Thursday, July 9, 2015

Goin' to Chi Chi's

Eves outside of Narcoosee's, our fav restaurant.
So, this recent vacation has been eye opening, in terms of being a Mom of kids that are growing up, and then analyzing said World that they are evolving in.  I could talk about so many things here that have stressed me out both individually and globally, when it concerns parenting, but let's just put it this way... I spend an indeterminable time worrying about my kids, and sometimes it feels a bit unhealthy.

One night I was thinking about this, and imagining what my Mom would make of it, and what MY childhood was like, and connecting dots and the like, and I came to the realization that she would have been around 31-years-old, if I were to draw direct chronological parallels, in terms of my children's ages right now, and from what I remember...the bitch did whatever she wanted.  I mean outside of working and paying the bills (which were done by check, mind you, and a ledger.  I shit you not.)  She was an accountant, and she was meticulous about our finances.  It is absolutely a TRAVESTY that I am her daughter.  I literally gained ZERO insight into the financial world while she was alive, except that "We don't have the money."  END QUOTE.

Remember that, y'all?

I just NEVER say that to my kids, even when we don't.  I try to look at things realistically, and frankly, I am at a loss.  There is just so much PRESSURE now, and most times I succumb to it, but every now and then, I say "ENOUGH".  That is a future post, so let's just focus.

Anyway, I've been thinking that I may take over the finances for this VERY reason.

My husband has been threatening for years.  He always wants to "sit down" and show me shit.  But, then when I suggest we "sit down" so that I may show HIM some shit.  He caves like the molten lava cakes my kids just ate on vacation.

EVERAY night, yo'.  We were on the dining plan at Disney World, where they had insisted on desserts with EVERY meal.  No no, not just dinner... breakfast and lunch.  NO, no sides allowed to be substitutions.  Eat a fucking brownie bowl.  This is the happiest place on EARTH!
Yep.  That's my 13-year-old with the signature Mickey Mouse Club hat.  I mean, the expectations to have a good time.  They have GOT to be hot.  They just won't admit it.

OK, let's be REAL.  This blog isn't really about what I originally intended, or is it?  Is it about my vacation or is it about Chi Chi's? Well, if you have ever read this blog, it is about BOTH.  It is an exercise I do, to avoid playing Candy Crush or Words With Friends. Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times to avoid having your Mom pinch you when you go to grab the rotating petal at the end of the "It's a Small World" ride when the cameras are "RIGHT THERE!"

My eldest daughter, Hallie, actually asked to see my phone at one point, to my annoyance, of course, and brought up my "Period Tracker" app that displayed "YOUR PERIOD WILL START IN 2 DAYS."

"Umm Hummm," she smiled, nodding her head and showing the other children.

The sight of the verbal altercation in front of my kids and my Dad and Diana. I mean, it is so FUCKING hot.  Look at them, they are miserable.  They just won't admit it.  All in the name of Mickey.

Soon after that, I got in a verbal altercation with another Mom in front of the Castle (I mean, whatevs) because she was fumbling with her camera (camera, right?) and her kids weren't even posing, and I was all, " SMILE".  It's 5000 degrees, and this bitch is standing RIGHT in front of this frame, and she was all, "Oh, IIII'mmmm sorry, am I in YOUR way?"  And then I was all, " You know what?"  Listen, if I EVER start a conversation with you and it begins with "You know what?" (and my ENTIRE family can attest to this) I am about to Fucking LAY into you and you deserve it.  I then I followed up with, "Yes.  Yes, you ARE in my way."

Then, she said something like, " Wellllll, excuuuusssseee ME!" alla Steve Martin.  And then she said, "There's always one in the bunch," as she steppped aside and kept fumbling with her camera.

My kids delivered this entire scenario to me, countless times on vacation, complete with inflection and body language.  They each would play different parts.  Everybody always fought to be the camera lady.  I mean, who wouldn't?

"One of WHOOO in the bunch?" I would retort.  "The one in the bunch that gets shit done in oppressive heat?  The one who ASSERTS herself?  Follow my lead, bitches. It's survival time."

It's funny, your kids get to a certain point, where they have your NUMBER.  But, you also have THEIRS, so it begins this chess game, of sorts.  I mean, you can get mad, or you can laugh, right?  Lately, I don't see much room for any other emotions regarding my children on vacation than THOSE two opposite ends of the spectrum.  I imagine a meter that is broken and only goes to extremes.  THAT, my friends, is what I am like at Disney World.  I vacillate between being excited and hopeless.  In my defense, it was 110 degrees with the heat index, EVERAY GAWDDAMNED DAY!

Couple that with two teens and a child that NEVER runs out of energy, and it is a recipe for disaster.

Mills at Disney, many years ago.  But not really.

Disney is such a weird vacation for me.  It was the first year we had been there since my Mom died.  We went EVERAY year growing up, and really, since I had kids, but it's exhausting because you feel (or at least, I did) like you HAVE to do everything and there is so much to do, that you literally lose that sense of self that allows yourself to take breaks. But it is made even MORE pressurized because you are paying so much and everyone has so many expectations - least of all, which encompass the word "vacation".

Which brings me to my mom started going to the Chi Chi's that opened in the strip mall down from our house EVERAY Friday night with her "bus crowd".

