Most of the time, I really, really enjoy living in a small town. I do sometimes miss the things a bigger city has to offer, small-town living does have its benefits.
In the last few months though, I have discovered a quite unexpected downside to living in a small town with twin toddlers... In this small town, finding a restaurant that can accommodate our group for Sunday lunch (or 'dinner', as we say in the South!) has become a major ordeal.
Our usual Sunday group consists of my family (Jeremy, A & M, me, my mom, and my aunt) and BFF Kelly and her family (Kelly, her husband, and Wyatt). So, a fairly large party, but nothing outrageous. The important thing to note is that we need three high chairs for our group: one each for Addison, Mackenzie, and Wyatt. We start, and therefore, get out of church earlier than a lot of others, so we usually get to 'beat the crowd' to lunch. So, we shouldn't be too hard to accommodate, right? Harder than one might think, apparently.
Probably two Sundays out of the month we go to a barbecue restaurant about 15 minutes outside town. This is an out-of-the-way place that is small and family-owned. And yet, we have never had a problem getting a table large enough or having enough high chairs to go around. That's one reason I love going there...the food is good, and we know we can all fit easily and comfortably.
Other Sundays, we rotate where we eat, but we find that many other choices get old quickly and we are running rather short on choices in this town. There's a place with vegetable plate lunches, but not everyone is crazy about it, and to be honest, it's not the best food either. There are a couple of Mexican and Chinese places, but we all have to be in the right mood to agree on those meals. There are chain fast-food restaurants, but really, who wants that for Sunday lunch? Some of the smaller, more unique places in town are not open on Sundays, further limiting our choices.
There is one chain sit-down restaurant in town (yep, I'll just go ahead and say it: Ruby Tuesday) that has a good salad bar and should be a good choice for something a little different. However...they lost our business a few months ago when we discovered they only have 3 highchairs for the entire restaurant. Yes, THREE. We would take up every high chair they have just with our partyalone. And guess what? The last time we went, there was another family with twins in there, leaving only one highchair for three babies. How crazy is that? Jeremy called to complain about it, and was basically told that the restaurant felt that three highchairs met their needs. We haven't been back since.
This past Sunday, we decided to try something a little different. It would only be my family, since our friends are staying home adjusting to life with their new addition (which, if you're counting, will soon bring our highchair requirements to four!), so we took the opportunity to go somewhere we wouldn't normally go with our "large" group.
The first place we went was a place inside a large, old, Victorian-style house that has a yummy home-style buffet. I knew the tables were a little crowded, as there's not a ton of room inside, but I knew they would have plenty of things the girls could eat, which I hoped would keep them occupied while we crammed in a good meal. We got to the entrance and read the menu for the day's buffet. It sounded SO good, and our mouths immediately started watering. We tell the hostess we need a table for four adults and two highchairs, and guess what? They have ONE highchair remaining, of their TWO TOTAL supply of highchairs. About that time, another lady walks up to ask for a highchair as well. I told her she could have it, since we would not be able to deal with one kid having to sit in someone's lap.
Strike one. We left and went outside to debate our options.
We were very near another restaurant that is only open on certain Sundays, and this day happened to be one of them. I eat lunch there sometimes, and again, I knew it was a tight squeeze inside, but figured we could make it work...if they had enough highchairs. We walked the two blocks to the restaurant with Jeremy lamenting the wonderful lunch we had missed out on at the first place. When we got inside restaurant #2, it was crowded and all the tables were full, but we spotted two highchairs stacked in a corner. Score! There was also no one else waiting for a table ahead of us, and we saw that a party at one of the large tables was paying their bill and all holding to-go boxes. Obviously getting ready to leave, right? Oh, but noooo...not with the luck we were having.
Mom and I stood inside to wait on the table to clear out, while Jeremy and my aunt took the girls out to walk around the sidewalk. The group finished paying their bill, then settled back in to apparently catch up on all the week's gossip or something. We waited patiently for five minutes...then ten minutes, while they continued to sit as if they had all the time in the world. (Which I guess they did...they were all of a quite advanced age, and obviously had nowhere else to be on a Sunday afternoon.)
Eventually, Jeremy came in to check the status of the table, saying that the girls were getting tired and hungry. With pointed glances in the direction of our coveted table, I told him that we might as well give it up and move on. The older people at that table turned around to wave and smile at the girls, saying how cuuuute they were, but we just mumbled thanks and hustled them out of the restaurant...thinking, yes, we know they're cute, now get your butts up so they can be FULL and cute. It was not my finest moment.
So, strike two. Mom offered to take the girls home while Jeremy and I ate at the original restaurant, but by the time we got back to our cars, the place was packed and the line was out the front door. We gave up and had a nice little lunch at Wendy's, complete with a frosty for dessert. (My mom and aunt, on the other hand, drove to a new place in a small nearby town and had a wonderful home-cooked meal that they tried very hard NOT to rub in our faces later!)
Really, who would have thought finding a good place to eat lunch on a Sunday afternoon would be such an ordeal?? Maybe it's a sign I should start cooking at home more?
Nah, we'll just stick to our favorite little barbecue place that never lets us down!! : )