And it burns, burns, burns…

The Drama Queen and Miss Attitude both brought home good report cards yesterday, so we called up the in-laws and decided to meet for a celebratory dinner. Our restaurant of choice (not our choice really, but the girls’) was Pizza Hut, or what will henceforth be referred to as The Bowels of Hell. A rundown of last night’s venture:

1. Small town restaurants are generally, well, small and often contain only one large room, rather than several adjoining rooms. Yet the restaurant owners STILL insist on designating a smoking area, rather than just declaring the whole establishment non-smoking. (Smokers will hereafter be referred to as Future Occupants of Hell for reasons to be outlined in this post. {Side note: if you’re one of my handful of regular readers and commenters, and you smoke, I’m sorry. Well, I’m not, really. But I still love ya.}) Declaring a smoking section in the Bowels of Hell is like designating a peeing section in the damn BATHTUB. It just doesn’t WORK, for crying out loud.
{Everyone in my family is either allergic to or highly sensitive to cigarette smoke, including Miss Attitude, who went so far as to develop asthma as her own form of protest. Since Miss Attitude was diagnosed with asthma (when she was five months old), I’ve slowly but surely become a veritable Nicotine Nazi. I’ve gone from the “Everyone has the freedom to make choices about their own health” mindset, to the “Why the hell should YOUR unhealthy choices be a detriment to MY health and the health of MY CHILDREN?” mindset. But I digress……..}

2. In order to sit as far from the Future Occupants of Hell section as possible, we sat at a table almost directly under a wall-mounted television, the volume of which was turned up so loudly, I could only assume the manager of the Bowels of Hell wanted Hilary Duff herself to hear “Lizzie McGuire” all the way from [insert wherever the hell Hilary Duff lives, here].

3. As I sat down, Baby Boy on my left, Mother-In-Law on my right, Mother-In-Law began screeching, about six inches from my ear, “Ryla-roooooooo, Ryla-rooooohooooo,” at Baby Boy, in a voice I can only describe as Cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs meets Fingernails-on-a-Chalkboard, and in a volume several decibels above Shut-the-Hell-Up and only slightly below Bleeding Eardrums. {Mother-In-Law, if you have found this blog, and you’re reading this…I love you. I really do. But I HATE the Ryla-roooooo stuff more than you could ever know. I HATE IT with a passion I usually reserve for the Future Occupants of Hell. THAT’S how much I hate it, Mother-In-Law.}

4. As the cigarette smoke planted its carcinogenic roots in my lungs, the television blared on my left, and Mother-In-Law blared on my right, Miss Attitude began her own assault on my senses. In an effort to get Mother-In-Law’s attention (who would not be distracted from molesting my ears), Miss Attitude began, “Nanny……NANNY….NANNY….NANNY…NANNY..NANNY.NANNY.NANNY.NANNY…” (ad infinitum)

5. They had ONE high chair in the whole freakin’ place…and it DID NOT HAVE A WORKING SEAT BELT. The waitress (described below) offered us a……(you won’t believe this)…..BOOSTER CHAIR. I said, “Ummm, he’s SIX AND A HALF MONTHS OLD. I don’t think that’s gonna work.”

6. The waitress was a total moron (see above for one specific example). And not even the same total moron we had the last time we went to the Bowels of Hell, but a different total moron altogether. An acne-ridden teenager, hair in her face (how very sanitary) and the memory and verbal comprehension skills of a nonagenarian with Alzheimer’s.

[At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering: If the Bowels of Hell is so bad, why do you go? I have two words for you: Cinnamon Sticks. They have the ooiest, gooiest, yummiest cinnamon sticks ever, ever, ever, in the whole wide world, amen. But even freshly-baked, bow-down-and-worship-thee-oh-heavenly-goodness cinnamon sticks couldn’t make up for the injuries incurred last night. Allow me to continue…]

7. They were “sold out” of Personal Pan Pizzas. Huh?

8. The Bowels of Hell has a Thursday night buffet, which sounds good, in theory, but in reality is a small salad bar and an even smaller, poorly-stocked food bar, which never has more than three or four pizzas at a time. Although, I have to admit, they usually have pretty good pizza. Which leads me to….

9. The pizza was undercooked.

10. Two of our local EMT’s (who were on duty) came in on their supper break and…sat in the Future Occupants of Hell section. I thought, Surely they just sat there because it’s closer to the door. {Another side note: Not only do the small-town restaurant owners insist on designating smoking sections in their small restaurants; they also insist on those sections being closest to the door, so that every one else has to travel THROUGH the Foul Fog when entering or exiting.} I looked at Deputy Dad and pleaded with him, “Tell me the paramedics don’t smoke. PLEASE tell me the paramedics don’t smoke.” His reply, “Yep.” Shit. I totally went off on a tangent then, not really caring who might hear me. “The paramedics smoke? You’ve GOT to be kidding me…Now THAT pisses me off! If a paramedic showed up at my house reeking of cigarette smoke, I wouldn’t let ’em in!” (Ummm, unless I was dying or something…then I’d totally let ’em in. “Come on in! Excuse the mess. Here, let me light that for you.”)

11. When we finally got home and were in the process of bathing the kids and getting everyone ready for bed, the Bowels of Hell came back to revisit me in a sphincter-tightening way that gave new meaning to Johnny Cash’s song “Ring of Fire.” (And also new meaning to BOWELS of hell!)


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