When Good Salads Go Bad

Okay, so picture this. My daughter and I were at our favorite pizza joint in the world.  I’m not going to mention names (*cough cough* Ledo’s).  Our mouths were watering for the best pizza and bread sticks in the world.  Not that there is ever really a BAD pizza, is there?  Even a bad pizza still beats a celery stick any day of the week, but I digress.

My daughter…my 18-year-old daughter… had decided to add a Caesar Salad to her order.

Before I go any further in my traumatizing Caesar Salad tale, let me explain.

This girl loves Caesar Salad.  She has had every Caesar Salad in every restaurant in the state.  She eats Caesar Salad with the same gusto that I have when I eat hot fudge sundaes. So, you can imagine her love for Caesar Salad. She has downloaded every recipe for every dressing she sees on Facebook.  She was given a restraining order from the Kellogg Company because of her suggestion for Frosted Caesar Salads, part of a balanced breakfast.  Her first child will be named Caesar, and rumor has it, she is trying to find a man with the last name Salad.   When she went to donate blood, she was told by the Red Cross that her blood was 90% Caesar dressing and she could not donate. She was crushed. My child has never met a crouton she didn’t like, although she does have her favorites on the salad itself. She definitely knows what is acceptable and not acceptable in the world of salads.  She has a tattoo that proudly proclaims, “I will let no lettuce remain behind.” Okay, so I made that last one up. But she does WANT the tattoo.

 In short, my daughter is a Caesar Salad connoisseur.

The waitress brought the salad and set it in front of her.  My daughter paid proper homage to the gods of salads, and then picked up her plastic cup of dressing.  Eyes full of anticipation, she poured the dressing.  Or, rather, TRIED to pour the dressing.  The dressing was so thick it stuck to the container.  She used an ice pick to chip it out.  Once it was sitting in a congealed glob of goo on top of the salad, she gamely picked up her fork and tried it.  To the horror of every Caesar Salad addict in the world, this dressing wasn’t even chilled.  Still, my daughter would not…could not…be deterred.  “There are no bad salads,” she proclaimed, “they are just misunderstood.”  I watched in horror as she lifted the play dough covered crouton to her lips.  She is the bravest girl I have ever known.

This girl put her fork down delicately, and to my utter amazement pushed the bowl aside.  She wasn’t sure what was in the silly-putty-like dressing, but she suspected it could have been expired yak milk and Gorilla Glue.  The meal continued, and at the end of the meal, the waitress brought out boxes for the leftover pizza.  She had a separate box for the salad, which by now had crawled out of the bowl and was making its way slowly towards me.   I firmly but gently tell the waitress that the salad scared me, as it was then staring at me menacingly.

My daughter, being a nicer person than me, didn’t want to complaint. I had no such issue because, well, I’m me. “That salad was a little off, and I suspect it is plotting our murder,” I told the waitress.  She apologized, and skipped merrily off to get our check.  When she returned, I saw that she was charging us for the uneaten blob that had by now swallowed the salt shaker.  Not one to make a huge fuss, and having already made the salad’s nefarious agenda to take over the restaurant known, I whipped out my credit card and paid for our meal.

Suddenly, we were accosted by a sweet looking fatherly type of gentleman.  He cornered my shy daughter in the booth and demanded – demanded – to know what was wrong with the salad.  So much for fatherly.

My sweet daughter had been so bitterly disappointed by her salad experience that she stood up for herself, despite being a non-confrontational type.  She was speaking up for salads everywhere as she informed him,   “The dressing tasted off.  I think it may have spoiled.  I didn’t trust it enough to eat it.”

