Solo parenting, a diner visit and a bit of a ramble

So day one of being all alone with my teen, his dad and sister gone for a few days, has passed with ease and grace.

Surprise! 🙂

We had to go to a baseball uniform fitting at a nearby rink yesterday evening, but first I took him out to dinner at a diner.

This restaurant is walking distance from our house and serves the standard fare you’d expect in a diner. Kind of like a greasy spoon, but really not that greasy. The portions are generous, the interior plain and diner-like in atmosphere, and they must have recently installed a debit machine because up until last time we were here (probably a year ago) it was expected that you had cash.

I had both, not knowing about the new debit machine. 🙂

The place was empty when we got there but I knew it wouldn’t last long. The little old, matronly lady who was our waitress was sitting at the bar near the entrance talking to the two cooks. They looked at us with huge smiles on their faces and welcomed us into their establishment.

Kind of reminded me of the barber shop I took my kid to a couple of months back. There is something about a mom and a teenage son entering a shop that makes people smile for some reason…I know it went over my kid’s head, but I noticed it.

Plus my boy is cute. Ha. 🙂

Anyway, she came over once we were seated and started chatting about the voting going on. “People are home cooking and eating dinner so they can make the polls before they close,” she said.

I told her I had gone earlier and she gave me thumbs up.

Last night Canada voted in a Federal election which, as I type this, resulted in the way I expected and predicted: the Liberals won a second term but albeit as a minority government which means they lost seats in the House and cannot pass legislation unless they align with another party who supports them.

I anticipate a few meltdowns and hissy fits, along with a bit of drama (we have gone down this road before, ugh) and we’ll probably head back to the polls before the four year term is over. Probably in less than two years is my guess.

ANYWAY.

My son and I were famished so we ordered burgers and fries.

We must have been the first to order fries that night because they were the crunchiest, tastiest fries I had in a looooooong time. YUM! Burger was decent too, but probably a bit to big. I’m still full now, 12 hours later.

While we ate, we talked about the teamsnap app (for the sports). I got him invited to the new U15 thingy for baseball (off-season begins in January) so he can see his own schedule as well (had to send him the invite from mine), and we looked at some of the clothing options on the website. Even though he has some of his uniform and practice gear left from last year, he’ll be 15 by then and probably another several inches taller. He’ll need new stuff.

It never ends, the growing these kids do…

The waitress came by a few times to check on us and continually smiled. She was lovely and I tried to guess her age…probably at least retirement age. She looked rough, in the way people do who may have smoked all of their life, and she walked slowly, as if she may have had a little bit of discomfort in her hips.

My son smiled at her whenever she came by and then give me a quizzical look. I said:

“You know she is working here likely because she has to, not because she wants to.”

I wonder if it made an impression on him.

Later, after I paid with debit, I selected the % sign to indicate how much gratuity to give her.

Here in Canada (and also in the USA) it’s standard to leave a tip. We calculate between 10 and 25% of the bill, typically, but you are at your discretion how much you want to give someone. It’s not governed, or required at all, but most people are decent and leave at least a minimum.

This is so different from Switzerland, where we vacationed earlier this year. There, signs advise tourists that gratuities are not required as all their servers are paid a good living wage and do not require tips to be left in addition to the bill.

I punched in my numbers into the debit machine, and thanked the cooks nearby in the open kitchen behind the counter. They were busy preparing souvlakis for other patrons who had arrived in the meanwhile.

I left the waitress a tip of 20%, more than I usually do. I thought she deserved it.

Then I told my son what I did, and why, but he didn’t react much. I hope it sank in…these are important lessons to learn when you’re young. He has no idea how much work it is to tend to people in a restaurant…

And then we went to the arena for the clothes fitting, which went relatively painlessly, before returning home at which point I went to bed to watch some of the election results, read, and crash.

It’s Tuesday! Tonight’s plan is to go sit in a rink till 10 pm while the boy practices and gets his team photos done. Not really looking forward to spending half the night sitting there but I have no choice.

What’s new in your corner of the world?

19 thoughts on “Solo parenting, a diner visit and a bit of a ramble

  1. I love the lessons you’re teaching your son. I never waited tables, but my mother-in-law did as a single mom many years ago. She had five kids and depended on those tips to feed and clothe them. She remembers that as being the hardest thing she’d ever done, and this was a woman who’d helped her dad build fences and break horses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. My kid refused to ump this summer saying it was boring. And this is a kid who plays competitive baseball 6 months out of the year; he loves the sport, the outdoors…it’s paid well too. I kept thinking, wait till you flip burgers or do bus boy routines, cashier at a Walmart or something…the money is much worse, so are the hours…he doesn’t understand and likely won’t till he goes through it. Sigh…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the part about taking your son to a barbershop. It is getting harder to find a barber shop. A place to sit down, and get your haircut. Not a salon where little old ladies come every other day to get their hair blued, or some millennial comes to get their hair spiked and dyed to look like a parrots tail, or a 70’s throwback to “Flock of Seagulls” with waves that look like the tail end of a Tsunami. No charts on the wall to help pick out your haircut “by the number”, or a need to have the logo of your favorite sports teamed carved like a Picasso into your scalp. Just sit, snip, and be gone and no need to give directions to the barber. He knows what to do. Yup. That is who gets my business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My partner went there recently to get his hair cut for all the reasons you say and he came home after going on about how the two old barbers, Italian men at least 60, were going on about ‘the wife brings the boy now’… 😉

      Cute isn’t it. And I’m a less is more kinda gal too…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There was a bit of a storm in the media over here a couple of years ago, when it turned out several of the famous TV chefs were employing waiting and cooking staff at the minimum wage in their restaurants, then charging a service charge on top of the bill, and then taking most of the tips too…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so. This wasn’t the first time I pointed out wait staff. At chain restaurants, I point out the fact that even though most are young, they are likely all college students (or highschool) and may still have to study or do homework after a work shift. It draws a parallel to parents who work full-time, come home to cook, and the schlep kids to activities while listening to kids complain about having to do the dishwasher. Right? 🙂

      Thank you for your comment. It’s always nice to hear from you.

      Like

  4. My kids have always been curious and ask about stuff like that so we’ve had several conversations on the topic over the years. Probably because we often discuss my FIL after a meal out with him and whether or not he left a big enough tip for a group our size.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Important lesson, always better with a good meal. Those are the moments kids will remember though…we tend to forget the small things matter a lot. Your son will remember this

    Liked by 1 person

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