Joe, Vinnie and I are standing in and around our open kitchen. It has not been an easy few days. Currently, we are in the middle of our most recent crisis, leaving the three of us trying to coordinate our schedules to make sure we are all on the same page at the same time.
In about half an hour, I am dropping Vinnie off at work, while Joe stays home with the girls, making sure Sofia does not eat one too many bags of “Hot Cheetos.”
On the kitchen counter is a coupon book I received as a gift for the most recent school fundraiser I put together. It’s a nice size book that contains many local and national coupons. Everything from fast food chains, restaurants, and even car rentals. I am thinking McDonald’s sounds good. As I am flipping through the pages, Joe and Vinnie are now talking about work. The Chef at Vinnie’s restaurant dropped him off the other night. It sounds like the Chef has taken Vinnie under his wing. I am impressed.
As I am flipping through the coupon book, I notice two coupons for the very restaurant Vinnie works at. Excitedly, I interrupt Joe and Vinnie’s conversation.
“Look! I have two coupons for your restaurant!”
Vinnie is standing there, with a deadpan look on his face.
Joe picks up on my excitement.
“You do? What kind of coupons?”
Vinnie, nor his face, has moved.
I may have jumped up and down a bit in my excitement of coupons.
“You and your guest are cordially invited to enjoy one complimentary entree of your choice with the purchase of a Lunch or Dinner Entree of equal or lesser value.”
Joe comes a little closer to me, looking over my shoulder as if I would make up the coupons for Vinnie’s restaurant.
“Let me see that. We should go. What is an entree?”
Vinnie takes his hands and runs them through his hair. A move he does when he is both frustrated and/or stressed, yet he still says nothing.
“You know, an entree is a fancy name for food, they just call it an entree in fancy places.”
Joe goes off on a small rant about how the English language has too many words that mean the same thing.
“And look you guys, the other coupon is for $5.00 off of your lunch check or $10.00 off of your dinner check. We could do it Friday, take the girls?”
Vinnie continues to stand in one place. Looking at me, back to Joe, back to me.
Sofia and Gracie emerge from their bedroom.
“You guys want to go eat at Vinnie’s restaurant on Friday?”
Sofia~ “What kind of food do they have?”
Gracie~ “Vinnie’s restaurant? I thought he just washes dishes?”
My lovely daughters.
Vinnie is now pacing back and forth while still running his hands through his hair.
“Mom, this place is fancy. It’s not like Denny’s or Shari’s. They have a fireplace and make everything homemade. And there’s a lot of white people there, people who look like that show you watch where they are always fighting.”
(He is referring to the Real Housewives of New York.)
“I mean it’s cool you guys want to come, but can you please leave the coupons at home, or at least not tell anyone I am your son.”
I know feel as if I am in the middle of an old episode of “Roseanne.”
“Vinnie! Give us more credit than that, we are not going to come into your restaurant expecting the “Blue Light Special” on the pasta primavera. We got this!”
Joe is now confused.
Sofia is rummaging through the fridge for food.
Gracie is rolling her eyes at us all.
“Mom, seriously, I mean this place is not going to be my career or anything, but I would like to move up at some point.”
Silently, I am laughing inside. I am proud of this kid. It’s also fun to mess with him. Sometimes he makes it so easy. Although, next time, I should probably clue Joe in.
“Vinnie, I am very familiar with your restaurant. One Friday night about seventeen years ago, Me, Christin, Alphonso and Pat, we kinda took over the bar at your restaurant. I mean we did not mean to, but yeah, many years ago, your mother, well, she kinda ran that place for one Friday night.”
Both Vinnie and Joe are looking at me.
In unison, they take a step back. Most likely for different reasons, but they took a step back.
“What happened Friday night?”
“You never told me about this?”
To be continued…….