OK, so what happens is this: about 10 months ago, Awkward Dad gets barred from his favorite Chinese take-out. That really is overstating it; it is really more of a self-imposed exile. He gets into a ridiculous phone fight with the proprietress about what constitutes a dinner size vs. a lunch size. Here is something you should know about Awkward Dad. He has the patience of a saint; how else do you expect him to put up with the antics of a young superhero family, medical residency, and living in a state where winter is about half the year? He does it beautifully, with limited complaining and hardly any binge drinking. But, as with any saint, all that holiness is bound to spill over once in awhile in some honest to goodness get-behind-me-Satan moments. When Awkward Dad blows his top, it is truly volcanic. And not like some volcano in the middle of the ocean that is always blowing its lid, making new islands like so many old hats. No. Awkward Dad is like Pompeii-level, both in unexpectedness and damage. And like Pompeii, it is usually brought on by exhaustion and hunger. (I have no historical evidence to support that, but I like to think that Mount Vesuvius was just looking for a little snack.)
Anywho, Awkward Dad is shouting on the phone with China King's owner over what amounts to $7. (Names have totally been changed, mostly so Awkward Dad doesn't truly get banned this time.). The owner says he is crazy, he says she is cheating him. He says she didn't take the order correctly, she says he didn't give it correctly. It goes on and on, but the end result is him announcing that he is never ordering from them again, her saying good, and him trying to slam down a cell phone. It is less than effective, but I do notice a stronger than usual poke at the end call button. OK, all well and good. I couldn't care less, as I don't particularly like Chinese food unless I am pregnant and craving the entire world's great bounty of food choices. We eat out too much anyway, this could be a good thing for us.
Fast forward to yesterday: Awkward Dad is tired, way behind on his work, frazzled, and rumbling like it is 79 AD. Uh oh. I have been at writing class, leaving him alone with all three Supers at the end of a significantly rough day on all counts, so by the time I walk in the door, his ears look like they are smoking slightly. You see, I was nervous about presenting at class and didn't exactly make any dinner before I left. I may have pointed to some carrots and chicken nuggets on my way out the door. Suffice to say, things have reached a critical window by the time I return and lava is imminent. I manage to get the Supers in bed in under 15 minutes, which is no mean feat by the way, and then this happens:
Awkward Dad: (Giant sigh) If you want.
Awkward Dad: (Even bigger sigh) I suppose.
Awkward Dad: Why do you hate me?
Me: Aren't there any other Chinese restaurants you like?
Awkward Dad: We have been through this a million times. General Tso's chicken needs a precise balance of spicy and sweet; one does not just slap that together. It is an art, not a syrup concoction, like at Emperor China. Ugh. Or that horrible neon sauce from China Prince. Don't even get me started on China Baron....(Long and unnecessary shudder)
Me: Honey, maybe it is time to just call China King again. I mean, we have moved since then, maybe they won't know it is us....
Awkward Dad: It is the principle of the thing. I said I would never go back. I am a man of my word.
Me: Right....like when you told Super Preschooler that you took your iPad to work but you really hid it in the kitchen cabinet?
Awkward Dad: That was for his own good and not the same thing.
Me: Or that time you told him that dragons lived under the bed so that he would leave and you didn't have to share your chocolate?
Awkward Dad: Again, that was for his own good and totally not the same thing.
Me: Or how about the time you threatened to cancel Super Toddler's birthday party if he didn't get in the car in 5 minutes?
Awkward Dad: That was you! And you didn't follow through at all!
Me: My point exactly! Sometimes you need to know when to back down, not all battles are ones that you need to win.
Awkward Dad: This battle is over. We are in cold war territory now.
Me: Well, Mr. Gorbachev, it is time to tear down this wall!
Awkward Dad: You might be right, where is the phone?
Awkward Dad: That's your Reagan? It sounds more like a psychotic Dirty Harry.
Me: Shut up. Don't you need to look up the number?
Awkward Dad: No, I still have it memorized.
Me: Oh, but I'm psychotic?
Awkward Dad: OK, wait. What voice should I use?
Awkward Dad: Which voice? I have to change my voice, I can't let them know it is me. How about British? My good man, might I trouble you for a spot of Crab Rangoon? Pip, pip!
Me: You are not serious.
Awkward Dad: OK, how about like an angry biker dude voice?
Me: Ummm, first of all, your lack of tattoos makes that impossible, I think it is an auditory fact. And secondly, the goal is to clandestinely get food, not really get banned from China King.
Awkward Dad: What about; "Euh, dzees General Zao's, how you say?"
Me: Le no.
Awkward Dad: How about this, "I say, I say, how about some white rice with a number 12, my good man?"
Me: You know that is Foghorn Leghorn, right?
Awkward Dad: (Mumbles incoherently)
Me: What was that?
Awkward Dad: My Bob Dylan.
Me: OK, well, try that one and be surprised with what they bring you then.
Awkward Dad: How about you order for me?
Me: Oh no, nuh uh. You got yourself into this, you get yourself out.
Awkward Dad: OK, OK, here goes. (Sudden, strangely over-enunciated voice) "Um, hi? Is this China King? I ask because I have never ordered from here before. Oh, great. Yes, got your name out of the phone book at random. Well, let's see. What do you have over there? Chinese food? Imagine that! Ah, yes, I see. Well, I say, I say, how about a number 12 with a side of white rice and a spring roll, the dinner size, please. Merci!" Well, how was that?
Awkward Dad: You are going to answer the door though, right? Because if you aren't, I am gonna need a mask of some sort....
We repeat, never boring around here.
Super Preschooler's birthday party had the more fun type of volcanoes. That post is on its way and will prove to be epic. Of course, it really can't help itself with a inspiration like this:
Yes, that is Super Preschooler's secret identity emblazoned on that festive fairy cake. When one's first name is number 3 on the list of the most popular boys' names, one's mother can afford to be a slightly lax with online security.