President Max presides over a meeting of the student council, along with secretary Courtney, and faculty advisor Mr. Mason. Courtney and the rest of the council want to talk about funding the school dance, which everyone wants to do but Max, who's still stuck on the vending machine. Put to a vote, the dance passes unanimously, but Max refuses to accept it, banging his gavel to signify a resounding veto. Meanwhile, Julia is pumping all her tons of energy into enriching her new stay-at-home life, making homemade pasta and planning a garden. When Joel mentions an old friend has asked him to be foreman on a big construction job, Julia balks. Now's the time to make Victor their priority. Joel points out that Julia has always wanted to have time to just stay at home and be a mom, and this job will make her dream come true.
Sarah and Mark sit in bed late at night, looking at the website for a hotel in Napa where Mark's friends are getting married. Their long-planned romantic road trip is upon them! Suddenly, the phone rings. Hank is bombed and can't find his keys or figure out how to call a cab. Sarah jumps out of bed, throws on a jacket and heads out to pick him up, much to Mark's chagrin. Hank is so drunk that Sarah has to drag him to bed. Not only has his ex ruined his life, but now she's ruining it more with her plan to move his daughter to Minnesota without consulting him. Sarah tries to console Hank - something will work out - but he's drunkenly convinced he's turning into a horrible dad. Stunned, Sarah feels his heartache deeply, and it fills her with confusion.
Amber and Ryan are flirting at The Luncheonette when new and angry neighbor Marlyse barges in with a bee in her bonnet. She doesn't care that Crosby is meeting with clients. Crosby welcomes Marlyse to the neighborhood, but she doesn't want to hear it, because she has yet to be able to park in one of her two designated spaces, which she pays for. And then there's the noise and the smoking and the litter and the puke in the alley. Amber scrambles to help, offering to take care of all grievances, but clearly, Marlyse is going to be very hard to satisfy.
At work, a frayed Hank is on the phone, making frantic plans to place a booking in Los Angeles, so he has a plausible reason to talk to his ex before she moves Ruby to Minnesota. Once he settles down, he thanks Sarah for taking care of him last night. But when she asks why he called her, all he'll say is, "Why'd you pick up?" Across town, Julia drops off the kids at school and gets hijacked by some of the other moms, who invite her to their Wednesday morning coffee club. It doesn't come easy to Julia, but when the ladies offer to dish dirt on which teachers have a crush on Joel, Julia caves.
Adam and Kristina sit Max down for a talk about his new reputation as filibuster king. Faculty advisor Mr. Mason has weighed in, and now's the time for Max to listen to his constituents and compromise. Besides, an excited Kristina exhorts, "It's a dance - it's fun!" Max still thinks the dance is a waste of his budget, but silently yields to his parents' pressure. Nevertheless, he's not going to the dance. "Oh Max, you're going," Kristina says.
That night, Mark dresses up in his wedding outfit for Sarah's benefit, with news that he upgraded their hotel room to a suite for their romantic wedding weekend. They're just toasting their future plans with a kiss when Drew walks in, still feeling dour from last week's sex discussion. When he learns his mom made plans for him to stay at his grandparents while Mark and Sarah are at the wedding, he starts simmering. Why can't he just stay at the apartment? After all, Sarah let Amber take care of Drew for a weekend when she was 17... Sarah puts her foot down. Drew is still in high school, and he's going to stay the weekend at his grandparents' house! She looks to Mark for backup - and gets it, kind of.
The next morning, Hank is all business, telling Sarah to get online and book a flight for the two of them to Los Angeles this weekend. He's booked a headshot convention to pay for the trip so he can go talk to his ex without any lawyers, while Sarah hangs out with Ruby. Stunned, Sarah reminds him that she took this weekend off a long time ago to attend the wedding in Napa. Rather than totally back out, Sarah offers to try to figure out a way to go to Los Angeles with Hank and attend the wedding.
Zeek meets Ryan at The Piping Cup to discuss his resume and the job hunt. When Zeek returned from Vietnam, he used to sell encyclopedias. What's Ryan going to say about his lack of sales experience in an interview? Ryan jokes that he can assemble an M16 in 35 seconds in the dark under fire, which impresses Zeek. Across town, Kristina surprises Max with a choice of two dress shirts to wear to the dance. She knows Max hates surprises and dress shirts and dances. When she suggests Max might be scared, he starts yelling, then chants, "I'm not going to the dance," over and over. Walking in, Adam tells Max he doesn't have to go to the dance, infuriating Kristina, who throws down the shirts and runs out of the room. When Adam follows her to make peace, she points at him, threatening, "The kid. Is going. To the dance!"
