Final Book Review of 2017

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It’s the last day of 2017, which means that if I’m going to give you my last book review of the year, I’m going to need to do it now. I put it off so long because I had a goal to read 52 books in the year, and I wanted to reach that goal before I gave my final review so I wouldn’t leave anything out, but unfortunately I didn’t reach my goal. I fell short by ten, only having read 42, but there’ve been some good and some bad, and to this point I’ve told you all about forty of them, so get ready for the final two, because here they come.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: Have you ever seen the tv show Gossip Girl? If not then you’re really missing out, as it’s one of the greatest television shows in history in my completely biased opinion. It’s about a website called gossip girl that posts rumors and secrets about the kids that go to a private Manhattan high school and the quest to find out who is behind the website. That’s kind of what this book is about. A group full of kids is in detention after school one day, when one of them mysteriously drops dead, poisoned by the glass of water he’d just gulped down. The dead kid had started an app much like gossip girl, where he posted secrets about other kids in the school, the only difference is, everyone knew that he was behind it, and every single person in detention with him that day, had a reason to make sure he didn’t make his next post, because he had secrets about all of them. It’s a thrilling whodunit story that will leave you guessing about who the culprit is until the very end. It’s a fun, quick read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, desperately searching for the truth behind the murder.

John Dies at the End by David Wong- This book, written and narrated by twenty something video store clerk David Wong, is the story about his unfortunate discovery of paranormal forces existing in the universe. It’s something he would like to forget, or better yet un-know, but something is always lurking around him, lurking in his brain, a constant reminder of what he knows and what might happen. Along with his friend John, they must save the universe or at least protect their loved ones from meeting the same unfortunate fate as other people in their small midwestern town. It’s part sci-fi, part humor, and all exciting. A four hundred plus page book that you will not be able to put down once you start. I’m not really a fan of science fiction, but this book hooked me in from the beginning, and I can’t wait to read the final two books in the series because the story is just that good. I highly recommend checking this one out, because if you like an exciting story, then John Dies at the End is the perfect book to get lost in. I wish you all a happy new year, and I think starting the year out reading either of these books will guarantee that your 2018 gets off to a great start.

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The Airing of Grievances: A Festivus Tradition

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Most of you probably think of December 23rd as just another day while some of you might think of it as Christmas eve eve, but not me, because for me, this day holds a special place in my heart. As any other faithful follower of the TV show Seinfeld knows, December 23rd is the holiday known as Festivus. Created by George’s father, Frank Costanza, Festivus is one man’s rebellion against the commercialism of Christmas, the origin story most beautifully told in the Seinfeld episode titled “The Strike” which is season 9 episode 10 for those of you who would like to be enlightened. There are several rich Festivus traditions, but my absolute favorite is the airing of grievances, where, after dinner, you gather your family around the table and tell them all of the ways they’ve disappointed you throughout the year. While I’m not going to speak ill of my family, I do have some grievances to air about the past year, so gather around and get comfortable, because this may take a while.

While sports have always been one of my favorite things in life, this year the teams that I follow have disappointed me quite a bit, so this first grievance is dedicated to them. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have won multiple World Series over the past decade failed to make the playoffs this year for the second season in a row. There were ups and downs throughout the season, but it ultimately got so bad that I completely lost interest in the Cardinals midway through the summer, one of the things I can usually count on to carry me through those long, hot, and miserable months. This year there was no solace. The Dallas Cowboys, my favorite football team, gave me hope last year after finishing 13-3 and making the playoffs, hope that this might actually be our year, but a three game losing stretch midway through the season dug a hole for the team that is probably too deep to climb out of. Statistically there’s still hope that the Cowboys can make the playoffs, but they have to not only win their last two games of the year, one against the best team in the league, but must also depend on other teams losing multiple games, so my hopes aren’t too high at this juncture. The Memphis Grizzlies, my hometown basketball team entered this season with an air of mystery, as nobody really knew what to expect after losing two of our longtime favorite players in Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, the heart of our team. They started off hot, winning games against the best teams in the league, even at one point rising to the status of a first place ranking in the NBA, but ultimately it was a false hope given. Since one of our top players, Mike Conley, went down with an injury more than a month ago, the Grizzlies have only one two game, and if that hasn’t been painful enough, we fired our head coach, David Fizdale, who I really liked. Maybe things will turn around in 2018 for my teams, but as for this year, they’ve all been major disappointments. Shame on you all.

