This past Saturday I got a hall pass from my husband to spend the entire day however I wanted. It was a win win for us both. He got brownie points while watching March madness and baby sitting, and I got to galavant all over Buckhead toddler free. It was a beautiful eighty degree day, full of possibilities. Since having my child, it is a rarity that I get the luxury of having an entire day to goof off. I was dressed and out of the house by ten am, which is impressive with an inquisitive toddler following you around and begging you to chase her. My first stop was the nail salon. It had to be, because my toe nails were looking tired and chipped like I had been dragged behind a car barefoot for ten miles. Mommy feet, I said to myself looking down at them. I thought about calling a friend to join me, but the peace and quiet of reading an Us Weekly while enjoying a foot massage was exactly what I needed. After a quick dry, with my Tory Burch flip flops, and some tissue tucked between my toes, I hobbled out to my car ready to do some shopping. I needed some new sunglasses. I pulled into Sak’s parking lot a little past eleven am. While taking my time, and mindlessly shopping in the sunglass department, my stomach let out a loud long growl. She (my stomach) has a mind of her own and likes to eat a lot and frequently. I have learned to listen to her or we both get ornery. I paid for my new, Marc Jacob’s sunny shades, and made my way through the shoe department towards the exit. Another growl came, but this time even louder. My stomach would continue to protest if I did not get her some food. My Sak’s expedition would be over for the time being. I smiled at the shoe sales clerk who is used to my shoe obsession. I wanted to blurt out, not today honey, Mama is hungry, but I didn’t. As I passed by her, I thought about my love-hate relationship with Sak’s and their sales clerks. I love them when I have the time and money to blow, but they can get on my last nerve when I am in a hurry and they are swarming all over me like flies on watermelon.
As I walked towards my car, I pondered which girlfriend I wanted to call for lunch. Having a leisurely lunch with a friend, or friends, was no longer routine for me. Nowadays, I do not have free countless hours to analyze my girlfriends’ situations just for the hell of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to analyze any and every situation, but now I needed more of a 50/50 lunch date. One where we could bitch and swap stories like a well paired tennis match and then both be on our ways fed and content. This is not something that ever dawned on me before having children. I was the queen of talking about myself and monopolizing the time I shared with my married friends, oblivious to their schedules and needs. Now I am one of them. It is an odd shift after you have a child. In an instant, your time and priorities change. You just get so damn busy. A husband and a child require constant supervision. Women without kids simply cannot comprehend the shift. When I was single, I didn’t. Plus, it is hard to comprehend the change. You do still want to be the same friend you once were, the truth is you simply can’t. Before having a child, I used to think, well she has a nanny, why can’t she stay on the phone longer? Why can’t she go out on a Saturday night? Why can’t she grab dinner? Why can’t she be there for me? The truth is, being a mom sucks you dry, literally. If you are a working mom, like me, you are always exhausted and conflicted. You feel guilty to leave your adorable child, but you want to, and when you do, it has to be worth your while. Today, I could be my old self with no schedule, just ready and willing to listen to some venting guilt free.
I decided Elle would be my best bet for a lunch partner. She lives in workout clothes and can go for a few days without washing her hair. A baseball cap and pony tail is her staple. She could be ready fast. I called Elle, who just happened to be walking out of her training appointment at the gym. ” Do you want to grab some lunch?” I asked. Elle and I use to eat every meal together when we were both single. “Girl, I am hungover! I need some real food. How about Yeah burger? I know how addicted you are to that place.” A smile came over my face as I started to fantasize over the menu. Would I have the cobb salad with crisp lettuce, blue cheese, and yummy bacon just falling off the mounds of grilled to perfection chicken? No wait, the double patty cheeseburger with grilled onions and american cheese was calling my name. Oh my God, the brussel sprouts with goat cheese, had my mouth watering all ready. “Are you there?” Elle asked. “Oh yes, I’m sorry. I love that place. Do you want to meet me at the one on North Highland in 15?” I asked.
We pull up at the exact same time. I get out of my car refreshed and full of energy. Elle staggers out of her SUV and walks towards me looking like she is hurting. “Long night?” I ask remembering the fun years. “Yep.” she groaned. As soon as we opened the door the place was popping. There were people a buzz, in a long line, waiting to place their orders. Elle was massaging her temples, dehydrated, and having a hard time waiting in line. She was parched and in need of some fluids. “This place is always busy, isn’t it?” I said to pass the time. Elle, who usually has the patience of Job, eyes the manager at the bar. She heads toward him, I follow. I am intrigued, because most of the time, I am the instigator and inpatient one. “I’m so hungover!” She announced. The manager, Russell, nods. “Would you ladies like to order from the bar?” He asks. “That would be great, thank you.” Elle says, happy he obliged. She orders a grilled chicken sandwich with blue cheese, grilled onions, pickles, peppers, and I think avocado. I order a burger, all beef, not bison, and a half order of onions rings and french fries. I wanted to order some wine, but decide against it, because I have bathroom tiles to pick out later. We take our seats on the patio. Our food is served before I am back from getting my diet coke refill. Elle is giving me a play-by-play of all of the men she met the night before, a guy, with a great sense of humor, yet too short. A guy who said he never wanted to get married, and one who had to keep patting his forehead dry with a napkin because of an over active sweat gland he says. I take my first glorious bite. Heaven! I am in sheer rhapsody. The burger is the absolute best burger I have ever put in my mouth! I start to do the happy girl dance. You know, the one all girls do when we are eating something that makes us happy. See chart below. I am swaying back and forth and giddy. Elle takes a bite of her brussel sprouts and joins in on the dance. We eat, we laugh, and we analyze. “I am starting to feel better.” Elle admits on her last bite of chicken. “Better enough for a glass of vino?” I ask. I guess the more things change, the more they really stay the same!
The Happy Girl Food Rating scale: