We know times are tough - if you don't know that, you have been living under a rock and you need to come on out and get some air. Times have been tough in the Calandro house before: the toughest was when Max was born: we went down to one income and John had gone back to school to get his Masters. It wasn't pretty around here, just like it's pretty ugly in a lot of places right now.
Out of this difficult time, we created a wonderful family tradition: Friday Night Pizza Night. It all began when John got a bread maker for Christmas. (That year I got a jigsaw - we're not real big on gender specific roles here at the Calandros.) Anyway, we started making our own pizza dough with the bread maker and it was better than any dough we could purchase. We started making pizza on Fridays because it gave us something to look forward to as a family every week. Everything came to a screeching halt for Pizza Night. We got a movie from the library (because it was free), got a bottle of two-buck-chuck (do the math), and made our own pizza for a fraction of what it would have cost us to get it delivered to our door. We all watched the movie together, breathed a big sigh of relief, and celebrated making it through another week, and it only cost a few dollars. All our other meals are consumed at our kitchen table, but Pizza Night happens in front of the TV. This distinction makes it very special and something for our boys to look forward to.
Through the years, pizza night became "Pizza Night" with initial caps because it deserved that status. Our three boys know it as the benchmark of the week. Miles, our three-yer-old, doesn't know the days of the week yet and will ask all week long, "Is it Pizza Night?" He lets out a big,"Hooray!" when we finally answer yes to his question. All our family knows about Pizza Night and will schedule visits to either be a part of the tradition or avoid disrupting it. Friends honor it and love being a part of it. Some friends get "Pizza Night Cravings" and call us up when they need a fix. Family and friends are always welcome and as we say as the Calandros: once you've been here for Pizza Night, you're family.
Now Pizza Night has been taken to a new level thanks to Panasonic and their Living in HD program. Now Pizza Night is PIZZA NIGHT. It deserves to be in all capital letters because our set-up has made it unbelievably AWESOME! The movies we watch on our 1080p plasma screen television are better quality that we see in our local movie theaters. The sound is incredible and you can't beat the convenience. The combination of the clarity capacity of our TV and our blu-ray player quality is unbeatable. Even our DVDs look better when played through the blu-ray player and displayed on our TV.
We feel so lucky and spoiled. We probably shouldn't admit we're a little sad at the end of the evening when we turn off our TV and head downstairs to watch Letterman on our dinky little television in our bedroom, but we are sad. Our set-up is that good. I guess the good news is our TV gives us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning so we can go upstairs to watch it! Okay, that's extreme, but it is beautiful. John says he wants to hug our television. Until you see it, you would just think he's wacked.
With our fabulous Panasonic set-up or just our old TV, PIZZA NIGHT has become the stuff of legend for the Calandros. It gives us the opportunity to come together as a family and mark the passing of another week. We celebrate with family and friends depending on what is happening for all of us. It is grounding to have a tradition every week our children can rely on, no matter what. We hope our boys will grow up and remember PIZZA NIGHT on Fridays. We hope they know how much we love this tradition and how much we enjoy creating it each week with them.
If you're ever in San Luis Obispo on a Friday night, you probably won't see us downtown at the local movie theater. You'll see us at our own home theater, munching on home-made pizza watching a movie, thinking about how good it is to be here on a Friday. Heck, let us know you're in town, and you may even be invited to attend. And then, as I mentioned before, you won't just be a stranger passing through town, you'll be family.