Next on my list of disappointments for the year is our president, our fearless leader, Donald J. Trump. I was disappointed last year in the American people for electing someone to the most powerful office in the world, who clearly shouldn’t have even been considered for the position, but that was last year, and I hoped that once he took office that maybe he would tone things down, but sadly, he has done quite the opposite, tweeting too much, insulting various countries and world leaders, proving what I and many others knew last fall, that he isn’t competent to be president. I fear, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this, that his harsh words, seemingly spoken without thought, along with rash actions, will lead us into a war at some point during his ridiculous presidency. I’m very disappointed in you Donald J. Trump. I hope you can accept your grievance with dignity, something I’m afraid you have very little, if any, within you.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to air my grievance against the apartment complex where my wife and I live. There have been little things that have disappointed me, such as raising our rent this year and maintenance workers parked in our assigned parking space, but there are other things that have taken place, that are a lot more difficult to overlook, like for instance, all the times the water has been shut off this year. These apartments, use as a selling tool, the fact that they pay for all of the residents’ water, which is nice, but is it really worth it when they shut the water off so much? This past week, the water was shut off four out of five days, which is absolutely absurd. Maybe I could look past all of the other things, maybe if that was all that was wrong at this apartment complex then I wouldn’t be so disappointed, but sadly, there was the squirrel incident. Earlier in the year, I woke up to a hole in my bedroom wall, a hole made by the squirrel that was living inside of it, the squirrel that I on multiple occasions spoke to the office about after having to listen to its incessant scratching on the wall at all hours of the night. They did nothing, and one morning the hole appeared. Someone should have been sent over immediately to fix the problem, really it’s the least they could have done, but it took them more than a week to send somebody over to nail a board up over the hole, and a month longer to actually get somebody in here who could actually repair the wall. I’m very disappointed, and frankly can’t wait until my lease is up so I can get out of this poorly managed apartment complex. Shame on you.

That does it for all of my grievances this year, and I’ve gotta tell you, it feels pretty good, almost cathartic, airing them on this Festivus holiday. My hope is that 2018 will be a wonderful year full of wonderful things, where nothing bad happens and nothing is disappointing, but I’m a realist. There hasn’t been a year in my life where that has happened, so I’m fairly confident that the streak won’t be broken in the coming year, so come back next December 23rd, and I’ll be more than happy to tell you about all of the things that have disappointed me. Happy Festivus everyone!

Thanksgiving on Sunday: A Redemption Story

IMG_4502This Thanksgiving we did something that my family has never done before, and went to a restaurant for the traditional turkey dinner. There were some parts about it that were nice, nobody having to spend hours cooking or cleaning, and some of the side dishes were good, but the turkey, the traditional focal point of any good Thanksgiving meal, left a lot to be desired. Aside from that major downside, the meal was pretty good, though it didn’t really have that Thanksgiving feel. It was a nice meal, but something was missing, and I’m not the only one in our party that felt that way, because the next evening, I got a phone call from my grandpa, inviting my wife and I to Thanksgiving dinner at their house on Sunday evening. The wheels of redemption were set in motion.

It was an unexpected and welcome surprise, knowing that my grandparents would be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner after all, which worked out perfectly for us, the recipients of a somewhat disappointing meal on Thursday, as well as my uncle Brett, who had a similar lackluster experience across state lines at a nursing home in Mississippi, so we were all in need of a do-over. Just before six my wife and I walked through the door of my grandparents house on Rose road, welcomed by a hug from my Mimi, delicious smells coming from the kitchen, and a crackling fire in the living room. This felt like a holiday. We sat around in the living room and talked in front of the fire while the finishing touches were put on our Thanksgiving dinner, and as the clock chimed six o’clock, the six of us, my grandparents, dad, uncle, wife and I, all gathered in the kitchen to load our plates up with the delicious bounty laid out for us.

I started with a few spoonfuls of Mimi’s dressing, then added some chicken, which I drizzled with some of the homemade gravy that sat on the stove. Next was a good generous portion of green bean casserole, followed by at least three big spoonfuls of sweet potato casserole, and a dinner roll, which I liberally spread with butter that melted instantly against the warm bread. Once seated at the table there was more food to be had, cranberry sauce and some kind of marshmallow/pistachio/pineapple “salad” that sounds weird but is delicious, and probably what I ate more of than anything else. I know I’ve talked about turkey being the staple food at Thanksgiving, but I have to say, I don’t think I would mind if chicken replaced it on the menu permanently, because it’s obviously the better tasting bird, and it didn’t hurt my feelings at all that that was the case this year, besides, it Thanksgiving had technically passed so it wasn’t really even “Turkey Day” anymore.

