Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm in LA this week...

Work sent me to LA to cover for another worker. Anyone have any suggestions on what and where to go?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yankees vs Red Sox

Imagine if you will, that you are a huge, D.ere.k J.ete.r loving, stripe-wearing Yankees fan. And more than that you are a New Yorker. An American. But you are in a country far, far away from New York City. And that you have been there for a very long time. Years and years in fact.
And then one day, you see a restaurant open up just a few miles from you. An American style restaurant, with all the foods and customs and mores that you grew up with. You get happy. You get excited. Until you find out...

It's Red Sox-themed.

The same thing happened to my Mother-in-Law, with the changes in the story that she's not from the United States, she's from somewhere else (legally emigrating more that 5 decades back, thanks for asking). And that it's not, obviously, a Red Sox-themed restaurant. But everything else is the same, and for ease of understanding, I'm going to be referring to "Yankees" and "Red Sox."


So yeah, there's this Red Sox themed restaurant. And at first, we would drive by it, and Mama would spit at the sight of it. Which changed (thank you God) to her telling us the story about how her father would spit every time someone would say the name "Red Sox." And sometimes she would sing the fight song from the rival team's fight song.

Then, one night, we're scrounging for a place to have dinner/get take out from. H is having a craving for food "like his Mother used to make." And I suggest the Red Sox Diner, laughing as I say it. A strange look comes across H's face, and off he is to enemy territory.

H loves it. And Mama loves it, although we don't mention where it came from. I breathe a sigh of relief that we got away with it.

Next month, we're back.

This time, I accompany H. I, who root for neither the Red Sox not the Yankees (let's go Mets!) feel as though, on some level, I am doing something bad. This is how vehemently and eloquently Mama has conveyed her dislike for the Yankees.

Much to my surprise, God does not strike us down when we walk through the door of Red Sox Restaurant. And the people are nice and the place is far more authentic than I thought. And there's a little, little Yankees logo up in the corner. H says, "Mama would love this!" I'm not so sure, but my husband is always right. Mama loves the leftovers and holds her spit when we tell her where it came from.

So a few days ago, we all decide to go there for dinner. (I know -- we eat out far too much for people so broke). And Mama decides to wear her Yankees T-Shirt. To the Red Sox Diner.

At first we were a little concerned -- this is a serious rivalry in Mama's home country. But we decide to go for it. (Of course, being a chicken, *I* put on the Red Sox shirt that H bought only to poke at his mother).

H leaves us outside the restaurant to go find parking. We ask for a table for three and the hostess leads us right to one.

Once at the table, Mama looks at the hostess. "Do you know what I have on?," Mama asks and opens her coat (like a flasher) to show off the Yankee T-Shirt.

The hostess erupts in a stream of Spanish to quick for me to follow. She calls over to another table. Mama flashes them the Yankees shirt and they cheer. Another table boos. One of the bartenders comes over to shake her hand and compliment her on her "fine breeding" and "great taste." Mama (the woman who cannot walk a straight line without a cane or walker) begins to dance around, randomly opening her coat and flashing people the Yankees T-shirt. I chase after her, get the coat off and her in a seat about a minute before H comes in.

"Did anyone notice the shirt?" H asks.


We have a nice, uneventful dinner. I practice my Spanish and all goes well. H pays the check and goes running out to get the car, leaving his mother and I to (slowly) put on our coats and make our way to the door.

As Mama passes a table, one of the men growl "You are in the wrong place!" His manner of delivery makes me a little nervous, but Mama laughs at him and flashes her shirt. An entire table near the front (near the bar) start howling and booing at Mama. She flashes the shirt and blows them kisses.

Once we're (safely) outside, Mama can't stop laughing. And I join her. And we're laughing and laughing and laughing. H pulls up and we're still laughing. And I tell him the story (her entrance, her exit, and everything in between) and H starts laughing. Mama is howling, I am giggling.

