Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Comedy or Tragedy... You Decide

Some background information before we begin:
Mr F's parents do not like to go out to eat... or rather not outside of a very rare occasion. They particularly don't like to go out for breakfast. I'm unsure exactly why... I don't know if that seems like a particularly wasteful meal to go out for, or if they are just too food picky to eat someone else's eggs. I imagine it is a bit of both.
We love to go out for brunch... particularly a good brunch buffet. Love it.


This Mother's Day fell on a Sunday... like it always does. This particular Sunday was the last day of Mr F's parents visit. The fact that it was Mother's Day (my Mother's Day) trumped the fact that they were in town and Mr F booked reservations at a local hotel for brunch.

This is a pretty nice restaurant and we've had brunch there quite a few times. They have a nice buffet and it is surprisingly inexpensive. Win win right? Who wouldn't like that? Which is exactly why we took Mr F's parents there on a previous visit. That is how we found out how seriously they take their "we don't like to eat out for breakfast... especially buffets" stance. They ordered a muffin off the menu. Seriously. The buffet was all you can eat with a freaking carving station, drinks included, for 9.99 but whatever...

Well there aren't a whole lot of nice type breakfast venues to choose from so Mr F made reservations there (Weber's for you local readers). Mr F being Mr F he didn't ask any questions about their "Mother's Day Brunch". Nor was he tipped off by the 2 PM reservation slot when normally they have switched to the menu by then. He booked it. He told me... but he didn't not tell his parents... not when they arrived, not the following day... not even Sunday morning. At approximately 12 PM I asked Mr F if he was operating in "secret mode". He laughed and said he was operating on an "as need to know basis". Perfect... because that tactic has been so useful in the past...

Shortly thereafter Mr F finally decides it is time to inform his parents that we are going out to brunch at 2. I sense a stiffening and maybe a confusion since 2 is pretty late for brunch so I pipe up "Linner... we're going out for linner." Funny... yes I know (Trust me it's not a discriminating audience and there is no point in busting out my A- list humor). Pretty close to 2 PM I make mention that it is close to 2 PM. Yes that's kind of how it goes during these visits. Noticing that Mr F's parents were... um... in casual attire (and by casual I do mean a brown sweat suit) I decide to wear jeans. Not because it was appropriate (it wasn't) but because I didn't want them to feel awkwardly underdressed. Of course it would have been better if Mr F had told them of the plans ahead of time so they could have dressed nicely... but that's a whole different post.

We get everyone in the car and head out. The first sign of our impending doom was visible from quite a ways off. Hundreds of cars were in the parking lot... and on the surrounding grass. I've seen that before... when they are having their "special" dining for Thanksgiving. It never occurred to me that this would be one of those holidays. As it turns out they had over 3000 reservations on Sunday. It was a madhouse. Did I already mention that Mr F's parents don't like to go out to eat and are pretty out of their element when going to Chili's... yeah so you can start to see this is not going to go well.

The last time we were at Weber's for a holiday was Thanksgiving of '03. I had been making my mother's wedding cake and could not take the evening off to go out to her house for dinner. We ate at the hotel with friends. It wasn't good. The food wasn't bad but the atmosphere of the (clearly) third tier banquet room... sitting at long tables with strangers (hey like the Pilgrims!)... other people's crumbs and food bits covering the floor... was less than festive. Apparently it is impossible to turn these tables over as quickly as they are and keep things appealing. So when his mom and I got inside and the maitre 'de said "Brunch? You need to check in downstairs." I knew Mr F had royally fucked up.

To start things down the slippery slope to Hell was the checking in process. The reservation is really just a ballpark time apparently. You check in and then are seated in order. We were #13 to check in for 2 PM. We were seated around 3 PM. Fine. While we're waiting we can see into a gorgeous banquet room. When our name is called we are told we're going to "The Atrium". Oh Uh. Remember that 3rd tier banquet room? The one right next to the indoor pool? Yup... that's "The Atrium".

