I'm glad Leif loves me, because I suck at picking people up at the airport. If you read my post on getting married you know that it was touch and go for awhile. I finally found him and got him bundled into the car and you'd think that would be enough excitement for one day but no...since this little adventure technically spanned two day (beginning before midnight and ending sometime after that) the drive home deserved its own moment of glory.
He was hungry. Airlines no longer offer you snacks and beverages. I don't know if they're trying to save on money or weight, but snacks were one of the things airlines decided weren't necessary for passenger comfort. He was a little peckish. We decided to look for somewhere to eat when we reached the northern suburbs.
Do you know what's open in the northern suburbs at 2 am? Almost nothing. Gas stations and Perkins. I didn't think his introduction to Minnesota eating should be 24 hour old hot dogs at a Holiday Station so we opted for Perkins.
It was rocky from the start. The first question "Can I get you something to drink?" got a "Yes, water with bubbles," from Leif. As our 18 (she looked 12) year old waitress's jaw dropped and her eyebrows started to climb up her forhead I quickly told her tap water was fine. She relaxed and walked away as I explained to Leif that it was only in the best restaurants that a customer could get water with bubbles. And Perkins is not in the best category.
We decided on soup because it was the wee hours of the morning and we would have to have breakfast with my parents in a few hours. When she came back with our water (sans bubbles) we asked what the soups were today. And she told us that there was no soup. We weren't prepared for that answer so we asked her to come back in a couple of minutes. How does a restaurant run out of all their soups? If I can get breakfast all day I should be able to get soup all day. And my over-the-top reaction to the news confirmed that I was starving too. Time to regroup and decide what we would have that wasn't soup.
Next to Leif there was a giant (placemat sized) laminated sign for chicken pot pie that looked absolutely fantastic. When our waitress came back we said we'd like the chicken pot pie because it looked so good on the sign. I swear, she rolled her eyes as she told us that, too, was gone for the day. I don't know if the eye roll was for us and our inate ability to pick out everything on the menu that was gone or if it was for the people in the kitchen who couln't keep the menu filled for her. Didn't matter to me at that point. I gave her my sternest (but just short of homicidal) look and said, "Come back."
We huddled over the menu, desparately trying to strike a balance between our hunger, our future breakfast and what we thought might actually be available. I can't even remember what we decided on anymore, I was so hungry. But I do remember all three of us sighing deeply when we ordered and she didn't have to tell us no again.
By this time we were the only customers left in the place. As she put our plates down she gestured towards the door and told us if we needed anything she'd be outside. It's winter. The only thing people in the middle of a work shift go outside for is a smoke break. I choked back a smart remark about checking her ID to see if she was old enough to smoke and let her leave. I was mesmerized by the smell coming from my plate, the lecture on the evils of smoking could wait till later.
Thank goodness the rest of the meal, and the drive home went off without a hitch. We tiptoed into the house and snuck up the stairs (conveniently located right next to my parents room) for a couple of hours sleep before breakfast. It wasn't a perfect introduction to eating in Minnesota but it was definitely memorable.