Well, my parents left this morning.

Before my Dad got into the car he pressed two twenties in my palm.

"I want you to do something for yourself," he said. "You do so much for your family but you deserve to do something for yourself."

I squeezed the bills and gestured to my hair. "I just got my hair done.." I reminded him.

Dad gave me a half hug. "Get yourself something nice." He gave me a wink and moved to the side of the house to smoke.

My Dad is a smoker but he's a polite smoker. He's never smoked inside the house or in a vehicle. When he's finished smoking, he always washes his hands and pops a piece of gum into his mouth. I think he's embarrassed that he can't seem to quit. He's tried so many times.

I went to give my mom a final hug and thanked her for the cash.

"That was your father's idea," she said with a small edge to her voice. Probably because she knows I have a clothing obsession and assumed that I'd run off to Gymboree the minute they disappeared down the street.

And okay, the thought DID cross my mind. I don't call myself a children's clothing addict for nothing.

But I'm going to honor my father's wishes and buy something for myself.

Probably books.

I have so many books that I want that are coming out this month.

I want these two:

I saw the first one at the bookstore and read the flap. It looks interesting. Though it only has 3 stars out of 5 on Amazon. I suppose if I don't like it I can list it on eBay or offer it on here for $10 plus $2 shipping.

"Don't forget to make a dentist appointment," Mom said, wagging her finger at me.

"If Tricare would pay for drugs to knock me out, I'd go," I argued.

Mom shook her head. "Just suck it up and go."

But I can't. I seriously have panic attacks. I wish I had a celebrity friend who would loan me their dentist who would KNOCK ME OUT for free.

"Just try to go," Dad said in a soothing tone.

It's funny because most people were afraid of their father's growing up. But not me. It was my Mom that terrified me. Since she was an officer in the military she'd have her hair pulled back in a tight bun and always looked serious all the time. Remember, my dad stayed at home with me while my Mom worked. It's why it upsets me so much when people talk about how wrong it is for a woman to work outside of the home. I automatically take it as a personal insult.

And then my parents were gone with a final honk before they turned the corner.

But before they left, they also let us go on a date on Saturday. We went to Mondello's, a local Italian restaurant.

It's not kid friendly. It was apparent when there were no high chairs or booster seats to be found when we walked in. So we'd never bring the children there.

The place was decorated with photos of Italy and had a string of white lines on a grape vine around the room. Italian music played softly in the background. There was only one other couple and they were seated in the back, talking over a basket of rolls.

We were seated towards the middle by a bored looked teenager dressed in black. She sort of shoved the menus into our hands and then laid down a wine menu.

"Wait," an older woman said, clunking out of the back. She peered at Tom and I. "Are you old enough to drink wine?" She was mainly talking to me. Because people can't believe that I'm 25, soon to be 26.

"Er yes. But we won't be having wine," I said. I still don't have a taste for it even though I feel like I SHOULD like it since it's a grown up drink and all.

The old woman took the wine list back and pursed her lips at me as though she thought I were still lying about my age. Then she asked what we wanted to drink.

"A diet coke," I said.

"Just water for me," Tom said.

Both the teenager and the old woman walked away, leaving us with the menus.

"This place is family owned," Tom whispered to me. "That old lady is the owner's wife. And I take it the waitress is her kid."

There was another boy sitting at the table near the back with a head of dark hair. He looked to be around 12 or so. Probably a son of the family because the old lady shoved our drinks into his hands and instructed them to bring them over to us.

"Awww," he grumbled, getting up to his feet.

He shuffled over to us and set our drinks down.

Then he shuffled back to his seat.

I found this a bit comical. "I guess the kids are pissed that they have to work on a Saturday night," I muttered as my eyes scanned the menu.

There were SO many delicious choices.

And it's all authentic Italian. Not fake Italian like Olive Garden tends to do. Not that I'm knocking Olive Garden. I lurrrve Olive Garden but I also love the real stuff.

Tom got pasta with this vodka sauce.

I got this dish with garlic and tomatoes and onions..

I forget what it was called.

It had a fancy Italian name.

The teenage girl came back over and asked what we wanted.

We gave her our orders and she was about to walk away. But then I saw on the bottom of the menu that our dishes came with either a salad or a soup. I pointed it out and she looked confused.

"Huh?"

I pointed. "It says we get soup or a salad."

"Huh?" She blinked rapidly a few times.

"Soup..or...salad.." I spoke the words slowly so they would seap into her thick teenage brain.

She seemed to finally register because her eyes widened. "OHHH..right..soup or salad?"

I asked for the soup and Tom asked for the salad.

"Be right back!" she told me and then went into the back.

The sullen boy appeared a few minutes later with a basket of rolls.

"Sorrytooksolong," he whispered, clunking them onto the table and then heading back to his table.

Okay then.

The teenage girl came back a few minutes later with our soup and salad.

My soup was delicious.

Tom asked for a regular coke and she once again looked confused.

"But you have water," she said, pointing.

Tom nodded. "I know," he said, speaking to her like he speaks to our young children. "But I'd like a coke now."

She stood for a few seconds and then nodded. "A coke. Okay."

And then she was gone again.

"If I had known that me wanting a Coke would cause so much confusion, I'd have stuck to my water," Tom said, digging into his salad.

Which was also delicious.

The service there was fast.

Ten minutes later our main courses arrived.

Tom's coke still had not arrived.

"Do you need anything else?" the teenager asked.

"Yes. My Coke please," Tom said.

Once again..a baffled expression. Then she snapped her fingers. "OH. You asked for that before, didn't you. I am SO sorry!"

It was another ten minutes before she actually brought it back.

Oh well.

What made it worth it was the food.

My dish was amazing.

I took a bite of Tom's pasta too. And again. Amazing. Tom is used to me taking bites from his plate. It's just something he's used to. When we were first dating he looked surprised when I'd swipe a fry but didn't say a word until after we were married. I went to take a bite from his plate and he placed his palm over my outreached hand.

"Why," he asked calmly, "do you always take my food?"

"It's just a bite," I'd remind him.

Now if I don't take a bite from his plate, Tom looks surprised.

(Though when I take a bite of his food I always think of that Friends episode where Joey freaks out when someone takes food from his plate. He shouts, "JOEY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!" I half expect Tom to shriek, "TOM DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!" one day.)

I'd go back to Mondello's despite the confused waitress.

Because the chef back there knows how to cook.

Yum.

Here are photos of Natalie:

Changing her spot.

Then I switched her into this shirt I got her. But I'm not sure if I like it because it hangs down low:

Yo peeps.

I'm outta here.

 

 

 

 

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Comments:

E.D.I.
Jun. 3, 2008 at 7:05 PM she is such a cutie

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