Friday, July 26, 2013

Ain't No Party Like a Cow Party

This post could alternatively be titled "the time when I wrote way too much about free food"

Second friday in July.  COW APPRECIATION DAY!
I love this holiday.  Probably because I LOVE me some F-R-E-E.  But also because now even my kiddos know and love this fun day where we dress silly, say silly things ("Eat more chicken"), eat junk food, and well...get FREE FOOD!  KJ was hilarious getting his siblings pumped with excitement about this day he's come to anticipate.  Future accountant in the making!

We donned our cow-wear early to go to breakfast before RRL headed off to work.  Free Meal 1.  Which was almost only "partially free meal 1" because of a technicality.  We "technically" weren't dressed from "head to hoof".  But this has never been a problem in the past FIVE YEARS.  So, I politely mentioned to the very kind cashier who was just doing his job, that I really thought sticking spots on 4 small cows, myself, and one obliging husband most definitely counted as enough effort to qualify for a free meal.  I may or may not have quoted the rules from the official Cow Appreciation Day webpage (which says you only receive a free entree instead of meal, if you carry a cowspotted purse, or wear a cowspotted vest- examples for which I'd argue our efforts were far superior).  I may or may not have even plead my case to a manager (that RRL embarrasingly knows).  In the end they only charged me for my orange juice and we called it even.

I LOVED this post from a friend about "How to make the most of Cow Appreciation Day".

I totally agree with getting the most bang for your buck.  Which is why we enjoyed CFA 3 times this day.  For free.  And why we spent exactly NOTHING on our costumes.  I literally printed cowspots from this link, cut them out en masse, lined up everyone's white shirts and stuck em on with packing tape.  And before lunch: reprint, recut, restick.  (total process about 20 minutes...even with moving cow targets). 

Because if you spend much time or money getting your free food.  Welp, it is no longer free.

I politely wanted to point this out to other patrons.  In fact, I had these two mini-conversations in my head with unsuspecting targets:

Dear Mom with 5 adorable blondes who sat so politely enjoying their free food in their obviously homemade t-shirts (which I can just tell you let the kids help you with) marked with hilarious twists on famous quotes like "give me liberty or give me death chicken"...
We could totally be friends.

Dear Mom who had an adorable (yet ridiculous) cow/bandana print outfit made for her daughter and the occasion,  painted both yours and your daughters faces, rang cowbells constantly....
ain't nobody got time for putting facepaint on much less cleaning it off much less keeping it off of the carseat and other furniture along the way.  And you do know they give away food for just wearing spots.  right?  your free food just became not so free.

But even if I have a line on how much effort I'm willing to put forth to acheive "free", we did try to make the most of the holiday.  The boys and I even morphed from white cows to grey cows (excuse the lack of bovine knowledge) between breakfast and lunch.  And all of the kids made their own tails before we headed out again.  You know, just in case we had to argue another technicality.

And bonus- we got to meet Daddy at another CFA AND some of our favorite cousins for lunch (Free Meal 2).  Where we stayed until 3pm.  Enjoying the FREE food.  FREE playtime.  FREE family fun.  And just being together.  So glad they invited us for the party.

I especially loved LD's quote "Let this fantastic day get you out of your comfort zone and TALK TO PEOPLE!! Dressing like cows together really breaks down some barriers. It is so much fun to have an excuse to talk with people, and this is a great one."

But, unfortunately, this is the four-small-cows version of the story. So, truth be told the only people-talkin' I really did all day was:
"Stand still so I can stick your spots on.  Because if we went to McD's we wouldn't be appreciating cows.  Yes, they do kill cows to make hamburgers.  I don't know if there is chicken appreciation day.  Please sit in your seat. Leave your brother's cow ears alone. Please don't take his sticker. I don't know if you can take those balloons home with you. Yes, you can get icecream. No, you can't eat her icecream. Please don't touch your sister's food. Would someone PLEASE give the baby a bite? If you want more water you'll have to go ask for it yourself. Say please.  Are you finished eating? Nope, for the 103948563 time, you can't go to the playscape yet. Now that you are in the playscape, please stay in the playscape. You are going to smash his fingers. If you have to go potty you'll need to put your shoes back on. WASH YOUR HANDS."

Yeah, so strangely enough, I didn't have much time for visiting with other herds. Unless you count the conversations I had with them in my head (see above)... which I totally do.

But my very favorite part of this day was brand new to the tradition this year.  DATE NIGHT.  At the last minute, I texted a babysitter to come over so RRL and I could go for one more round.  Karlie-the-amazing raced over, I printed (more) spots and we headed out, taping them on as we drove. 

We'd already eaten dinner at home (we steer our herd clear of the dinner-time-parties on this day.  too crowded for us).  But I was feeling pretty good about my negotiating skills after my breakfast encounter and felt quite certain I could convince someone (at a different location) to give us free dessert if we came in dressed like cows. I mean its cheaper than a combo, why wouldn't they rather give us just dessert than an entire meal?  (Dessert is technically not on the official rules at all...I mean, if I happened to have researched it.)
So, we strolled in confidently, RRL already laughing at me and my hare-brained schemes and asked the very nice cashier if we could forgo the free meal and just get dessert.  I may have mentioned that we were "on a date" and she might have giggled a little.  She went to ask a manager.  The manager didn't even look up from her task when asked and just shook her head "no" to the request...until I chimed in "Please.  We got a babysitter for our four kids just so we could enjoy some dessert together."  She looked up.  Grinned at us.  And gave us free dessert.


And even better than the free dessert was the time I got to hang out with this guy.  Who tolerates the way I might (slightly) overddo traditions this.  Who plays along.  And loves me all the more for it.

What a grand holiday.
And I'm already making plans for next year.
But not too much.
Because then it wouldn't be free.


1 comment:

Jessica said...

I love pretty much everything about this post. The Cow Appreciation Day date night is something I'll have to file away for later... :)