Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Rose and Corn and diet Coke

It’s been quite the weekend. Busy is an understatement.

Friday night Sean took me out to celebrate our anniversary. Since moving, we’ve made a point to try new restaurants. Most have been good. Unfortunately, Friday’s choice wasn’t just bad; it was horrible.

The Golden Rose looked promising as we drove into the parking lot. There were at least 15 cars – usually a good sign. But when we walked inside, we only saw diners at one table; I have no idea where all the other people were.

There was so much wrong with the place I hardly know where to begin. The décor was definitely, shall we say, interesting. Well, not so much interesting as ugly. It looked like a golden rose had puked all over the walls and carpet. The floral wallpaper and pink carpet was from the 80’s country phase, and the tables were covered by rose-colored tablecloths. For some reason, there were 15 or so nutcrackers displayed along a ledge draped in fake pine needles with Christmas lights shining through.

A lousy atmosphere can be ignored if the food is good. Unfortunately, the food was as bad as the decorations. The problems began when we ordered our drinks; the waitress proudly announced they had Pepsi products. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but again, that kind of thing can be overlooked if… actually, that can’t be overlooked. Who would ever choose Pepsi or diet Coke?

Anyway, we stared with an artichoke dip. Apparently they had to harvest the artichokes from the field behind the restaurant because it took forever for the appetizer to arrive. And when it did, it was cold. We politely told the waitress and she offered to heat it up and put it in a to-go box for us. We just had her take it off our bill.

Then the entrees came. Sean ordered pork and I had the chicken. Both dishes came with mixed veggies and mashed potatoes. The veggies looked like they’d come right out of the can; they were small, diced corn, carrots and peas. The potatoes weren’t soft; you actually had to cut them with your fork and the texture was almost granular. Both the chicken and pork were smothered in a cherry sauce that completely overpowered the meats. All in all, it just wasn’t good.

But we had a ball! We laughed that yet again we’d gone to a place populated by the Golden Girl set. We reminisced about our wedding and wished we could be eating the dinner we served our guests that night. We talked about the ups and downs of marriage and parenthood. And when we left we went to Dairy Queen and got some ice cream. That was the best part of the meal. (By the way, I forgot to mention the butter was orange and flavored with maple syrup. Very scary.)

Saturday was supposed to be a leisurely day. I only had one commitment and was done with that by noon, so when Pamela called and invited us to a corn maze I said we’d love to go. As soon as I finished that conversation I called my Mom who had been trying to arrange a surprise trip to Atlanta for Michael to help her celebrate my Dad’s 65th birthday. Mom’s taking Dad on a Secret Destination and knew Michael would love to go as well. (I can’t reveal the location yet: tune back in Tuesday.) Of course, Michael would be flying stand-by, so as Mom and I looked at the flights we realized the only way for Michael to get there in time for Dad’s birthday would be if he left at 2:55 Saturday afternoon. It was 12:30.

So I hustled Michael around, yelling commands like, “Pack four outfits, one for church two for the plane, it’s going to be hot, take short-sleeve shirts, don’t forget your homework, do you have your history book, don’t forget deodorant!” We only had 20 minutes to get packed and leave. But we made it! I got him to the Flint airport just in the nick of time, the flight was wide open and he walked down the jetway like a big kid. I don’t even think I can use the term “kid” anymore. He actually looked like a young man. At that realization I burst into tears.

So I raced back home, running by Meijer first to pick up dessert for the evening with Pamela, Shawn and their family. I called Pamela to let her know Michael wouldn’t be with us and she wasn’t pleased. I knew her boys would be disappointed, but I wasn’t about to make Michael stay home to do the corn maze and not be with his grandparents. Let’s see: secret destination or corn maze… not a tough call.

Anyway, we got to Pamela’s and as we were readying to leave for the maze she became quite concerned that my cute little flats weren’t corn maze material. What’s the big deal, I thought. It’s just a field of corn. We’ll walk around a bit, come out, have cider and a doughnut and go home. No biggie.

I obviously had never been to a corn maze.

This thing was huge. Twenty acres of corn, with a maze plowed into it. I didn’t realize how big 20 acres were until that moment. And I definitely should have had on tennis shoes or boots. The ground was very dry and unforgiving. It took us 90 minutes to get through the thing, and at one point I was sure we’d have to follow the highway noise to get out of all that corn.

A corn maze is now something I can check off my list and never do again. Come to think of it, it was never even on my to-do list. There are some things this suburban girl just shouldn’t do.

Today had been lovely. We had a great morning at church where we went to a newcomers’ class. We’ve been visiting this church for three months now and I am amazed at how welcoming the members have been. Then we came home and had a relatively low-key afternoon. But that all changed when I opened my 24-pack of diet Coke.

I expected to see silver when I open the box of diet Coke goodness. But what I saw was pink. I thought, “Well, they must be doing some kind of promotion.” But upon further inspection, I found the can was diet Cherry Coke. The horror!

I called the 1-800 number on the side of the box and the very nice lady said, “I’m so sorry!” and proceeded to take down every number on the cans. Have you ever noticed how many numbers are on a can of diet Coke? Numbers on the top, the side, the bottom, numbers all over.

She said again how sorry she was and she’d be sending out coupons for two twelve-packs of diet Coke. That’s good, but what the heck am I supposed to do with eight cans of diet Cherry Coke? I decided to try one; I won’t do that again.

So now it’s almost 9:30; both girls are in bed and I’m soon to follow. It has definitely been a full weekend. I’m pretty sure I’ll need a nap tomorrow.