The green bean casserole may be my favorite Thanksgiving dish. I really love it, but for some reason, I never eat it at any other point throughout the year, simply because for some reason, I never even think about it. It’s surprisingly easy to make, so it’s not like I don’t have the time to throw it together every once in a while, but unless it’s Thanksgiving, green bean casserole never even crosses my mind. The sweet potato casserole was good, done the right way with toasted marshmallows on top, a simple gesture that elevated the dish passed the casserole of the same variety that was served to us at Frank Grisanti’s on Thanksgiving day. All in all it was a great meal, one that my grandparents didn’t have too cook, but did so anyway to ensure that we had a good Thanksgiving dinner to look back on in 2017, even if it did come on a Sunday.

National Novel Writing Month

IMG_4409NaNoWriMo. Na No Wri Mo. National Novel Writing Month. It’s November, which means it’s finally here, the one month out of the year where people from all across the world attempt to write a novel in thirty-one days, and this year, I’m going to do it. Of course, that’s what I said last year, my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I was doing it, briefly. I had a really good idea for a book, one that I’ve been thinking about for several years, writing a little bit here or there, but never actually putting a real effort into buckling down and finishing it. Of all the book ideas I have, of which there are many, the one I attempted during last year’s NaNoWriMo is my favorite, the one I most want to write and share with the world, because in my head, the story is so beautiful that I can’t wait to see what it looks like on paper, but that is part of the problem. Whenever I begin writing a book, which I’ve done an embarrassing number of times given that I’ve never completed one, I start off strong, rolling along and feeling good about my project, but there inevitably comes a time when I become discouraged, that my mind tells me that I’m no good and everything I write is terrible, and then, I inevitably believe that, and it’s all down hill from there.

But this time will be different. That’s something I have to tell myself, to give myself the will to try again, because if I go in think that things will be the same, then there’s really no point in trying. In the year since attempting to write that novel since last November, I’ve moved on from that idea, and have been working on another book for the majority of this year, one that is a completely different genre from the other one, but one that I think will be really good nonetheless. I wrote eighty thousand words, but then I decided that I needed to make a major change, so continuing to write what I had would be pointless, so I started over, the same story but changed so that it will work better, and for a while that went well too, writing every day, making progress and really happy with what I was writing, until one day I hit that wall, and it just knocked me down again. Suddenly everything was crap, I was a bad writer, and it wouldn’t hurt to take a day off from writing. “Actually” said my mind, “it will probably do you some good to take a day off, to clear your head and refocus since you’ve been in the thick of this book day in and day out for so long.  Take the day off and come back tomorrow ready to work.”

The day turned into another day turned into another day and days became weeks which became more than a month, disgusted with myself at each passing day for letting this happen, to have my stride broken once again, yet I let the days keep passing. It’s November now, the first day of the month, a clean slate before me, plus it’s cold outside, and inching closer to winter, my favorite time of the year, the perfect amount of dark and dreary to give me the energy and inspiration to write my book, so that’s what I’m going to do. I may have faltered by not getting up early this morning so I could knock my writing out before work, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to give up, because I’m not. I’m going to write at least 2,581 words today, and then I’ll do it again tomorrow, and the day after that. The days will become weeks and the weeks will become a month and National Novel Writing Month will be over and I’ll have written another 80,000 words, this time going in more mentally prepared, having the important parts of the novel already mapped out in my head, and my failed attempts at this book to be used as reference, to use what I can to enhance this draft while discarding the rest. I can do this. I’m going to do this. Say I won’t. Happy NaNoWriMo to all my fellow participants and good luck to you all.

