It started off innocently enough.
We had decided to eat at Chili’s. I was thrilled because it meant that I didn’t have to cook. Everyone else was thrilled because it meant that they didn’t have to eat what I cooked. So really, a win-win situation.
We were led to a booth and given the menus.
“Should I have the jalapeño bacon burger or the sirloin steak?” I said out loud. I took an air bite and imagined myself eating each dish and tried to figure out which one excited my stomach more.
“Stop doing that,” Tom hissed at me from across the table. He was watching me from over his menu.
“I have to figure out what I want,” I explained.
The waitress came over and asked what we wanted to drink.
I wanted strawberry lemonade. But I really am trying to watch my calories. You know, since bathing suit weather is approaching. During the cold months I can stuff my face and hide the excess fat with oversized shirts and pants that are a few sizes too big. But when it gets warm and the fabric of clothing becomes minimal, well, you really can’t hide the flubber so well.
So I ordered a diet coke. I probably should have ordered water. I could have saved two bucks on the drink and money is something else that I need to be saving.
Because shopping season is approaching. Actually, to be honest, shopping season is probably every few days for me. But next month I’ll be going to the Mall of America and I need the extra dough.
The waitress went to retrieve our drinks and I was still contemplating on what I wanted to get.
Tom calmly shut his menu and rested his hands on top of it. He always knows what he wants after only glancing at the menu for a few seconds. I wish I were able to do that. I usually look at various dishes and it’s like, “Mmmm, that looks good.” Then I move onto another dish and then I’m all, “Oooo but it’s chicken with corn on the COB slathered with mouthwatering seasoning!"
I was so busy determining what I wanted that I barely heard Tommy say,
“I have a question.”
I assumed the question was going to be a simple one. Like, sometimes he’ll ask if he can go to the moon and I'll explain that he has to be an astronaut to do something like that. Or become insanely rich. I imagine if you handed over a wad of cash to the astronauts that they’d bring you to the moon.
Maybe he’d ask why his Daddy leaves his dirty socks all over the house. I wonder the same thing. My response would have been, “Actually, son, this baffles me too. Your father knows where the laundry room is. He knows where the laundry baskets are. Yet he to continues to toss his socks on the floor.”
But no. Tommy didn't ask a simple question this time.
What he asked was:
“Where is Max’s penis?”
Max, by the way, is our cat.
And he said this right when the waitress brought our drinks over. Her eyes got all big after Tommy asked the question and I could see a smile beginning to form on her lips. Actually, she has more willpower than I do. I probably would have burst out laughing and then covered it up with a fake cough or something.
But because it was MY kid that said such a thing, I was immediately embarrassed. I felt my face grow warm and I muttered thank you to the stunned waitress who appeared to not know what to do next. She pulled out her notebook and filled the shocked silence by asking if we knew what we wanted.
Tom, he was a little appalled. It looked as though he had been slapped or something. He opened his mouth to say something and then closed it again. The waitress stood there awkwardly and I HAD to break the mortified silence so I said that I’d have the sirloin steak.
“How would you like that cooked?” the waitress asked in a wobbly voice. She definitely was trying hard not to laugh. I could just tell from her expression.
“Medium,” I sort of croaked out.
I picked my two sides to accompany the steak and then explained that Natalie would have the grilled cheese (though I wonder why I even bother getting her something as she just plays with most of the food) and then I found myself saying,
“And the penis will have a hamburger.”
The waitress emitted a funny noise then and I realized what I had done.
I had been so stunned over Tommy’s casual use of the p-word that I had called him one. When I get flustered I’ll say the strangest things.
“I mean!” I quickly corrected. “I mean, TOMMY will have a hamburger. No cheese. Plain.”
At that point I just wanted to slide down under the table.
Tom was still gaping at me with a mixture of horror and amusement. He quickly gave his order and the waitress scurried away. I saw her hunched over with her notebook pressed in front of her mouth. I imagine she burst into laughter as soon as she got back into the kitchen.
“I can’t believe some of the things you say sometimes,” Tom said, shaking his head. And then he looked over at Tommy and reminded him that talking about male genitialia wasn’t appropriate the dinner table.
“But we’re at a booth,” Tommy responded knowingly. “I just want to know how Max goes pee.”
So I sort of started mumbling about how Max’s penis is tucked in and sort of comes out when he uses the bathroom and Tom was shooting horrifying looks at me and gesturing for me to stop talking about such things.
But really, Tommy was just curious.
And what sort of mother would I be if I didn’t explain how Max urinates?
When our food was brought out I noticed the waitress didn’t want to look us in the eye. She sort of plopped our food down and asked the floor if we needed anything else.
“We’re good. Thank you,” I said and forced a smile as though nothing amiss had occurred. What? What do you mean that my son asked how his cat peed? I think you’ve mistaken us for another booth.
My sirloin steak was delicious by the way. I took a bite as I cut up Natalie’s sandwich.
“All done,” Natalie said and tried to escape.
All done? She hadn’t even had a bite yet.
I always try to get her excited about food. I’ll start to talk in this scary high pitched voice and say things like, “Wow! Your food looks YUMMY. How about we have a BITE?”
Of course Natalie looks at me as though I’ve completely lost it. But sometimes I can get her to take a bite.
In the middle of eating and trying to get Natalie to eat, I felt Tom’s foot press against mine. My heart leapt with joy.
He was playing footsie with me!
We hadn’t played footsie in....crap, I couldn’t even remember. Probably when we were dating.
So I gave Tom a wide smile and reached out and caressed his hand lovingly.
Tom gave me a bewildered look as he chewed his mini buffalo burger and I nudged his foot back with my own.
I felt his foot on mine again and this time it felt more forceful. Silly Tom, sometimes he doesn’t know his own strength. But still, he was being so romantic playing footsie with me after all.
“It’s so sweet of you to play footsie with me,” I told Tom in a seductive voice. I even batted my eyelashes at him.
Tom still looked confused. “I wasn’t playing footsie with you,” he said bluntly. “I was trying to get your feet out of my area.”
You mean...he was PUSHING my feet away? He WASN’T playing footsie with me?
I puffed my lower lip out. “I thought you were playing footsie,” I explained.
Tom made a face. “Why would I do that?”
I don’t know. To be ROMANTIC?
“To be romantic,” I blurted and then pushed around some meat on my plate.
“That sort of thing is done when people are dating,” Tom said.
I shook my head. “It could be done when you’re married,” I replied in a sad tone.
Then a few minutes later I felt Tom's foot against mine.
"Tom, my feet are on MY SIDE," I snapped, not even bothering to look up.
Tom's sneaker tapped mine.
"TOM!" I shrieked. "If I move my feet anymore I'll be under the booth!"
I mean honestly. He can't have ALL the space. I get that I'm only 5'3 and he's six feet and that he probably needs extra room. But I can only give so much! Just because I'm small doesn't mean that I'm not entitled to proper foot space.
"No," Tom said in an irritated tone. "I'm playing footsie with you."
I looked up and frowned. "So I'm getting pity footsie now?" I asked dryly. "No thanks." Then I gave his foot a forceful kick of my own. He could take his footsie and SHOVE it.
"Oh. Stop it. You know I love you," Tom said and wiggled his eyebrows up and down. Then he flared his nostrils at me which isn't fair, because he knows that it makes me laugh.
He did make it up to me though.
He took me out to get some ice cream.
And really, ice cream makes everything better.