Last weekend, we took a road trip to Oklahoma. Caelan's racing season will be starting in a couple of weeks and we needed to get his car to Factor One Racing to have some safety equipment installed on it.
So we didn't have to get up at 4 AM on Saturday to drive to Broken Arrow, we drove to Joplin Friday night and stayed in a hotel. Shawn said he'd treat us to dinner at Red Oak Steakhouse while we were there.
Eating at a nice restaurant always leaves me feeling conflicted. I'm wild about great food but I always worry that I'll stick out like a sore thumb in a 2-fork restaurant we've never been to. I worry so much about whether my top is non-t-shirt enough to "dress up" my jeans that I neglect to make sure my kids are wearing clothes that don't have any holes in them. They usually are. I worry about Shawn asking me what Béarnaise Sauce is and someone hearing me say, "It's this sauce that looks like something the dog threw up," because I can't get past that aspect of it. I spend too much time wondering if anyone thinks we look like a modern day version of the Clampets. So imagine my delight when I walked into Red Oak and saw, mingled in between the few tables of people wearing shirts that cost more than my entire wardrobe, someone wearing sweatpants. And I saw jeans. Lots of jeans and t-shirts. I immediately relaxed. And I didn't feel a bit embarrassed getting out my camera to snap a photo of the light fixture above our table.
I didn't get a bit embarrassed that I had to take photos of Caelan through his water glass when he tried to hide from my camera.
Nor when he tasted my Roasted Duck and immediately said, in all seriousness, "I just became a duck hunter."
I was too embarrassed to get out my flash, even though I obviously needed it.
I relaxed and enjoyed the Calla Lilies, my favorite spring flower, on the table.
And I wasn't embarrassed to mention that the size of my baked potato made it look more like a meat loaf. Or a loaf of bread.
Not only was I relaxed, even though I couldn't get out of value-menu mode and make myself order the Duckling special (1/2 duckling in puff pastry) because it cost almost 3 times as much as the Rosted Duck, I did step out a bit and eat (and very much enjoy) a sauce called Blueberry Gastrique. Gastrique. Am I alone in feeling that word is perilously similar to gastric juice?
And I was proud of myself for supressing my value-menu-violation radar by not pointing out that Shawn's asparagus spears (the menu is a la carte) cost $1 apiece. My restraint was rewarded when Caelan was presented with a piece of cheescake that appeared to consist of at least two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese. We recouped some of our losses on the asparagus.
Caelan and I spent the rest of the evening in the hotel room watching TV. Oddly enough, before we went to dinner we were watching Pretty Woman. Talk about standing out like a sore thumb everywhere she went! We watched our first 2 episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I don't get all the hype. And I did some hand quilting on a wall quilt I'll be sharing soon.
We spent many hours in the truck driving over those 2 days.
I read most of this book. Great book if you have young children you still have influence over. I have a feeling it would just fill you with regrets if you have an older child you're having problems with.
And I finished this one. I cannot believe I didn't read this until I was 38 years old. Loved it.
So, Oklahoma, we enjoyed our trip to your state. We didn't mind making the choice to drop $150 for gas to travel to your state. We didn't mind making the choice to spend $140 in one of your restaurants. We didn't mind spending $20 at Braum's (although we did mind the 5-minute show the cashier/malt maker put on digging clear to his brain for a bugar while sitting at one of the tables on his break.) We didn't mind the $120 a night hotel rate. We weren't even inclined to complain about the $2000 we spent supporting one of your businesses.
However, being forced to spend $20 in toll fees to drive two 15 minute stretches on your roads, I can sure think of a lot better ways for you to say "Thank you."