4th of July, 2018 (Memories & Shit)

Christin and I had our usual mid-morning phone call this morning.

Me~ So what are your plans for today?

Christin~ You know, making memories with the kids and shit even though I am not going to be in any of those memories because they will leave me as soon as we get to our destination!

Me~ Sounds about right!

Christin~ What about you guys?


The plan was, at thirteen hundred hours, Joe would arrive home from work. He would take a quick shower and off we would go to, as Christin so eloquently put it, ” to make memories and shit.”

First up would be a late lunch. With Vinnie staying the night at a friend’s house, I only had to worry about the girls. I made sure, much to Sofia’s detriment, that they had a very light breakfast. I did not want them to fill up on eggs and bacon if we were going out for a nice lunch.

Now with my kids, there has to be a plan. With Joe, there has to be a plan. Everyone is confident the plan can be executed, be we always need a plan in place.

Enter “Your’s Truly.”

An hour before Joe was expected home, I brought up the menus of local restaurants on my desktop. First step, I need to look over the menu to make sure it is suitable for Gracie’s needs.


Next up, one at a time, I have to bring the girls out, let them see the pictures, so they can see if there is anything on the menu they will like.

I narrowed it down to three.

“The Ram” a local sports bar/burger joint. It was also the place Joe took me on our very first date. This is important info for later in the post.

“Puerto Vallarta” a nice Mexican restaurant, that has a very nice selection of all the favorites.

“The Village Inn” a cute local diner. A step up from Denny’s. Nice menu selections.

So from the get-go, the girls and I eliminated The Village Inn, only because we go there all the time, and everyone wanted to try something different.

Puerto Vallarta came out the clear winner. I think it was the endless chips and salsa that sealed the deal for Sofia, Gracie wanted some nachos, and Joe, well all he told me was to come up with a plan!

Joe comes home, and I tell him “THE PLAN!” Mexican, then bowling. Joe is still in work mode so he is all clapping his hands, “Okay team, let’s get this done!”

Well, guess what. The damn Mexican restaurant was closed! The website said it was open, but of course, Joe is all like “Did you call to confirm?” No, I did not call to confirm because the website said it was currently open!

On to Plan B. Important to note there was no Plan B. Why should there be a Plan B when I now had my heart set on Mexican food because the website said they were open?!

So we drive to our local mall, where there is a nice selection of restaurants to choose from, including Azteca, another Mexican restaurant.

It will come as no surprise to you to hear they were closed as well.

Like, seriously?!?!?!?! Who knew Mexican’s celebrated the 4th of July. Now, at this point, the girls and I are starving. While I was instructing them to have a light breakfast, I somehow forgot to put a little something in my stomach. I mean at this time I was expecting to be sitting at a table by now munching on chips and salsa.

Sofia~ “Can we just please find some food?!”

Me~ You need to pull over I am about to pass out, I have a diet bar in the trunk.

Gracie~ Is my lipstick still on?

Joe~ Okay team! I do not want to drive but I will drive wherever you want!



We are now across the street from the mall, looking at which restaurants are open. We have two options. Red Lobster or The Ram. Remember, The Ram was one of my original options.

In a hypoglycemic state of mind, I say to Joe “Look, The Ram is open, how about we go there?”

“Nah, I do not want to go there, I hate that place.”

Hmmm. That does not seem very “team-spirited” not to mention the fact that, THAT’S WHERE HE TOOK ME FOR OUR FIRST DATE!

We drive across the street to Red Lobster. Finally, those glorious cheddar bay biscuits are mere moments away. my blood sugar thanks you.

The lovely hostess with the red, white and blue eyeshadow informed us “It will be about a twenty-five-minute wait.”

Of course it will.

I snagged a menu while we took our seat on the bench reserved for the morons who thought it would be a good idea to go out to eat on July 4th.

As I am looking through the menu, determined to have our order ready to go as soon as we are seated, I saw a problem. A big huge problem. Sofia, believe it or not, cannot stand seafood. I (wrongly) assumed that there would be at least a burger or something on the menu that would suit her fancy. Frantically, I am flipping through the pages of The Red Lobster menu. Hoping beyond hope that there is a burger option at this seafood joint.


I pass the menu over to Joe while trying to come up with a Plan C, without making it look that I forgot my daughter does not like seafood.

As Joe is looking through the menu I can tell he is not impressed with anything. Hmmm. This may be easier than I thought.

He looks at the girls. “Do you guys know what you feel like?”

Gracie~ Is my hair messed up, it was windy outside.

This is my life.

“Okay team, let’s make a call, do we stay for twenty-five minutes or do we backtrack to the mall and grab something there?”

