Monday, April 28, 2008

Tales From The Weekend

Next time I think I’m going to have a boring, hassle-free weekend, I’ll think again.

The setting: At the car dealership, waiting for my oil to be changed

All of the chairs in the showroom are taken, so I head up to the upstairs lounge where the restrooms and coffee machine are.

I’m grumbling to myself because the “French vanilla iced coffee with milk and sugar” that I stopped to get on the way is REALLY “regular iced coffee with barely any milk and one very small sugar”. Yuck.

I’m sitting upstairs – minding my own business – reading a book. To my left against the other wall is a woman flipping through a magazine. Directly in front of me is the Men’s Room.

I hear commotion on the stairs behind me and a dad and his son clomp upstairs. The little boy must be either 4 or 5, and he has long, hippie hair to his shoulders, which reminds me of my neighbors’ naked kids (whom I can't stand).

Dad points to the Men’s Room door and the little boy goes inside. Dad heads back downstairs. (Quite the attentive father)

I can hear the little boy inside of the Men’s Room talking and singing to himself. I can see his little feet under the door. After about 2 minutes he turns on the bathroom light. (WTF?)

A few minutes later he is jiggling the door handle. Uh oh.

I look over at the woman with the magazine. She lets out a nervous giggle.

ME: “I hope he’s not locked in.”

More jiggling.

We both raise our eyebrows.

Finally the jiggling stops and his little feet run away from the door again.

I go back to my book.

Dad comes up the stairs, knocks on the door and asks his son if he’s okay. A loud “YEP!” comes from behind the door.

Satisfied, Dad moseys over to the coffee machine to fix himself a cup of Joe.

The next thing I know, the bathroom door swings open and there’s hippie boy – shirt up to his belly button, pants down to his feet and Spiderman underwear around his knees. He’s standing there, naked, in all his little mushroom-capped glory.

He freezes, staring at me, the look on his face very similar to Macaulay Culkin’s when he realizes that he’s been left home alone.

The Little Hippie slams the door and runs away.

Dad, now, is completely OBLIVIOUS to the fact that his son has just FLASHED me.

Like, I might need therapy.

The setting: shopping with Mom

We stopped for lunch before the spending fiesta began. We were out looking for decorations for my parents’ newly painted porch.

(Please add “interior decorator” to my resume)

Mom and I are chatting about this and that when the subject of Mother’s Day cames up.

My husband and I had decided to host Mother’s Day brunch this year. The guest list was slowly creeping up to numbers that resembled our Thanksgiving dinner, so I was getting a little nervous.

In an effort to make our lives easier, we had decided to do a buffet-style brunch. I had taken lots of time to craft a full menu of breakfast and lunch items and drinks around a theme.

ME: “I’m really excited to cook for Mother’s Day brunch. The theme is Mexican.”

My mom LOVES Mexican food.

MOM: “Mexican? Oh. Well, I guess I’m not getting that Martha Stewart baked macaroni and cheese that you make that I love.”

The Setting: Out to dinner with my grandparents

My grandmother’s birthday was back in November. The whole family went out to dinner to celebrate (including my uncle from California!) except us, because I was sick (Bronchitis wave #1).

So my grandfather felt badly that we didn’t get to go, so he wanted to take us out separately. Very nice of him. Very stressful for me.

Basically, my grandparents are in their late 80’s. They are in GREAT health, they both drive, they take bus trips to the casinos. They do NOT, however, frequent restaurants.

Because of this, they have ZERO idea how much food at restaurants cost, or how to act in a restaurant (mainly, my grandfather). He calls waitresses “Honey”, says things like, “Bring me another beer, will ya?” without any sort of ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, and he talk about the days when they “only used to tip 10%”.

Because of all these things, I have put off planning the dinner for a while. I needed ample time to figure out an appropriate restaurant (read: reasonable, good, Italian food with big portions and no wait to be seated).

I made a reservation for a neighborhood restaurant near their apartment, and told them I’d pick them up at 6:45pm.

A few things you should know:
1. One of my grandfather’s favorite things in the world to eat is shrimp over angel hair pasta.
2. My grandmother loves shellfish, mainly because she never makes it at home. She’s a sucker for mussels over pasta.
3. My grandfather doesn’t read menus. On the rare occasion that they come out to eat, my grandmother will read a few things off the menu to him or just decide what he’s going to eat.
4. If the shrimp aren’t big enough, my grandfather will complain. Loudly.

So there we are, settled in our booth, menus open (except my grandfather, of course).

ME (to my grandfather): “What are you in the mood to eat?”

GF: “Fried scallops.”

Are you kidding me?

