You may have noticed the older two children were excluded from our Petsmart shenanigans. They were with the grandparents. Since the cupboards are bare, the older two were awol, Cathy and I aren’t masochistic enough, and kids eat free at IHOP, we decided to go out to eat dinner. We have two IHOPs in town; one has good service, the other is close to our house. We chose close.
Molly is remanded to the car where I fully expect her to rip into the unopened bag of dog food. Being attentive pet owners we ran out of dog food so she has not eatten her normal meals today. Noah is sent in to request four and a half seats. We get the pleasure of sitting by the window that the car is parallel parked against just so Molly can go crazy trying to figure out how she can get to her people that she can clearly see 10 feet away.
Along our wall are four booths. The first booth has a single child family. I know its a single child family not because of the one child but because the one child, slightly older than Evan, is wearing a bib and both mom and dad, sitting across from one another, have one butt check hanging off seat so they can best hover over the child. We on the other hand have our infant with no bib, tearing a napkin to shreads, eating the paper and being allowed to eat the eggs his sister keeps slipping him. Mom sits nearest the window away from the infant in that “my nipples are sore just being near your teething mouth! I need a break!” demeanor while Dad, that’s me, sits on the open end of the booth so that I can jump up and get the condiments and refills of drinks that the wait staff is neglecting. Meanwhile our boy is bebopping in his seat, occasionally breaking into song and having a strong urge to wrestle his three year old sister. His sister, by the way, is sprawled out in the seat with her head hanging into the isle examing how the world would appear upside down. Evan flirts with the girl in the high chair from the first booth; she waves back at his winks.
In the booth between the two families, sit three college students. I know they are suffering but I feel no pity. True college students go to IHOP at 3am! Around the corner another family with child in high chair.
Let the games begin! Before we were seated, Cathy took Amy to the bathroom. Now it is my turn. To get to the bathrooms we walk through the smoking section. Someone has smoked something sweet. I look down when I hear Amy coughing to see her pinching her nose (cute!). I move her hand away and warn her not to say it but she blurts out, “something stinks!” We get to the bathrooms. They are one seaters with one lady’s room and one men’s room. I assume the lady’s room is a single. We get in the men’s room and Amy gruffly states, “I don’t want this one. I want the other one.” She crosses her arms and wrinkles her face then loudly says, “this one smells worse than the other one. I want the other one!” I try to explain that we can’t do the other one. As she breaks into outright shouting and screams I feel the urge to spank coming on but I know that won’t help. Instead, I ask, “Do you really have to go?” She nods but won’t use this bathroom. We exit…the building. I go to our car but our family misses the opportunity to be greatly confused. I sit her on the bumper of the car and explain that men cannot go into women’s restrooms. Finally she breaks. We return inside. She sits on the potty and with all her might squeezes out two drops of urine. I was screamed at for two drops!
Now recall that Noah shoved his face full of Oreos then lied about it. Surprisingly he eats a good meal. Of all things, a cheese omelette which is remarkable because if cheese even brushes his hamburger he will turn it away. It was another great adventure. As we leave the hazmat team arrives to bus our table.
By the way, Free Pancake Day is coming:
FREE PANCAKES! NO STRINGS ATTACHED!
On February 28, 2006 from 7 AM to 2 PM IHOPs across the country will celebrate National Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) by offering our guests a free short stack of pancakes*. This is going to be our biggest one day celebration in our history.
National Pancake Day has a rich history that stretches back centuries and has always been a time of celebration. National Pancake Day always falls on Fat Tuesday and this year it will be a celebration at IHOP.
So gather your friends, family and neighbors and come to your local IHOP and enjoy a short stack of pancakes on us. All we ask is that you consider making a donation to a great charity like First Book or other local, worthy cause. Where else would you celebrate National Pancake Day than IHOP? See you there.
* Limit one free short stack per guest. Valid for dine-in only, no to go orders. Not valid with any other offer, special, coupon, or discount. Valid at participating restaurants only, while supplies last.