Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day madness

Spouse decided to minimize the potential frustration of having to interact with this deadbeat brothers by spending just Mother's Day, instead of the entire weekend, at his mom's. This made me happy, and allowed us to enjoy a great Sat together at home.

We left Sun morning about 9:30 and arrived at Spouse's mom's shortly after noon. Moments after we got there, Spouse's sister Mary and her husband and 3 kids walked in the door, having just come from church. We sat around and talked for awhile, then Spouse, Mary, her daughter Anna, and I went shopping for last minute Mother's Day gifts. We were successful at the first store, then dropped Mary and Anna off at their house.

We met at the restaurant at 3:00. When we told the hostess we had a 3:00 reservation for 11, she was unable to find any record of it. I was still not feeling well (sinus trouble) and could feel myself getting irritated much sooner than I normally would. Fortunately the hostess was able to a push together the necessary tables in a relatively short amount of time, and we were all seated.

Just my luck, I wound up at the end of the table, next to the wall, with Spouse's chain-smoking alcoholic brother directly across from me, and his soft-spoken sister-in-law next to me. I began to dread the entire event and tried to think of escape methods that wouldn't seem rude. Coming up with none, I resolved to keep my seat and just 'get through it'.

About 10 minutes later a waiter appeared and introduced himself as Carlos and said he's be taking care of us today. He took for our drink requests, then said we could help ourselves to the brunch buffet. This struck me as odd since the sign out front indicated the buffet ended at 2:30 and it was now after 3:00. Spouse's sister Mary told Carlos the waiter that we weren't getting the buffet, but would be ordering off the menu. Carlos said that since it was Mother's Day, they were only serving the buffet, and that we could not order from the menu. I reminded him the sign out front indicated the buffet was over at 2:30, but he insisted that was our only choice. This kind of inconsistency ticks me off even when I'm feeling well, so you can imagine how I felt that day.

Mary had called on Fri and was told we could order from the menu if we came after 2:30 when the buffet closed. In fact, she specifically did not want to pay the $28. per person (for her family of 5) for the buffet; hence the reason for her being so specific when she called and made the reservation, which was apparently in vain.

As the kids and a few adults headed toward the buffet, Mary caught the attention of the manager and explained the situation. A few waiters/waitresses apparently stopped to find out what was going on, and by the time I got there Spouse's mother and a few others stopped to listen and lend support. Other diners barely had room to squeeze by so I decided to return to the table.

A few minutes later Mary and the others returned to the table and said that the manager confirmed that the buffet was over and that we should be ordering from the menu. He said he would straighten it out with Carlos the waiter. Meanwhile, the kids and a few of the adults returned to the table with their plates of food from the buffet! (The manager had said there would be no charge for the buffet food, since the waiter had incorrectly sent them there.)

So 5 out of 11 people at our table had plates full of food and began eating it so as not to waste it. I was not one of them, but wished I was, since it was well after 3:00 and I had nothing to eat all day and was starving. Fortunately, a few minutes later a young woman came with several baskets of bread, but no bread plates! Grrrr... Doesn't everyone who works in a restaurant know you shouldn't serve bread without a bread plate? I was trying to hold my bread and open the little pat of butter without dropping either of them. I finally laid the bread on my napkin while I opened the pat of butter.

After a few nibbles of bread to calm my barren stomach I wanted a sip of that water I'd ordered nearly a 1/2 hour ago. We still didn't have our drinks yet! It was exactly then that I decided I was never returning to this stupid restaurant ever again in my entire life, even if it was the last restaurant on earth. Maybe I was a little cranky from being sick and/or hungry. We'd been in the restaurant for 3o minutes when our drinks finally arrived and Carlos the waiter finally took our orders. Then Spouse's mother opened her gifts.

After the bread was gone Carlos the waiter returned with olive oil and small saucers. At a nearby table he filled the saucers up with olive oil, presumably for us to dunk our bread, which we had already eaten. But he filled the saucers so full that he began dribbling oil on the floor as he tried to transport the overflowing saucers to our table. I just rolled my eyes and wondered what ELSE could make this meal an even greater fiasco. I didn't have to wonder for long.

A large party that included an infant and a toddler was seated at tables very close to ours. Before long the infant started crying. Then the crying turned into screaming. It was hard to believe a child that small could make so much noise. We could barely hear each other speak above the noise. But do you think the parents took the infant out of the dining area until the infant could be quieted? No. They just added to the noise by making "ssshhhh" sounds.

Our food finally arrived and I found it ironic that those who had already eaten a plate of buffet food were the first ones to get their entrees. But the rest of the food soon followed and we began to eat. My food was barely room temperature so I checked with a few others who also said their food was not hot either. I decided against reporting this to Carlos the waiter since he wasn't nearby, it would likely take forever to get the food back, and I was starving.

Then the toddler from the table behind us starting getting restless. She wanted to get down and run about the restaurant, despite her parents' stern requests that she behave. As little children often do, the girl threw a temper tantrum and began screaming/shrieking, so much so that I involuntarily turned around to see if something terrible had happened to the child. Do you think the parents took the toddler out of the dining area until she could be subdued? No. Instead, one of the parents proceeded to spank the child while seated at the table! Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for spanking children. But take that child outside to spank her, so as not to disturb everyone else's meal! The spanking caused the toddler's temper tantrum to turn into waves and waves of desperate sobbing. I was just inches from scolding the parents for ruining my meal, but decided against it. That day I simply didn't have the fight in me.

After we'd finished eating, Carlos the waiter came back to see if we were interested in coffee and/or dessert. I almost couldn't believe my ears when I heard my own voice say "No, thank you. Just the check" without even consulting the others at our table. But I was so 'over' it all that I made an 'executive decision' and everyone agreed.

We returned to Spouse's mom's house and talked for about 1/2 hour before saying our goodbyes and getting back on the highway to head home. Spouse & I agreed that we would be in charge of selecting the Mother's Day restaurant next year. Fortunately the drive home was uneventful and went by quickly.

Crush du Jour: Bryan Cid


A Lewis said...

Unpleasant, irritating, and horrible -- along with a pile of other adjectives. I absolutely hate those sorts of fiascos. But once so much happens, it becomes a comedy of errors instead of a problem. I'd never go back to that place. And the children thing....not so much for me....I'm obviously getting old....

cb said...

This is why I'm grateful to be an only child. And single. And sans children.

Bugsy said...

Sorry to hear that your trip didn't go so well.

We took my Mom to brunch at Freddies. We had fun and it was tasty.

Java said...

Oh my stars. What a disaster. But hey, you survived and got some great blog fodder in the process. Here's hoping next year will be better.

Jeff said...

Oh. My. God! I'm very sorry you had to endure it, but it made for a very funny story!

Unknown said...

And you thought his family (unemployed brother) was going to ruin your Mother's Day...Obviously, it was that little child on the next table and the lousy (and lazy) waiter.

Bob said...

Was it Mother's Day or Murphy's Law Day?

Victor said...

My goodness, the lunch from hell.