"Kids Eat FREE" the banner said in front of the Steak and Shake restaurant. Dan and I looked at each other and used our telepathic thoughts to agree that we would pull in and try it out for dinner.
Why telepathic thoughts -- there was no way we could have heard each other over the hungry screams of three boys who were sick and tired of running errands with their parents.
So, we pull in and unload. Walking into the place, I thought to myself, "Wow, it looks crowded." Now, you would think I would have learned to listen to my spidy-senses by now ... "Hmmm, crowded restaurant + three hungry toddlers = slow service". But, we went on in anyway.
We were seated pretty quickly, and as we got the three highchairs situated around the table, I noticed that they were on wheels. I thought that was pretty clever since it would making cleaning the floor so much easier -- I pondered having the same type at home.
The boys were hungry so I handed out the sippy cups of juice. All was fine until Tanner decide he didn't want his and threw it on the ground. On our hardwood floors at home, a thrown cup just hits and floor and rolls to a stop. On these tiled floors, a thrown cup hits the floor and shatters. Literally ... into a million blue plastic pieces and a puddle of Juicy Juice everywhere. Did I mention that it also splattered onto a very nice gentleman out for a quiet meal with his family?
The waiter finally came and gave us menus (which the boys threw), crayons (which the boys tried to eat or draw on the table with), and water (which prompted a chorus of "ice, ice, ICE!").
Dan and I scanned the menus and gave our orders. I asked about the kids eat free deal, and the waiter explained that for every $9.00 you order, you get one free kids meal. $9.00 at Steak 'n' Shake -- seriously? So, I quickly did the math in my head ... my meal $4.00, Dan's meal $5.00 = one free kids meal. No problem ... the boys could eat some of our food, too (I haven't had a complete meal in over two years now). I ordered one kids meal.
And then the waiting began ... we ran out of juice, we ran out of ice, we ran out of crackers, we ran out of patience. And then Tanner lost it all together -- Dan got up to walk him around while I held down the fort with Hayden and Noel.
I was helping Noel color on the placemat when I heard a peculiar sound -- like something being wheeled around the restaurant. I looked up thinking it was a cart or maybe the mop bucket to come clean up the lake of juice around our table to discover it was Hayden scooting himself around the restaurant in his highchair!
He had pushed away from our table and rolled to another table -- where he pushed himself again to be propelled across the room. Honestly, it was funny and I started to laugh ... until I realized I had to go get him and make him stop. I rolled him back to our table and went to put on the wheel locks on the highchairs -- no wheel locks. WTH? Who creates a highchair with wheels and no wheel locks? (FYI -- I spent the rest of the meal eating one handed so I could keep Hayden from cruising around the restaurant in his tricked out highchair.)
As I was pushing Hayden back to our table through the mass of patrons who were trying very hard not to laugh at us (I mean with us), Dan arrives back to the table with a much calmer Tanner and a story to tell. While walking with Tanner, the gentleman who had been doused with juice came up to him and offered to buy us our meal. We respectfully declined, but I thought how nice of someone to offer something so generous when we had just cost him a trip to the dry cleaners!
We ate our meal -- it actually went pretty smooth since the boys were hungry. And then we got our bill. And we were charged for the kids meal. Huh?
I looked closely at the bill ... my meal was $4, Dan's meal was $4.98 for a total of $8.98. We were two cents short of the $9.00, so they charged us for the kids meal. Icing on the cake for our wonderful evening out at Steak and Shake.
Or maybe the true icing on the cake was both Noel and Tanner projectile vomiting later that evening. Was it the Steak and Shake ... we'll never know because I don't think we are going back there any time soon.