So, last Friday. The kids had a great time! They spent the eventing at Auntie M's new house where she has set up an entire room for them. Their special room-at-auntie's is outfitted with sleeping bags, new toys, games, craft supplies, and books. I picked them up at around 11 p.m. Friday night and they were sweet and sleepy—Thank you Auntie M, for taking care of Rosie & Dash! I piled them in the car and headed home and all were abed before midnight.
Auntie M was babysitting so that Monkeyrotica and I could attend a party. Mr. Monkey's car battery was dead, so he spent his day thusly:
5:30 a.m. leave the house for dealership to beat Beltway traffic.
7:00 a.m. dealership opens, wait for hours on end, listening to gawdawful Xmas tunes
12:00 p.m. leave dealership and spend a few hrs grocery shopping among foul-smelling denizens of NoVA, head home to pack up car with kid-entertainment items
4:00 p.m. pick up son, pick up daughter, travel the Beltway for 90 minutes.
5:30 p.m. obtain food for offspring, drop them at Auntie M's, spend 45 mins in tollroad traffic
6:15 p.m. pickup wife, inform her that going to a party is the last thing he wants to do after driving around in traffic since 5:30 a.m.; wife ignores Mr. Monkey, she looks party-fabulous and ready for fun!
[UPDATE: I had to add here, that there are no photos of this event. It's my own fault, as I couldn't find our camera anywhere that morning. I texted Monkey before he left the house and asked him if he knew where the camera was. He replied yes, he did know. There you go.]
Here's where a series of weird, annoying things happen in which steam blows hard and heavy out of Mr. Monkey's ears. We get to the party at the appointed time, check in, but the bars don't open until 7. We check our coats. A fire alarm blares and we are directed to leave, so we uncheck our coats and go outside for 20 minutes. By the time we get back in and re-check the coats, the bar is not quite open and we really need drinks. waaaait...Bar Open! A friend orders a Southern Comfort from the hotel lobby bar. The bartender doesn't know what that is (or a few subsequent drink orders) so we all order vodka tonics, just because she knows that one (don't bartenders need to be licensed?). We sit for a while, because the ballroom doesn't open until 8, but boredom sinks in and we wander the lobby. Since Monkey and I arrived in separate cars, neither of us plan to drink heavily.
At 8 p.m. we are all allowed to enter the ballroom, a.k.a. the refrigerator. All the ladies promptly don their date's jackets. I find a seat, then reach for my condensation-beaded water glass which shoots out of my fingers and sprays water and ice all over the table. No servers in sight. There are a few speeches and lots of clapping. 9 p.m. comes and goes as some servers start mysteriously arranging and rearranging trays around the room. A D.J. starts spinning some holiday music. Monkey continues to clench until Dave Brubek's Take Five plays, which relaxes him a small bit.
At 9:30, a server comes to our table with a tureen of soup. Did I mention that our place settings have no bowls? No mind, she pours fishy-smelling soup into the charger plates. I ask, "Excuse me, what kind of soup is this? My husband has a shellfish allergy." The server answers, "Soup? Yes." Another server comes to take the soup-on-plates away, as others are bustling around with bowls. Monkey doesn't get to eat the lobster bisque. There's a mildly funny interlude in which Monkey gives her back his bowl several times and she keeps handing him fresh bowls of bisque. "I can't eat this!" and "Severe shellfish allergy!" are not in her vocabulary. There is no beverage service (if you need a drink of any kind, you must leave the ballroom and find the bar out in the lobby).
9:45, the salad course is served: mixed greens, with strawberries and candied walnuts (if you're lucky—one person at our table only got the greens). We wait, and wait, and make awkward conversation about how hungry everyone is and how nobody thought we had to wait until 10 p.m. to eat on a Friday. One tablemate threatens to leave and get food at McDonald's if the main course doesn't show up soon. At 10:10, covered platters are spotted, emerging from the catering area.
10:15 p.m. Our surf and turf plates arrive! The two jumbo prawns feature grandly atop every item underneath. Oh, wait. Monkey can't eat them either. Suxxorz!! Ignoring the flames pouring out of Monkey's ears, I sacrifice my mini-mignon filet, take his prawns and we scuttle out of the ballroom as soon as we are full.
Bust. At least we didn't pay for a sitter? Next time Monkeyrotica tells me that he really, really wants to go home and that going out will suck, I promise to be a better listener.
Julia Denos: Fashion & Children’s Illustrator
10 hours ago