The man harrumphed like Ebeneezer Scrooge.  If he’d have had a well-oiled handlebar mustache, he might have started twirling the ends of it.  “Young lady, have you ever had OUR Caesar Salad? Have you ever even HAD any Caesar Salad before?  It’s supposed to taste like that.  It should have a bite to it. I think you just don’t understand the type of dressing it is…”  His tone was condescending and accusatory at the same time, a nun scolding a student for texting in class.  “In fact,” he continued, “I had a bite of the dressing in the back, and it tasted just fine to me.”  At this point, it’s not entirely clear if he ate my daughter’s salad or had some from the kitchen, but that’s not important now.  His performance was beginning to draw a crowd as he continued treating my daughter like a puppy who chewed a shoe.  “Do you even know what a Caesar Salad should taste like?” he asked disdainfully.  This man could have been a manager, or the owner, or some homeless fellow who wandered in off the street for all we knew at that point.  He definitely took things to a whole different level.  He was dismissing her not only as both a customer, but as a thinking adult with common sense.

Having gotten past my initial shock at his take on this situation, I stepped in and told him that my daughter was very much aware of what a Caesar Salad should taste like and theirs was bordering on cruelty to customers. (I may have been a little nicer than that, but not much.)

We walked out with a coupon for a free pizza, but the salad was still charged on the bill.  I wasn’t even questioning the charge, had no plans to do so, so I am unclear why this man took this all so personally.  Perhaps this was a long lost (with good reason) family recipe?  All he needed to do was simply say, “I’m sorry you didn’t care for the salad.”  Instead, he made a huge fuss and belittled my daughter.

On the way home my daughter and I discussed this, and mutually decided that we would rather drive the extra twenty miles to the Ledo’s in the next town over, rather than go back in that store because of the manager’s attitude.  We couldn’t help but wonder if he would have treated her the same way if she was a male.  Any girl who has wandered into Home Depot looking for caulk knows the look, the attitude, and the condescending tone I am talking about.  This man definitely seemed to be “mansplaining.” It was uncalled for and, truth be told, more than a little insulting. I sincerely hope he is just a jerk with everyone, and not just the “little ladies” that come into his store.

Enjoy your arrogance, sir, and enjoy it alone.  Here are two less “little ladies” that will be putting money in your pocket.

Always Sunny Greetings

My lovely daughter is 18 years old today – no longer my baby, at least in her eyes. I would beg to differ. At any rate, this is how we roll in our house with birthdays: an Always Sunny cake and Starbucks. With chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight, and Wonder Woman on the schedule for tomorrow, life is good. Happy Birthday Sarah!

 

 

 

Growing up ain’t all it’s cracked up to be – for the Mother

Getting old sucks. Can we all just agree on that? Joints get achier. Skin gets looser. Lines form. It’s just a big ol’ mess. Sure, it’d be tougher to run a mile now than when I was 18 (if I ran at all, that is), but getting older isn’t all bad. Whenever I get a little down about the sands of time slipping through the hourglass, I can always look at my children and know that I’ve helped mold two people I could not be more proud of. They’re tolerant, compassionate, empathetic, decent, and just all around good human beings. So at least there’s that, I say to myself as I find yet another grey hair. These two are my crowning achievements, my purpose in life.

And, goodness, how fast time does fly! My son graduated high school 7 years ago and it feels like yesterday. Now, just like that, my daughter is graduating this week. It feels like that time passed in the blink of an eye. If there’s one thing I can criticize both her and my son for (and trust me, I do), it’s that they can both be rather disobedient. I told them years ago to stop growing, to just stay little, but they refused to listen. So, here I am, once again at the threshold of another child receiving a diploma. If they would just listen to their wise ol’ mother, we wouldn’t be in this mess again. On the contrary, we’d still be happily shopping in the Garanimals section of the department store with nary an argument on color or style to be had. Alas, time waits for no man. Or mother.

my baby

On top of graduating, my daughter also turns 18 in a few days. I know, right!? How dare she!? It’s quite the milestone and I wish the world for her. Not just in a philosophical “best of luck” kind of a way. I mean literally, I want her to have the world. To explore. To see new things. To travel. To meet new people. To let life be an experience with the entire world as the garden she frolics through. She is no doubt destined for great things, but I want her to delight in the path she chooses, to walk it with a profound sense of joy as well as purpose. Neither she nor her brother have yet to disappoint. I don’t expect either to start now.

not such a baby any more…

So while it does suck getting old, it’s kind of worth it when you see what you’re letting loose on the world.