The Pick Six: Best NFL Games of the Day

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Happy Sunday everyone! I really mean that, unless of course you’re a fan of the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, or 49ers, then I hope you’re day is terrible from start to finish, but for everyone else, all the people out there that deserve to be happy, I hope your day will be just that. Someone at work the other day asked me what my favorite day of the week was, and the obvious choice was Sunday because that’s when you can spend all day watching NFL football and napping as needed on the couch in front of the TV, which is one of my favorite things in the world because apparently I’m seventy-seven, not twenty-seven as my birth certificate would have you believe. The only downside to Sunday is the fact that you have to go to work the following day, which is kind of a bummer as that reality hits while the Sunday Night Football game is winding down, so despite liking the NFL more than college football, I might have to say that Saturday is my favorite day of the week since I don’t have to get up for work the next day, plus there is football on all day Saturday as well. My point is, Sunday is one of the best days of the week, and now that it’s here, let’s all enjoy it by keeping a close eye on the games I’m about to tell you about that are the most interesting of the day. Here’s the Pick Six.

6. Cowboys/49ers at 3:05
You know your favorite team isn’t having an ideal season when they are only four point favorites against a San Francisco team that still hasn’t won a game through six weeks, but the good news is that the Cowboys still have plenty of time to turn things around and get back on track, which I think they will begin today with a win over the 49ers. I will say that although the Niners haven’t won a game, that’s a deceptive fact because in reality most of the games have been really close, so there’s a chance it could be that way today, but I’m not counting on it. Dallas is coming off a bye week and I’m banking on the whole team, which includes our abysmal defense, to be ready to play today and win by more than four points.

5. Broncos/Chargers at 3:25
When the Cowboys and 49ers game is in commercial breaks, this should be your go-to afternoon game, which is a rematch of the second game in the first Monday Night Football doubleheader of the season, where the world was introduced to the one and only Sergio Dipp, who in turn introduced us to Vance Joseph, the talented young coach of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos won that week 1 game by a field goal, and while they are coming into the game today with a better record, I’m looking for the Chargers to keep it close today. Denver is a 2.5 favorite on the road, but I’m taking Los Angeles to get the big home upset over their division rivals.

4. Redskins/Eagles on Monday at 7:30
When I was a younger, more petty man, I used to hate watching games between two NFC east teams when the Cowboys weren’t playing, because as a fan of the Cowboys, I never wanted any other NFC east team to win, ever, so watching a game where one of them had to win was really annoying, but now that I’ve grown up a little bit, I can appreciate watching these games now. I can appreciate and enjoy the entertainment of two good teams playing a good game of football while not dwelling too much on the fact of how the game will effect the Cowboys. I’m so mature. Am too. Am too. Am too. Am too. That being said, I would love to see the Eagles get beaten since they are sitting at first place in the NFC east right now, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. Philly is a four point favorite and I think they’ll win and cover.

3. Saints/Packers at Noon
I think Green Bay is my least favorite team in the NFL because without a doubt, Aaron Rodgers is my least favorite player in the league, and while you never want to see anyone get hurt, you gotta make lemonade out of the lemons life hands you, so it should be pretty enjoyable to watch the Packers struggling without their arrogant superstar quarterback. Saints are favored by four on the road, but I think they’ll win and cover and Packers fans will be crying into their cheese hats for the rest of the year.

2. Buccaneers/Bills at Noon
I thought the Bucs were going to be really good this year and the Bills were going to be awful, but we’re coming into this game with Buffalo having the better record. It seems unfathomable to me how Tampa Bay has only won two games giving all of their weapons on offense, but I think their struggles will continue today on the road in Buffalo, especially since Jameis Winston is coming off a game in which he injured his shoulder. I would love to say that Winston will be fine, that he will come out and have a huge game today, but I don’t think he’s going to be a very effective passer, which is why he’s on the bench in my fantasy league this week and Jared Goff is getting the start. I know, I’m screwed, but my point is, the Bucs need Jameis throwing the ball if they’re going to win, so I’m picking Buffalo -3 to get the win and to cover.

1. Falcons/Patriots at 7:30
It’s a rematch of the last Super Bowl, which was an incredible game, making it the obvious choice for the best game of the weekend. The Patriots have really surprised me by how pedestrian they’ve looked so far this season with the absence of Julian Edelman. We knew that their defense was awful, but now their offense doesn’t look like what we’ve come to expect with Brady at the helm. I’m hoping New England has figured out some of their offensive struggles because they’re going to need to keep pace with the falcons offense, which is going to have its way with the Patriots D, in order to keep the game close. New England is favored by 3.5, but I just think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense is going to be too much for the Pats to handle, so I’m picking Atlanta to do what they couldn’t do in the Super Bowl and get the win.

