Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Kids. One Road Trip: Eating On A Budget. Or Not.

I am needing a break from everyone tonight, all 3 of them. Stuck in a car with Birdie crying for the last hour- I am sung out of songs and needalittlespace before momma has that same melt down, only uglier. Shawn took the kids to the pool at our Sleep Inn so I could do whatever I want, and I figured, hey- why not whine a little on the blog... everyone loves a whiner... I mean, you WERE counting on it at some point I assume?

Tonight I'm going to give a few stories/complaints about eating on the road. You see, we started off on this trip saying things like, "McDonald's- who cares?!" and "Motel 6's are awesome!" Well, I'm here to report: we've gotten soft, we've been grossed out. This whole "parenting" thing has rubbed off on us and it does not bode well for the ol' checkbook.

Food expenses are costing us even more than hotels I'd say. Cormac, 4, is normally the kid who'll eat only with strict guidelines, "cut the crust off, yada, yada, yada..." and even then when I do it- he takes like two bites. My lit-tle mini me. However, we've hit the road and this kid is demanding to eat at every stop. Somehow his stomach starts growling just as we are pulling in for a gas stop. Like, really- he had to have a growth spurt ON the road trip? This couldn't have happened when we're home and I have endless amounts of PB&J? Suddenly the kid can eat an entire 6" sub. So much for the whole cut it in half and share with your sister idea. What's next, a foot long? I don't think so buddy, maybe when you're 18. So the food budget is blown to pieces and we're still 2 days away from home, awesome.

And the whole McDonald's idea? We've moved on. To Sonic, DQ and Subway... and the occasional restaurant, which leads me to my big food story...

Yesterday Shawn really wanted to visit "The Big Texan Steakhouse- Home of the 72 oz Steak." I obliged, but my insides were pretty much puking as we pulled up. Now trust me- I love a kitschy restaurant, and this place was all kinds of tacky and BIG Texas rolled in to one. I would have gladly looked around and of course hit up to gift shop alone- but Shawn was dying to try the food. This man loves his meat.

Our waitress wasn't friendly- she was actually kind of unfriendly which if you don't know how I feel about friendly servers, you missed my post here. She was pissed we were getting water and I'm sorry, if you haven't gotten over the fact that some families are cheap as all hell and one parent will yell, "WATER!" before any other family member can speak up... well then, you haven't been serving long enough.

Now this next part of the Big Texan story is something I have been going back and forth on whether or not I should share. My thoughts have been something like these, "Do I share and give the people a laugh? Or do I keep to myself for fear they will think I am a total idiot with no common sense?" I am choosing the latter, because #1, I know my husband is like a volcano ready to explode with this story and so I figure it's best to just get it out there on my terms. And #2, I live for a good laugh- even at my own expense.

We're just about to order and the kids are going crazy and it's my turn. Shawn takes Cormac to the bathroom (mistake #1). I order my sandwich. My Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich (mistake #2). Pause. For those who don't know me personally- the following are two facts pertinent to the story. The first is that I haven't eaten red meat in about 8 years. I had some stomach issues with red meat while traveling through China (can you imagine?) back in my career days and I just haven't been the same since. The second is that I work at a restaurant in our town called Kay's Country Kitchen. I've been there 3 years. Chicken Fried Steak is probably one of our top 3 selling items. In the 3 years I've been there, I've assumed that anything with the name Chicken in it, must be well.... chicken. I guess I've just been kind of ignoring that steak part? So, as the Big Texan menu is dripping with steak items- my eyes light up at the word: CHICKEN. Done and done.

Food is delivered. Everything is looking good. I am wondering why I ever thought this place was a bad idea... besides our rude server. The next part of Shawn and my conversation went something like this:

Me: "Babe, I've got some bad news."

Shawn: "What?"

Me: "This chicken fried steak is made with red meat I think."

Shawn: (eyes light up like he's looking at someone who just asked him what 1+1 is) "Kenna, are you serious right now? It's CHICKEN FRIED STEAK! Why did you get that?!"

