The Spaghetti Warehouse
Last Saturday we had tickets to see Monsters, Inc. on Ice at the FedEx Forum. My mom and my sister’s two monkeys were joining us. I had the brilliant idea of taking the monkeys (Satchel, almost 4, and Jiro, almost 2) on a trolley ride and then out to eat.
Where to go, where to go…The Arcade? Too slow…Joey’s Pizza? Too small…
“Let’s go to the Spaghetti Warehouse,” I said. “It’s right on the trolley line.”
“Spaghetti sounds good,” Warren replied. “The kids should like that.”
And we were off. We parked in the Spaghetti Warehouse lot, took a lovely trolley ride and then went right in the front door in search of food. We didn’t even make it to the hostess stand before the monkeys set off in different directions—Satchel and Sutton each mounted a motorcycle video game, Branch went to the restroom, and Jiro went to work on the M&M machine.
“This might be a little too kid friendly,” I moaned. All of my happy trolley feelings faded.
It was about 5pm and the enormous (they don't call it a warehouse for nothin')restaurant was pretty empty. We eventually wrangled the monkeys over to our table, which resembled a king-sized, brass canopy bed. (We couldn’t sit in the trolley section due to the fact that we were a party of seven.) The waiter gave all of the kids crayons and a placemat to color on. He also immediately presented us with several loaves of bread, bless him. Everyone stayed occupied long enough for us to order: Chili Spagehtti for Warren, Shrimp Alfredo for me, Cheese Pizza for Satchel, Spaghetti and Meat Balls for Jiro, Eggplant Parmesan for Gigi, Wedding Soup for Branch, and Chicken Strips for Sutton.
My two monkeys were pretty squirmy and uninterested in bread. We managed to corner Jiro so that he could only alternate between sitting at the table and staring at the baby behind us. Satchel unfortunately began to occupy himself by shredding his placemat. I started to feel a little twitchy.
I tried to engage the children in conversation until the food came and was somewhat successful, although some of my conversation involved saying things that I should have left in my brain(i.e. Why must I be wedged between the two monkeys? This is like my worst nightmare!).
In an effort to end the extreme squirminess of my eldest monkey I took him on a fieldtrip to the bathroom. The restaurant was starting to fill up and I had to walk fast to make sure I didn’t lose Satchel in the crowd. Inside the bathroom were moms and children of various ages in various stages of diaper changing and hand washing. I chatted with a woman about my ski cap while making sure Satchel didn’t gratuitously touch things.
When we got back to the table, the food had arrived and Warren had switched sides to give me a little more room. Jiro immediately shunned his spaghetti and went to work on my alfredo. Satchel picked at his pizza. Everyone else seemed to be well on their way to a happy plate.
I just noticed that the rabbi that married Warren and I was at the table next to us with his four grandchildren when Satchel looked at me and said, “I just pooped in my pants.”
I’ll admit it. I freaked out. We just went to the bathroom!
To make a long story short, Warren accompanied Satchel back to the bathroom, Gigi braved artic winds to retrieve a pair of Sutton’s backup underwear out of her car (neon green with flowers), and I attempted to get the four remaining monkeys to stay still and eat without drawing the rabbi's attention. (I’m not sure who got the short end of that stick.)
I thought I was doing a good job on my end until a nice woman from the next table came over and said, "Did you know your little one was walking around over there?"
Luckily, our diligent waiter came by often to check on us and provided top notch service. I had a scowl on my face the size of Texas which seemed to scare him a little. He was probably overcompensating because of this, which is the only thing that saved me. Bad service would have been the straw that broke this camel's back.
By the time we left, the restaurant was teeming with children in Monsters, Inc. hardhats (they must have seen the early show) and there wasn’t an empty chair in sight.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one with grand plans.