Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy XXXXmas

In case you didn't believe my post about Julie's booger cookies, we did take a digital pic and I finally got Eric to upload it for me. (New Years Resolution #37: Learn how to properly work your digital camera and at least try and learn the basics of Photoshop, Robin). So. Was I right or was I right? But man, they were really delicious despite their sad appearance. Yikes, another metaphor -- one I don't want to get into. Ho ho ho.

So yesterday was funny as hell. Even though I live in downtown Philly which is probably less than two miles in each direction, I live on the very edge, in the Art Museum district, and unfortunately, most of my last minute shopping involved stores all the way at the other end as well as places somewhere in the middle near Broad and Walnut, which is also where I used to work. I'm such a social retard, I've been "hiding" from my office since I left nine to five world in July, even though I left on good terms -- meaning, I wasn't fired, I "retired" after more than two decades at the same place because I'd had enough and was burned out and wanted to do the writing thing full time. But because I worked there so many years, I do business with several vendors in the area. I get my prescriptions from the druggist next door; I get my hair cut at Pierre and Carlo in the Bellevue Hotel which is right at the freaking corner of Broad and Walnut...and I do my banking right across the street. So for the past six months, I've been sneaking around, going at odd hours...acting like a true child.

Anyway, I had all this shopping in the area and I started taking ridiculous detours up and down streets from 16th to 13th (Broad is actually 14th Street for those not familiar with Philly -- these streets run north and south) and Market to Locust (five block radius which runs east and west and Walnut is smack in the middle). On one of my stops, I went to Payless Shoes to buy my daughter a gag gift. I have no fear of her finding this out today because Julie informed me haughtily "I do not read your blog" -- unlike Eric who reads it every day and thinks it's hilariously awful but loves me anyway. So Julie's gag gift is a pair of black oxford tie restaurant shoes with slip resistant, big rubber soles. The reason it's so funny is that Julie would rather die than wear a pair of shoes from Payless...but she won't care when it comes to shoes she must wear while working at Rembrandts Restaurant. All servers there have to dress all in black, including their shoes. Rather than go out and "waste" her own money, what Julie's done is adopt my black Pumas. I love my black Pumas! Because the State of Pennsylvania does not want me ever driving again (and the world is a much safer place for that, trust me and no, no, I didn't kill or hurt anyone...I, um, just didn't know you couldn't do certain things while driving and that's all I'm saying on the subject) I require comfortable walking shoes and again, that's why I love my Pumas! I don't know what the hell is going on with Julie's feet, but I went to put them on the other day and there were all these new weird indents for my toes..I felt like a duck! And there's some rather ominous stains on them as well...I'm guessing some of the bearnaise sauce on a customer's dish didn't all make it to his/her table.

Okay, I realize I'm really rambling now, but I wanted to set up the story. So I'm taking all these detours to shop, my final stop is Payless Shoes where they give me this huge, huge bag with a giant shoe box containing Julie's "gift", and of course the bag says PAYLESS SHOES in gigantic letters. The other bags I'm holding are also generic because I shopped in a couple of stores that are not corporate chains and they just use plain paper or plastic bags.

So. I'm finally done shopping and there's no way I can walk home two miles with all this crap. I figure I'll hail a cab. But I realize I'm starving so I decide to stop in DiBruno Brothers, the world's greatest Italian take-out, for some poached salmon with fresh herbs and some tomato pie for Eric since I knew he was home and I didn't have anything interesting in the house to feed him for lunch. DiBruno Brothers is at 18th and Chestnut, approximately six-seven blocks from my old office.

Right as I'm about ten feet away from the entrance, I look up, and there's my former boss, just about to enter the store as well.

Hahahaha - only me, I spend three hours trying to avoid 1420 Walnut Street, and bang smack...right into my boss in a totally unlikely place. It wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. We made pleasant small talk and I told him how happy I was being retired and how I'm doing great...and the whole time...the whole freaking time...he's staring at my big ugly Payless Bag and my other two generic plastic ones which kinda resemble garbage bags. Plus, it was really cold yesterday so I wore an old parka and I couldn't find gloves so I was wearing an old pair of Gary's which have big Flyers hockey emblems on them. And, my now beat up, severly stained and twisted black Pumas.

Of course this could all be my imagination, but I talked to myself out loud about it all afternoon when I got home, just like a crazy bag lady har har. I mean, god forbid I should ever bump into anyone when I'm looking good. But at least I was verbally coherent. No. That's not exactly true, either. If you must know, I was a blithering idiot.

Sigh...once again, only me.

So today I'm hanging out at home and praying does in fact deliver the stuff I ordered back in November which was definitely supposed to get here by Christmas only now there's a notice by my "Where's My Stuff" page that my items will arrive between "December 19 and February 6". February 6? How is that going to help me? But...hooray...I guess...they now have a "cancel my item before it is shipped" feature, so if the stuff doesn't come today, it's getting cancelled. That's fine, except for the fact that I will now be doing exactly what I despise most, shopping on Christmas Eve for things I thought of and purchased six weeks ago! This is so, so not fair. Stupid Amazon. Well, I'm never ordering from them again, anyway. As I said here a few days ago, I just found out they are big Bush contributors and I'm sorry, you support Bush, you do not get my money.

Tonight Julie and Matt are exchanging gifts because Matt has to be with his family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we're making buffalo wings and hand cut french fries and having sort of a party here...then Matt and Julie are going to Matt's dad's house (they love that he moved into the city from the suburbs!) and having a party there, which is cool because I still have about a million more presents to wrap and it's looking ominously like we need to bake yet more cookies because well, I ate them all. Nah, not yet I didn't, but we still need to pack up some tins as gifts.

Carolyn and Eric are exchanging gifts here early tomorrow morning and I promised I'd be out of the house, which won't be a problem because I'm sure I will be out shopping FOR THE FREAKING STUFF I ORDERED ON AMAZON IN NOVEMBER.

Ha. Sorry.

One final thing, though I'm sure I'll be back later or tomorrow to wish everyone a happy holiday. When I was walking into town, I was thinking about what an incredible year this has been and I might be a super egomaniac next week and do a year in review. But I mean, come on. My book was published and actually sold a few copies, my kids were in a movie, we hung out with rock stars, I quit my long time paralegal job, I went to England, I met someone I never thought I'd meet in a million years...not to use a line from the Grateful Dead, one of the few classic rock groups other than U2 I despise with all my heart and soul...but...what a long, strange trip it's been.

Later xo