Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Birthday Week
Jennifer Flaten

As for my birthday, yes, I am still talking about it. Me and my birthday, that’s all I talk about these days. You’re darn lucky I couldn’t afford a skywriter

In fact, I plan to talk about my birthday for the next four days because it will be another year until I can again, really four more years, before I can legally blather on and on about how super special it is to be a leap year baby. Anyway, since it is a milestone birthdays, I went out to a, drum roll please, real restaurant.

I mean a restaurant that uses authentic napkins, china and the meal doesn’t come in a cardboard box. I’ve heard of such places, but with three children could only dream. Imagine eating at a place where the smell of French fries hasn’t permeated everything including the salads.

Finally, I know the joy of eating a meal that doesn’t come with a cheap plastic toy. Although, this particular restaurant had paper table clothes or maybe that was just for me. After escorting me to the table, the server rushed off to grab a huge sheet of paper, which she smoothed down over the regular tablecloth.

I hadn’t even ordered, yet. I am sure if I would have ordered something, messy like lobster, yes, it is messy the way I eat it, or spaghetti she would have come back with plastic to cover the booth and me. I‘ll take all the help I can get.

I must admit it was nice to have something to doodle on while waiting for the food. It is a good thing I always carry crayons in my purse. The downside is occasionally I write a check in crayon, which the cashiers do not find amusing. 

It was very nice restaurant, but I did spend the entire meal expecting someone to ask me to cut his or her meat. I also blurted, “Get off of there,” once or twice. I developed that tic, probably because I have children.

Although the meal was delicious, did I mention the crème brulee, it was lacking in excitement. Usually, our meals out are a race against the clock to see if everyone finishes their food before management asks us to leave. You think I joke: there are several eateries we can’t step foot in, again, due to unfortunate “accidents” involving chicken nuggets and the ceiling fan.

Meanwhile, as I was eating a quiet meal, the kids were planning a “surprise” birthday party for me. If you’re keeping score that means I had two desserts. Yes, it is hard to plan a surprise party for your mother when you are under the driving age.

By tacit agreement, I pretended I didn’t know they were planning a party. I just ignored the paper plates, napkins and streamers they loaded into the cart last shopping trip.

After returning home, I was surprised they didn’t burn down the house while I was gone, or convince the babysitter to invest in a parcel of land they have in the everglades. I caught her just as she was going to sign on the dotted line.

My kids have a future as event planners, the house was decorated quite nicely, there was a cake with candles, the small amount, not the large amount; I know I am full of hot air but not that much, and I am pleased to report that the cat eluded capture and didn’t end up the centerpiece.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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