ME: “They don’t have fried scallops here.”

GF: “Well, you asked me what I was in the mood for. So I answered.”

Um, okay. Now, if you knew you were in the mood for fried scallops, why didn’t you SAY something when I asked a million times where you wanted to go?????

My grandfather opens up the menu. I point out the shrimp scampi and the shrimp fra diavlo.

GF: “I’m going to have baked stuffed shrimp. You pick the appetizers.”


My grandmother pipes up that she’s like fried mozzarella. I’m totally down with that, since I know this place makes it from scratch and it’s delicious.

My grandfather pokes me on the arm.

GF: “You know what I’d like? Marinated mushrooms.”

Marinated mushrooms? Seventeen different appetizers and he wants marinated mushrooms? And I know he means the ones from the jar, the ones we have for antipasto on holidays.

ME: “I’ll ask if they have them.”

GF: “Hmph. Why wouldn’t they have them? Of course they’ll have them.”

Thankfully, they do.

The Setting: checkout at the grocery store

Let me preface this story by saying that I am the person who ALWAYS speaks up.

Cut me in line, I say something. Bring me the wrong food, I let you know. Do something stupid, I point it out.

But at this particular moment, this particular incident, I was so flabbergasted, that I couldn’t even find my voice. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open.

In an effort to eat a little healthier, I’ve been trying to bring my lunch to work. So I grabbed some roasted chicken breast from the deli.


So there I am, at check out. I’m a grocery store freak – not only do I spend hours in there, I arrange my food on the conveyor belt in the order in which I’d like it to be bagged. I put all the frozen stuff together, all the veggies together, etc. Just to make things easier for the baggers, who SOMETIMES are not the brightest bulbs in the store.

So my bagger today is awful. She’s putting one item in one bag, then like 75 items in another. Everything’s a mess. And she’s SO slow, that all of my organized groceries have now piled up at the end of the conveyor belt.

And then it happened.

She picks up my chicken breast to put it in the plastic bag, and it falls out. She is holding the little zippered deli bag with the waxy paper inside. My naked sliced chicken breast – my lunch for the week – has plummeted into the bag with my other groceries.

Now, I’m watching her and she’s watching my chicken breast. And in my mind, I’m hoping, begging, pleading that she doesn’t…when she does.


Her dirty, bagger hands are touching the chicken that I’m supposed to bring home and eat.

I can’t believe it.

And then, she doesn’t know what to do.


Who does that??? Who touches someone’s food, then puts it on a dirty countertop???

I couldn’t even believe it.

Then she just opens the little zipper bag, shoves the chicken back in, and drops it in the plastic bag.

First thing I did when I got home: threw away my chicken breast, of course.

Second thing I did when I got home: transferred the milk to another container since – with her awesome bagging skills – she put a heavy gallon of water on top of my half gallon of milk, crushing it and causing a leak in the container.


Come Sunday night, I was exhausted from my ridiculous weekend.

Seriously, this stuff only happens to me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Love Letter

Dear Boston,

I miss you.

It could be the perfect spring weather, making me all nostalgic and weepy (or it’s the ridiculously high pollen count).

I only spent a mere hour visiting your loveliness last week, and I was once again smitten.

(Even though it took me ONE HOUR to drive from the Longwood Medical Area to 93 South through the ghetto. Hey, it was the Friday of Marathon weekend, the beginning of school vacation week, a perfect 70 degree sunny day. So I forgive you.)

Sitting in the car, surrounded by worn chain-link fences, boarded up buildings and sketchy dudes selling flowers to people stuck in traffic, I realized how much I really, really, really MISS you.

I miss your budding trees on the Common, flip-flop friendly sidewalks, and outdoor cafes.

I miss parking my car on Sunday and not getting back in it until the following weekend (I definitely do NOT miss street cleaning days).

I miss walking to Terry’s for breakfast, sitting at the counter and enjoying the Best. Breakfast Burrito. Ever.

I miss walking to the T (didn’t even feel like ¾ of a mile!), hopping on for 2 stops and emerging in the basement of my office.

I miss sitting outside at Kingfish Hall and sucking down raw bar.

I miss last-minute Sox tickets (in the Boston Globe Box!) on warm, summer nights.

I miss Restaurant Week!

I miss Dré, my esthetician. SO much. (She has no idea of my possible girl-crush on her. She is a WIZARD with wax.)

I miss producing gourmet meals out of a galley kitchen.

I miss bar crawls (10 bars, 10 beers!).

I miss walking everywhere, exploring your new restaurants, shops and bars.

I even miss the stinky trash days, and pizza crusts all over the sidewalk.

So I will love you from afar, Boston.