Playita Mexicana: Dad’s Birthday Dinner

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“Bienvenidos!” painted over an arched doorway and murals of presumably Mexican beaches adorned the walls, an effort to transport us from Memphis to Mexico in the blink of an eye, by walking through a single door into Playita Mexicana, my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. We were there for celebratory purposes, my wife, my dad, and myself, enjoying a meal together for my dad’s birthday. For those of you who have never eaten at Playita Mexicana before, you need to quit reading this stupid blog and go over there right now, trust me. So what if you don’t live in Memphis? It will be well worth how ever far you have to drive to eat this food. It doesn’t matter how many times I eat here, I never walk in knowing what I’m going to get because there’s just so many good things to choose from, and last night was no exception, having to send the waiter away more than once while we tried to decide what to order, while munching on chips and cheese dip, the one constant on every visit.
 
My dad and I both ordered chimichangas, ground beef for him and grilled chicken for me, and my wife got a steak quesadilla. As always the food came out pretty quickly, well my dad and wife’s did, while mine came out a few minutes later because apparently they had to catch, kill, and pluck the chicken before throwing it onto the grill. My chimichanga arrived, and the first thing that came to mind was a bean bag chair because of how enormous it was, not only in length and width, but in height, it was just monstrous, and without a  doubt the biggest chimichanga I’d ever seen. A mistake I always, ALWAYS make at Mexican restaurants is eating too much of the chips and salsa/cheese dip before the actual entrée arrives, so by the time it does, I’m not that hungry anymore. It’s not like this sneaks up on me out of nowhere, I know it’s going to happen as I dip chip after chip into the queso and strategically move it towards my mouth so as not to let little white drips of melted cheese fall onto my shirt, but yet I continue to do it anyway. It’s good, yes, but moreover than that it’s just there, in front of me looking completely irresistible, so all thoughts of ruining my appetite are pushed to the side, telling myself that maybe just the once I can eat unlimited chips and cheese dip without it having any impact on my appetite whatsoever, like maybe there exists a day in the universe where the laws of hunger don’t apply, like a supernatural cheat day, and I just so happened to walk into a Mexican restaurant on that very day, the lucky man that I am. I tell you this, expose my utter lack of self control because it happened again, and by the time the biggest chimichanga I’d ever seen was placed on the table before me, I wasn’t exactly full, but I wasn’t really hungry anymore either.
 
The plate before me was completely filled, the massive chimichanga taking up about half of the large plate, with rice and beans on the other half. In the middle of the plate sat a small bed of lettuce with diced tomatoes, and sour cream, things that would normally be put on the chimichanga or eaten alongside it, but the thought of adding more ingredients to it, daunting as it already was, was completely unthinkable and unappealing given the fact that I wasn’t even hungry anymore. Despite the fact that I was having major doubts about whether I would be able to eat the meal before me, it did look absolutely delicious, topped with a red sauce, melted cheese, and queso. I took a bite, and it tasted even better than it looked, the chicken so juicy and flavorful and the melted cheese and the sauce marrying together perfectly to make it the perfect bite. It was the first time that I’d ever tried the grilled chicken before here, and after having had it yesterday, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for me to get any other kind of meat going forward because it was just that good. The beans which I’ve previously praised before weren’t as good last night. Melting cheese on top of something is a reliable way to improve just about anything, which is normally the case with the refried beans here, but they tasted overcooked and had a bit of a strange aftertaste last night that no amount of cheese could cover up.
 
I ladled some of the queso onto the rice, taking the cue from my dad who had gotten the idea from my cousin Bailey who has been eating her rice like that for many years, but I really didn’t eat that much of the rice because of how full I was and wanted to fit as much of that glorious chimichanga into my stomach before I could eat no more and didn’t really want to take up any of that crucial real estate with rice. I finished a little more than half  before I just couldn’t eat anymore, except for the chips and cheese dip that I continued munching on until it was finally time to leave for no other reason than that they were still there in front of me and no matter how full I am, it always seems like I can eat one more chip, because who can’t eat one chip, and that mentality repeats itself over and over again until absolute misery takes over. The meal was really good, and now that I’ve had about sixteen hours to digest it, the other half of that chimichanga is starting to sound pretty good right about now, and although the meal was great, the real highlight was just getting to see my dad on his birthday for the second year in a row, something I don’t remember happening any year before then, so hopefully this new tradition will stick and be observed for many years to come.

