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Modern Dad

Modern Dad: A night out with the Mother of Dragons


By Jon Show. Once a month we take our kids to Charlotte to spend a Saturday night with my sister in law – Nurse Ratched. It’s amazing for reasons that require no explanation to anyone who has young children.

The Nurse lives in a swanky apartment in Plaza Midwood that has a pool, outdoor TV, fire pits, pool table and a 24/7 coffee and espresso machine that also makes hot chocolate. The kids think it’s a hotel.

This past month, to try something new, we swapped places. The Nurse came up here with a dog—for some reason she always has a dog with her but it’s not always hers—and we went to Charlotte for the night.


The kids love her and she planned a day/night/morning of activities including—honestly, who cares? We had the night off.

Our plan, as devised by The Mother of Dragons: Leave at 3, hit one of the breweries late afternoon, make an early stop at our favorite restaurant (Good Food) before it gets packed, and then check into the Nurse’s hotel and hit a few other spots in Plaza Midwood for drinks and appetizers.

2pm I’m home and ready to go, as directed. Future Man is running around the house with a butter knife and a lacrosse stick. The Blonde Bomber, like my wife, is nowhere to be found.

3pm The Mother of Dragons comes flying in the house rambling about an appointment taking too long. I have three appointments a year—two dental visits and one doctor checkup. She has at least one a week and they’re always running long.

The Nurse arrives at the same time with a dog named Skootch, an overweight black lab that tongue lashes her bowl with such violence that an absurd amount of water ends up splattered throughout our living room.

3:30pm We hop in the car more than an hour late. There was some discussion of taking me shoe shopping, but I manage to avoid it because we’re behind schedule. Plus I already have shoes. Like five pairs, not including cleats.

Who needs more shoes? 3:45pm Every brewery in the Southend is PACKED. Like seven or eight deep packed. How are this many 20-somethings drinking $7 beers in the middle of a Saturday afternoon? When I was in my 20s I could barely afford to drink $2 Bud Lights on weekends after 10 p.m.

And why are there kids everywhere? When I was a kid the only people who brought kids to bars in the middle of an afternoon were alcoholics—and even they were polite enough to leave the kids in the car.

4:30pm After failing to find a seat at five different breweries we settle on Good Bottle, a bottle shop that unsurprisingly has plenty of seats open at the bar because it’s in a strip mall next to a Penn Station sub shop. I’m pretty sure there’s a book club in the corner drinking coffee. Clearly we’ve picked a hot spot.

5:21pm We roll up to Good Food for an appetizer about 30 minutes earlier than we planned. It opens at 5:30 and by the time we park at 5:27, the line is 20 deep, so we panic and get in line. We’re waiting in line to eat dinner at 5:30 on a Saturday.

5:30pm Doors open and we grab seats at the bar. The host seats every table in the restaurant in five minutes. I order one appetizer and two drinks as soon as we sit down to avoid the crush that’s about to hit the kitchen and bar. The Mother of Dragons is not as nearly impressed with this maneuver as I am.

When we go to pay the check 45 minutes later there’s a line of ten people outside and there are five couples standing behind us waiting for a spot at the bar. It’s 6:15pm.

6:30pm Time to check in to the Nurse’s hotel. The couch pillows are fluffed and the living room has the gentle aroma of lavender. When we left our house I’m pretty sure our couch pillows were crammed under the cushions and our living room had the faint smell of hightops and popcorn farts.

7:30pm I take a picture of the sign above the Nurse’s toilet that says Choose Happy, edit it so it reads Choose Crappy, and text it to her. No response.

We walk a few blocks down Central to go to Workman’s Friend and, again, it’s absolutely jammed. We find a spot at the bar after two women pound a shot with what smells like pickle juice and then walk away. “Was that pickle juice,” I ask the person next to me? “Yeah, you’ve never had a pickle juice shot?” Nope.

8:30pm I order a Bushmills on the rocks and the bartender asks me if I want Red Bush instead. I explain to the bartender that I’m familiar with Black Bush but have no idea Bushmills has ventured into new colors. He looks at me with the same eye roll as the woman I asked about the pickle juice. I order one. It tastes like regular Bushmills.

9pm We run into a friend and end up staying a little longer than planned because we’re having a great time. The Mother of Dragons is a few drinks deep and I can tell she’s on the ropes. When we were in our 20s things went one of two directions at this point. She either ended up falling asleep or dancing on the bar. We have less than 30 minutes to vacate the premises before two roads diverge and she chooses a path.

10pm We say goodbye to our friend, who’s going out to meet some friends, and we walk back to the Nurse’s. “Out? It’s too late to go out at this point,” asks my wife to no one in particular. She’s chosen her path and I’m thankful it doesn’t involve me apologizing to the bartender.

10:15pm Back at the Nurse’s place. We had planned to get more food after Good Food but never did, so now we’re starving. I open the cabinets and find a crumbling bag of Tostitos, an energy bar and a bag of coffee. Maybe the Nurse doesn’t even live here? I open the fridge. No leftover takeout. I’m highly, highly suspicious. 10:30? 11:00? Bed

8am Wake up in the darkness, and I mean darkness. The Nurse has blackout shades that we would purchase immediately if we didn’t have human alarm clocks that automatically show up every Saturday to heel us awake in our most sensitive places. I’m starving.

8:30am The Mother of Dragons and I like similar food but disagree strongly about breakfast. She likes coffee drinks with designs in the foam, pastries and those gross things that look like cakes of egg with bread and sausage in them. I require black coffee and gluten. 

After some back and forth we decide on Sunflower Bakery. She’s underwhelmed by their egg cake and latte but there is an amazing cheddar biscuit egg sandwich in my belly so—you know—compromise.

9am On the road home we repeat our utter astonishment that it was impossible to find a seat at a brewery on a Saturday afternoon. How packed Good Food was at 5:30. How people at Workman’s Friend were drinking pickle juice with booze. How it felt great to get a solid nine or 10 hours of sleep.

10am Pull into the garage and walk in our house. “Did you guys have fun,” asks The Nurse?

We had a beer in the afternoon, went to a restaurant without a kid’s menu, hung out with other adults, stayed in a bedroom with blackout shades and had an actual conversation while eating breakfast.

We both nodded in agreement. It was awesome.

Modern Dad is Jon Show’s take on life in Cornelius. This 40-something dad lives in Robbins Park with his wife—The Mother of Dragons—and two kids: Future Man, their 9-year-old son, and The Blonde Bomber, their 6-year-old daughter.