And be comforted in knowing you are just 2 hours away.

Always yours,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

In honor of my mother's birthday, I'd like to share the top 10 things I love about her:

1. She calls emails faxes (as in, "I just got that fax you sent, I'm printing it out now").

2. She rates restaurants on their bread.

3. She packs 10 pairs of shoes for a vacation and only wears 3.

4. She mispronounces everything: rotissarary (rotisserie), calabatta (ciabatta bread) and Klamatas (kalamata olives).

5. She uses the imaginary passenger side "brake" when I'm driving.

6. She can eat a pound of pasta and not gain an ounce.

7. She makes the best pignoli cookies on the planet.

8. She will go out of her way to do a favor for you.

9. Every year she hates the Christmas tree she picks out once it goes up.

10. She has passed on to me her strength, compassion and spider veins (kidding, Mom!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sole Searching

One of my favorite scenes from Sex And The City (sniff – still missin’ you, SATC!) is when New York’s Sweetheart Carrie (aka, SJP for those of you who don’t know…and SHAME on you!) spots a pair of shoes in a store window that she MUST have for her date with Mr. Big. She approaches the window and places her palm gently on the glass and dreamily says, “Hello, Lover.”

I, too, have had that moment when it comes to shoes.

I am a shoe lover.

Kitten heels. Stacked heels. D’orsays. Mary Janes. Wedges. Slingbacks. Flats. Peep toes. Sneaks. Thongs. Wellies.

I don’t discrim

And, while I love all shoes, I do NOT love spending oodles of moolah on them.

But alas, I was smitten.

I saw these beauties about a month ago in an upscale shoe store downtown.
I didn’t even know their name. And even though I admired their sleek, black patent leather and straw wedge bottom only briefly, I was hooked. I picked up the right shoe, gently turning it over, rubbing my hands over its cool, smooth body.

Then I peeped the price tag.

Then I put them back.

But I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Their shiny exterior haunted me. Their jute sole beckoned.

So today, I went back. Back to find my black beauties.

(Okay, I’ll admit it, since seeing those shoes I’ve bought an outfit with which to w
ear them. Okay, two outfits. Plus a handbag.)

But they were nowhere to be found.
I even did the unthinkable – something I try to never, ever do – I asked the snooty sales woman for help.

(pleading look in my eyes) “Um, you used to have these shoes? They were by Tory Burch? They were wedges? With a jute bottom? Like espadrilles?”

Come on, lady, can't you see I'm in pain? Help me h

“By Tory Burch?”

Did I NOT just say that???

(to a fellow SSW) “Mira, what was the name of those Tory’s that Elizabeth bought? Remember? The black patent jute wedges?”

SSW2: “Hallie. They were beautiful shoes.”

“Yes, they really were.”

Were? Past tense?

“Are you all out? Are they all gone?” (semi-frantic)

“I can check the computer, but those flew out the door. I mean, one day there were her
e, the next they were gone. Great shoes.”

Really? The shoes were beautiful and great and no longer available? I had no idea! Thanks for telling me. Repeatedly.

SSW1 clicks away on the computer. I am drawn to a beautiful messenger bag. The leather is as soft as butter on my fingertips. I turn the tag over. $865. Imported butter, obviously.

SSW1: “Well, it seems there is just one pair left – in a size 10. What size do you need?”

y) “I’m a 6.”

“Oh, those go so fast. When you’re a 6 and you see something you like, you need to just buy it.” She actually tsk-tsks me. I might hit her.

Well, Miss Snooty Shoes, I’ve had size 6 feet for, oh – let's round it off – 15 years, so I am fully aware of the size 6 shoe shortage, thank you very much.

(FYI: Stores only get one pair of 6’s in, and they go out on the floor as the display. And you DO have to grab them while you can, befor
e everyone shoves their big hooves into them to try them on.)

“Okay, well, thanks for your help.”

She scribbles down the shoe name for me and tells me that places like Tory’s website and Neiman Marcus might be worth trying.

For a short while, I am filled with hope. I imagine all the compliments I’d get on my Hallies at work. Hitting the town with Hallie, taking her to trendy new restaurants and tequila bars. Pairing Hallie with a cute denim skirt. Or crisp white blouse. Or tunic dress.

I wish I were so lucky.

After an hour of int
ernet searching, I come up empty handed.

These shoes were so great they no longer existed.

Oh, Hallie, we could’ve gone places together.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Being An "Only"

Alt title: Why You Should Go And Give Your Brother/Sister A Big Fat Hug And Thank Them For Being Alive

I’m an only child, but I don’t act like one.

(You know exactly what I mean!)

