Hot Dogs and Picnics and Community Service

by Marinka on May 24, 2010

My friend Mom in the City invited me to a Better Than a Picnic Picnic at Randall’s Island on Saturday, and I was excited to go. Because, hello? It was sponsored by Hebrew National hot dogs so I though that it would be a beautiful way to reintroduce my kids to Judaism. And gluttony. Oh yeah, there was something about doing some good for the community at the picnic plus A MECHANIC BULL, so really, it was a cannot miss event.

I shared the wonderful news with my kids the evening before.

My daughter rolled her eyes so hard that I was worried that she’d have to go through the rest of her life iris-less.
“What time is the picnic?”
“At 11:30,” I told her. “I’ll pick you up after karate and we’ll go.”
“OH EM GEE!” She protested. “That is my best time to relax! If I go, it’s going to ruin my Saturday.” Eleven is such a delightful age!
I had to do something fast. I reminded her that we hadn’t done anything together for Mother’s Day (because I wanted to be left the hell alone then) and that it was my wish to spend this day with my beloved children.

Eating hot dogs.

She quickly agreed, wanting nothing more than to please her mother. And to get the cold cash I promised her for keeping an eye on her brother.

Young Ladrinka was a tougher sell.
“I’m not going,” he announced. “End of story.”
“That is not a good way to talk to me,” I let him know.
“I am not going, please. End of story, thank you,” he corrected himself.

Finally, we negotiated a treaty. We would go, but he could bring a friend with us.
“It’ll be fun!” I told him, and being a big believer in keeping kids on their toes through non-sequitors, added: “We’ll do community service!”
“I hate community service!” Gandhi Jr. let me know.
“You know, Young Ladrinka,” I decided to make this a Teaching Moment. “Some children in NYC do not have enough food to eat and we’re going to help by making some lunch bags for them at the picnic.”
“That makes NO sense, mom,” he told me. “They don’t have food and we’ll give them a lunch bag? Isn’t that teasing and mean?”
He had a point.
But I was sure that Hebrew National was on top of it, and therefore this fell squarely under the heading of Not My Problem.

So on Saturday morning, my son dressed himself in a blinding orange t-shirt and clashing red shorts. I bit my tongue so hard I almost choked on the blood.
We went to the picnic.
And we had a great time.
Although I think that Hebrew National could do a better job of warning people (some of whom may or may not have been training for months) that there wasn’t going to be a hot dog eating contest.

It was a beautiful day.

I got to see some of my favorite blogging friends, like Selfish Mom (her son and my kids had an instant connection and played Wiffle Ball, while Selfish Mom and I sat back and took bets on whose kid was going to cry first), Alpha Mom (who teased me a tiny bit because I was a little high maintenance when I found that the picnic was on Randall’s Island. Look for my new post: Escape from Randall’s Island, A Cautionary Tale coming soon!), Mom in the City (whom I’ve adored since the first time that we met at a Bronx Zoo event and who led me to safety off Randall’s Island), Mom101, who is lovely and funny and brought her dog, probably for protection against adoring blogging fans, and many, many others. I missed seeing Mommy Poppins, but she later told me that she was dressed in camoflage, which totally explains why I didn’t see her.

The hot dogs were delicious, the weather was perfect, the kids had a great time and decorated lunch bags for a program affiliated with Feeding America and the local food banks for the Magic Summer Lunchbox program.

When we got home, I decided to have a Moment of Truth with Young Ladrinka.
“Did you enjoy the picnic?” I asked.
He did.
“Did you like making the bags?”
He did.
“So, what was your big problem with doing community service?”
“I’m so glad that we didn’t have to do community service.”
“What are you talking about? We did do community service.”
“No, we didn’t. Community service is picking up garbage on the side of the road instead of going to jail. And you have to wear orange.”
“We just drew on bags for kids.”
“I don’t want to do community service.”
“Is that why you wore an orange t-shirt?”
“I will choose my words more carefully next time,” I promised.

But I was too afraid to ask why he thought he had to avoid doing jail time.

One year ago ...

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Yee-ha! Riding A Mechanical Bull At The Hebrew National Better-Than-A-Picnic | Mom In The City
May 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie May 24, 2010 at 6:22 am

Some questions are better left unasked.
Was there any mustard? I’m still hungry, and upset about the little cinnabon incident.


May 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

Hy-LAR-ious! Young Ladrinka is a role model for us all.


anna see May 24, 2010 at 9:47 am

Glad to hear I’m not the only mom who gets flack for trying to take my kids ANYWHERE. We have to go somewhere? This is the “worst day ever!” Best day ever, apparently is PJ’s and iCarly all day long.


I'm Nate's Mom May 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

The only thing worse than iCarly is Wizards of Waverly Place. Am I the only one who thinks the people on that show don’t even look real?!


Karen at French Skinny May 24, 2010 at 10:34 am

There is something so sweet about him feeling the need to suit up in an orange shirt that it makes my heart hurt a little. In a good way.
I can’t believe there was not hot dog eating contest. I thought it was Community Service? Slackers.


I'm Nate's Mom May 24, 2010 at 11:09 am

Please let us know what YL is guilty of . . . I promise to share why Nate lost his iPod touch privileges (and why Apple couldn’t have given that device a more appropriate name)!


May 24, 2010 at 11:33 am

Oh that’s SO funny! He thought he was getting out of jail time. And yeah, didn’t he want to know what’d y’all had done?

Hebrew Nat’l are the best hotdogs EVER. Love them.


Jane May 24, 2010 at 11:40 am



May 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm

OH EM GEE that is funny. I love that he thought he had to wear an orange uniform.


May 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Me too!


May 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Stop writing about food. Please. #projectswimsuit


May 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

wish i was partying with all of you. would like to have met all those ladies as well. i was curious about young lad’s outfit. for me, the colors orange and red symbolize oscar mayer hot dogs, and i thought he was making a statement. young lad has a great sense of humor. i think he gets it from his mama. take care.


elenka May 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I LOVE hotdogs, but I’m not supposed to have anything with a lot of salt, and dogs, apparently, are loaded with salt. And who knows what else. That’s probably what makes them taste so good. Especially the Hebrew ones. Sounds like you had a great day, slave labor and all.


Kimberly/Mom in the City May 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Oh my goodness…your son is hilarious. That bus ride out of Randall’s Island was hilarious to say the least…especially when that guy fell out/passed out(?) I was SO glad that my husband was there to pick me up on the other side.

You are a brave warrior and true friend to brave the island with three kids all by yourself. A gazillion times thanks!


Ann's Rants May 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Oscar Meyer is holding a contest to ride “shot bun” in the wiener mobile.

I wish I was kidding, but this is the kind of p*rn we get in Wisconsin…


the checkout girl
May 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

So Young Ladrinka confused Randall’s Island with Rikers Island? Dude, that could happen to anyone! Brill.


dusty earth mother May 25, 2010 at 7:39 am

Particularly love, “I am not going, please. End of story, thank you.” So glad our children don’t say those words by rote, huh?

I’m so sad that I didn’t get to go to the picnic! Kim (Mom in the City) is a close friend and invited me, but I had to go stinkin’ camping with my family. No, it was great, but I really wanted to meet you. Another time. Heavy sigh.


Isabel @AlphaMom
May 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for coming to the picnic! It was great hanging out with you.

Also, I am not done with the teasing. It WILL continue. I’m generous like that.


May 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

It sounds like it was a fun event. My kids would of loved the hot dogs.


susie May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

This was hilarious! Kids they say and think the funniest things. I am glad everyone enjoy the picnic.


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