Over dinner, Joel announces that he got the job as foreman of a big commercial building in West Berkeley. Julia congratulates him offhandedly, then talks about her day. She made homemade pasta again, although the kids have told her they prefer the store-bought kind, and she had coffee with some of the moms from school. Clearly, this stay-at-home thing isn't going so well for Julia, and now that Joel's going back to work, she's stuck. Crosby's in a recording session when Marlyse blasts past Amber into the booth. Now someone has parked her into her spot, so she can't leave! Not only is she towing one of the musician's cars, but she's filed a complaint with the city. Amber and Crosby stare at each other in disbelief.
The next morning, Sarah tries to send Drew off to school with the lunch she made, but his attitude is still frosty. Sarah can't understand how he can still be mad at her. Mark admits that if it were up to him, he probably would have let Drew stay at the apartment alone. Sarah's strategy is the opposite: she wants to eliminate all the places Drew might possibly have sex. Then she drops the bombshell about the LA job with Hank. Sarah tells Mark about her plan to try to go to LA with Hank and go to the wedding, but it doesn't sit well with either of them. She should just say no and stick with their original plan.
Crosby stops by Julia's house to have her take a look at Marlyse's complaint. Julia offers her best legal advice: be nice. What does Adam say about it? Of course, Crosby hasn't told Adam, in hopes of handling the situation by himself. That night, Adam sits down with Kristina to talk about Max and the dance. Adam thinks there will be more dances and plenty of time. Kristina feels optimistic, but she's not sure how much time there's going to be for her, and she doesn't want to miss out on any milestones. At bedtime, Julia confronts Joel. How could he take this big new job on the very day they agreed Victor would be their priority? Upset, Joel points out that he has never asked Julia not to take a case. He's always thought she could work and still be a parent - and he hopes she can extend him the same courtesy and respect.
Crosby meets with Marylse through her fence with a peace offering: a basket full of local wine, cheese, CDs recorded at The Luncheonette, and a finely crafted apology. Marylse won't hear of it. She paid $900,000 for her condo, and she's not paying that much money to pick cigarette butts out of her planters. Crosby reminds her of the history of the Haight and everything it stands for - if she didn't like it, why did she move there? It all ends badly as Marylse orders him off her property and dumps the CDs into the alley. At work, Sarah tells Hank she can't go to LA - does the trip have to be this weekend? It does - Hank knows his ex is already halfway to Minnesota and this is only chance to stop her.
After his job interview, Ryan meets Amber at the apartment. The interview didn't go well; in fact, the guy asked Ryan if he killed anyone in Afghanistan. Amber is suitably enraged on Ryan's behalf, but he's closed off, putting aside her hugs in favor of a walk on his own. Julia tells Joel that she does respect him, and she never wants him to feel anything other than that from her. It's just that since she left work, she's either been overwhelmed or bored to death. She's not cut out for the stay-at-home mom thing. She's not feeling fulfilled and that sounds so bad - she's a terrible person. Joel reminds her that she has free time for the first time ever. She should try to enjoy it a little.
Adam brings Max a gift of a book about World War II fighter pilots that he hasn't read, as lubrication for a discussion about the dance. Kristina really wants Max to go, and because she's sick, they're going to do things for her that they don't want to do. It's part of being grown up - doing things for other people, even if Max doesn't want to. Julia stops by The Luncheonette to talk about Marlyse's complaint. It turns out the recording studio was built in a residential zone and Marlyse has a leg to stand on. In fact, she could shut the business down... In Julia's opinion, Adam needs to know about the situation.
Amber stops by her grandparents' house to thank Zeek for introducing her to Ryan. When Zeek asks about Ryan's job interview, Amber admits it didn't go very well. The guy was rude, and when Amber tried to talk to Ryan about it, it seemed like she was only making things worse. She's worried. Things got scary at the funeral, and now she's surprised how much it hurts to see Ryan in so much pain. Zeek explains that Ryan has been to war, which is a place where you lose who you are. When you get back, you're scared to death of what you may have become. The best Amber can do is give their relationship time.
Sarah returns home with dinner and an explanation. She can't figure out how to not go to LA, which is turning out to be a complicated thing. Hank really does need her there, she feels obligated to help, and she's working on flights. Mark is angry and surprised - he thought they agreed Sarah was going to tell him she couldn't go. Mark can't understand why all of a sudden Hank needs her and she drops everything - she's putting Hank before him! Sarah admits she's trying to make everyone happy. Mark ends the argument by telling Sarah that she's not going to the wedding. She can tell Hank that she's free all weekend long.
Kristina is stunned when Max walks into the living room wearing one of his new dress shirts. Adam said that if Max went to the dance for 30 minutes he could go home. Kristina tells Max that if for some strange reason he gets the urge to dance he should walk up to a girl, look her in the eye, introduce himself and ask her to dance. If she says yes, Max is going to have to know what to do, so Kristina gives him his very first dance lesson. Adam looks on, loving his wife so much, as she thoroughly enjoys all the bittersweetness of an un-missable milestone.