When it comes to balancing each other out, Tracey and I are a great pair. For example, usually, when one of us comes up with a particularly stupid idea, the other will veto it with a short reminder, based on past experience, of why the idea is a non-starter.
For example, tonight, when I suggested Chinese for dinner, Tracey could have said, “Remember the Dragon.” Only she didn’t.
And when I could see Tracey starting to balk and toying with the idea of stopping at a supermarket on the way home to pick up a pack of snags, I pulled out my trump card. “We can order Lemon Chicken.”
But even with what I’ll call the Lemon Chicken Incentive she usually would never have agreed to go.
The Dragon is our favourite Chinese restaurant in town: they do the best Lemon Chicken. A few years ago we took our little family there, back when there were less of us, and our children managed to spread the rice from their bowls to, I swear, every corner of the establishment. And I’m including the toilets.
“This is why we don’t have carpet in the dining room,” Tracey remarked.
When we were leaving, Tracey stayed behind to clean, picking the rice out of the carpet. Not off the carpet – out of the carpet.
“You no worry,” they told her, in a poorly written and boarderline racist accent. “We do. You go now.”
They really were wonderful and didn’t appear at all worried, so we went home to try scrape the rice out of our children’s hair before bed.
Which was all well and dandy, only the next time we went there to order dinner….they’d replaced the carpet. In fact, the whole place had been renovated.
“You don’t think they had to do this because of us,” I said to Tracey.
“No, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence,” she assured me with absolutely no conviction at all.
And I’m not saying they looked worried when we arrived at their door, but I think I detected a definite air of relief when I ordered takeaway.
So while we’re a little wary of taking the kids to a restaurant, we’re especially wary of taking them anywhere they serve rice.
But not tonight. Tonight was throw all life experience out the window night.
And I have to say, on a positive note, when the meal arrived I was quickly reminded of one of my life’s great moments: the day Tracey and I tied the note. Because there was so much rice being thrown around it looked like we were at a wedding.
I smiled at my wife. “This is so relaxing,” I sighed sarcastically, and just happened to notice a family group sitting at a table behind her. There were three kids aged about 8 to 12 in this little family and they were all sitting straight backed and using utensils.
I glanced down at my lot – down, because I was racing around our table variously playing the roles of waiter, cleaner and security.
Miss3 was spitting some of her meal back onto her plate and Miss1 had just grabbed a handful of rice from her bowl, which I suspect if I hadn’t wrestled it from her she was going to try throw across the table into Miss6’s mouth. Again.
I glanced at the mother of three who was still looking at us. “Don’t worry,” she smiled encouragingly. “It gets easier.”
Yeah, well you know what? That hasn’t been our experience.
But I smiled and nodded at this lovely woman and her encouragements, and turned to my wife.
“I think we’re done,” I said to Tracey. “Let’s eat the rest at home.”
So I took the kids to the car while Tracey stayed behind to pick the rice off the floor. Off the chairs. Off the table.
“You no do that.” The nice lady rushed out from behind the counter. “We do that. You can go. Please. Go. Thank you.”
It seems she really wanted us to go. We suspect if down the track we forget the reason why we don’t go to restaurants with the kids, she’ll remind us.
And if you’re local to G-town and you happen to wander past the Chinese in Mary St and they’re replacing the flooring, you’ll now know why.
When not checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’