Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eat Dessert First

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You know the expression—“Life’s too short. Eat dessert first!” I wish I had taken this advice this past weekend as I feel a bit guilty having advised a few of us to be patient and “the best was yet to come.”

This past week was depressing in more ways than one. The election results were troubling as I am no fan of the tea party and one of my favorite placards at the Stewart/Colbert Rally was “Keep fear alive. Vote Republican!” Another source of depression was the influx of tiny ants through two tiny seams in my bathroom grout. I hate to kill ants. I really quite admire their sense of community and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the good of the group. I had let the bathroom go a bit since the lock box came off the front door, but when the flow of ants became too troublesome, I finally worked myself up to take some action and spent an entire morning spraying and scrubbing everything, including the shower, from top to bottom. The bathroom sparkled, but late that night there was still a trickle of explorer ants hunting for crumbs. The exterminator was due for his regular visit on Friday morning and I showed him where the ants were coming in. He put down invisible poison bait for them to take back to the nest to kill the others. He told me to wait a week before washing the floor again to give the bait a chance to do its work. About ten minutes after he left, I went to use the bathroom and was horrified to find big, crawly black mounds of ants covering and swarming around every invisible little mound of bait. I closed the door. Thank heavens I have more than one bathroom! When Saul came home, he didn’t even want to see what I described, and we quickly loaded the car and headed for another weekend in Baltimore/DC. To finish the story, when we returned from our weekend there were many dead ants on the floor and there were still live ants swarming around the bait. We stepped around this mess gingerly for a few days, not wanting to mess with the poison, but yesterday, I had waited long enough. After a few hours of procrastinating, I went in there with a vacuum hose and my spray bottle of Lime Away and cleaned everything up spotlessly again. So far, I haven’t seen a single ant. I hope those that may be left have gotten the message and found another home.

To balance things out, there were wonderful parts to my week as well. Last Thursday was Roxy’s birthday, and on Tuesday, Election Day, I treated her to lunch at Blue Sage. Our sandwiches (we ordered the same one) and salads were so delicious that I may never order anything else from the menu again. In the course of going through my box of memorabilia for Olney’s reunion, I pulled out a bunch of letters that I had saved that Roxy had written to me the first year she was in college and a letter I had written to Saul about an adventure she and I had shared on an evening that we had attended a Santana concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum. On this, her sixty-first birthday, we had a good laugh over the fact that she was lamenting that Saul was about to turn 21, and we were all so old!

Beth came home a bit early on Tuesday, and we went to vote together after she helped us move my big plants into the garage to protect them from the expected frost. Then, we went to Pho Thai Nam for dinner, where we left enough room to share their exceptional warm taro cake dessert, a great choice, especially in the crisp fall weather.

Wednesday evening, our friends Ruth and Giora, who moved to New Jersey a few years ago, called to say that they would be in our neighborhood Thursday afternoon to visit their former neighbors whose son had just perished in a motorcycle accident. We were glad for the opportunity to see them as we had canceled a date with them a few months ago and had not rescheduled. On Thursday, after Faith’s class where we reviewed poetry from Yehudah Ha-Levi and Hayim Nachman Bialik, among others, and viewed a short video about the travels of Benjamin of Tudela, I stopped at Giant to pick up some fruit and snack food for our friends. Then, I baked a chocolate rum cake which we shared with coffee. We caught up with each others’ lives for a couple of hours. When they left, we decided to meet Beth, a friend, Phillipe, whose wife just left for military duty in Afghanistan, and Ken and Randi. Ken had found Phillipe a job in the area through his employment service. We met at Gimaro and spent a couple of hours there eating, schmoozing and getting to know Phillipe.

Jess and Alex had programs for older students at the synagogue on Friday, and Izzy had a lantern-lighting program at Waldorf. Ari left work early and met us and we took Sami and Izzy for an early dinner at nearby Noodles and Company and then took them to Waldorf for the program. The festivities included a short skit outdoors by the fifth graders at the entrance to the school, a song by the first-graders, and a silent, homemade-lantern-lit walk through the woods while we were being serenaded by “fairies” (older students) who hid in the dark trees and played a haunting tune on their flutes. Red and green apples were distributed at the end of the program.
Ari said it was like a low-budget version of “It’s a Small World” at Disney World. We had a beautiful, moonlit evening to enjoy this and were very grateful for the perfect weather.

Ari, Saul and I hunted for furniture, having struck out the previous weekend, and visited one of the largest venues for furniture we have ever seen. Ari had seen some bedroom furniture online that he liked and that is how we found Belfort Furniture in Virginia. Not only was their warehouse the size of a two-story Costco, but they had purchased an entire shopping center directly across the street and had filled it with furniture, dividing it by categories, as well. We looked at dozens of bedroom suites, and, in the end, Ari wound up purchasing the one he had seen online. Another large purchase was a wall unit/bookcase with rounded, sliding doors to conceal a large-screen t.v. in his living room. He had also seen that online at another store, but had not wanted to make such a large purchase without having seen the actual furniture. As we were walking through, Saul spotted the wall unit on the floor and we all were delighted with the quality and construction. He also purchased a custom-made leather headboard, and two bedroom lamps that we were surprised to find that we both liked, despite the fact that our taste is very different. We rushed back to meet Comcast to try to get Ari’s internet working, but found that the service person had lied and filed a report that he had called and not gotten an answer and so had cancelled.

On Saturday night, Jess met us at a Thai restaurant called Little Spice that is near the Arundel Mills Egyptian movie theater. We had a late, delicious, vegetarian dinner and, after schmoozing for a hour, headed over to the theater to see Red, but when we arrived, we found it sold out. Having had such a large meal, we decided to walk it off by circling the enormous figure-eight-shaped mall where we were relegated to window shopping because all the stores had closed for the evening.

The next morning disappeared with waiting for Comcast to arrive. Someone did show up and fixed the connection for at least the dozenth time, but by the following morning, the signal was gone again. Trying to salvage at least part of the day, we called my cousin, Julie, who was being visited by her brother, Bob, so that they could attend a Flyers game that evening in D.C. and asked if they would like to join us for dim sum at China Garden in Rosslyn. We drove over and Julie showed us through the cozy, three-story home that she has been renovating in the tree-lined neighborhood of Lanier Heights where she had been living for a number of years. By the time we arrived at China Garden, it was quite late for dim sum. One of the first carts to come by our table had coconut buns and I convinced Julie, who was very anxious to sample them, that we should wait a while before ordering dessert so that the buns and other desserts would be warm. I was very embarrassed to find that by the time we were ready for dessert, there was literally nothing left. Our pleas to the maitre d’ brought nothing but the admonition that we should arrive around 11:30 a.m. if we expected to have a nice selection of dishes. In the future, should we be stuck with arriving late, we will be sure to eat dessert first.

After dropping off Julie and Bob to get ready for the game, which the Flyers lost, unfortunately, we went back to Ari’s to pack our suitcases, and Ari drove us back to Jess and Alex’s house so that he could retrieve his car that we had left in Baltimore for the weekend. Saul and I took the leisurely trip home over U.S. 1.

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