Gimme a break, it was the eighties and gas was scarce, so all the cheap, I mean, "civically-minded" people, in our neighborhood started taking the TARC downtown to work.

Well, they formed this like, weird click of professionals ranging from t.v. production to secretarial work, and they started getting off at the bus stop by the strip mall and drinking as many sweet ad sour heavy margaritas as they could in a two hour period.

And it was this moment in time that my previously tee totaling mother discovered HAPPY HOUR.

I mean, girlfriend did not even come home first. Bitch got OFF at the bus stop 2 blocks away, which we were always reminded of, when she delivered her afternoon call from work to make sure we had made it home and had not simultaneously murdered one another.

Thus, the phrase "GO TO CHI CHI'S" was borne.  And I use the "E" at the end of born to make it more important and rooted in history - like House of Cards and Bruce Jenner's gold medals.  That's a whole different post, I've been ruminating on - waiting for a little more research (aka Kardashian episodes) to complete my thesis.

So Jody started going to Happy Hour, and she had an ABSOLUTE ball, until she encountered the HANGOVER.

"I just don't like how I feel the next day," she confessed, as she lit a cig and then stamped it out after gagging, one Saturday morning after a Chi Chi's bang.  "The PEOPLE have changed," she continued, "and I guess some spouses have grown tired of the routine."

My Dad had stopped meeting her there after like three months because he claimed he didn't like the salsa.

I don't think she was specifically referring to him. I think all of the Douglass Hills and Plainview "better halves" were weary.  But, so was my Mom. She had an occasional "bus party" after that, and even remained close friends with some, but gas prices improved and she bought herself a new candy apple red Mazda RX7 two-seater (to accomodate a family of four, mind you) and she began driving to and from work again.

My Mom was hilarious.  She really was.  Sometimes it was her witty dialogue, which I always anticipated, because she repeated herself a lot, but the TRUE hilarity almost always lay in her actions.

This is the way I remember ours, but I'm probably embellishing, like I do.

My close friends and I refer to "Going to Chi Chi's" when things get too intense with our children and we remind each other to "take a step back".

THAT is what "Going to Chi Chi's" is for me.  When you are literally so involved in your children's lives that it DOMINATES  your behavior, you need to take a page out of my Mother's playbook and get off at the bus stop right before YOURS and remember what it is to be an ADULT.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting yourself first and letting your children fly.

When we were at Disney World this last week, it was hotter than HADES, with a 110 degree heat index (How many times have I mentioned the heat? I am trying to establish a motive for my behavior.) and my older kids were putting all kinds of pressure on me to go to three parks, I just let them go.

They had become familiar with the whole transportation system, and I was just simply DONE, and I let them go and went to dinner with my Dad and Diana and Brad and Eva.  It was GLORIOUS.

We were able to keep tabs on them via text and they sent us pictures and everybody was happy.

I guess my point is this...don't be afraid to go to Chi Chi's once in a while.  This train we call parenting has just left the station. It's a nail biter, for sure, but you HAVE to let them go, once in a while - for YOU and for THEM.

Everybody knows that chick on their dorm floor that wasn't allowed to do anything growing up, that positively LOST HER MIND in college.

I feel like freedom is not a state of mind anymore, when you are a parent.  You are not allowed to put yourself first.  It's all about your kids and their activities and their moods and their meals.

Maybe it is just the summer, and I am constantly with my kids, and although we are extremely close, I find myself looking for Exit signs.  Does that make sense?  Just a little sliver of remembering what it is like to be an adult and allowing yourself the opportunity to be with other adults of the same mind and body, and remembering what it is like to be totally uninhibited or irresponsible.

I feel SURE that Jody thoroughly enjoyed her newly discovered Happy Hours, even though it made her Saturday mornings HELL.  She soon replaced them with buying Madame Alexander dolls at flea markets, which tended to make her only feel bloated from the hot dogs, which was WAY better than a sour stomach.

Let's go to Chi Chi's, y'all...collectively or individually.  The next time your best friend is yammering on about how the line up in softball is unfair, or that her child's swim coach didn't put him in enough events - take a deep breath, listen to yourself, and then get off the bus at Chi Chi's, where selfish dreams come true - at least every Friday from 5-7 pm.

Or as my tennis partner said one Wednesday match morning, (we'll just call her Christina Mckenna, because that is her name) "Tuesday is MY night."

"Why, Tuesday?" I ask, innocently, because she has a Chi Chi's frequent flyer account.

"Because weekends are for pussies.  Now let's play.  Bring your A game."

She's the Mick to my Keith.

So, I digress.  Go to Chi Chi's on a Tuesday.  Go there MIDDAY, hookers!

GUIDANCE: Actually, Hudson 29 has an AWESOME Happy Hour, 4-6, I think it is.  If you are an early bird like Brad and I are, it will totally work in your favor.  Specially priced apps and signature drinks are abound.  On Sundays, they have HALF-PRICED bottles of wine, yo'!

That way you can TOTALLY get back in time to check your kids Instagram accounts and then parent accordingly.

Good luck!  And I'll see you at the bus stop!

This is how the Chi Chi's from my childhood looked for, like, ten years after it closed.