Petrified Petra on the Prowl

As I watch my dim cute dog barking ferociously from her position in the middle of the front yard, feet planted firmly, neck hair duly raised in alarm, I can’t help but hang my head in humorous frustration. For you see, it’s Sarah, my daughter, standing by the car in all her yellow-haired innocence that’s causing this canine uproar. Sarah. The one thing Petra loves more than food.

Knowing Sarah was out there, I let Petra out to ummm…you know…and rather than run to Sarah, as expected, when she was finished her business, she instead took up an “I must guard the house from this hitherto unknown and completely strange human person” stance. And I’m left standing here in the doorway thinking WTF? Once she braved the few feet to investigate the offending creature further, Petra was overjoyed to find it was her dear friend and nap pal, the purveyor of French fries.

I’m awed by the fact that Petra was brave enough to check out something that frightened her as she never would’ve done that when we first got her. I’m equally concerned that her eyesight is apparently becoming such that she couldn’t distinguish her friend no more than 10 feet away. Something that wasn’t a concern before.

So now I’m wondering…is it as my mother believes – that Petra was being a tattle-tale and telling on Sarah for being outside when, according to Petra’s sense of the rules, she shouldn’t have been? Or, did Petra really not recognize her? Or perhaps seeing Sarah out of her usual context sort of threw Petra off her game? OR is it more sinister than all of that?

Perhaps Petra saw the shell that we all believe to be Sarah but which has been taken over by an alien spore, demonic entity, or wayward ghost looking for a new home? Maybe I’m underestimating Petra’s keen powers of observation. Is it possible Petra can sense the evil lurking within? Now I just don’t know what to believe.

I mean, isn’t this how all the best horror movies start?

Mourning the Loss of Wisdom

I would say I’m sorry for not posting in a couple of days, but frankly, I’m just too tired for guilt. Between working and my caregiver gig the past several days, my usually snarky self is just plain pooped. But this week’s experience has inspired me to write about a subject I’ve had an issue with for a while now. Aren’t ya’ll lucky?

We’ve all seen the posts and videos made of family and friends, all doped up on pain medication after a surgical procedure.  I may be in the minority here, but I’ve never found them funny, and this week it struck me exactly why I don’t.

My daughter had all four wisdom teeth removed this past week.  Hers wasn’t an easy extraction; the way her teeth were placed – she had roots growing into her sinuses among other serious problems – required an oral surgeon.  She was under the influence of some pretty heavy medications during the procedure, and is on more medications now.

My daughter wasn’t exceptionally loopy, just very chatty. Ironic, I know given her mouth was so sore. We had joked about it prior to the procedure – the video blogging I mean. But it didn’t even cross my mind to take footage of her discomfort.  I was too concerned over her wellbeing. Then, it dawned on me; what a spectacular invasion of privacy to video someone on medication and then publish the video.  Granted, my daughter knows I write about her in my blog, but we agree on what I can and cannot publish.

No matter how loopy or goofy she had been, my cell phone would have stayed right in my pocket.  Seriously; who DOES this?  She needed me the most at that moment in time.  She needed to know that she could count on me to take care of her and especially that I would never post anything embarrassing for the world to see, for her friends and complete strangers to make fun of, or even to look back on and remember how uncomfortable – how downright painful – the day had been for her.

I suppose some of the people in these trending videos may have given permission beforehand.  If they didn’t, though, what does that say about the person videotaping?  With friends like that, who needs enemies? What about the parents gleefully posting pics of their small children all doped up?  Is this cute, or creepy? Or worse, does it show an inherent meanstreak?

Now I certainly will make a mental note of my daughter’s ramblings, and maybe even bring them up at a future date to ensure compliance in some matter or the other. (Never said I was perfect, folks!) But to post a video of it on Facebook? No thanks. The only reason to post it would be for laughs or attention. I guess I don’t really find that sort of thing funny. In fact, I find it kind of mean.

