Murphy’s Date Night

Roger and I did something we’ve never done before: booked an in-town hotel room. We pre-paid it on Friday after we got an offer from a family friend to take our kids Saturday night for a sleepover.

It was to be a time of reconnection and renewal for us, a time to have no responsibilities, which you really can’t do in your own home where there’s always a pile of laundry that needs folding, a counter that needs wiping, a yard that needs tending, bills that need paying, or a computer that’s whispering, seductively, turn me on — c’mon, you know you want to.

After  we dropped our kids with our friend, our plan was dinner – movie – hotel. A good night’s sleep and a leisurely morning (no, you’re not getting more details than that).

We headed for dinner at a place I’d heard about through my friend Jolene. The menu was organic, featuring clean foods at doable prices. We started with a happy-hour priced Tempranillo and some fermented vegetables — gorgeous and yummy deeply-colored red, green and yellow slaw veggies (this will come into play later).

For my entree I ordered fresh local trout, creamed kale in coconut milk — ayurvedically aligned with my body’s needs, as well as sunchokes, a tuber that can best be described as artichokes-meet-potatoes. As soon as the server brought my dinner, I took one bite of each of the three dishes.

And immediately began to feel sick. Nut allergy sick.

We asked the server to double-check if there were nuts in anything (I had asked prior to ordering, as I always do).  She reaffirmed that she had served me no nuts.

This sent me into a panic. For this meant that either (a) I was allergic to something new, something I didn’t know about and thus could not stay away from, or (b) I was having a psychosomatic reaction and ruining our evening.

The server returned from the kitchen again with a list of ingredients used to make my three dishes. Olive oil, lemon, garlic, coconut milk, nutmeg…nothing suspicious.

Yet I could not argue with the swelling on the inside of my cheeks, the burning in my esophagus. I took a Benadryl, which I knew would soon stop the allergic reaction as well as sedate me eventually. Not what you want to happen on Date Night.

The fourth time the server came to check on me, she apologized profusely. “I just found out there are cashews in the creamed kale.”

I burst into tears. My body was not lying to me. I knew it.

She comped the whole meal, which was left uneaten, and said that karmically, she couldn’t let us pay.



We checked in to the trendy hotel and got a top-floor room. We scaled back our plans and decided to watch an in-room movie. After reviewing our choices, we decided that the flick 50/50 was the right length and intensity for my level of cashew-induced blaaarrrgh and Benadryl-induced flatness.

I stayed awake through the movie. As expected, my stomach eventually decided to violently protest the introduction of cashews to its sacred domain. And this is where the multi-colored vegetables came back into play.

You’re welcome.

After the movie was over, we watched a bit of SNL and fell asleep.

Drugged though I was, I had trouble getting to sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it read 11:45.


Whrrrrrrrrr! <FLASH> Whrrrrrrrr! <FLASH> Whrrrrrrrr! <FLASH>

It was 12:35 am. Roger and I bolted up in bed and look at each other. Are you freaking kidding me?

Whrrrrrrrrr! <FLASH> Whrrrrrrrr! <FLASH> Whrrrrrrrr! <FLASH>

We put on our street clothes, our shoes and coats. We left the room and joined the stream of others leaving theirs. We headed for the stairs and wound down them (top floor, remember?) single file. People made jokes about how at least we weren’t on the Costa Concordia. I was lamenting the fact that I’d left my journal and the kids’ in the room. Hadn’t I always said those would be the first things I’d grab in case of fire?

Finally we exited outside. It was cold.

Roger and I walked around the hotel to where our car was. From here, we could see into the lobby. And oddly, no one there was evacuating. There were no fire trucks. Only a sheriff’s car.

We returned inside to the front desk where a frazzled attendant assured us there was no fire and we could go back to our room. We found this out only because we asked. The others from our floor were still shivering outside.

We climbed the stairs to the top floor, our blood pumping. The blaring public service announcement had finally stopped. We once again readied for bed and tried to calm our pounding hearts enough to sleep. Roger was successful.

The last time I looked at the clock it was 3 am.


In the morning we checked out, retrieved our children (who each earned a good report from our friend) and returned home.

To 57 degrees. Inside.

We called the furnace guy, who spent two hours repairing our furnace. On a $$$unday.


  • I did not die from anaphylactic shock.
  • The hotel was not on fire;  and belongings and my journal didn’t end up a pile of ash.
  • The furnace was under warranty.

Still, the next time we have such a Date Night, I’d prefer that it be governed by Yhprum’s Law than by its evil cousin, Murphy.

How was your weekend?

32 thoughts on “Murphy’s Date Night”

    1. She felt really bad once she found out. Maybe we’ll try again sometime. I’ll have to figure out how to be even more clear. Like, have a chat with the chef?

  1. geeze. does your nut detector even have to accompany you on date night? but i draw the line at fire alarm. and i wonder why my caps and special characters aren’t working?

  2. ugh! glad things didn’t escalate with the nut allergy and that the furnace did not break with really cold weather.

    (Aside: false fire alarm at Washington DC hotel at about 11pm when I was 13 in 1989 with my mom. My sister stayed at same hotel a couple years ago for a conference, false fire alarm at about 11pm.)

  3. Sorry to hear that just about everything that could go wrong could. At least you kept your sense of humor and your witty writing style.

    Even if your night/morn wasn’t as romantic as planned, you did include the sexiest description of a computer beckoning that I’ve ever heard: “It was to be a time of reconnection and renewal for us, a time to have no responsibilities, which you really can’t do in your own home where there’s always a pile of laundry that needs folding….or a computer that’s whispering, seductively, turn me on — c’mon, you know you want to.”

    I can relate to the seductive laptop whisper. For example, just now I’d planned to exercise during Cora’s nap but it woos me the second I close her door and once I sit down, I’m usually pulled in for a good part of the naptime. 😉

    1. This is the good thing about being a writer. Even when crappy things happen, you’ve at least got a story to tell! Murphy is a literary genius, I tell you.

  4. I am so sorry to say that I laughed out loud, at your expense, while sitting here at my desk.

    I am so glad that your misfortune could be my laugh for the afternoon. 🙂

  5. Oh no! It reminds me of a weekend I had with DH (before we had kids) when we decided to go camping: we were eaten alive by the mosquitoes, I almost stepped on a snake during a short hike and then got a black eye when I failed to catch a baseball. Those kind of experiences do make for good stories though….

    Other than that I think there was some misfortune in the air this weekend – I spent mine with our 6-week old in the hospital (turned out to be nothing serious).

    1. That camping trip sounds horrid!

      And yes, we at least get stories.

      I’m glad your baby is OK — must have been harrowing when you were in the middle of it.

  6. Um…wow. That was quite a night out! Did the hotel comp your room too? If not, they should. Then you could try again.

    Hope your next weekend is much less eventful… The only misfortune I had was seeing my boss at Culver’s this weekend.

  7. Oh my gosh, Lori, I thought I was reading through an I Love Lucy episode. Glad you are ok and I hope your next date night, is, well, better! Much better!

  8. All the elements for a perfect date night: good service (she checked on you a lot:-), free food, movie in bed, fire, nuts, escape, hot, blood-pumping, casual conversation, disrobing more than once, Benadryl, room with a view, element of surprise, exercise and a little bit of shut-eye. Only issue I see is that Roger may be bothered that you called him Murphy.

    You made me laugh, Lori. I’m sorry it was at the expense of your date night, but it is a funny story.

  9. Oh wow. That doesn’t sound like a great date night. What a bummer. That’s crazy on the nuts in the salad after you had specifically asked several times. They’re lucky not to have a hospital bill or death on their hands. Hope the next time you try a date night it goes better.

  10. ROFL – oh my, that is hilarious. See, this is why we don’t have date night? 🙂 and Rajean’s comment about Roger/Murphy? Hilarious!

    Sorry you didn’t get your much earned night away, but I bet this will be more memorable. 🙂

  11. Oh my Lori! What a date to remember. Focus on the positive, focus on the positive. It did make for a funny story and great post. And made me thankful for a few of my date nights gone pffft.

  12. Omg Lori, that is so awful. I could just feel the ick of stomach upset, benedryl haze, and complete sleep deprivation reading this. What a date night! Are you going to have a do-over?

  13. Cashews…they are about as bad as walnuts. AHHHHHHHHH!

    I completely understand the frustration of having that allergic reaction feeling and having someone tell you that there is nothing that you should be allergic to.

    It sounds awful…and yet, you still found a way to see the positives…because that’s how you are.

    Here’s to another date night — kid-responsibility-nut-fire-and vomit FREE! 🙂

  14. Oh no —- you poor thing and what a murphy date indeed. Wow! But I can relate lady — we lead similar lives 🙂 Love ya -and I am sure you are closer because of all the drama. Haaaa

  15. oh this is so very awful!

    glad you didn’t die of shock. so scary!
    as you were describing the dish, it sounded SOOO good too.

    aiy. best laid plans and all.

  16. OMG, Lori… just reading this now. As you said, it could have been far worse, but yikes… I can so relate to the restaurant scene. I had something very similar happen to me… at a farewell lunch for my retiring boss, no less. I decided the veal limone seemed relatively harmless, made a point to ask about tomatos & was assured there were no tomatos in it. Plate came to me with a suspiciously pink tinged glaze on it — I reiterated that I could not have tomatos & was once again assured it was tomato-free. Took one bite — & broke out instantly in hives. My coworkers were staring at me with their mouths hanging open. The waitress, red faced & apologetic, returned & told me the glaze did in fact have tomato paste in it. She brought me another plate without any glaze but I had completely lost my appetite. I took my Benadryl & went back to the office while the others finished their lunches. :p It’s such an awful feeling, isn’t it?

  17. Here via your Year of the Luz 2012 year-end post and wondering how I missed commenting on this one the first time around, as I clearly remember reading about your Murphy’s Fiasco on your Date Night. I see that my sister commented back then, so at least someone from my family represented! 😉 That is truly a series of unfortunate events… Glad that things were looking up for the most part for the rest of your year! xoxo

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