Who Needs White Water Rafting When You Can Take The Kids To Applebees?

Last week, the kids were supposed to go to their dad’s on Wednesday, but his house was attacked by the dreaded Stomach Flu, so we got to keep the kids for an extra couple of days. Since the kids are growing and may secretly be Gremlins, they’ve been eating NONSTOP. Dinner on Wednesday night was either stale crackers and Twizzlers or Applebees.  

We chose Applebees.


Tuesday Night is Family Night there. We’d already experienced the depressed Balloon-Animal Maker. Thankfully, he wasn’t there when we showed up since it was Wednesday and not Tuesday, but there was an assortment of slowly shrinking balloons at the front where the kids were told they could take one. These, I guess, were the rejected balloons from the night before. I’m pretty certain there’s nothing worse than rejected animal balloons.


My son took one that looked like this (except without the stickers):

I said.... “Uh”….and our waiter quickly said: “Uhm. That’s a Poodle that got untwisted. See? It’s half a poodle. It’s a poodle. I swear to god.”


“But it looks like a…”

Then my son started shooting with it. “Look, Ma!” he said happily. “A bazooka!”


Thank you, Applebees.


We then sat down. The kids crawled all over us like puppies. I’d once told them this and said “I’m really glad you’re not puppies.” They asked me why. “Because puppies eat their own poop, and I just can’t handle that.”




The waiter came and took our drink orders. I’d had a particularly stressful day of dealing with students who couldn’t write papers because of panic disorders, third-degree burns, and video game carpal tunnel, followed by narrating at a studio where I read a sex scene and the engineer was all “You sound so sexy” and I was all “Uhhh…I’m just reading what’s on the page”… and so the kids got Sprite and Lemonade and Kealoha got a diet Coke and I said “Mommy wants a gin and tonic. A big one.”


I’m pretty sure the bartender saw my son shooting a gigantic dick-bazooka and my frazzled expression and hair and decided to skip the tonic. It was a blessing from the gods. Thank you, Applebees.


I don’t know what happened next. I do remember that my son tried to shoot at me and I told him, “Do not shoot at your mother!” I paused, took a sip of my drink, then said, “Shoot at your sister.”

Then I PROMPTLY apologized and explained to the waiter that I didn’t mean any of that, it was just an irresistible joke-plum, and when they dangle on the tree in front of you, you just have to go for it.


The kids ate fish-n-chips and Kealoha and I devoured some kind of appetizer platter with forty different things on it and then I ate a Cowboy Burger where, I’ll note, I did NOT say “Yippe-ki-yay, mutherfucker” in a nod to Bruce Willis.

I thought it though.


The kids were charming and entertaining. Kealoha was sweet and supportive. Our waiter was cracking up over what a nutball I was, and when the meal was over and I unbuttoned the top of my jeans, we all drove home together (except the waiter stayed at Applebees) in a cloud of happy post-meal endorphins.


And when my son was asleep, I let the air out of the dick-bazooka. No one should get shot with that thing. I mean, NO ONE.