Our week in Myrtle Beach was alternately terrific and terrible. Days at the beach were beautiful and calm, with LM playing in the sand or running into the waves. He enjoyed the pool, perhaps a little too much – trying to keep him from jumping in and drowning turned a relaxing swim into a stressful situation. But the worst of it was the sleeping – or lack thereof. Every night, without fail, he’d wake up, get out of his blow-up toddler bed and shake the gate in the doorway to his little room off the master bedroom where we were sleeping (OK, OK, it was a walk-in closet. What’s wrong with that? We kept the door open. No judging, please). Lest he wake up my in-laws in the next room, or the entire condo complex, we’d take him into bed with us. This led to him nursing all night long, and me not getting any shut-eye until my mother-in-law took him at 6 am. Then I’d sleep until 10 and bemoan the fact that half the day was wasted. All because of a little monster who normally sleeps through the night with no problem at home.
We were vacationing there at the same time as Foggy Daddy’s best friend and his family, so the four adults were supposed to have a double-date night with grandparents watching the kids. But due to unforeseen circumstances, FD’s friend and his wife couldn’t make it, so we decided to have a date night of our own. And I knew just the spot. On our first evening, we had gone to Wicked Tuna, a restaurant in my one of my favorite spots anywhere on earth, Murrell’s Inlet. It’s a collection of bars and restaurants along a walkway over the marsh, with live music, arts and crafts displays and general merriment. Somehow I had never been to Wicked Tuna, and when we were seated at a table along the restaurant’s outside deck railing, it was heaven – except for the fact that we had LM with us (in fact, we spent most of the night alternating taking him outside). The atmosphere was elegant and relaxed. Live music wafted up from the reggae band below. Our waitress brought out our oysters from the raw bar right away “so they would be really fresh.” It was a perfect spot to be sans kids. So for date night, I wanted to go back alone.
Well, let me give you some advice if you ever go to Wicked Tuna. Make sure you get a seat along the outer edge of the deck. The inner portion of the deck, while still outside, is under a covered tarp, and, as I learned when we were seated there for our date night, has a completely different atmosphere. It felt like a family joint, busy and loud and not elegant at all. Why oh why didn’t I say anything when the hostess showed me the way to our table while FD was parking the car? I had gone in before him to make sure we were on time for our reservation, but if I had just waited and parked with him, someone else would have gotten the table under the tarp and we would have gotten the table along the deck’s edge that opened up minutes later.
This is not a life-or-death problem. This is what they call a first-world problem. In fact it’s probably not even a real problem. Yet it continued to bother me all night. It bothered me that we were the only couple seated in that section – all the other tables were loud, big family groups. There were dirty napkins on the floor. The waiters rushed by, oblivious to the dirty napkins. Instead of the live band, all we could hear was pumped in crap from the restaurant’s sound system. I still had a sort-of view of the marsh, if I looked out over the heads of the noisy families and the lucky couples seated at the choice tables. Didn’t the restaurant know we we were on date night? Didn’t they know that we, as a party of two, would not want to sit among the crowd but rather where we could feel like adults in an adult world again? Why couldn’t I have just opened my mouth and said something while I had the chance?
Another person might have said, Screw it, I’m enjoying date night no matter where I am, because wherever that is, it’s away from my kids. But I see date night as once-in-a-blue-moon-so-it-better-be-perfect-dammit kind of thing. I tried to relax and forget about where we were seated. I tried to look on the bright side, that at least we got to experience the outer deck once on the trip, even if it was with LM. I tried not to chide myself for not speaking up. But the fact that our water took awhile to get our drinks, and then forgot our appetizer, didn’t make things any better.
I started to feel like Alexander from one of LM’s current favorite books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: “My drink was too strong and my risotto was too dense. There were dirty napkins on the floor and I hate dirty napkins. Foggy Daddy’s entree was better than mine and I didn’t like the music and the kids from the next table were too loud and it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad table.”
FD thinks I’m crazy when it comes to tables in restaurants. If I don’t like where I’m seated, the whole meal is ruined for me. I considered it a huge achievement when, on vacation in Anguilla, we scored the best, literally, the best, table in the house at the famous restaurant Blanchards.
I think I have a problem.
After our appetizer came out at the same time as our entrees and I finished my dense risotto (I didn’t understand it – I had gotten a different risotto when we had been there before and it was perfectly creamy) and my strong drink (which likewise had been perfect before) we left our not-so-great table and walked along the marsh. People were listening to live music, wandering around with their drinks, playing corn hole, fishing and watching the boats come in. I finally began to relax and enjoyed the last minutes of our date night. It wasn’t a total fail. Just a semi-fail.
Are you chill during date nights or do you feel like everything has to be perfect? Do you just feel lucky to be out of the house without your kids?