On a bright, sunny, windy day we had our first outdoor meal of the year. In anticipation my husband bought an adjustable umbrella. Anytime the sun changed direction or the wind grew bothersome he would adjust it. The man spent more time adjusting the umbrella then he did eating.

Our neighbors also ate in their backyard; only instead of an umbrella they had a pop up gazebo. The wind repeatedly knocked it over. The first time it collapsed on the kids heads they screamed and ran for safety. By the tenth time the kids just kept eating figuring they better finish their meal before it got cold.

One must deal with the elements when eating outdoors. During one backyard barbecue the wind lifted a paper plate across the table onto my son-in-laws shirt, splattering ketchup on it. When I go to a picnic I dress for mess.

I dress in anticipation of ketchup and mustard stains. I dress in anticipation of spilled drinks. I dress in anticipation of squished ant stains on the seat of my pants. I could only imagine the ant sitting on the bench minding its own business only to look up in the face of a descending butt. It’s embarrassing when people look and see the brown stains on your backside because you know they’re thinking you had an Oops. I apply bug spray in anticipation of mosquitoes. I wear a sweater in anticipation of chilly weather and sun block in anticipation of sunburn. Preparation time for eating outdoors? One hour.

I sit down at the table in anticipation of a good meal. Time spent eating? Ten seconds. I didn’t anticipation the weatherman being right about the rain.

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