I write this on Halloween, at 8:50 PM. We're in Huntington, West Virginia at a Holiday Inn. Owen is sleeping next door with his grandparents, and Joel is asleep in the TV room section of our suite. Paul is doing his persnickety pre-race ritual, which involves the ritual laying out of the clothing, the preparation of the bagel/banana combo, and the obsessive counting of the goo packets. All of these actions give him a bit of security before he heads out tomorrow morning to line up for the marathon.
Of course, the switch with Daylight Savings Time has thrown him off. We had to check the newspaper, CNN, AND call the front desk to be assured that he would be at the right place at the right time. And still, we're having the alarm clock go off at the appointed time and we're actively considering the back-up wake-up-call.
People that train for months and choose to run 26.2 miles are allowed these minor eccentric quirks.
Going out to eat with Joel is a bit of a nightmare. Because we're traveling, we've had a least two meals a day in sit-down restaurants. As soon as we place Joel in the high chair, he immediately starts waving his hand back and forth frantically. This is Joel-sign-language for "All Done." Or, in other words, "Get me out of this high chair immediately! I've got shit to do----tables to upend, toilet rolls to unwind, dirt to eat. Now, WOMAN!"
Ahhhhh. Joel's like the abusive, demanding boss I've
He quickly escalates from the relatively sedate arm-flailing to the more obnoxious Sam Kinison yelling. He'll yelp. Fiendishly. All attempts to pacify him with milk, crackers, or toys are rebuffed with EXTREME PREJUDICE. He'll toss aside the sippy cup or the soup cracker with a hand swipe and a "Bitch, please!"
So, this is the part of the evening where one of us removes our delightful child to the lobby to play a rollicking game of Climb on the Benches. If the weather is nice, we may go outside and play Pick up the Gravel, or, if we're especially lucky, Eat the Cigarette Butts. We continue this until I am ready to take up smoking myself, and return inside, where, BECAUSE GOD LOVES US, the food will be ready.
Then, we typically shovel in the food in a race against time before Joel begins round two of the madness.
As I write this, I'm reminded of a conversation I had last weekend at my college reunion. A child-free friend asked, "You can still go out to eat and stuff when you have kids, right?"
I think I said something like, "Yeah, if it's something quick like Mexican food or a buffet." I'm a dirty, dirty, liar.
I should have said, "You can enjoy all sorts of delightful restaurants, as long as you eat sub sandwiches from WaWa and Pumpkin Muffies from Panera Bread. And NOTHING ELSE." That probably would have been a more accurate response.
Yet, there are benefits to Joel's ill-tempered dining habits. Last night, we went to a place called Longhorn Steakhouse because it was close to the hotel, and Paul needed to eat a sweet potato (long, boring running reasons.) Joel began his usual hoo-ha, so out we went. We came back inside, and the food still wasn't there, so we returned to the lobby to climb on more benches and smile at the hostess. We returned to our table a second time, and our food was there.
Moments later, the manager came over an apologized for the thirty-minute wait. I didn't really notice the wait, because when you're traveling with a fifteen-month old, all waits seem interminable. We certainly didn't complain or act huffy. Nevertheless, he COMPED our ENTIRE MEAL, including my two 16-oz Yuenglings.
Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. Our entire dinner was seven dollars, all thanks to our son, Attila the Hun.
Tomorrow, we will see Paul run his race. I hope to give a full race report then. Also, don't forget to comment on this post for the possibility of a Starbucks gift card!