(View from Sat. night’s meal)

Ahhhh. Welcome back to reality. If I had any doubt that our girls’ weekend was over, last night’s meal solidified the fact. Was the food delicious? Sure. Sister Save-A-Lot helped whip up a keeper: pork tenderloin, rice pilaf and amazing sauteed corn (with a little squash hidden in the mix).

But the presentation and wait staff … well …. might have been a little lacking. Okay, non-existent.

Compared to Robin’s (our waitress) lovely presentation on Saturday night of the yummy Italian meal, this week’s paper plates and sliced apples don’t sound too appealing.

A delicate taste of tuna began our last Arizona evening (lovely, but not a fav for the mater haters in the crowd).

followed by a beautifully plated salad,

all complimented by great service, amazing pasta, and decadent dessert (vacation = dessert … and again, no pic due to the fact it was inhaled!)

But, with all its beauty, ambiance and tastiness – it still barely holds a candle to the sweet welcome I received on my door as I made my way to the house.
It’s Thursday. I still haven’t taken it down :) In fact, I might keep it one more day.

Enough about the weekend. I’d like to share two things today.

First on the house-keeping front, I’ve changed the blog’s comment section to hopefully be much more user friendly. I’m so sad that many of you have tried to post comments and gave up, frustrated by the need to enter a password, join something, or know a secret handshake. This new “comments” widget should offer a friendlier forum for all of us to discuss what works and what doesn’t in this parenting life-stage. Please try it out and let me know what you think.

(Also, don’t forget we have a terrific group of women, and their husbands, on call for any issues for which you might need some wisdom. Check out the “Ironing Board” page to see who’s on deck. They’ve been super helpful to the gals that have tapped them so far. Just email me or post it on the comments and they will get you an answer.)

Second, I had one of those pit in your stomach realizations today having to do with our meal-time experiment. As many of you know, the kids have been cooking dinner and handling the subsequent kitchen cleaning duties. At the onset, I told them they had the option to “order out”. If they opted to take-out, I agreed to spot them the $10 a home-cooked meal would likely cost, but they had to pay the remaining balance. As most of you know, too, Teen Take-Out has purchased all but one of his meals. So, not only has he run through his cash (I was hoping for a good lesson here), he has been hearing and buying a message neither of us anticipated. The dreaded message that he can’t cook.

Everyone else has fumbled through their creations. Sometimes hitting a home run, sometimes creating a concoction to which we smiled and tolerated. Whatever the case, they tried.

Consistent with any work situation, success and failure shared the spotlight. Lessons of perseverance, forging uncharted waters, problem solving, and selling techniques (especially on Wednesdays when we saw the same dry pasta four times) presented themselves. The kids that worked, reaped the reward. The greatest of which centered on self-esteem. The result of hard work. The result of not quitting even though your pizza tasted “interesting”. The result of trying again and getting several thumbs up.

In the same breath, my guy that I’ve allowed to skate through reaped none of the rewards. Worse than that, he not only felt left out, but heard that terrible message that never needs words … “you can’t do it”.

It’s at these points that you back up and start over. Chalk it up to good intentions, ditch any possible guilty feelings and begin again. Next week Teen Take-Out will cook a meal whether he wants to or not. He might fight me (on the outside). But I know that deep inside, he will be relieved to finally be able to commiserate with the other cooks and to be proud of whatever he creates. … Plus, I know that my ace-in-the-hole girls will, without prompting, heap the praise no matter what the menu holds. I can’t wait.

Thanks for walking the road with me.
:) Kay

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