If your children are like mine, they have their own special vocabulary. In our house, Bumba means something a bit on the ripe side. Hence: This is from the house of Bumba is used to refer to a broken toy or You smell like Bumba means you need a shower.
My husband was away, and it was Friday night. On Fridays, my family and I usually have a special dinner at home, usually a four course affair topped out with a scrumptious homemade dessert. This particular Friday, the lazy bug had bit me, so after donning on a fashionable new casual dress and piling all of the kids in the car, we headed for a nice restaurant. My eldest son piped up in the back, asking everyone to take a vote on where we should go. He called out the restaurant I had planned to take them to. I had read them the menu that afternoon, as they gathered around me in the family room, and each child already knew what they planned to order, which is a huge convenience when you have multiple children. A lot of juice can be sucked down in the time it takes for a waiter to take your order after the hostess has dropped down the menus, and juice equals hyperactivity which equals a mean case of heartburn and irritable bowel, and the diagnosis of ADHD from total strangers.
I raised my hand in favor of our formerly planned dining venue. In the rearview mirror, all little hands stayed folded in their laps. I brought up the vote again, raising my hand vigorously like some kind of circus monkey, as this usually gets my three year old to vote with me and then Momma can invoke power of veto and not feel like a mean dictator. Four pairs of eyes stared back at me in disagreement. My eldest son hollered out the name of a hole in the wall taqueria joint which used to be my favorite back when I had an invincible cast iron stomach. Four pairs of hands raised up in the air wildly like a quartet of circus monkeys. Hole in the wall taqueria it was.
When we arrived at the taqueria, not a soul was there and I could only assume the health department had just made an inspection and was headed back to base for reinforcements. A pigeon flew into the restaurant and pecked bits of corn chips off the floor. Perhaps that was a sign from God. The children sat at a table and stared up at a flat screen television while I placed our order. The cashier who took our order actually had drawn in a unibrow. I made a mental note to google unibrow and find out who was behind this horrific trend so I would never download their media or throw out my tweezers, depending on which day it was, phase of the moon, etc. Circus monkeys and unibrow. Somehow it all went together.
Then a bearded lady began making our burritos, and I found myself thinking about how hair transplants would really benefit this food service crew. Thoughts of hair and food don't seem to go together well, so instead I focused upon how many calories I would save by dining here.
After passing out the night's dinner selections, I said cheerfully, "Let's eat," and unwrapped my burrito. Behind a set of beaded curtains to the left of me, the bearded lady placed a half a skinned cow on an industrial meat grinder and ground the beast into little strings. My stomach turned, and I was about to expound on the theory of the circle of life (thank you, Disney's Lion King) when I noticed my children's food was untouched and their eyes were glued to the television screen above their heads. I looked up and beheld a cartoon where some very sharp featured heroes were melting a guy with a bashed in skull head and red eyes. I called out my youngest daughter's name to get her attention and she jumped. Yes, there will be nightmares.
Stress eating commenced and the little black pieces in the salsa that could have either been roasted peppers or crunchy bits of cucarachas tasted great! There was that half a cow on the grinder again, slowly dwindling into a pile of ground beef. The bearded lady wiped the meat grinder off with a dirty wet towel last washed in '08, and carried the gore to the grill. If soy didn't taste so awful that sight would have made me go vegan. I shrugged it off and vowed to stick with shrimp.
There's a law written somewhere that all kids are born knowing. If you're out to dinner with the kids, one of them will have to take a poop. I led my daughter by the hand and pushed open the door. There stood a closed toilet, streaked with black dirt and more ominous than the commode in Starbucks at closing time. My four year old daughter shook her head, her eyes wide. "I can wait," she said.
One potty break, two pupusas, and three bean burritos later, as we cleaned up the pile of crushed aluminum foil and those red plastic baskets Dateline says are never washed, I cheered myself up with the thought that exposure to bacteria strengthens the immune system. Out of nowhere, and I wish this really didn't happen, a guy dressed in one of those onsie jumpers with an embroidered name tag that plumbers where (or prisoners if the suit happens to be orange, but it was black) began helping us clear our table and asked us how everything was. Resisting the urge to blurt, "Filthy!," I smiled and nodded, gathering my kids and praying I wouldn't see him enter the kitchen and start cooking. Why is the food so darn good at these hole-in-the-wall places? The secret ingredient must be the gristle. Or the cucarachas. Speaking of secret ingredients, have you heard the news about KFC lately? It's the Bumba.