Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

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We were on our way to Washington, DC, again on Thursday afternoon before Memorial Day in order to meet the Comcast installer for another crack at getting Ari’s television working with all the HD channels that he was supposed to be getting and to get everything working with TiVo. Unfortunately, it was not until the weekend that yet a third Comcast installer was able to get everything working to Ari’s satisfaction. When Ari returned from work on Thursday we had dinner in his new house and helped him by eating all the leftovers he had left in the refrigerator from the previous week.

Jess and Alex and the kids were busy most of the weekend as invited guests for b’nai mitzvah of members at Chizuk Amuno and Jess was having a yard sale on Sunday, so we spent most of the weekend in DC with Ari. On Friday, we picked up and installed most of the rest of Ari’s blinds. We had an early dinner with Ari before Shabbat at Bombay Restaurant. We did a lot of shopping trips this past month to Tuesday Mornings, two of them in the DC area, where we got some wonderful bargains—a large and graceful planter urn to grace Ari’s front door, decorative planters that were just the right size and style for ledges along his slate walkway, 750-thread count Egyptian cotton sheet sets, a Croscill queen-sized bed-in-a-bag with palm-tree-embroidered trim on the comforter, and a professional steamer—to name a few. At Pier 1, near Next Day Blinds, Ari ordered a finely woven wicker and wood headboard and matching wood and wicker night tables to carry out the tropical theme for the guest bedroom.

One day, we drove for 40 minutes to an upscale outlet shopping center to shop at a Restoration Hardware Outlet, but found the furniture very damaged and still very expensive. We checked out a low-end furniture warehouse that was going out of business in its location and were depressed by the amount of junk. We stopped at the Bethesda Flea Market and bought nothing, but on our way home, decided to stop at Bloomingdale’s to inspire us with the really good stuff and so that we could check out the brand-new, enormous Whole Foods that just opened in the same shopping center. As we reached the top of the escalator at Bloomies, we were wowed by exactly the type of dining table that Ari had been seeking—dark, rich finish, with pedestal legs, that opens to seat 12. The entire display was set up with pale green upholstered chairs and gorgeous table settings. When we immediately checked for the price, we noticed that it was marked “sold.” After drooling over all the beautiful and pricey (even on sale) room set ups, I told Ari that I did not want to leave until I at least checked out the price of the dining room table that we so loved. I walked back to the register to ask, while he and Saul found comfy chairs to sit in by the down escalator. The saleswoman began reciting the price with a seven, and I thought she meant $7,000, but then she clarified that the price was $719.00 and I could not believe my ears. But that was for the floor sample, so I asked her how much to order a new one. She could not even order a new one because that was the last of a discontinued item. She asked me if I would like her to call the customer to whom it was sold to see if he still wanted it. I nodded, not daring to hope, but within a few seconds, she had reached him and he had released the table, only desiring the pale green chairs that went with it. I called Ari and Saul (who were at the other end of the store) on my cell and told them the price. They didn’t believe it either and were sure that I had misunderstood until they spoke to the saleswoman themselves. So this turned out to be one of those fateful circumstances that in Yiddish we call “basheyrt,” or intended to happen. It was a happy day all around. We planned to meet Jess and the girls to see the new Shrek movie in 3D at the Egyptian theater at Arundel Mills Mall. We could not decide where to stop for dinner. On the way there from Bethesda, I realized that we were passing the University of Maryland, next to which is our favorite kosher shawarma place, Pita Plus. We hurriedly called Jess, and she was delighted for us to stop there. Within minutes, we were on the road again, with all the fixings for a delicious kosher dinner, which we ate in the food court of Arundel Mills, before going into the movie theater to see the very enjoyable Shrek sequel.

As we were walking to our cars after the movie, Sami asked if she could come home with us. I checked with Ari and Jess, and everyone was delighted to accommodate. Ari provided tee-shirts for sleeping, and we tucked both girls under their new palm tree-decorated bedspread after they spent some time checking out the new house and had a quick “Shmuel” story from Saba. They went to sleep immediately without fuss and were quietly watching children’s television in the living room when we got up at a respectable hour in the morning. I made them scrambled eggs with sliced avocado and cheese crackers, accompanied by orange juice. A little later, Jess and Alex drove in with Yona and we all wound up having lunch in downtown DC at Founding Farmers, a restaurant that has become so popular lately, that we have avoided it during the usual mealtimes. We found parking right across the street, and had only a short wait for a table in a practically deserted section of the city on Memorial Day. The food was delicious, if pricey, with lots of interesting vegetarian options.

After a few minutes back at Ari’s house, Jess and Alex were on their way back home with the girls, and Saul and I got on the road back home about an hour later. The weather has been unseasonably hot and humid for the last week and every foray outside causes fatigue. We were very happy to climb into bed early with just an apple for dinner.

Saul had meetings at school again this week and then the two of us spent some time together cooking and baking. We made chocolate chip mandelbread to take to Susan and Ted when we fly to Chicago tomorrow morning. We made a large quantity of potato latkes (which we froze) to use up an oversupply from Costco, which can be used for Ari’s housewarming in August. We smoked a large turkey with fresh herbs from the garden, sliced it down, put it into homemade gravy, and froze it for dinner while we are on vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey, in a few weeks. We made butternut-apple casseroles and froze them to accompany it. After our week in Chicago, we are returning to Faith’s granddaughter’s bat mitzvah, and a few days after that, the start of Camp Bubbie and Saba for 2010.

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