The Loooooooong Weekend

The big birthday weekend came and went, and I’m happy to report the house is still in one piece. We had a total of eight boys over on Saturday afternoon to celebrate A’s 5th birthday and K’s 3rd. Between the smash cars, water balloon drop, make-your-own cupcakes, and a piñata, I think everyone had a good time.

A’s actual birthday was yesterday, so we let him pick the restaurant for his birthday dinner. Among all the great options in this city, he was fixated on one – East Side Marios (hereinafter referred to as “ESM”).

I hate ESM. I’m generally not that fond of chain family restaurants, and ESM is easily the worst. We rarely eat there, and when we do, I feel sad about spending $50 on crappy food instead of going to an independently-run place that actually puts a bit of effort into its offerings.

So, I tried in vain to convince A that we’d have a much better meal at another restaurant. “Let’s check out the new Works around the corner. They have elk burgers!” “Wouldn’t you like to go to the New Mee Fung for some nice Vietnamese spring rolls?” Alas, all he wanted to do was have dinner at ESM and spin the birthday wheel to win a prize. Sigh.

ESM failed to live up to my already low expectations. The service was poorly coordinated, the meal I ordered wasn’t available, the pasta I ended up getting was mushy and bland, the salad was drowning in dressing…it was depressing. And for the pièce de resistance, the wheel of fortune that A had talked about for three days no longer existed. I thought the poor kid was going to have a major meltdown, but he was assuaged by the box of cheap birthday trinkets they brought over instead.

Still, that was the only downside to an otherwise spectacular weekend. We had a nice visit with Kyle, Sue, and my nine-month-old nephew Ian, went to soccer practice and swimming lessons, took A to a play date with his friend Dexter, and played some road hockey over at the park. It was the very picture of middle-class domestic bliss.

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