On the way there Mr F's mother pipes up to the hostess "I'm so glad we are being seated before the woman who cut in front of us." I'm sorry what? I checked us in. We had a reservation. No one was cutting... it was just a total madhouse. "What?" I ask. "The woman who barged in with the 2:30 PM reservation I'm glad we got seated first!" She replied. To which the hostess said "Oh well we go by reservation time and seat all the 2s before the 2:30s." "Well... I really didn't want to see her get a way with it" My MIL continues. What is there even to say... um... she didn't... why are we bitching about that?

Now we enter the "banquet room". Hmm... 2 PM means a LOT of people have already eaten in here.... and it shows. We get seated at a table with no settings. The food is not "hot"... not bad... but not "hot". My FIL has a thing for his food being served piping hot. Since I'm sitting next to Baby (of course) and I am on kid food prep duty my food is not going to be hot either which way so I might not have noticed had I not overheard him saying to my MIL "it's not hot (referring to his coffee) either is the food." I'm a little tense because obviously this is pretty much a worst case dining scenario. On top of that no one is talking... well outside of muttered complaints.

So I'm "enjoying" my Mother's Day. Eating cold food, drinking room temperature coffee (yum), and wrangling the wild one while she rubs watermelon all over the white tablecloth. Just then I notice a commotion at a table behind us. Some woman is yelling at the manager about something... fun... that definitely improves the mood. And then... then people... the goddamn emergency door alarm gets triggered. So there we are sitting, awkwardly not talking, with the alarm going off for a good 5 minutes. It was really unbelievable. I almost could have cried had it not been just so perfect... so perfectly horrendous. I mean really what else could have gone wrong... oh I know...

When my FIL finally got the attention of the wait staff (who never cleared our plates mind you...we actually "bussed" our own table) and complained about the cold coffee... the waiter poured him a fresh cup... and kept on pouring... until it had overflowed the cup... and the saucer. Okay now that is perfect. Could we just stop there?

No you say? You'd be right...

When we get the bill I think I see a 7 on the upside down slip and think to myself "You have got to be kidding me... 70 bucks?!" So I pick it up and see that it is actually closer to 80. Okay so apparently Mr F did not ask how much this "Special Mother's Day Brunch (in Hell)" was. Well I know his Dad would have a heart attack if he had any idea that is how much it was so I hand it to Mr F. He is unphased (of course). I'm pissed. On top of a horrible day and truthfully horrible brunch with horrible service we are now out 80 bucks.

Out of nowhere his Dad gets up and intercepts the waiter and apparently gives his own credit card. While I'm anxious because I didn't really wish for him to know how much it was, I'm also relieved because I won't have to go home resenting everyone as much as if we had paid (just being honest folks). When his Dad sits down to pay the bill he says to me (yes the first thing he had said all day) "How much tip should I pay on this?" Are kidding me? Why are you asking me? How about asking your freaking son who is sitting right next to me? So I said "I don't know." And he said "Well how much would you usually tip for Mother's Day Brunch?" Well... I wouldn't.... I'm the mom! After an awkward pause I said "I don't know... we've never been here for Mother's Day Brunch before." (a refrain that I had repeated about 100 times since the moment we had arrived in the parking lot... along with "Ask [Mr F]... he made the reservation.") Since he wouldn't relent I just said "well I would certainly not give more than 10%."

He paid the check and then looked at us and said "Well.... Happy Birthday [Mr F].... and Happy Mother's Day [Mrs F]." in as flat an affect as possible.
Um.... thanks?

35 comments:

Amy said...

I think I would rather have my kiss and "Happy Mother's Day" than that celebration any year!

So have you guys learned your lesson?

shelley said...

You could make a movie...

I'm sorry your day wasn't better, but you have a great family so thats what counts.

Deborah said...

Aw gee. I'm really sorry but I feel your pain, having been down the in-law road before. Hellish. They could have been a *little* more upbeat, I think.

Torey said...

Oh Mrs. F! I totally understand!! I used to work at a rather upscale Country Club that had similar brunches and I always felt sorry for the people who came to the second seating. Ugh. I'm sorry.

On a slightly different note, if you're around on Sunday's and want a good Non-Buffet brunch, I highly recommend /aut/ bar by Kerry Town.

lucinda said...