When you’re an only child, people usually do two things:

1. Ask you if you wish you had siblings
2. Assume you’re spoiled rotten

(These people asking the questions are NEVER only children, btw)

Growing up an only child is lonely because – are you ready for this groundbreaking revelation – you grow up ALONE.

By yourself.

Sans siblings.

No one to blame for denting the car with a bike and clogging toilets with Barbie Dolls.

Do I wish I had siblings? Well, my answer has changed over the years.

(I won’t even get into how this is an unfair question. Like, how would I know if I wanted something if I had never had it before? It’s like asking me if I’d like blue hair. I’ve never had blue hair. Maybe it would really bring out my features. Or maybe it would make me look really pale. Thing is, I would have no idea BECAUSE I’VE NEVER HAD IT BEFORE)

If you asked me when I was four, I would have probably said yes, as the idea of a baby brother or sister would have been intriguing.

Had you asked when I was nine, I would have probably said no, knowing that a sibling meant half the toys, half the hugs and half the mashed potatoes.

If you asked me anytime after age 14, then I would have probably said yes.

At 16, it would have been nice to have a companion on family vacations.

At 19, it would have been great to have someone who (supposedly) loved me unconditionally that I could drunk dial at 2am from college.

In my 20s, I would have loved having someone close to my age with whom to talk at holiday gatherings, to help me pick out my first apartment or to form a united front in family debates.

Now, as I approach my mid-thirties, I think it would be nice to have a sibling to help keep me sane and help me plan my father’s retirement party.

Dad’s retiring after 30 years of working for the same company and I thought it would be nice to throw him a little party.

Mom thought it would be a nice “project” for us to do together.

Now, I love my mother to death (hey, I’m her favorite child!), but this party planning is getting TENSE.

Mom and I are both Aries, and we’re both always right.

The first phone call about the party was so aggravating it caused me to miss my exit on the highway and it resulted in her calling me back to apologize for her behavior.

I’m a planner at heart, so when you ask for my help, it’s very difficult for me to not completely take over the project and plan the perfect party (um, everyone loves scallops wrapped in bacon, gorgonzola crusted filet and pomegranate martinis, right?).

Here are the details we’ve worked out so far:

• we want to throw dad a party

Yep, that’s about it.

I put mom in charge of the guest list, since she knows more of my dad’s work friends. Plus, it’s hard to get started without a general idea of how many people will be attending. This task, of course, results in a phone call.

MOM: “I wrote up a guest list.”

ME: “Great. How many people?”

MOM: “About 35. But I know of at least six more that need to be added.”

ME: “Does that include our family and your friends?”

MOM: “Yes.”

ME: “Okay, so let’s figure around 45 to be safe, so we have a number to give places when we start calling around.”

MOM: “Should we invite Cousin Dave and his wife?”

Um, why WOULDN’T we?

ME: “I thought your list included family?”

MOM: “It does. Just not them.”

It’s not like our family is so huge that there’s no way we can accommodate everyone. There are 10 people in my family. TOTAL.

So, long story short – yes. If you’re asking me right now if I wish I had siblings, my answer is ABSOLUTELY!

(Oh, and if by “spoiled rotten” you mean “being showered with all of the attention from your parents and family members, never having to wear hand-me-downs and being everyone’s beneficiary”, then yes, I was completely spoiled.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Visit To The Chiropractor

Alt title: You Think Your Back Hurts Now?

My back hurt. The muscles in the middle of the left side of my back were sore, and would act up every time I moved.

It started when I was sick. I was trying to sleep in an upright position so that it would be easier to breathe. Somehow, this messed up my back, and it’s been hurting every since.

My self-diagnosing cure of 'ignore it and it will go away' didn't seem to be working.

I was afraid to go to the chiropractor. I was afraid he’d hurt me. Or worse, that I would become addicted to the treatment, and not feel good ever again unless I went regularly.

But I couldn’t take it any longer, so I made an appointment with Dr. Ron.
(NOTE: Dr. Ron does not go by a last name. Even his business card says “Dr. Ron” on it.)

Now I’ve known Dr. Ron by name for many years, as he treats everyone in my husband’s family for multiple ailments.

Fall and hurt your leg? Go see Dr. Ron.

Stiff neck? Go see Dr. Ron.

Weird rash on your arm? Go see Dr. Ron.

Not only did Dr. Ron carry a medical degree, he also made his own wine. Many of our donated empty wine bottles would show up at our holidays or dinners, sans labels, filled with Dr. Ron’s homemade vino.
(If you loved a super-grape flavor and sediment, this was the wine for you!)