Me: "I thought it was just fried chicken, but bigger like a steak... at our restaurant, the chicken fried steak is just chicken- trust me- this place makes it weird."

Shawn: "No, Kenna- they don't. I've eaten it everywhere and any place selling chicken fried steak is selling STEAK FRIED LIKE CHICKEN."

Me: (at this point I'm totes confused. I can't figure out if I've just ignored the fact that for 3 years I've thought it was actually chicken or well... I'm running out of options...) "I'm texting Sheena. She'll know." (So I text my Kay's waitress friend and she gets back to me. There's a happy face in her text. Not good news. That emoticon is there as if to say... "poor poor girl... ") I sit on this news for a while until Shawn asks me what Sheena said. He pretty much hasn't stopped laughing since yesterday.

Back at the restaurant: I choke down half of the sandwich out of obligation that we're all eating $10 meals- way outside of the budget. I keep saying things like, "My system might reject this you know, I might get sick." I didn't get sick. I almost wish I did.

And now Shawn gets to randomly yell, "I've got bad news! This chicken fried steak has steak in it!!" (Not my exact words).

I will leave you with one more food story for the night... however, no food is involved in the making of this story.

Tonight we pulled in to Gallup, New Mexico, where it's snowing like crazy- something we did NOT plan for. I mean, if you've been following me- you know I didn't even pack the kids jackets. Mega mom fail- like of epic proportions- it's SNOWING PEOPLE.

We walk over to Denny's across the lot in the crazy snow storm and upon walking in we're greeted by a woman named Quintana, a sweet lady who's happy to see us. We sit down and our waitress walks up, oddly enough her name badge also says Quintana. She's a good 20 years younger so immediately my mind is running: Mother/Daughter? Aunt/Niece? Cousin/Cousin? Ran out of new name badges? She loves the name so much she wishes it was her own and is borrowing an extra badge from older Quintana? It's driving me nuts- so of course I ask. 

"No, just a coincidence..." she says in a voice that tells me she's been asked this before. I get it- I get asked if I'm Kay's daughter at least 10x a day at my restaurant and so hunny- now it's my turn to ask the dumb questions. "Well were you surprised you both had the same name, I mean- isn't that kind of crazy because it's such a unique name?" I ask. She tells me she wasn't that surprised so now I'm to believe this MUST me a common name in Gallup, New Mexico. It's not. She's says she's never met anyone else with it- except this other waitress and that their families have never met.

WTH. I don't know why I can't let it go, but I can't. I am kind of a name snob like that and I'm dying to know if Quintana is up and coming and I'm super behind on my naming trends or something. So I go over and ask Quintana Sr. She tells me in all sincerity, "Well- I go by Q and she goes by Quintana, so we don't really have the same name..." Are these two serious? UM, YES YOU DO. Will everyone stop acting like this isn't something short of a naming miracle already?! Can't anyone just say, "IT'S CRAAAAZY!! We KNOW it!!" Is that too much to ask Quintana Squared?

Tomorrow we will tackle the rest of New Mex and head to Laughlin, NV. The next day we should make it to California. I'm thinking a "Trip Highlights" post is in order here soon... as I'm sitting on a couple good Shawn stories myself, like how he CANNOT pronounce anything right. The guy has a Masters for goodness sakes but city names seem to be a real struggle for him and I can't wait to exploit it.

                                                                   xo  Road Trip or Die xo

Some pics from yesterday and today's travels....


  1. this is a good one I may need to reread this on occasion

  2. I just read the chicken fried steak part for the third time. The first time, I was reading out loud to Lucy during our breakfast, and I was laughing so hard I was crying. She was so confused. The second time was the other night when I read it over Dave's shoulder because I absolutely had to share this with him. And he laughed so hard he cried. The third time, I'm still laughing. "trust me…this place makes it weird." I'm looking forward to giving you a hard time about it in person.

    1. Omg, this just made ME laugh out loud so hard. I love that you read it to Lucy! I may need to come back and reread this comment! You can join the masses in making fun of me- as long as Kay's never finds out I've been telling people for 3 years, "ours is made with chicken!" then I should be golden...


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