Monday, April 24, 2006

Goofy Falls Off the Cool Wagon

I pride myself on being Fairly Cool Mom. I avoid-like-the-plague the 'traditional' kiddie institutions, like Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald's, etc. You know, those bastions of bad food, sugary drinks, too much stimulation and rape-and-pillage prices.

But I fell off the wagon tonight. Well, let's be honest husband grabbed me by the shirt collar and PULLED me off the cool wagon. We went to the Rainforest Cafe tonight.

This place used to be cool. I remember going to the one at the Mall of America in Minneapolis about eight years ago. We had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table. The atmosphere was indeed rainforest-like...dark...fake thunder/lightning...rain...moving animotronic animals..lots of 'wild' sounds. It was kitzchy, and the food was bad, but overall it was different and fun.

So fast-forward to today. Goofy Junior (aka The Boy Who Is Potty Training Himself) decided that he didn't want to wear a diaper today and told his daycare teacher such. Since he already had underwear on over his diaper, she took off the diaper and he went 'commando' for the morning. He actually made it until 11:30am before an "oops". Anyway, we applauded his efforts and decided to take him someplace fun for dinner.

Here's how it happened...

Me: So what is "fun for dinner" for a toddler?
Loving Hubbie(aka Wagon Jacker): Anyplace with balloons and games.
Me: Like where? (getting worried now)
Me: NEVER. Try again.
LH: How about Rainforest Cafe?
Me: (comparing the two and deciding at least I can get an adult bev at RFC) Um....okay.

Did you hear the YANK? Yep. That's the precise moment I fell was pulled off the Cool Wagon.

When we got there, the place was empty. Granted it's a Monday, but it was pretty obviously not the coolest place to be. I decided against the adult bev, as it came in a lighted, blinking glass. We took turns touring Junior past the animatronic, twitching elephants ("They're BIG Mommy!"), the hooting and jerking-like-bad-break-dancer gorillas ("I don't like them...they're LOUD!") and the giant fish tank ("NEMO!!! NEMO AGAIN!! TWO NEMOS!!!").

At least he was digging it.

Our waitress came several times as we went over the menu, stunned by the high prices for over-rated bar food with "rainforesty" names (Volcanic Cobb Salad, Rumble in the Jungle Turkey Wrap). We settled on a mixed appetizer platter to split. Junior got popcorn shrimp. As I remembered, the food was mediocre at best...although the popcorn shrimp were mightly tasty.

As we ate, we noticed that approximately every 10 minutes, the gang of servers would come out with a ginormous cake/ice cream dessert in the shape of a volcano, and sing Happy Birthday to another table. Junior dug this, and clapped after each song. I started suspecting that this was the main reason that even the small amount of patrons had come here. Free dessert, folks. It's a great marketing tool!

But even though I'm off the wagon, and still dusting myself off, there was a Proud Momma moment. During dinner, we mentioned to the waitress that it was Junior's first time at RFC. She looked surprised and said, "Wow! I wouldn't have known. He's not crying. What a big boy!"

I don't know who beamed or Junior. Maybe being a Fairly Cool Mom That Sometimes Falls Off the Wagon is not so bad, indeed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Goofy Easter Egg Hunting

When Goofy Junior does an Easter Egg Hunt, it's a contact sport.

Check it out (it's worth the wait):

Click here to see the video

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Meet the Goofy Dogs

While reading about Cagey's dilemna about whether or not to get a dog, I started thinking about my dogs. I have the bestest dogs ever! They don't require a lot of exercise, but they will never pass up the offer of a walk. They are, for the most part, fairly calm and quiet dogs. They are also loving dogs, but not "lap dogs". And they don't lick you incessantly, like some labs I know. Ew!

Meet Casey and Murphy, my Siberian Huskies:
(Murphy is the one with the cigar.)

Casey is 14 and Murphy is 9. We've had Casey since she was a pup (about 4 months old). We adopted Murphy, who is actually Casey's "niece", when she was 3.

Huskies are awesome dogs. They are extremely gentle with our 3-year-old son. He has pulled ears, stepped on paws and yanked tails, and they just move out of the way. Ocassionally they bonk him with a snout, but never a growl or baring of teeth. And he's deserved it a few times!

The one drawback of huskies is that twice a year (spring and fall), they shed their winter coat as the seasons change. This produces a little bit of fur:

(That's Casey in the back. The ball of fur we just brushed off is in the front.)

As personalities go, huskies are very much like cats. They really don't jump around and follow you, begging for attention. They are more subtle. You might even say "sneaky". If you are on the couch watching TV, they might come by and stand so that your hand is in close proximity to their chest...just in case you might want to pet them for a while. If you don't get the hint, they might give you a short bark and poke you with the snout. But after a few minutes of petting, they move on to other pursuits...usually sleeping.

As far as big dogs go, Casey is really pushing the limit on age. I've heard good life expectancy is around 15 years, so she's definitely in the senior citizen category. I can't imagine life without her, but our life has been so much better for having her in it. And hopefully vice versa for her.