An Embarrassing Lunch at Huey’s

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Never in my life have I ever had my debit card declined at a restaurant, but there’s a first time for everything unfortunately, and Saturday it happened to me. I was out to lunch with my dad and his mom. We had been at the hospital that morning, visiting with my uncle Brett who had been in there since Monday due to an ulcer that had been building up unbeknownst to anyone and finally had to be operated on in emergency surgery. It was good to see him, and although he was still in a little bit of pain, he was doing and feeling a lot better, and only had a couple more days left in the hospital to make sure he didn’t get an infection. We were there for an hour or two, and by the time we left it was nearly one, so naturally we started talking about getting something for lunch. The only thing I could think of in the area was Huey’s, so that’s where we decided to go.
 
It was crowded when we arrived, a fact that always brings me comfort in Huey’s, and is the only restaurant I can think of that has that affect on me. Normally crowded restaurants mean a long wait, either for a table, your food, or both, but here it just seems right that it be crowded. Despite the fact that the restaurant seemed packed to the brim when we walked in, we were immediately ushered to a booth, somewhere amongst the many voices of the cheerful lunch goers surrounding us.  I looked briefly over the menu, which always seems to be a waste of time since every single time I eat at Huey’s, I get a burger, but I like to browse nonetheless, and float some ideas through my mind, putting them in a head-to-head matchup with the burger to see if anything can beat it out. This time I thought about nachos, or just getting a basket of the new tater tots with bacon and cheese, which sounded delicious, but the more I thought about it, the less it sounded like a fulfilling meal and more like an appetizer. The nachos sounded good, the perfect football food, which was fitting since TV’s lining the walls were showing all the college games that were currently going on, but I saw somebody else’s plate of nachos, and decided against it. There is a huge difference in nachos that have shredded cheese and those that have cheese sauce, and as a person who prefers the latter, I decided against the grated cheese version offered up by Huey’s, and went with the always reliable burger.
 
There is a vast selection of burgers to choose from depending on your preferences and mood, and after glancing at the numerous options, I decided on the Bluff City Burger, which is one of my favorite burgers in the city for which it is named. A thick patty topped with bacon, barbecue sauce, fried onion straws, lettuce, and pickles, the Bluff City burger is a in a word, fantastic. My biggest hang up on Huey’s in the past has been the side dishes, because I don’t like their steak fries which in my opinion are too big and devoid of flavor, and I don’t like their onion rings, which are literally the biggest onion rings I’ve ever seen, and the fried batter on the onion doesn’t stay attached very well so inevitably you end up munching on a big chunk of hot onion, but now Huey’s has stepped their game up with the new addition of tater tots. I got them as a side, and this was the first time I’ve ever eaten at Huey’s and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the meal, so it’s definitely going to have a place on my short list of favorite restaurants to go-to because everything from the burger to the tots was perfect. PERFECT. The only bad part about the meal had nothing to do with the food or the restaurant itself, but with me, or rather my debit card, which was declined when attempting to pay for my food.
 
I had enough money in my account, so I couldn’t understand what could have possibly gone wrong. The waitress had the good grace not to announce to the table that my card was declined, and instead told me that the machine couldn’t read my card, but we all knew what was going on. Thankfully my dad stepped in and handed back his card, saying that he would pay and we could settle up later, or else I wouldn’t have had any idea how I would come up with the money because the only card I had on me was the one that wasn’t going through and I had absolutely no cash on me. I pulled up my banking app at the table, just to make sure that money hadn’t been taken out of my account without my knowledge, and, as expected, my account still had the balance that it should have. The problem ended up being that my card was locked, something my wife did as a precaution last weekend after our other account was used fraudulently to make unauthorized purchases, and my wife just forgot to unlock it again. I was embarrassed that for the first time my card was declined at a restaurant, and that it happened in front of my dad and Mimi, but at least there was a logical and reasonable explanation for why it happened so I guess that was kind of  a relief. Despite that one misstep, everything about the meal was great, and I would one hundred percent recommend you checking out Huey’s ASAP to get a fantastic burger and to try their new tater tots, just make sure before you go that your debit card hasn’t been locked by your wife or you might end up having to wash dishes at the restaurant, or possibly getting your dad to bail you out.