So even though he and I had never met, he was no stranger to me. And, come to find out, he knew a lot about me, too.

I make an appointment for the following night. Traffic is on my side and I arrive on time. Not surprisingly, I’m the only patient in the office at 6:30pm.

Dr. Ron is sitting behind the desk when I walk in. He hands me a clip board and I start filling out the 17 pages of paperwork.

Before coming here my mother-in-law warned me about Dr. Ron.

MIL: “He's a really nice guy, but he’s a talker. He LOVES to talk. He’ll talk your ear off. But he also talks to other people. So don’t tell him anything you don’t want everybody else to know.”

A big mouth is an odd trait for a doctor to have.

So as I’m filling out the forms and answering questions and revealing all of my medical secrets, I wonder if Dr. Ron will tell people about my allergy to raw fruit or my abdominal surgery.

The Doctor in on the short side and built like a linebacker. He catches me eyeing up his big, meaty hands.

DR: “You ever been to a chiropractor before?”

ME: “Nope. You’re my first.”

DR: "You have nothing to worry about.” Said the wolf to Little Red Riding Hood.

ME: “I’m not going to become addicted to your therapy and need to see you every other day, am I?”

DR: “I don’t know why people think that. I’m going to make you feel better.”

We’ll see about that.

DR: "I hear you're a good cook. You made soup and put it in the gourds. And you lived in Boston. Do you miss Boston? Are you a Red Sox fan? I can't stand the Red Sox. But you go to lots of games. With your friends. And you have a long commute to work, right?"

After 20 minutes of Dr. Ron recapping my life and best characteristics back to me (proving that's he's not the only one with a big mouth), he takes me back to a room.

A strange woman appeared in the doorway.

SW: “Hi. I’m Sheila. I live upstairs and sometimes help the doctor out.”

Hey, I don’t care.

ME: “Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.”

SW: “I like your shoes! They are so nice!” (I look down at my black BCBG stiletto boots) “NO WONDER why you have back pain!” Sheila laughs at her own joke.

ME (slightly annoyed): “Yeah, they aren’t the reason for my back ache.”

Sheila leaves and Dr. Ron comes in. We spend another 10 minutes going over my forms. I’m afraid to answer any additional questions fearing my responses will show up in the Town Journal.

FINALLY, after being there for almost 40 minutes, we get down to business. I put on the little gown and Dr. Ron starts poking and prodding me in various places, from my neck to the base of my spine. After 27 rounds of “Does this hurt?” he finds the magic spot and I jump and squeal in pain.

ME: “Right there. That’s it. You found it.”

He has me lay (lie?) face down on the little bed and sticks little nodules on my back.

DR: “I’m going to turn this machine on. You tell me when you can feel it, but you can still stand it. It shouldn’t hurt.”

He’s turning and turning. I still don’t feel anything.

DR: “How about now?”

ME: “A little more.”

DR: “Wow – you’re small, but you’re tough.”

In my head, I reply, ‘same goes for you!’ and we both crack up over my crazy-funny joke. In real life, I keep my mouth shut.

Dr. Ron puts a warm heating pad over my entire back and tells me he’ll be right back.

I never lay (lie?) on my stomach because it’s SO uncomfortable for me. Even at the beach I can’t stay on my stomach for more than 15 minutes without being in pain. I look around for something to put under my stomach and relieve my lower back, like a towel or even my shirt, but nothing is within reach.

I try and focus on something to forget about my new back pain. So I focus on the fact that my face is squished into the table. My cheeks and nose are pushed up like they’re pressed against a window. My eyes are watering, causing my mascara to run.

After what seems like an eternity Dr. Ron reappears. He removes the heating pad (now I’m freezing!) and nodules and gets to work on my back.

His meaty hands are kneading my skin and muscles like dough. I can barely stay still from the pain. He’s pressing so hard that I can hear my spine cracking. My ribs are flattened against the bed. He turns my head to one side and with one quick motion gives my neck a crack. Then he does the same thing on the other side.

One hour and forty five minutes after I walked through the door, I walked back out into the cold night.

I could barely move; it was a struggle to get my arms through the sleeves of my shirt.

DR: “You might be a little sore tonight. Might want to ice down your back. When do you want to come in again?"

Um, never?

No, wait, that's too soon.

DR: "Come see me in a few days. I’ll give you some wine.”

Got any in the back room now? I could use something to numb the pain.

I hang on for one more visit. That’s all I can handle.

After my second trip to Dr. Ron my back started hurting every time I sneezed, which was a new development.

But I can’t go back. It just hurts too much.

I’ll just suffer in silence.

(And by silence, I mean screaming “OW!” every time I move, breathe or blink.)
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