Socializing again…FAIL

This is basically a long whine from me. If you want something cheerful, you’ll need to find another posting from me, or from someone else!

After a successful night out earlier this week, all seemed to be going well.

Last night, I had a meeting that finished earlier than usual. I was chatting afterwards to a parent and she received a phone call from her son. Her face dropped, she went ashen and had to dash off, asking “Did everyone get out of the car OK?” I got a text this morning to say her son is OK, but she wants to know if there is a place to donate unwanted teenage kids. This has nothing to do with the actual topic of this post except insofar as it highlights that kids mess with plans on short notice.

Tonight, I was supposed to be going to a nice Italian restaurant in Georgetown with a friend who is in town from California. It wasn’t a date; we just like going out to nice places in Washington when she’s around. Some of the time my now-runaway wife would come along too.

I had planned for the two girls still at home to have dinner at one of their friends’ houses. After being at home alone all day, I didn’t want them to spend most of the evening alone while I was out having fun. Also, asking them to cook three meals for themselves, when the oldest is only 15, seems a tad unreasonable…

Smash, bang, fizzle. Things fell over each over faster than a Congressman on an assistant.

I thought that flute lessons stopped with the end of school. Wrong. They’re paid up to the end of the month. Danielle, my runaway wife, is OK with dropping Charlotte off but she can’t pick her up afterwards. Maybe the ‘dinner neighbor’ can do it? Maybe. But, BOTH of the kids complained loudly about having to go to this person’s place for dinner. Oops, this is my fault, I should have consulted them first about this; I thought they LIKED going there. Both of her kids are friends with my daughters. Apparently, they like the people in the house, but the house itself is not up to their standards for cleanliness. I’ve noticed it’s really untidy but it hadn’t occurred to me that their house is dirty enough for the kids to complain.

Since I don’t have time to organize something else for the girls and have to be back home to pick up Charlotte from flute, I canceled my dinner engagement. My friend is, of course, a little miffed.

When they found out I would be home for dinner, the girls immediately switched tactics. “No, you should go!” they said. “We didn’t realize you’d cancel your meal!” And other nice things like that. When you’re younger, you tend to complain without thinking about the end game, the consequences of getting what you want. They didn’t realize that not going to the neighbor’s house for dinner meant I would cancel my plans because it was too late to make other arrangements. I was surprised and touched that they teamed up to talk me into going out anyway, that they WANTED me to go out and have some fun. That was very kind of them.

In theory, I could rekindle the plans. But I have a sneaking suspicion my friend would glare at me over her drinks. She would definitely see me as a bigger flake with a start/stop/start than a simple cancelation (the first time I have done it). I’ve learned a few things that I need to remember for the future. First, I need to plan a little more carefully with my kids. Second, they are sweet enough to be miserable so I can be happy. Third, given the first two, what else do I need to worry about…


About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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10 Responses to Socializing again…FAIL

  1. cateohara says:

    Consider going to dinner, and enjoy yourself. Your friend will overlook the flakiness – look at your circumstances the past few months! You deserve a little flakiness. (and after a good glass of wine or two, you’ll feel more enthusiastic about it) If I may offer a little insight – I *was* your kids – I think you’re on exactly the right path – just ask them what they’d prefer in terms of dinner arrangements. I would have chosen to be home too (their stuff, their food, a little freedom to be on the phone/computer/videochat a little more than if you were home 😉 )
    Have fun!

  2. mysterycoach says:

    My daughter has of late, told me the same thing about me enjoying myself and going out. That she can stay home on her own now and then (I don’t want to be out and about all the time, 5 nights a week etc., not that I would ya know..) and she’s fine with it. This was after many talks about the fact that while I love her, I’m an adult I need to go out and meet someone and have things of my own to do. She finally understands… which is good.

    The resistance prior was … quite the … topic of many discussions she and I had. Which respected. I’m never going to run men in and out of my house with dating, not cool, but I do need a life of my own so I can meet “one” 🙂 So… yah, this is sweet of your kids. Your friend I think would be able to understand that you have new responsibilities and not glare at you … friends are friends no? I’m flaky sometimes too and I think she would understand you have a lot going on right now. Yes? 🙂

  3. you should have locked the girls in the bathroom and gone anyway 😉 oh wait, that’s what you do with dogs, not kids ….. never mind.

    SD, it’s okay to put your foot down about the girls going to the other house for dinner so you can go out and have fun. They’ll live. It would only be for a couple of hours, ya’ know. Call your friend up and make plans for tonight or tomorrow ………. do it …..

  4. Sounds like you have some very sweet girls. But no matter what you’re the parent and you get to decide. And if you want to go out with a friend without them (which seems like a very rare thing for you these days), then you go. End of story.

    Plus, like Cate said, they’d probably enjoy having the house to themselves for an evening. I loved being all alone when I was growing up. And it probably wouldn’t have hurt anyone to order a pizza if food is really what you’re worried about 😉

    So if there’s still time I think you should try getting a night out. The girls at home want you to have one and so do the girls here 🙂

  5. Surrey gal says:

    Lock them in the cupboard and do your thing, I’m saying. That’s what I do.
    Grey, not only dogs are locked in the bathroom, children of reasonable parents are too 😀

  6. There is NOTHING better than finding out that your kids actually think of something more than themselves. I consider that a SUCCESSFUL night! Found you through a Redneck Princess….Love, Me

  7. I agree with all the above comments…live your life for you once and a while 🙂

    Maybe this will cheer you up, I am sending you some blog love 🙂

  8. goyagrrl says:

    Oh – go to dinner! And if your friend does glare, simply say “friends do not glare at friends that have recently had massive piles of drama thrown at them by life. Now, get me another drink, please.”
    AND, the gals can benefit from hanging out in a dirty and untidy environment. It builds up their immune systems!

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