Like an old western television serial, we pushed open the doors to the burger joint. It was lunch for the taking.
The clock was about to chime high noon. The countdown was upon us to feed small people and get them to nap before meltdown.Â Every man (or mom) for himself.
Search and Destroy stalked in, bursting through the swinging â€œPush Here to Open â€“ Door must remain unlocked during all business hoursâ€ entryway.
The blast of over-filtered recirculated air-conditioning hit us full force. I could hear the tumbleweed whistle play, announcing our arrival. (This could also have been the ringing in my ears from entertaining toddling twins all morning.)
I looked around at the people eying our entrance. We were getting the evil eye. As though the villain had just entered the local saloon; we were just waiting for the sheriff to arrive.
Yeah. Iâ€™m that mom. I brought my twins to the burger joint. Alone. Whatâ€™s it to you? I knew we were the bad guys because I was wearing black (yoga pants).
And also two 3-year-olds were excitedly casing out the joint. â€œPOTATOES, MOM!â€
Our trio weaved our way to the cashier, snaking the way around the two tons of potato sacks barricading the queue.
Cashier: Welcome to Five Guys, Miss. Have you been here before, Miss? What can I get for you today, Miss?
There are over 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys. So we ordered the most basic little cheeseburgers all around. There is no kids menu â€“ just single patties vs. two. But hey â€“ when youâ€™re braving the wild wild suburban westside, go big or go home.
Cashier: Can I get you any fries, Miss? One order serves 1-2 people, Miss. A double order is for 3-4, Miss. Since itâ€™s you and the two little men there, Miss, youâ€™ll be good with the one order. Thanks for joining us here, Miss. Thereâ€™s coloring pages and peanuts you can grab right over there by the soda machine, Miss, if you want to grab some while you wait for your order, Miss.
Our order was called minutes later.
I left the muppets at the table and darted toward the pick-up counter. My boys eyed me as I left them alone. I eyed them right back to ensure my pint-sized posse didnâ€™t leave.
The Little League team dining with parents at the nearby table eyed us all. Team parents didnâ€™t seem pleased with the intrusion of their mid-day meal. (They had very poor poker faces.)
â€œBoy does she have her hands full,â€ stage-whispered the perfectly put-together head team mom. I mentally prepared myself for a shootout at the OK Burger Corral. (Because I may have had my hands full with two dark-clad tots, but she had eight once-white uniformed elementary boys. Moneyâ€™s on me lady.)
Destroy broke my stagecoach train of thought. He had ripped open the grocery paper sack holding our single order of fries. (I estimate about seven potatoes frenched and fried per person.)
â€œIâ€™VE GOT A SNACK IN MY BOONT!â€
This was all part of our secret code. The mis-interpretation of Toy Story Woodyâ€™s pull-string was his message to me that we had some serious work to do on demolishing the threat of salted potatoes before us.
â€œIâ€™m not hungry,â€ whined a Little Leaguer. â€œI just want a grilled cheese.â€ Meanwhile, perfectly put-together head team mom was looking disgustedly at the meat sandwich carnage that remained, strewn upon the tables before her.
â€œI eating MY lunch,â€ a very non-humble Search announced in an unsaid reply.
And the chowdown was on.
Search downed his little cheeseburger in record time. I was perhaps three bites into mine, so in awe of his consumption powers. At which point he demanded a bite of mine. Destroy was doing serious damage to those potatoes, despite my constant reminders to chew and swallow before stuffing his chipmunk cheeks with more.
Finally, Search decided he was thirsty. â€œMommy, I need water,â€ he declared. â€œI need water in the big boy cup.â€ And he grabbed my standard 16 ounce soda cup filled with water and proudly started swigging.
Yes. Yes you do get a big boy cup, kiddo. Because you guys just out ate a Little League team.