I managed to take a wrong turn on the incredibly simple route to the local airport, making me later to pick up my in-laws than I might have been otherwise. It was a bit embarrassing making them wait a good while, but they were gracious about it. I was also filled with exasperation with the local mailing service, whose premium to mail boxes was outrageous. I had to take back two of my four mailings, to mail later directly at the post-office.
We went last night to Ruth's Chris Steak House, where my in-laws bought us dinner in belated honor of the long past birthdays my wife and I celebrated months ago. I had not been to a Ruth's Chris Steak House in years. It aspires to be a "destination" steak restaurant.
The first time I went, many years ago, I took my then very young sister out to dine. We ended up seated in a narrow alcove area. A couple, obviously on their first date, were seated next to us, and, sadly, we could not help hearing every word they said. After many awkward pauses, the man nervously said "I have to confess something--I'm married". The woman did not miss a beat: "I know that! I'm married, too". Third rate romance, low rent rendezvous, at expensive steak prices.
The last time I had been was in San Francisco, out with a kind client who ordered as side dishes a fair sampling of the huge plates of vegetables and mushrooms of all kinds, such that we ate in a virtual farmers' market of prepared sides. It was interesting to eat at one again after several years.
The food was exquisite--my steak was one of the best I've had in my life. It was a rare time when a mildly "high falutin' place" (at least as "high falutin' as a chain steak place can get) lives up to its billing. I had a ribeye which was lovely--nearly ambrosia, as well as a very credible seafood gumbo and a delicate creme brulee.
We'll skip over the part when, after we all napped a bit long, the reservations person feigned that we had to hurry to make our reservation rather than set it back a bit, and then, of course, it turned out that this was an elitist head fake because the restaurant was only busy, not crowded.
We'll also skip over the fact that the waiter condescended a bit to my wife's father's wife, because she has and sometimes expreses strong opinions (in this case, dismay that the serving staff rushed the entree too soon after the salad, in classic chain "get 'em out by eight" style, a bit puzzling in a would-be serene restaurant setting). I thought about how the waiter never would have patronized a man who made a similar comment (e.g., he gave her patronizing, if good humoured, backchat and later leaned over and whispered to me something about her being "over the top"). I personally would never have complained about such a thing a entree timing, but if I had, I never would have gotten that reaction from wait staff. Even as times change, assertive women get less deference than assertive men.
We went back to our home, where my step-mother-in-law and I had a Jane-Austen-meets-Brian-Eno moment, singing "Red River Valley" and similar songs on my electronic autoharp, the omnichord. We all chatted amiably, and made plans to do a driving tour of some Dallas and perhaps McKinney neighborhoods today. It's so nice to have my in-laws here. It's their first time to come here to visit us. My wife's parents are very nice people indeed.