Saturday, March 25, 2006

Triumph and Suffering

It's strange. Sometimes you can be having the best of times, and then it suddenly all goes into the terlet.

Miss HannieC played breathtakingly well at her piano recital today. She played a little quickly, but with great gusto and dynamic range. She got a good round of applause, not just the polite kind that is the norm at a children's music recital. And I'm not just saying that cuz I'm the dad. I rarely, if ever, am complimentary. That's one of the traits that the Mrs. CherkyD found so alluring. At first. Some kind of hidden childhood damage there, I imagine. Perhaps her mother, my only regular reader at this point, can comment.

You know, I kinda like piano recitals, if by "kinda like" you mean "doesn't make me wish for sweet, sweet death to rise up and deliver me from my pain". Which got me to thinking, why is that? Yes, Mrs. RR is a hell of a piano teacher, but I've been to many viola and violin recitals over the years where the teachers were quite good. Been to many where the teacher was the incomparable CherkyD, yet I've always ended up wondering if the FBI was right about the stopping power of the Federal HydraShok design by about the third child. With piano, that doesn't happen. I think it's because in a piano, you can't play out of tune.

So, to celebrate Mrs. decides we should all go out to dinner. So, being that I am generally a sane person, I figure it's either Big Dogs or MickyD's. Nope. It's The Cheesecake Factory.

What? We're not a bunch of middle-aged women. We're a family with children. Why would we ever think of going to The Cheesecake Factory?

"Well, they don't have a kids menu."

OK...

"But they can share something. And the deserts are really good. And if we get there really early, the line won't be too long."

Grate.

So we schlep ourselves down to the mall, park in the garage without incident, then walk the mile or two to the restaraunt. Inside, we are told immediate seating is available on the "heated" patio, but that if we wanted a table inside, it would be about ten minutes. Amazing how in one sentence, the very first sentence, someone can tell you two lies.

First, I have a lot of experience with "heated" patios. It was about 50 degrees outside. The patio was uncovered and unsheltered. Just a bunch of tables with a wrought iron fence around them. The patio had about 20 tables, and a grand total of 4 of those little propane heaters that look like light poles. You know. The ones that give out heat in about a 6 foot diameter. Everyone on the porch was hunched over, wearing their jackets, and looking unhappy.

But, of course, when I look around, I see about 30 people waiting for a seat indoors. Every table is filled, including in the bar. Ten minutes my ass.

But we hunkered down for the wait. CherkyD and HannieC looked at the desert display. It had about 20 different kinds of cheesecake, according to the labels. It looked to me like there were about three different kinds. Imagine, if you will, you're in the soda section of the grocery store, and none of the bottles have labels on them. Let's see, you've got your brown flavor, your yellow flavor, and your clear flavor. Now imagine it's cheececake.

So that keeps the womenfolk occupied for a good 10 minutes. But the menfolk are done in about 20 seconds. MaxieC decided to be a crazy child. So he's running all around and tugging on me and lying down and licking the floor. After about 15 minutes, a seat opens up and the womens sits themselves down on it to watch me and the crazy child. Then, HannieC decides crazy child should be a participatory, not a spectator, sport. So she gets all wound up. They each grab one of my hands and start running around me. At least in the same direction. But HannieC tries to lap MaxieC.

While spinning around, I take the chance to get a good look at the design of this place. Being a man, I've never been here before. This was HannieC's third trip, and The Mrs. has lost count by now. My first impression was that it was some kind of bad (or perhaps just cheesy) Las Vegas lounge design. But I later think it was more of an oddly-themed casino design. There are columns with strange flutes and faces at the top. The walls are mirrored. There is indirect lighting up on the ceiling. All it needed was the sound of the slot machines boinging away.

Finally, after about 30 minutes, the pager went off. That's when we learned that ten minues was a good estimate. It was just an estimate of how long it would be between when they rang our pager and when they actually seated us. Both kids were climbing the walls by this point, and I was ready to just go home.

I got the Hibachi Steak. It was quite good, though the sauce was a little too sugary and I tired of it before the end. The meal went the way all meals go. With The Mrs. and I eating as quickly as possible and taking turns walking MaxieC around while HannieC pushed her food back and forth on the plate and goofed around.

In other words, it was horrible. Just standard horrible, nothing exceptional. This is why we usually go to Big Dogs or MickyD's. The childrens can tolerate no more than 30 minutes of restaraunt experience, and we blew that in the waiting room.

1 comment:

FAT MOOTHER said...

You should have offered to cook at home. Cheaper, Faster, and better tasting. For example - you could have made pok and kraut - then everybody would be too busy on the toilet to bother you at all later.
I made the mistake of having that and two big glasses of cider with which to wash it down. Man- not 10 minutes went by when I was on the hot seat and remained there for a good 20 minutes, only to have a repeat performance about 10 minutes later. So you see, there are many ways to be left alone. Oh yes - YOU YOURSELF probably should skip dinner.

I didn't know that this blog was so top secret that one has to key in a word verification along with a username and password - jeez......