And I realize, I can't remember feeling this good in forever.

And I realize, I haven't felt good in so long, it feels WRONG to feel this good.

And I make the decision to keep laughing. Dammit.

The Eyes Have It

Mama's eyes turned red a few weeks ago. (Her ultimate diagnosis: Blepharitis). Her (social model) daycare couldn't handle it; sent her home saying they were not going to let her back until she was declared "non-contagious."

I called her doctor, who said "go to an opthamologist." Mama hasn't seen an opthamologist for two decades, so I was at a loss to find one. QUICKLY.

Luckily, the last time Mama had a medical crisis, I was at work, and my well-organized hypochondriac co-worker supplied me with a list of specialized emergency rooms. So I packed up Mama and took her to the N.e.w Y.or.k E.y.e and E.a.r I.nfirmar.y one fine Monday morning.

The minute we walk in, she says, "are we going to see Dr. B?" I say no and smile and explain that, um, we're going to see an associate of Dr. B. Yeah, that's it. "No," says Mama, stamping her foot like a spoiled child, "Dr. B is my eye doctor."

We (meaning I) fill out forms as we (meaning her) wait impatiently for our turn. (They are mind-boggling quick after-hours, but we had come for a regular walk-in appointment. So we waited about 90 minutes).

At one point, Mama was so agitated I put my I.p.o.d headphones on her and cranked the classical music. It made her SO HAPPY that she began to dance. And sing. LOUDLY. To the orchestral, no-vocals included classical music. (Mama sings SO BADLY that a co-worker of mine who heard her once wanted to record her JUST for the comedy of it...)

We were the talk of the waiting room...

I had placed the I.p.o.d in Mama's hand (and wrapped her fingers around it), because I didn't want it to go flying. At one point, Mama screams "Nica, you have to hear this!" and crams the I.p.o.d. next to my ear. As if it was a transistor radio. I (politely) decline and she shoves it next to her own ear. And continues to dance. And sing. Loudly (and off-key).

Within five minute of the start of Mama's performance, we're whisked to a consultation room. (Coincidence? I think not). A nurse does the preliminary examination, and Mama starts talking about Dr. B. The nurse looks at her (then me) strangely. She asks Mama to repeat the name and Mama repeats it. "I'm sorry," says the nurse. "Dr. B died some time ago." She walks out and Mama and I quietly wait for the doctor.

Mama is sad, and spends the next few moments reminiscing. Dr. B's wife was named A. He had two sons. He was a great man, and a nice man. She gets a little teary, which isn't a bad thing an opthamologist's office.

The Trainee Doc comes in to examine Mama. I recommend the NYEE highly, but the doctors that you see there are fresh out of school. I think I have shoes older than the Trainee Doc. And while Trainee is knowledgeable, she's thrown by the fact that Mama is a sad (and bad) patient. Mama will NOT sit still, Mama will not stick her chin in that thing that you're supposed to stick your chin in (anyone know the name). And the glaucoma test -- where you have to keep your eye open as they blow air in it? -- yeah. NOT happening.

Trainee Doc asks, then begs, then I ask, then beg. We ask in English, we beg in Spanish. (I've explained about the Alzheimer's). Trainee Doc gets frustrated, and says she's going to call her supervising doctor.

"I should send a card to the family," says Mama when Trainee's out of the room. "A sympathy card to Dr. B's family." I nod and plug her into the I.p.o.d, worried about how we can get Mama through the necessary tests.

In walks Dr. Trainee with her Supervisor.

The Supervisor is the son of Dr. B.

The Supervisor, the son of Dr. B. examined her 20+ years ago when he was just a trainee and remembers Mama.

And the Supervisor looks enough like his father that Mama calms down and gets through the exam. (they want us to come back fro some preventative laser surgery, but all should be well).

As we get in the cab home, Mama turns to me and says. "I told you that I was going to see Dr. B."

I ask you -- what are the freaking odds?