From the Olive Garden to Africa

The good thing about having a boyfriend is that when your family makes its annual Mother’s Day pilgrimage to the Toms River Olive Garden, you have an excuse to cut out early.  The bad thing is that if your boyfriend comes from good stock, which The Wedding Date does, he’s going to have several grandparents of his own to contend with.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  On Saturday afternoon, I drove my brother’s truck into a wall.  A few hours later, I attempted to bake a double batch of butter pecan cookies (so that I’d have something to bring to The Wedding Date’s parents’ house) and even though I’ve been using this particular recipe since high school, the results were nothing short of horrific.

Later that evening, The Prodigal Son (aka Tech Support, aka my younger brother) came for a visit and because he’s now a long haul trucker and doesn’t make it home all that often, my mom made steak and steamed clams for dinner.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to actually eat dinner until well after 10pm because I had a show to review.  Said show was—to put it bluntly—not my cup of tea (call me crazy, but I’m not sure how a bunch of people running around stage with their tongues sticking out constitutes “art…”) but I’ll save that story for next time.

At any rate, I was not having a good day so when my brother turned to me and asked, “Is the store open?” I replied, “Yes, it will open at 11:00 and close at 11:05.  You have exactly five minutes to shop.”

The “store” is long held tradition in the Richter family, mainly because the men folk can’t be trusted to do their own holiday shopping.  Instead, my mother and I purchase the majority of the gifts and then my dad and my brother take their pick.

For Mother’s Day, I’d loaded up The Body Shop and Ten Thousand Villages and after a quick round of browsing, my brother elected to purchase a handmade, sequin necklace from India (which he then proceeded to “wrap” in a tote bag; fortunately I told him tote bag wrapping is absolutely unacceptable at his age and provided him with a roll of sparkly tulle netting instead because I’m that kind of sister.)

After a rather bizarre Mother’s Day breakfast (during which my brother made my mother a kale smoothie because that’s what she wanted) I decided to try again on the cookies.  And, because I like making myself stressed out on my days off, I also decided to make a custom wrapped floral box to house the cookies in the event that they did not die a slow and painful death this time around.  To further complicate matters, I decided after showering and shaving my legs and putting together an appropriately demure-yet-flirty Mother’s Day ensemble to wear to the Olive Garden that I really did need to wash my hair after all.

Why so much fuss?  Well, in addition to making the annual pilgrimage to the Olive Garden with my grandparents, I was invited to a barbeque at The Wedding Date’s parents’ house to meet his paternal grandmother.  (She lives in Colombia and is getting up there in years so it was a now-or-never situation.)

The afternoon began with my grandmother marveling over the bottomless breadsticks.

“Wowee!” she announced.  “It’s so big!”

“That’s what she said,” I muttered under my breath.

It ended with a game of Settles of Catan (which I won!) and several episodes of the Discovery Channel’s Wild Wives of Africa at The Wedding Date’s parent’s house.  I never knew Wild Wives of Africa (which features a lioness, a cheetah and her cubs, a female hippopotamus, etc.) could be so interesting but las abuelas sure seemed to think so.  I even learned a new word in Spanish: el diablo.  According to The Wedding Date’s paternal grandmother, it means “crocodile,” at least in the context of a wildebeest-eating-crocodile.  Maybe I should watch Wild Wives of Africa more often.

2 Responses to “From the Olive Garden to Africa”

  1. Landlord

    i make him healthy food that he will actually eat…you are both prodigal children 😉

  2. Rachel

    I love the idea of “the store” – everyone gets what they want.


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