Restaurant Wars

Of all the questions Americans grapple with, there’s one that pops up more frequently than the rest: “Where do you want to go eat?” Deciding should be easy. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from. But when two or more people are involved in the restaurant-picking decision, things can easily go off the rails. The problem has everything to do with “food moods.” Finding two people in the mood for the same food at any given time is tricky. The more people you have in the car, the harder it is. I’ll demonstrate with the following conversation: “Where do you want to go eat?” “I don’t really care. What do you want?” “I’m kind of in the mood for [...]

Parent and kids post reviews on each other

As most parents know, one of the requirements of the job is to drive. Especially as kids get older and have more activities, the driving demands go way up. Often, time alone in the car with a kid can produce some of the best conversations a parent ever has. But sometimes, the miles are long and the conversations are either brutally brief or non-existent. During one of my recent trips, I started wondering what it would be like if moms and kids could post reviews of each other – much like drivers and riders do on transportation apps like Lyft and Uber. Here are a few of the reviews I imagine you’d see from both sides of the car. Review [...]

Pillow Talk

Well, we did it. We thought about it for a long time but something always held us back – vanity, frugality, perhaps a desperate grip on the last remaining scraps of our youth. But now that we’ve done it, we love it so much we don’t even care what it says about us. We are the proud new owners of an adjustable bed. The first time I saw a remote-control bed was during the 1980s. There was a TV commercial showing a white-haired couple lying in bed looking about 200 years old. Then with the touch of a button, their magic bed slowly raised them to an almost-sitting position so they could eat stewed prunes and watch the Lawrence Welk [...]

Raised right on the road

Last week I wrote a column called “Ways to know someone has been raised right,” and I added three things to the list. Here are three more “raised right” behaviors I bet you’ve seen on the open road. No. 1: People who have been raised right let people in. When you’re stuck in the turn lane and there’s an impossibly long line of cars coming in the opposite direction, you pray someone will take mercy on you and let you out of your turn-lane purgatory. Someone who has been raised right will stop and (if it’s safe) wave you through. I have no scientific proof, but I like to believe in “driving karma.” If you’re the kind of person who [...]

Raised right

We went to dinner recently with my parents at a restaurant where you place an order at the counter and then get your own drink. Tom and I were pulling extra chairs up to a table for the seven of us when we noticed a man put a cup of water down in front of my mother. He asked if she’d like a lemon and she said “Yes, please,” so he went back to the drink station and fetched a lemon wedge for her. He didn’t work at the restaurant, and I didn’t recognize him. I assumed maybe he was a friend my mother knew from work or one of the many people she has met during her job as [...]

You and your dog have matching personalities?

People say that, not only do you start looking like your spouse over time, you also start looking like your dog. In an experiment, people can often match up dogs with their owners simply by looking at their pictures. And now, researchers say even our personalities mirror our dogs in significant ways. This information worries me, mainly because our dog, Charlie, is a borderline menace to society. So what does that say about us? Thankfully, what Charlie lacks in basic rule-following, he makes up for in cuteness. He’s a tri-color dog with velvety soft ears and a pointy black nose. He is a true “mixed breed” rescue dog. Our veterinarian’s best guess is that he’s part Beagle and part Italian [...]

Tribute to Monopoly’s Nimble Thimble

Another small piece of my childhood will soon be a victim of so-called progress. While reading the news last week, I stumbled across an article that said Hasbro, which makes the board game Monopoly, is retiring the thimble game token. After 82 years of service, the company is kicking the poor thimble off the board. Never again will the thimble pass “go” or collect $200. One of the possibilities being considered to replace the thimble is – brace yourself – a hashtag, as if we need to see yet another one of those. I was never good at Monopoly. Didn’t have the patience for it. Sometime during the second hour of game play, I’d either doze off or start losing [...]

A Tale of Two Trips

“It was the loudest of times, it was a stretch of silence. It was the age of babies, it was the epoch of earbuds.” This tale of two trips began a decade ago when our boys were 5 and 2 ½ and our baby girl was only a few months old. We were crazy to be taking all three of them to the grocery store, let alone a 10-hour car trip to see grandparents. But sleep deprivation and winter had made us just stir crazy enough to think we could survive it, so we set out on the open road toward Minnesota, with nothing but time and our sanity to kill. Honestly the specific details of that first trip seem [...]

Confessions of a love story addict

I did it again last night – stayed up way too late in the name of love. A rerun of a romantic comedy I’ve seen at least eight times came on TV, and, even though I can lip-sync all the important lines, I watched until the ending credits rolled. Tom has seen me do this many times during our 18-year marriage. He usually glances at the TV, then looks at me, shakes his head and says “Again? You’ve seen it so many times.” To which I reply “And I enjoy it every time.” Last night after the movie ended, I fell asleep wondering why I’m so easily sucked into a love story. When I’m watching one of these seen-it-a-million-times movies, [...]

Soup salvation

This morning was one of those mornings. I woke up with the kind of headache that’s just annoying enough to keep me slightly on edge. I went through the usual routine – dropped the kids off at school and then started the day’s work. But my to-do list kept getting longer. And the caffeine and ibuprofen I swallowed at breakfast didn’t shake the headache. There were so many emails with so many questions and deadlines, and I had nothing – no answers, no completed tasks. It was the kind of morning that makes you want to crawl under the bed and hide from the world. Instead, I did the next best thing and went to lunch. During the drive to [...]