Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's So Much Better With Three

My husband and I had a plan on Saturday: take Monkey Boy to dance class, after which we would proceed to keep him busy and (hopefully) amused for as much as the afternoon as possible. On Friday evening, my husband announced that Monkey got to pick what we were going to do Saturday afternoon and asked for his preference. Monkey decided he would give us options (such a sweet boy!) and listed McDonald's, Redbox, and Old Chicago Pizza as his top 3 choices of things to do on Saturday. Two eateries and a movie - yes, perhaps we need to keep working on expanding Monkey's horizons. McDonald's is a NO from me 90% of the time, Redbox he & I have done a couple times this summer (plus one important part of the plan was to keep Monkey out of the house!), so Old Chicago Pizza won by default. Very scientific, no?

First up was dance class, though. While Miss Hilary put Monkey through his paces (I'm happy to report he has entirely remembered his whole Sword and is hard at working learning the first step of the Fling!), my husband and I headed for the nearby Edelwiss Sausage & Delicatessen, or "the German shop", as my mother referred to it when we were growing up, which has been a Portland landmark nearly as long as I've been alive (they opened their doors in 1982, when I was barely a year old).

Though he's heard about it for years and enjoyed their sausages on multiple occasions at my dad's house, this was my husband's first visit to the hallowed aisles of Bavarian yumminess. We picked up a few fresh pastries to take home, a process that involved m
y husband asking many questions and ooh-ing and aah-ing over the heavily accented answers from the dear German woman assisting us. I was not at all surprised that, by the end, she was cooing over him like he was her own darling son! Once the pastries were packed up, I led him over to the lunch counter, where I ordered a turkey & havarti sandwich and my husband got a bratwurst on a fresh roll - yum! Did I mention that, technically, this was our breakfast? Sometimes it's good to get all continental on a Saturday morning, I think. I remembered to ask for no butter on my sandwich and my husband did the same with his brat's roll. The woman seemed startled by the request, but politely complied. If my dad needs only one big sign that his daughters have acclimatized to American culture, I think that would be it - no butter on my turkey sandwich, thankyouverymuch!

After picking up a slightly stinky Monkey Boy (Highland really makes you sweat) we headed over to the Scottish Country Shop, where a fellow dance boy-mom had told
me she'd taken her son to try on various sizes of Balmoral hats. Can I just say, after 20+ years of being first a Highland dancer, then a Highland teacher, and now also a Highland mother, I literally have no idea where to start with outfitting a 7-year-old boy for competition? The male dress code is sooo much harder to figure out! Case in point: I assumed that the clerk at the Scottish Country Shop would know exactly what we needed when we arrived, Monkey in tow, and explained he was a competitive Highland dancer who had just aged out of Primary and was now a Beginner - wrong! Good thing I had taken a moment to look up the name of the hat style (Balmoral) before we left the house that morning, or we would have been completely out of luck. As it was, she left us on our own to figure out sizing, color, etc. My husband and I managed to find a hat that was just barely too big (several ladies in the know have advised me to purchase a hat with a finger's-space between the brim & Monkey's head, then take a stitch in the back so it will fit now, but also fit longer as he grows - brilliant!) but got stuck when it came to checked or plain. See?

...and assuming we can figure that out, then there will be the matter of the crest. What crest, exactly, is appropriate to display on the hat of a small boy who is Swiss/English/Irish/Welsh on his mother's side and African/Creole/Native American on his father's side, for the purposes of competing in Scottish Highland dancing? Does the United Nations have a crest, perchance?

For the time being, as he has at least a few years as a Pre-Premier dancer in his future, we've given him the choice of wearing a hat or not and, while Monkey enjoyed trying on the Balmorals and prancing in front of the mirrors, he has decided to go hatless for now. Phew!

Finally, it was time for the main event (in Monkey's mind, anyway) of the afternoon: Old Chicago Pizza on Stark Street, a mere stone's throw away from Mall 205 and my teeny little apartment, as well. Apparently, Monkey had heard about this place from one of the other boys in his theater camp last week and was eager to try it. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised to learn, as we were seated, that Happy Hour was mere moments away. At 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon, the bar looked like it was buzzing, but the restaurant itself was nearly empty, except for several friendly servers, a few other patrons, and several television screens showing live Olympics coverage. It was awesome.

My husband thought it was strange I took a picture of the Happy Hour menu, but I figured it would be good to keep on file for those evenings Monkey Boy & I really need to get out of the house. For less than $20 before tip yesterday, we were able to get a massive plate of nachos & a lemonade for my husband, a personal pizza & a lemonade for Monkey, and a frozen strawberry margarita & artichoke dip for me. Granted, the margarita tasted virgin (which is fine at 3 pm, honestly), but the artichoke dip was hot and delicious and came not only with toasted bread, but also with crudites for my dipping pleasure. Who knew carrot sticks and articho
ke dip tasted so good together?!?

The day came to a perfect end when, after running errands that evening, we came to a halt at a stoplight behind this car:

The "BAGPIPES: putting the fun back in funeral" bumpersticker was perfectly accented by the ubiquitous "Keep Portland Weird!" down below, don't you think? It certainly was a nice place to spend a relaxed Saturday with my boys.

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