before our waiter catches on to the fact that the usual tip is woefully insufficient to cover the mess the Big Guy leaves behind him at every meal. And there we will be, twiddling our thumbs whilst the Big Guy divests himself of a full day’s worth of chow.

We have attempted to remonstrate with the Big Guy. “Honey, can’t it wait? We are ten minutes from home!”

He, never the slack-wit, quickly learned to get around this by saying, “I just have to go number one. It’ll be quick! I promise!”

There were times when we fell for this bit of subterfuge. Sadly, this was one of those times.

Off he went while the rest of us sat and waited at the table. We paid the bill, did the obligatory thumb twiddling, even tidied up some of the frayed napkins scattered along the table, down onto the seat and onto the floor. We did some more thumb twiddling. The Little Guy started getting restless and it soon became apparent that our neighbors on the other side of the high padded seat were quickly tiring of us. Our waitress was giving us sidelong glances, the kind that say, “Why aren’t you gone already?!”

When my nerves were stretched beyond bearing, I decided to take the Little Guy out to the front where I could pretend non-association with both the Big Guy and the rest of my family waiting at the table. This proved to be a tactical error since the restrooms were right off the lobby and the Big Guy has a tendency to be rather noisy when, you know . . . and in a scary kind of way.

Once, when I was having my ultrasound when expecting the Little Guy, the Big Guy got hungry so The Spouse took him to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Just as night follows day, the Big Guy had to use the facilities. After a few minutes in there, nurses and doctors were giving The Spouse looks of growing concern. One actually approached The Spouse to ask if perhaps the Big Guy needed help. (He didn’t and all was well except that The Spouse and the Big Guy missed seeing the Little Guy on ultrasound and the sight of the Middle Child bursting into tears when we were informed that we were expecting a he, not the she for which we had been hoping. Pretty desperately. After all, we had the Big Guy as the one example of what our joint genes could produce and we felt perhaps one of him in the world was quite enough.)

Back in the lobby of IHOP, things were getting pretty tense. The Spouse and the Middle Child had finally gotten tired of waiting at the table and joined me in the lobby long enough to hear the grunting and groaning from the bathroom, whereupon they beat a hasty retreat to the car. At least they took the Little Guy, who was loudly registering his frustration at not being allowed to get all the shiny Christmas ornaments in his hands, with them. I heaved a huge sigh of relief until the males leaving the men’s room started coming out looking a bit wild eyed. The employee running the cash register was giving me some pretty speaking looks, as well. Figuring the Big Guy was able to fend for himself (he was, after all, 15 at the time), I chickened out and fled outdoors to safety.

By the time the Big Guy shuffled slowly out of the restaurant, our meal had long been consumed. It was December, it was cold and we were more than ready to go home. Still, he walked his usual slow, ambling, Forrest Gump-like gait. Finally! He was in the car.

“Mom, I flooded the toilet.”

My millisecond of relief was over.

“What?! Did you clean it up?”

“No,” he said, sighing as if describing a day at the park, “The guy said he would take care of it.”

“What guy?” I asked, hoping it was at least an employee and not another unsuspecting patron caught like a deer in the headlights.

“That guy who works there. He said he would clean it up.”

As The Spouse, who was doggedly ignoring our conversation, turned on the ignition and slowly started to back up, I wished I had the courage to find that guy and enough gold and jewels to reward him for his good deed. What I did have was the nerve to ask, “Well, was it a bad flood? I mean, did the water come all the way to the top?”

“Oh, yes, and over the side and onto the ground and there was a big, long, green poo that floated up and over the side, and then . . . ”

“Stop. Stop! STOP!” I shouted while The Spouse and I and the Middle Child threw startled looks at one another, the kind that say “What do we do now?”

There was a moment of hushed, horrified silence, then the Middle Child shouted, “Hit the gas!” The Spouse did just that and we careened out of the parking lot, the sound of tires screeching drowned out by our hysterical laughter, all the way home. It was one of the few times we had all laughed together at the same thing. A very special bonding moment it was, indeed, one we will never forget, no matter how hard we try.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at Tuesday, September 02, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

9 wise, witty and wonderful comments

You're hilarious! And I don't know what else to say :-)

September 2, 2008 at 11:30 PM

I love the title of this entry, Heidi.

September 3, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Thank you both!

September 3, 2008 at 11:00 AM

This had me laughing so hard I was crying at work. I will never look at IHOP quite the same.

September 3, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Well, you shouldn't. It is my belief one should look askance at IHOP for the rest of their days for no particular reason whatsoever. (We haven't been back.)

September 3, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Oh my god!!!! You have me cracking up and my husband asking me "what's so funny?" for the past 10 minutes. That story was hilarious and another reason to put on my list for not having boys! (I'm joking of course.)


September 4, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Thanks for the feedback Modern Mommy, Grumpy Angel and Jen--(okay, and Roy Boy, too). It makes my day. Writing into a vacuum is hard (whine whine whine)

September 6, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Even though you wrote this in September I am commenting on it now...because like you said...i tend to have way with BATHROOMS! It's really sad!

I feel for you BIG GUY because I have had something similar happen to ME of all people!!! But it wasn't in a public was in a house that was my CRUSH's House!

I guess I might to tell the story on my blog...thanks for reminding me! lol!

January 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM

That's classic stuff right there!!!! LMAO!

June 8, 2009 at 5:43 AM

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