I liked the Grapenuts in my cauliflower fondue at the Renegade Canteen. Dinner with my parents, minus the kids was what Chris and I needed after a long 4th of July weekend in the Arizona desert.
It's become a family tradition, the July pilgrimage to Scottsdale, Arizona. We stay at Mom and Dad's for a week, swim, celebrate the 4th, visit family and friends, and try to relax. There's usually a little drama. A boy finds a scorpion in his room, runs into a jumping cholla, and someone gets a speeding ticket... or two.
[Chris and the boys - funky white.]
[This jumping cholla was stuck on the 4YO's ankle.]
[Dad sleeping, the boys watching TV.]
Mom, Dad, Chris and I were enjoying food, drink and conversation at what has become another family tradition, the End-Of-Vacation-Adult-Dinner. Poor Uncle Joe and Aunt Stephanie [my brother and his wife] were graciously babysitting the boys, foregoing the grown-up outing. Unfortunately for them, this is part of the tradition. [Joe, I love you, man.]
[Enjoying dinner... Mom and Dad. Chris and me - braces off in October!]
Mom and I excused ourselves and went to the ladies' room. When we returned to the table, Mom said to Dad, "Our bathroom was nice. How was yours?" Because as most women know, it's all about the bathroom.
"It was fine. There was ice in the urinal."
We all laughed. Dad made a funny.
"Seriously. There wasn't ice in the urinal, was there?" Mom asked as we both studied our husband's faces for signs of lying.
Dad nodded, yes.
Chris nodded, yes.
Dad and Chris explained that ice in men's rooms is common and nothing new. Mom and I still weren't convinced. How could she be married to my father for 47 years and not know about ice in the urinal? I felt the same.
"Why haven't you told me about ice in the urinal?" I asked Chris.
"It's not a big deal."
"I think it's weird you've never mentioned it. ... And I still don't believe you." It might have been the Chianti fueling my fire, but I wanted proof.
Chris and I walked to the men's room. He wasn't thrilled, but he's a good husband and he knew his wife had had enough Chianti to do it by herself if he didn't cooperate.
"It's empty. Have at it," he said as he opened the door for me.
And I'll be damned...
We returned to the table and I showed Mom the pictures. The guys were telling the truth. But now we wanted to know why. Why was there ice in the urinal?
Dad and Chris shrugged. Not only had they kept it a secret all these years, they had never bothered to ask why the ice was used.
We asked the waitress. She had been a server for a decade and had never heard about ice in the urinal. How did she not know about this? We asked the busboy, but the slight language barrier resulted in smiling, scurrying and more ice in our drinks.
The waitress said she would talk to the manager and get back to us. Dad left her his card and he recently received an email that said in part:
...here's the answer for your questions. There is nothing special about it. It was out of necessity. They had issue with not enough flow of the water to flush urine at the time. So they used ice to add water flow.
Regardless of the ice, or the reason for the ice, what I still can't get over is that I'm 44-years-old, my mother is... older, and neither one of us knew about this.
I wonder what I'll learn next summer.