Where was Justin when you needed him?

Jennifer said...

UGH! Definately a linner from hell! :(

Which by the way I thought was pretty funny .. the linner thing that is.

Marilyn said...

Oh, that sounds really awful. Not a fun visit at all. I would dread having them come to my house. Are they elderly? (over 70?)

Mrs Furious said...

Torey,
LMAO.... the /aut/ bar for all you non-Ann Arborites is a gay establishment. Perfectly nice and not exclusive but I think Mr F's parents would fall on the floor! Hey I just might have to try it ;)
Oh God... still laughing about that one!


Marilyn,
No they were 19 when they had Mr F. But in just about every capacity you'd think they were at least 15 years older than my parents.

Mrs Furious said...

Deborah,
I told you I was being wronged ;)



Amy,
Mr F never learns his lesson. Ever.


Jennifer,
oh thanks.. I didn't get even a smirk in response to that one...


Shelley,
That's exactly what I said when I started writing this crazy saga... just the brunch scene itself could be a movie. Believe it or not I actually had to take stuff out.

Shirls said...

I have to say my heart went out to you just for the thought of having to deal with in laws on your special day period, but all that? no ones needs all that extra crap thrown in..

have I ever told you that I'm not a big believer in "mothers day"? I don't think a mom should have a set mothers day, I think the birthdates of your kids should be more about the mom and less about the child, I know that could be perceived as all backwards, but honestly who worked harder on that day? and who remembers exactly what it took to bring that baby into the world? I think each mom should get a special day on the anniversary of theirs kids birth every year, that should be moms day for that mom.. just saying

Deb said...

Suddenly, that gross little bird on my kitchen counter doesn't seem like such a bad ending to Mother's Day. At least the tables at Taco Bell were clean.

Ugh... you poor thing. Poor Mr. F.

Mrs Furious said...

Shirls,
I like it. Good idea.
Hear that Mr F? Halloween... get ready to honor me! ;)

Cara said...

awww I am sorry the day was so awful. At least you can laugh at it later right ;-)

Southern Fried Girl said...

Dude. That's bad. So very bad.

Oh my. I have no words. Except bad. BAD.

Yeah, you need a do-over. Try again next Sunday.

Haley said...

I agree with SFG -- you should definitly get a do over!

shelley said...

Maybe Julia Roberts could play you...

Heather said...

Definitely comedy. God, it sounds just awful. The awkwardness of family is uh, really something, isn't it?

Andrea said...

That sucks, I agree you definently need a do over.

P.O.M. said...

Tragedy & Comedy all rolled into one. Tragedy at the time, but darn funny when you write about it.

I think, you should get a Re-mother's Day SANS the in-laws.

eurydice said...

sounds like my dad's family. all they do is play or watch golf. during family functions, everyone just sits and watches tv... so boring! and my aunt (by marriage) once finished the thanksgiving turkey in the microwave after realizing it didn't cook long enough in the oven. not joking!

Kid Art said...

Good lord, how awful. I cringed at your description of the non-conversation at the table...that must have been so awkward & miserable.

A do-over is definitely in order!

Julie said...

This bites. I could totally feel the tension.

I can just picture you and Mr F exchanging "wtf" glances at each other...like could it get any worse!

Please tell me that you at least were in separate cars so you could decompress and stuff in the car. Oh shit, you were probably all together in the mini van, huh...

Mrs Furious said...

Thanks for the support everyone!


Julie,
yeah... all together in the mini van...

Robin said...

That is seriously the crappiest Mother's Day I have ever heard of. I am so sorry.

You should definitely get a do-over.

Chris Howard said...

This reminds me a little of my father-in-law, Pete. They love to go out to eat, but Pete is extremely picky. He sent back pancakes at Cracker Barrel because they weren't done enough. On our cruise in December, it was one complaint after another about the food, or the timing if we didn't eat in the buffet.

He's much more sociable than it sounds like your father-in-law is though. Anyway, I can sympathize with the feeling of suffering through a meal.

kendyl said...

