Fries for Fruit

Me: “Young lady, you have to eat all those scrambled eggs you put on your plate.”

Little Miss Thing, age 7: “But I’m full.”

Me: “You’ve barely eaten, so I’m not sure I believe that.”

LMT: “I don’t feel well. My stomach hurts. I feel hot. I need to go lie down.”

Me: (side eye)

Danger Monkey, age 10: “I’ll eat your eggs if I can have some of those french fries you reheated.”

LMT: “Deal!”

Me: “Not so fast…”

LMT: “What?!?”

Me: “It’s not about trading. It’s my job to make sure each of you gets enough nutrition, and protein, and fiber, and all that stuff. You can’t just trade willy-nilly. And, I’d like to point out that I wasn’t a fan of you reheating your french fries at breakfast, and I told you specifically to not fill up on fries before you ate the solid stuff.”

(long pause)

LMT: “OK, if he eats my eggs, I’ll eat more cantaloupe.”

DM: “If I can eat her fries, I’ll clear the table by myself when we’re done.”

(long pause)

Me: “I will allow this… if I get some of the french fries.”

LMT: “Deal!”

DM: “Deal!”

(furious swapping)

Me: “We might be a family of gamers.”

DM: “Isn’t it great?”



My Money-Maker

We were sitting at the breakfast table today when my youngest daughter spoke up.

“Daddy,” she said, “I think I’ll have a lemonade stand this summer. I need to make money.”

Which is a really awesome thing for a seven year old kid to say. She’s showing initiative, creativity, problem solving, respect for money, the value of work. I mean, clearly, we have a budding entrepreneur on our hands, right?

Problem is, as I’ve mentioned a few times, we live way out in the woods. WAY OUT. We get maybe 15-20 cars past our mailbox PER DAY, and that’s pretty much just our neighbors. And you can’t see the road from our house. It’s a bit of a hike. Not exactly what you’d call prime real estate for a young purveyor of quality lemon-based libations.

Yet, how could I subtly steer my 3rd grader through the minefield that is supply and demand, start-up costs, customer acquisition, overhead? And let’s not even mention the soul crushing rigor of health ordinances. How could I gently impart those golden nuggets of parental wisdom without squelching that glorious go-getter spirit of hers?

In my best fatherly voice, I posed the most obvious question, “Why do you feel like you need money, Dear?”

“I want to buy more stuffies, of course,” she said, glancing askew, as if I were suddenly a raving lunatic.

Before I could control myself, I heard my mouth blurt out, “More stuffed animals? Don’t you have enough already?”

This was a horrible mistake on my part, you understand. She glared at me, through me, her eyes blazing like laser beams. Her eyebrows bunched and knit, her hair somehow fluttering about her head in an unseen wind. Without opening her mouth, a wailing sound arose, slowly increasing in both pitch and volume, not unlike a violin being played by a power drill in a tornado. I swear I heard glass breaking. In the distance, a baby cried.

Luckily, her older brother chimed in just in time to save me. “Trust me, you don’t want a lemonade stand here at our house,” he said nonchalantly. He has very little chalant.

“Oh, yeah? Why not?” she demanded in a tone reminiscent of a drill sergeant who quit coffee and smoking earlier that day.

Immune to her posturing, he continued undeterred. “Look, you won’t get any customers on our road. You’ll go out of business in the first week.”

How proud was I? While his old man floundered and sputtered, my darling boy captured it all in two short sentences. He was so wise for his age. His response was so succinct, so gentle in letting her down easy. I take full credit, of course. That apple didn’t fall far from this tree.

“Oh,” she shrugged with uncharacteristic resignation. “I see,” she said. Then, walking toward my bedroom, she muttered, “Guess I’ll just go back to looking through Dad’s pockets.”


Omelet You In On Something

This morning I was running errands in town and had an hour to kill. It was morning time, I was downtown, I was hungry… I think you see where this is going.

In the easternmost basement of the Fountain Square Mall, there is a tiny cafe / convenience store / ice cream shop named Stefano’s Ice Cafe. As you can tell from my description, they have a lot going on in a small space.


Usually, if a place tries to do too much, it means they don’t do any of it very well. In this case, you will be pleasantly surprised.

They have a big selection of coffees and fancy coffee drinks and it all looks really impressive. I’m not a coffee guy, so I can’t tell you anything about it except it looks legit. I just order iced coffee with cream and sugar because I want the caffeine but hate the taste of coffee. Their iced coffee is… fine.

I’ve had ice cream here, too, and it’s pretty good. I mean, it’s ice cream. Does anyone screw up ice cream? They don’t have a ton of options, but, hey… you get to put ice cream into your mouth. You’ll live through the disappointment of not getting Double Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Explosion, or whatever weird thing you’re looking for.

I can’t speak for their Lunch menu, but it sounds good and it seems pretty popular. They have many specials that rotate throughout the week. But if the other items are any indicator, I’m confident lunch is good.

This morning I had an omelet. He asked, “Do you want everything in that?” Yes. Yes, I do. I’m a giant viking. I always want everything in it.


The amazing pile of mixed up, steaming beautifulness that got dropped off at my table was nothing short of glorious. It not only had “everything,” but everything was pretty high quality. The big chunks of bacon and sausage were hearty and plentiful throughout. The sausage was just a little spicy, the way God intended. The veggies were also plentiful and tasty. I saw red onion, green onion, green pepper, and a bit of tomato. I was a little surprised it didn’t include mushrooms, but I’m not complaining. It also had a good bit of yummy, gooey cheese. This omelet plus two pieces of hearty wheat toast made for a nice, complex, and delicious breakfast.

Viking approved.