It was an unusual but wonderful day yesterday. There were the normal things like my longest run of the week which turned out to be over nine miles, but it was also different because the weather was nice enough for me to run outdoors. This was my first outdoor run since the afternoon of “football heaven,” that special January 5th which saw both the NDSU Bison and Minnesota Vikings compete in playoff games on the same day. I also conducted my usual Saturday errands such as grocery shopping, but being able to do so in a lighter jacket without a hood or gloves made the chores a little more enjoyable.
Sue was out of town enjoying one of her quarterly “Girl’s Weekends” so I alone was responsible for chauffeuring Carl around to his various activities on this busy Saturday. During one of the drives Carl mentioned that since it was just the two of us, we should do something special together. When I asked him what he had in mind, he mentioned going out to eat and possibly seeing a movie. I agreed that his idea sounded good and we decided to choose a movie when he was between activities.
A couple of hours later, we were looking at out favorite theater’s web site determining which movie we would attend. Carl’s first choice was “A Haunted House,” which I dismissed as too silly after reading the synopsis. I suggested “Silver Linings Playbook,” which Carl vetoed due to its romantic nature. We tossed around a few action “shoot ‘em up” type flicks like “A Good Day to Die Hard,” “Gangster Squad,” and “Bullet to the Head,” but Carl said he was in the mood for something funny. I thought “Warm Bodies,” a movie about a zombie becoming human, would be especially appealing to a 17 year old, but Carl once again dismissed it as too romantic. That left us with “The Guilt Trip,” “Identity Thief,” and “Parental Guidance” as our remaining options. We choose “Identity Thief,” and decided the 7PM showing would work best.
When I picked Carl up from his last activity, I asked him where he wanted to eat dinner before the movie. He had been to “Pizza Ranch” with a friend a few weeks ago and really wanted to show me what he thought was the best pizza buffet in town, so I agreed, primarily due to the great excitement Carl exhibited when telling me about their “Cactus Bread” dessert pizza. The restaurant reminded me of the old “Ponderosa” steak houses, popular during the 1980’s, only with pizza as the primary fare.
I was delighted to discover that the nutrient information for each pizza on the buffet was available on the “Myfitnesspal” app of my “Droid” smartphone, so I could keep exact tabs on how many calories I was consuming. I asked Carl if it bothered him that I was counting calories during a meal out, but he assured me that if it made me feel a little more in control when eating at an “all you can eat buffet,” he thought it was great. Thanks to my 9 ½ mile run, coupled with a lighter lunch, I still had over 2000 calories remaining for the day according to my training plan. Six slices of very good pizza together with a generous piece of cactus bread had me over 1500 calories and since I felt full, that’s when I decided to call it quits. The cactus bread, by the way, was absolutely delicious just as Carl had promised!
When we walked out of “Pizza Ranch,” we still had an hour wait until our movie started, so we walked down the block to “Menards.” It was during this time, walking around in a hardware store with my son, that it struck me how much Carl had grown up during the past few months. I realized two things: 1) Carl was closer to being a man than I often give him credit for, and 2) I was thoroughly enjoying this time together, man to man.
We made it to “Identity Thief” with time to spare, and I enjoyed the comedy more than expected. Melissa McCarthy stole the show, her character Diana making both of us laugh out loud on numerous occasions.
Dinner at Pizza Ranch: $20.95
Identity Thief movie: $14.50
A seventeen year old who chooses to spend a Saturday night with his Dad: Priceless!