Mrs F,
You are so self-centered & I can't believe other people are actually dumb enough to get off on your blog. Particularly because, as a niece of your inlaws, I feel as though your blog is full of mistruths & lies.
You had boasted about the sucess of your blog in your holiday letter, yet you have the nerve, stupidity, & arrogance to complain about those that you sent the letter to.
What kind of person blogs & bitches about their family & inlaws, when you know everyone has access?!?
I could truly write a few more pages about your character, but I have more class than you to destroy an individuals character. Although in my case it wouldn't be the cheap half-truths that you take at others.
best,
Kendyl

kendyl said...

Mrs F,
You are so self-centered & I can't believe you all get off on this blog!!! It is a pile of shit.
What kind of person blogs & bitches about their family & inlaws, when you know everyone has access?!?
You had boasted about the sucess of your blog in your holiday letter.
Talk about nerve!!!
best,
Kendyl

Mrs Furious said...

Kendyl,
I'm sorry you are taking this so personally.
I actually didn't know you read it. Obviously. I didn't write our holiday letter. I didn't give out any details of my blog. It is my blog and my life and my life experience.
Not one bit of this is a half truth as Mr F can and will attest.
It is a blog about my life... so of course it is self-centered... it is about me.
I use this blog to vent about the good and the bad.
Everyone's life experience is different. Everyone's relationships are different. I wish that our relationship with Mr F's parents was different. I worked diligently for years to improve it.
I have bought every present, planned every trip, dialed the phone to make Mr F call them.
But this is my blog. It is a diarist format. I am a straight forward person with different things going on. Not everything is always great. This weekend was one of those times.
I'm not trying to destroy anyone's character Kendyl. The relationship is complicated and uncomfortable for everyone involved. And I'm allowed to have those feelings and talk about it in my space.
I'm open about the difficulties I have in every one of my relationships... not just this one.
I'm glad you have had a different/better relationship with them. I don't think they are bad people... we (Mr F & I.. and he is fine with what I have written) don't connect with them.

Mrs Furious said...

Kendyl,
I'm going to be perfectly honest with you... I didn't ask for Mr F to write about my blog. I write about personal stuff in an anonymous format for a reason. I didn't want people to know about it.
If I censored everything that ever happened this blog wouldn't be interesting or funny to read. I share the in-laws stories in the same vein that I share bad Mr f moments or moments with my family. Because it is real. I see them 1 or 2 a year it does not make up the majority of what I write about. I could exclude it... but I made a decision not to. I have a lot of good supportive friends on the blog and when things are difficult and draining they lift me up. I needed that this weekend.
I suggest you either not read my blog... or read it in the same light you would read a stranger's. Where a story about a horrible brunch gone wrong would just be a funny anecdote. That is all it is meant to be. Very, very, few of my readers actually know me or Mr F and even fewer know his parents.

Julie said...

Hmm....I think I know who Anonymous is;)

emmyjw said...

We have been to the brunch in hell at Webers! UGH! I think it is a pretty good place other times but man the Holiday brunch scene is ugly. Your in laws sound like a joy...man I hate it when people are like that, if you are a guest you should go with the flow, at least I do ;) At least Mr F came through with the mem card, Nolan wanted me to start cleaning the basement while he was at work even though I had to go into work at 4pm. He wisely rethought it and said I should just go have dinner at my mom's before work.

Mrs Furious said...

Julie,
Hmmm.... it was written in the same harsh condemning tone now wasn't it?


Emmy,
I'm so glad someone else has had the Weber's experience and can back me up!
I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm telling half-truths ;)

Tony said...

My heart hurts for you. I hadn't seen Kendyl's comment. I am so sad you guys had to deal with this, especially after the past week and on Matt's b-day. Know I am thinking good thoughts about/for you.

angie said...

Oops, comment from Tony was really from me...using his computer.

Justin said...

Sorry, mrs. F. I would have treated you better if i was there. Too bad I can't just be your full time server. Being a server, i feel bad tipping below 20% but if the service is really that bad i barely leave anything. Otherwise, the server doesn't get the point. No where is it written that you have to tip at all, it's based on service. So I really try to earn my money.

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