Sofia~ Please, can we just go to the mall and get food?!
Gracie~ I do not care as long as my hair does not mess up.
Me~ Your call Boss.


We are now at the mall. We are also now on Plan D.


I do not even know where to go from here.

Cliff note version. Sofia decided on Subway because for some reason she loves that place, even though I strongly believe I make better sandwiches.

Gracie was able to get her nachos while looking at herself in her compact makeup mirror.

Joe and I decided on one of our all-time favorites, Gyros. Seriously, for all you locals, if you have never been to Gyro House at the mall, you need to go.

So, there we all our, sitting, scarfing down our food, and Joe asks “Okay team what’s next?” While looking at the girls, “What do you guys do with Mommy when she brings you here?”

Sofia, without missing a beat. “We go to the perfume store, but I do not think you would like that.”

“What?! Just because I am a guy, I can go to the perfume store! I bet they have some nice things in there.”

Sofia laughs, “Oh dad, you are so funny!”

Gracie is literally applying lipstick after every bite she takes from her nachos.

Wiping my hands from the messy but heavenly sent gyro and its tzatziki sauce, I tell Joe “Okay Boss, you put in a good effort, but trust me, you do not want to go to the perfume store.”

He passes his fries to Sofia. “Why not, I am sure there are some cool things in there.”

Taking a sip of my diet coke, “I mean yeah, but there is also a 75% Fourth of July sale going on, the store will be packed.”

Joe puts his gyro down, “How about bowling, let’s try bowling!”

After assuring Gracie that bowling is healthy and will not mess up her hair or bring on a seizure, it was a done deal.

We left the mall, destination, Bowling Alley!

Will any of you be surprised to hear the bowling alley was closed?


At this point, we were all spent. Now, remember, Joe had been working since 4:00am. So, because I still wanted to “make memories and shit” we collectively decided that the girls and I would drop Joe off, and we would head to the good ol Wal-Mart, trying to occupy our time while “making memories and shit.”

You guys, I have a problem. I cannot say “no” to the girls. They do not ask for much. Both girls are on a mission for “cool” school clothes, and Gracie and her never-ending makeup. Sofia and her notebooks, I cannot tell them “no.” I can only imagine many parents have this problem?

Due to a rent increase, and having to pay an out-of-pocket portion for Gracie’s MRI, we are on a very tight budget, yet, I still cannot tell them no. How do I tell my daughter that “maybe we should wait on a 6.00 eyeshadow palate?” I can’t. They are such good kids, they deserve so much more than I am able to give them.

Here’s the thing. A six-dollar eyeshadow palate and a four dollar notebook and a couple of three dollar t-shirts and two dollar tank tops, well, that adds up, but I cannot tell them no.

I left Wal-Mart spending 109.00.

We will make it work, we always do, but damn! Although, you already know 109.00 can go far at Wal-Mart.

I came home, told Joe how I may have spent a little above the budget, but he gets it. He is going to use vacation time and not take a vacation to get us to where we need to be.

Although I am confident I will find a job next month, Joe does not want to depend on that. We may have to downsize. I do not know. People tell you things to make themselves feel better. So, we wait, and we pray for guidance, all the while, I am making memories with the girls, because watching Sofia write a story in her new notebook, and try on new clothes, watching Gracie play around with her new makeup, well, that shit is priceless.


At the end of the night, while Joe is passed out on the sofa. Gracie has her headphones on to drown out the fireworks, I grab Sofia. We go out on my balcony, and watch the firework show. She gets it. She knows we can not be close to the fireworks because her sister may have a seizure. But, because she gets it, and because she is always willing to put her wants aside, that is why I want to do more for her, I want to do whatever I can to make those memories, so when she has her own children, she will be able to look back on these hard times and still feel some sort of nostalgia, knowing as an adult, that we struggled, but  before anything else, we wanted the kids, to have a childhood, a wonderful magical childhood where there was no worry of how late the power bill would be, or if there was enough money for school shoes and backpacks. I want all my kids to look back on their childhood and realize that although it is never easy, one way or another we will make it work, because we are a team.


“Mom, was that it? Was that the last fireworks?”

Taking a sip from my drink, while discreetly looking inside to make sure Gracie is okay, “Yes, I think that was the big one, that’s it.”

“Thanks Mom, today was a good day, that was the best!”

And, that is why, my wonderful readers, that is why I will always push through, and in the hardest of times, I will find a way to “make memories and shit.”

~ Jennifer




One thought on “4th of July, 2018 (Memories & Shit)

  1. Enjoy every minute of it. The older they get the harder it is to get them to want to make memories with you.

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