Friday, September 5, 2008

What a difference a decade makes

What a gigantic letdown.

I can't help thinking, "He was psyched for that?"

In effort to make Jer's birthday special, Allison and I skipped our morning nap -- which I desperately needed after only five hours of sleep -- and instead drove to Jerry's office to surprise him after work and take him out to lunch.

Then it pretty much went downhill from there.

Jer had mentioned he would prefer dinner at home because we get nights together so infrequently, so I thought lunch out would be a nice treat -- Jer's choice.

He was pumped and eventually settled on a local sports bar that has killer sandwiches. But on the way, he spotted Hoss's -- the grammatically incorrect all-you-can-eat country kitchen buffet which left such a bad taste in my mouth the first time we went four years ago that I've refused to go back since.

"You said I could go anywhere, right?" Jer asked with a grin, spotting the football field-sized sign from a mile away.

"Oh god ... alright," I said, reluctantly turning into the parking lot.

The things you do for love.

Grabbing the diaper bag and Allison from the back seat, Jerry was thrusting his cast in the air with exuberance. "HOSSSSSES! WOOOOOOOT!"

I just smiled. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

Inside, the strangest thing happened. It was exactly as I remembered it -- dark and completely outdated -- but I can now overlook all that because a salad bar is the perfect thing for a baby who is experimenting with table food. Even better? No wait.

Allison sucked down peas, strawberries, wheat crackers, honeydew melon, cottage cheese, noodles from my soup, bits of cucumber, tomatoes, chick peas, hunks of my chicken tenders, Jello, mandarin oranges and anything else we tossed her way.

She was happy, I was happier and Jerry was, well, uncomfortable because he ate too much.

"I can't handle buffets like I used to. And has it always been this dark in here? It's like a Vegas casino. You leave and you're blinded by sunlight like you've been living in a cave for a decade."

I just laughed. He was right. BUT OUR BABY LIKES IT.

Apparently it was a big fat letdown of a lunch for Jerry, so I held off telling him that I'm ready to place it on high rotation among our occasional dining out spots.

Afterward, my idea was to stop at the grocery store and have Jerry pick out whatever he wanted me to make him for dinner and top it off with a dessert from their amazing bakery.

After selecting a cheesecake and the makings of kebabs for the grill, it sort of, kind of turned into a regular grocery run. On his birthday. Exactly how all people want to spend their birthday, right? Stocking up their fridge after being away for a long weekend?

Hot and tired with a cranky baby who desperately needed a nap, Jerry and I retreated back to his office to get his car and drive home separately and completely exhausted.

He was on three hours of sleep after staying up the night before for his fantasy football draft. I wanted to crawl into bed too, but Allison got all the rest she needed on the long drive home, so she was raring to go as we struggled to keep her away from the dog food bowl while putting the groceries away.

After presents, a quick trip to Jer's mom's house to cut into the cheesecake and another drive home, the thought of dinner was so far off our radar that we both just wanted to collapse into bed.

Which is exactly what I let him do. At 7:15 or so, as a final lame-ass birthday present, I told him I'd stay up and take care of Allison's nightly routine.

I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, but I remember my final thought being how I ruined Jerry's birthday by trying to take him out to lunch.

This morning, I discovered a few sticky notes attached to a kitchen cabinet written in shaky all-caps -- probably with his cast hand.



One thing's for sure: Turning 31 is WAY different than 21.



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Erinn said...

I remember Hoss's from living and visiting PA. It was my favorite place to eat. I do remember it being old, dark and the floor was always nasty. But you could get what you wanted from that salad bar. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

Gisela said...

didn't we go to hoss's's's'ssss together and swore off of it?

if not, i remember doing the same.

ps - I love you dearly, and please don't kill me, but it's chick peas. Chic is what i'd use to describe you, though!

novelle360 said...

*slaps head*



Ray said...

I said a big, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW" at the end of this post. Jerry is so sweet. And I absolutely love the way he leaves you notes.

But just remember, his birthday isn't over yet, there's still the Steeler's game! =)

Take, care.

P.S. You're right though. A decade makes a hellauve difference when it's being compared to your "old" lifestyle.

Kristin said...

That place sounds gross =P


jsi said...

Hoss's has an impressive salad buffet.
But I avoid it like the plague.
You're right, a decade many a giant difference in the way you celebrate.
Cool set-up to Jer's birthday including a solar systemial holiday.

the plainsman said...

A decade of life on top of twenty years equals much life lived. We change, hopefully grow, and what we value changes as well. The Hoss experience was no doubt great back when, but clearly that guy who shares your roof now values the time his family is together the most, no matter the location or the activity. :o)

TarHeelKate said...

Aww! Happy birthday to Jerry! :)

Ray said...

OMG, I didn't see the photo at the end when I first commented on this entry. Jerry looks SO young for 31! And I love how Allison's helping him open his gift. Awwww!