Saturday, October 23, 2010

Goodbye, Barking Frog; Hello, Dr. Maze And Red Robin

We drove to Redmond today and stopped at the intersection of Willows and 124th, right where the big fields open up. I could have turned left there and we would have been heading toward the wineries of Woodinville, which are just a couple of miles up from there. After hitting two or three of our favorites, we could have lunched at the Barking Frog before a leisurely drive back across Lake Washington to the city.

Instead, though, we drove straight through that intersection and pulled over to Dr. Maze's Farm for Pumpkin Patch Day! Because, you see, unlike those halcyon winery-going days of yore, now we've got the kid. I think photographs of adorable kids sitting amongst pumpkins are fine and dandy, but not nearly to the extent that, apparently, everyone else in the world does. I'm incredibly easy-going, as everyone knows, so when The Wife brought up earlier in the week, I got on board.

You know who didn't get on board? NJ. She didn't get on board. She just got "on bored." (Zing!) The first thing she did was get behind a wooden cut-out of Dr. Maze's truck and try to make her escape (which actually elicited the best smiles of the patch outing):

See ya, Daddy, wouldn't wanna be ya! Mommy and I are OUTTA HERE!
She showed a little interest in the goats and alpacas, but she'd seen farm animals just a couple weeks earlier and it was a bit old hat.

Yeah, yeah, I'm close to an exotic animal and he's cute. Whatevs. Anything more interesting over there?
Then, the pumpkin patch. A few days ago The Wife bought a couple of pumpkins to autumn-ize and Halloween-ready our front porch, so we were just about the only folks there not wheeling pumpkins around in wheelbarrows. I broke out the camcorder, but NJ was still pretty bored (also, she's been a little bundle of cranky joy lately, what with three teeth coming in at the same time). I must have hit wrong buttons or something, because when we got home this was all I had:

Nice job, Dad! You're a regular Francis Ford Scorsese.

Aaaaaaannnnddd ... that was pretty much it. We took some shots, but NJ didn't look at the camera much; her heart just wasn't in it. Here's just about the best of the lot:

That's your father, NJ. Act as if you like him, please.
Then, lunchtime. We drove around Redmond a bit until it struck us that we'd be eating at Red Robin; it's made for parents and kids. The last time I ate (I just typed "hate" by mistake; paging Dr. Freud!) at a Red Robin was in July 2009, when The Wife and I were on our way to the Oregon coast for our last pre-NJ trip. We were starving for lunch, and Red Robin was the only thing we could find at the next exit. We were seated at a table next to a family with a couple of kids who were having some loud fun, and The Wife -- who looked like this then, great with child -- said "Get used to it, we'll be going to these places a lot pretty soon." Fifteen months later, there we were. NJ was immediately interested when she saw kids leaving Red Robin with balloons, which she's already on record as being partial to. As soon as we got in, she was given a red balloon and her attitude noticeably spiked to "fun."

You can stuff your pumpkins in a sack, Mister, because THIS is a party!
NJ feasted on chicken, steak fries and a little broccoli. She also learned that she likes ketchup, thanks to me dabbing it on my finger and sticking said finger in her mouth. There were tons of other kids there, including a five-month-old boy sitting at the next table who cried until his mother pulled him in underneath the public-breastfeeding blanket, a sight that brought back fond memories of The Wife putting that cape-like thing on and hustling NJ underneath for a quick, inconspicuous meal. Now, we're thrusting mashed-up steak fries at her and swabbing the inside of her mouth with ketchup. Once we got home, NJ and Dad Solo both hit their respective beds for nice, long naps.

So thanks, Red Robin, for turning our afternoon around. Even though the burger I ate five hours ago is sitting in my gutty-works like an unmovable stone right now, and it actually feels like it's getting bigger and bigger.

It's their signature blend, so you KNOW it's gonna be good!

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