They* tell you that when you have kids everything changes. The most notable change, in my opinion, is that all the money you didn’t have before to spend on things like food and rent and going out with friends from time to time is spent instead on diapers and a fully new wardrobe every four months as the little spud grows out of everything they own. Another thing that changes is going out. When they’re super little, like within a week or two, you can still go out with your partner, but it’s going to be a restaurant . The whole pub thing is out and was the minute somebody peed a little blue line on the stick. As your kids get older, the amount of going out gets better, then as they approach teenager, you can take ’em out, but it becomes just totally unaffordable. On the bright side, fast-food is usually ‘cheap’, so when you’re pre-teen with a cracking voice asks if he can have two #1 meals instead of the happy meal he was perfectly content with not, how long ago was that a year, two? holy crap, a kids meal, there’s an outside chance you can say yes.
As ‘going out,’ for a meal varies by age, there is one thing remains fixed. You will NOT be organizing a pub crawl with your friends**. Really though, if you’ve ever done a pub crawl, you know that hanging out with friends and jumping from place to place to order a single shot or beer or whatever only to crawl onto the next place until you run out of legs for the night, is an amazingly good time that will result in selfies that never die on the Internet, in spite of their seriously questionable content. While this sucks, I have a solution for you (sort of), that the kiddos will appreciate, provided you only do it once a year.
The Great American French-Fry Crawl!
Okay, okay, it sounds dubious, but it’s a fun and relatively inexpensive night with the kiddos that is memorable, doesn’t involve any sort of real food, and forces the lot of you to sit in the car all night and talk. It’s like being at a restaurant only cheaper, someone is driving, someone is tweeting, and all of us are being as raucous as is possible in a confined space. We started our annual french-fry crawl after a heated kitchen-table debate over the bestest french-frys. Usually, the debate involves star wars or history, but not that day, and it was a great day. Anyhow, here is how to have your own french-fry crawl:
Last day of school, wherever you are.
- Get a pile of cash
- Everyone gets in the tactical family transportation unit
- Go from fast-food joint to fast food joint drive-thru and order 1 (yes just 1) small french-fry.
- You may order other things – drinks, burgers etc… but save room for fries.
- Each family member will rate each place according to ‘better than’ ‘worse than’ ratings, so at the end you have a ranking
- Each stop will be tweeted/facebooked/instagramed (whatever) by the non-driver with the #frenchfrycrawl tag
- When you have exhausted all of the nearby fast-food places, go for ice-cream. It is acceptable to take-home ice-cream in the event that you’ve got allergies.
If you DO go out for your french-fry crawl. Tag me early in the night @daveskoster, I want to check out your progress and I’d love to know what everyone’s favorite was.
* They being everyone who’s ever had children before and some who haven’t, but think they’re providing sage advice.
** In the interest of being honest this is not strictly true, but it’s something you’re going to need to plan for weeks and will cost you 10x what it would have when you were 23.