Saturday, July 11, 2009

It was just out of the ordinary.

It’s been a while since I have written…it happens…I go through spurts.  Every now and again something would happen in life or an emotion would be sparked and I made a mental note to blog about it.  Well…mental notes don’t have reminders. 

My place of employment observed the Independence Day holiday on Friday, July 3rd.  For months now, Gus and I have been discussing making a trip to the outlets to spend some cash on much needed clothing.  Actually, the spending spree was part of a Christmas gift which I had never redeemed.  We continued to procrastinate; pushing the trip off due to the weather or waiting for a few more pounds to melt from our frames.  Since we had a free day off and the weather has been gorgeous we made the trip to the Philadelphia Premier Outlets.  The trip proved to be necessary and oddly enough I witnessed a side of Gus that rarely rears it’s head…unadulterated spending. 

Typically, for every holiday, we visit my parents, spend the day and have dinner.  It’s a few hours of mild socializing and gorging.  There’s always a lot of food for about 5 people, including appetizers.  During the warmer months, these holiday’s are finished off with overdone meat on the grill and delicious sides.  Mom has an obsession with recipe clipping and likes to make desserts that have never crossed her table.  Gus and I had no plans for the 4th, and, as usual, we went to Mom and Dad’s.  But, there was a twist.  Dad decided to make a special trip to Wegman’s because he was going to pick up virtually everything for dinner.  In my thirty-one years of life (plus a few months) I believe I can recall EVERY time my father went to the grocery store.  The reason is probably due to his busy schedule, but nevertheless, he doesn’t go.  I was worried; Mom said he was planning on picking up steaks, chicken AND ribs to make on the grill.  As I said above, every grill event is sealed with burgers catching on fire, bone dry chicken or overly well done steaks; AND NOW WE’RE ADDING RIBS TO THE MIX?!?!?!  Dad doesn’t make ribs; that’s Gus’ specialty.  The only way I’ve had ribs prepared at Mom and Dad’s is baked…yuppers, overly cooked, baked ribs.  As Mom is informing me of the peculiar situation my brother is asking in the background if Gus can bring his BBQ sauce ‘just in case’.  With all the facts pointing to ‘no’ we decide to accept the dinner invitation.

Dad’s excited to BBQ, but he has enlisted in Gus’ expertise to assist with the grilling.  I’m thrilled!  When the menagerie of meat was pulled from the grill and presented to us on the overcrowded dinner table I took a deep breath and adjusted the waistline of my shorts.  The food looked delicious and I knew it would taste even better. 

The chicken was juicy and tender, the ribs were finger lickin’ good and the steaks, bless your heart, were cooked to a perfect medium.  UNBELIEVABLE.  EXTRA ORDINARY.

Sunday was Karen & Danny’s daughter’s birthday party.  She was turning one the following day and they invited friends and family over to celebrate.  Looking back, I think this was a ‘normal’ day…(what ever that really means).

Fast forward to Tuesday which was the full moon.  I was off to teach my regular yogalatte class…I didn’t feel like teaching.  One of the participants suffers from a medical condition that I’m not familiar working with.  She has some difficulties speaking and I have trouble reading her facial expressions.  We had a moment in the last class where we were both trying to communicate to each other and it just didn’t work out too well.  Disastrous.  So, longer story short, I taught class and we both walked out with smiles on our faces.  I think we connected and all was good.  After Ava went to bed I grabbed my laptop and sat on the back deck to relax.  I’m obsessed with the news and while I was reading the local paper’s website I noticed that some sicko had murdered his girlfriend and toddler son and fled the area.  Did I mention that he was armed?  I’m mildly paranoid and the newsflash prompted me to grab my stuff, head inside and lock the door. 

As the extraordinary events were occurring around me I was fighting to get a major project into the implementation phase.  Hours of phone calls, days of missed lunches and two later-than-usual evenings began to take it’s toll on me.  Thursday slapped me in the face and I was not prepared to fix dinner.  Gus had a hockey game and it was another factor that killed the little motivation that I had.  But, eureka, I call up Karen to suggest dinner.  Kids eat free on Thursday nights at Perkins…she and I respectively piled our kids in the car and met in less than 30 minutes. 

We’re not even there 10 minutes and some lady from the back of the restaurant sprints to the front counter yelling, ‘Call 911!  Call 911!’  A man trailed behind her holding a baby; he flipped the kid upside down and started smacking him on the back.  A few patrons and I go over to the family to help out.  Oddly enough, the baby is crying, but the mother is sticking her fingers in his mouth.  So, if you’re not familiar with basic infant choking protocol you don’t sweep the back of the throat with your finger AND…if the child can cry they’re NOT choking.  The mother is flipping out wondering why the child’s eyes are tearing and glassy…it’s absolute chaos in the lobby of Perkins…the hostess is on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, and since it’s kids night, a life size Elmo is walking around trying to amuse the uneasy kids.  Weird.

After the commotion settled down I returned to my seat and tried to pull myself together to look at the menu.  Karen and I both order the same exact thing, Eggs Benedict with hash browns and fruit, iced teas and meals for the girls to share.  Considering all the distractions we focus on having a good time and eventually, it came naturally. 

A relaxing dinner would be followed by a relaxing evening…or would it be?

In typical fashion Karen and I head up to the register with our girls and tell the woman to split the total between the two cards.  Easy request?  Well, not really.  I pay my half, but then Karen was charged extra and as the woman and Karen tried to figure it out, Ava needed to get down and run around the lobby with her arms in the air, giggling.  She refused to let me pick her up and just became so disobedient, which is out of character.  We HAD to leave. 

Karen told me to leave and I was all too eager to get out of there.  After wrestling Ava into her car seat we headed home for a bottle and bedtime.  Thirty minutes later Karen called me to say that she just got home.  Guess it took a long time to get the bill straightened out.  Ha!

So, needless to say, the past few days have been just out of the ordinary.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring…