When it’s your birthday and the Cheesecake Factory is a two hour drive from the house.
It was the wife’s birthday recently, and by some quirk of nature, my child was born within ten days. Being so close to x-ma$$ it makes life interesting. After all – everyone just got presents. Seeing how my birthday is very close to Thanksgiving itself, we’re all done inside three months, then nothing for a year.
Our usual choice for dinner is the Melting Pot – a Fondue Restaurant. Its a great place to go, however this time we decided to switch it up a little. The Cheesecake Factory, in Charlotte, NC is a great place to eat, and it’s VERY busy. Its also inside a mall dedicated to conspicuous consumption. Its fun to browse through Neiman-Marcus and look in the windows at Tiffany’s, when the shades aren’t pulled, and maybe even browse the Peter Max collection at the art gallery.
Even better may be the fact the NorthLake Mall (a much more down-to-earth wallet friendly place) is barely twenty minutes away on the other side of Charlotte, and there is an REI store over there. REI is a place I could cheerfully spend five hundred bucks and not think twice about it. Kaylee tried on a pack with the help of a salesman ($125) and then we looked at sleeping bags ($100). She is suddenly into the whole hiking idea. Six months ago she hated the woods, so I don’t know what to think.
I’ve learned very little about the actual process of sleeping overnight in the woods. Sure I can pick a spot and hang a tent, and I’m working through the whole “Im old and out of shape” thing. Food is a big issue, especially with a kid whose idea of supper is anything microwaved or fried. I can’t see her sitting down with a sack of rehydrated lasagna, or waking up to a cup of hot oatmeal or instant grits. A pop tart or a bowl of coca-puffs isn’t something to sustain her hiking five miles.
So – after drooling over the stuff at the REI (including a Columbia Bugaboo Coat my wife later found for $30 less at Sierra Trading Post that will be perfect for skiing), and not buying anything but a First Aid Kit (hey – if there’s one thing I will need, it’s a first aid kit. Too bad it doesn’t come with a search and rescue homing beacon), we left and went to Cheesecake Factory. All in all a good time was had, despite a rainy drive home.