One of the things I’ve missed during the pandemic is eating out.

I like to eat out. It’s not just about someone else cooking, though there are days that’s a plus. It’s the whole getting out of the house, someone serving you, and no dishes at the end of it. I even like going out by myself, with only my phone or my Kindle for company.

While I can go out by myself, it’s fun to go with Don. We can have conversations with fewer distractions when we go out. This was especially a thing when his mother was alive and living with us. It was, and is, a nice break from the norm.

So, I was not happy when COVID-19 shut all that down. It’s not that I didn’t understand the necessity of it – it was just another reason to hate the virus. I was very adult about it and refrained from pitching any fits. But if you asked me if I liked it, you would have gotten an emphatic “no!”

So now that restaurants in Florida have opened up again, I am happy. This does not equal careless. Don and I usually wear our masks going into a restaurant and remove them at our table. We’re eating out a lot less. But it’s nice to have the option.

I’ve noticed the restaurants are doing their part to keep people safe as well. If someone working at a restaurant reads this, I appreciate your efforts. Thanks for everything you’re doing.

Now, I will admit that there are probably restaurants out there being less than careful. This is not exactly a news flash; some restaurants get cited for violations by the Health Department and have to make changes. If any of the places I recently visited had such problems, they hid them well.

This was not the case of a pizzeria in West Palm Beach. During an inspection, the restaurant racked up 27 health violations, including one involving – I am not kidding – an 80-pound dead iguana.

According to the story I read at foxnews.com, the iguana was in a mini-freezer separate from the restaurant’s food. It was a gift to the owner that he intended to – still not kidding – eat later.

Let’s stop there for just a second. You must understand that I’m coming at this from the perspective of a mom whose two sons had iguanas as beloved pets. They were much smaller than 80 pounds, of course. But no one, except maybe the dog, ever thought of them as a snack.

So, my first thought is something along the lines of “ew.”

The restaurant’s other problems included “rodent droppings, dead roaches …food with ‘mold-like growths.’” The place shut down for a day, probably to address some of these issues. The iguana was promptly discarded.

You’ll notice I haven’t named the restaurant. To forestall any emails asking about it, let me just say the article left me with the impression they were making an effort to clean up their act, and I don’t want to give them bad press they might not deserve.

So anyway, people in West Palm Beach will have to look elsewhere if they want iguana-topped pizza. Me? I’ll stick with plain cheese or hamburger, onion, and mushroom. And now I can go out to eat it. I hope that continues.