Rubik has his cube. I prefer rearranging furniture…

I don’t know if everyone is the same (and I highly doubt it,) but I rearrange furniture depending on the seasons.  Not ALL furniture, mind you.  There are rooms that work one way, and one way only; the dining room and the master bedroom are pretty much arranged in the only ways that actually work for each space, or -correction- the only ways we can agree are viable for us.  J’s bedroom, J’s TV room, and the living room are fair game, and I rearrange them as the seasons are about to change.

Last week I rearranged J’s bedroom, and he was very happy with how it turned out; J is like me in that sense: he likes to mix things up once in a while.  Today I rearranged the TV room, and it was like Christmas morning for J.  He came home to find his stuff moved, dusted, cleaned, spiffed up…  I know he liked the way it looks because he kicked me out of the room faster than you can say BYE!

This is the next step in the whole “Getting Ready For Summer” groove…the first step was prepping the garden, and now the inside of the house is going into Summer Mode.  The grill is getting a workout, and Dada is out there cooking more often than he has in months; he doesn’t mind grilling when it’s cold, but he does mind grilling when there’s snow up to his knees.  It adds difficulty, he says, to properly moving around; I think it’s just plain silly to grill something that will be cold by the time you bring it into the house.

TGG’s twenty-third birthday was on Friday, and we went out to dinner as a family.  This, of course, is a momentous occasion, and not just because of TGG’s birthday.  We, as a group, were braving a Friday evening ritual that many find daunting even in the best of circumstances: sitting down to eat in a public place. Because we had J with us, and because we wanted this to be a pleasant experience, we decided to go as early as possible.

Dinner outings have never been particularly successful with J.  Lunch has become par for the course, but dinner is another matter.  I can’t count how many times we’ve had to say “can you please pack our order and bring the bill?,” or asked to be served in installments so one of us can eat while someone takes J outside.  Lunch is easy…lunch we conquered a while back.  Dinner…dinner is the monster.  Dinner is Moby Dick.  Dinner scares us.

Well, SCARED is a more correct term.  We actually successfully had dinner (AND appetizers) on Friday evening.  When we left the house, J said HOT DOGS, but we weren’t planning on that sort of meal; we were going to brave the menu, appetizers, and the whole shebang.

We picked a place that is familiar to J.  He likes to sit on the bench and wait for our to-go order when we go to the Thai restaurant in town, and he likes the food we bring home.  He also has enjoyed their live music as we wait.  The waitresses know him, and are always kind to him while we wait.  Off to the Thai restaurant we went, J wearing his Panama hat (a new weekend wardrobe fixture for him,) and the rest of us with fingers and toes crossed.

There was live music.  We arrived to find the musician setting up, and we got a big table near the stage.  J removed his hat, said hello to the room, and we ordered appetizers.

Mind you, this is a delicate dance…we want to make sure that we eat the meal in stages, as it is meant to be consumed.  In the past we’ve had to eat our appetizers, and request the rest of our order to be packed to-go.  This time we made sure to remind J that this was just a start to our meal, and he acted accordingly; first he ate the carrot garnish for every appetizer plate they brought us, and then he proceeded to try every single appetizer we had ordered: chicken wings, crab rangoon, and calamari.

Dada ordered a curry dish, and TGG and I ordered noodle dishes.  For J we ordered tempura shrimp with vegetables.  J ate eggplant, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower without batting an eyelash, or dipping them in sauce.  He also ate all these BEFORE he even touched the shrimp on his plate.  Wonders never cease!  If you’d told us a year ago that J would be going for veggies (even in garnish form) before going for meat, we would have shaken our heads and wondered if you’d lost your mind.

We believe!  We believe!  WE BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!

We had a nice, happy, leisurely birthday meal, and J enjoyed the whole experience.  The guitarist played songs J likes, and his original material was quite pleasant.  J clapped between songs, and left a nice tip in the glass jar the guy had placed near the microphone.

At the end of the meal, the waitress brought TGG a nice cup of fried ice cream, and she brought an extra spoon for J.  Our kids, it seems, are known for their closeness to each other, and the waitress (who has seen them interacting with each other when they go to pick up an order) said maybe they could share it.  Because J had never tried this, he approached with hesitation, and then -realizing how truly yummy it was- he and TGG tucked into it with gusto.

We walked back to the car as the sun was setting.  It was move-out weekend for the college; the streets were quiet, and the weather was lovely.  J had his Panama hat on, a smile on his face, and a belly full of delicious, healthy food…and we had a drama-free meal…

It’s no surprise that the rest of the weekend was equally fine, is it?  J did, after all, put on his size 40 pants on Sunday…and had to hold them up during an entire outing…

Yeah…life is good.



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