What do you all think of the trend of posting these types of videos?  Feel free to comment; as for me, I need to go.  Good old Chipmunk Cheeks is asking for some soup.

Southern Drawl

Although she has known me, literally, all her life, apparently I still surprise and amuse my daughter with my speech patterns. Oh, not the cursing, that she just takes in stride. But some of the figures of speech I come out with are simply too much for her to deal with, I guess. Some of this is caused by the fact that I’m old and she’s well…not old, and so many things I say are dated and unknown to her. A few of the phrases I spit out, the non-curse word ones that is, no doubt come from being raised by Appalachian born and bred parents. So I can see why my language choices might be slightly confusing to my daughter who has had a completely different childhood.

It does make for interesting conversation at times. Especially during our road trips, when I shout something particularly wrathful, I feel, at the driver in front of me, yet the effect on the smart-ass sitting in the passenger seat is one of great amusement. Or we’ll be having a perfectly civil conversation and without thinking, I reveal yet another unheard-of gem and the disbelieving eye-rolling begins. Because, you see, it’s not that she thinks I’ve lost my mind, but rather, that I’m an idiot who doesn’t have a keen grasp of my native language.  And really, who can blame her? If I didn’t know better, I’d think some of these phrases are made up as well.

Then of course, out comes the long-winded explanation to prove that no, I haven’t suddenly gone daft, only to be told “that makes absolutely no sense” with that lovely tone of disdain only a teenager can properly produce, to which I respond – with utmost maturity mind you – yeah, well, you don’t know everything and then proceed to stick out my tongue.

Oh yes, good times.

 


While writing this, I could not for the life of me recall all of the phrases I’ve used that have tickled my daughter to no end. However, I did start a list with the few I could remember and will update it on occasion as more spring to mind or mouth.

Piss or get off the pot.

You don’t have the sense God gave a stump.

It’s like trying to herd cats.

I’ve got no dog in this fight.

Lie like a dog – also worded as – lie like a rug.

That dog won’t hunt.

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

Dressing up mutton and calling it lamb.

Stop acting ugly.

If I had my druthers.

Rode hard and put up wet.

Hair of the dog.

Future Plans

So.  I was having a conversation with my daughter as we drove around doing errands, mainly about her dislike for unruly children and especially the bad parents that seem to run rampant not just in our town, but in the world. Don’t ask me why we were having this conversation…I can’t remember why it came up but I’m sure it had to do with some far-flung memory or observation of an ill-behaved child in action. But at any rate, we were talking about the world in general as it pertains to unruly children and the parents who allow them to continue their disruptive and troublesome behavior and that all told, life would be better if there were changes made in some respects. Yes, these are the sorts of in-depth, mind-boggling discussions that tend to take place on our road trips.

At any rate, my lovely, intelligent, and oh-so-tolerant daughter said: “I have some ideas, but that’s how dystopias start.”

I didn’t ask her any questions about her ideas on how to mold the future. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have the nerve.

Be afraid people. Be very afraid.

don't be fooled people. she's not all innocence and feather boas.

don’t be fooled people. she’s not all innocence and feather boas.

Principles Notwithstanding

Me: Oh my god, pumpkin spice Cheerios!

Daughter: Ewww, no, that’s just going too far.

Me: Yeah, but I bet they’re good.

Daughter:  Well of course they are, that goes without saying. It’s just the principle of the thing.

Me: You want some don’t you?

Daughter: Obviously.

Moral of the story: integrity is apparently not a strong suit for lovers of all things pumpkin spice.

 

Pumpkin spice cheerios

Here a List, There a List, Everywhere a List List

So my daughter and I have been big on making lists lately. In general, we both thrive on lists, so poring over what should be included in one or another of them in our spare time is par for the course. These remarkable pieces of survey data are usually started over dinner, scribbled on a napkin, as we hunker down with our heads together discussing extremely important, earth-shattering topics such as who would win the epic battle of villains: Loki or Scarlet Witch.  Oh, and if you’re interested, it’s Loki hands down.

We have a list of our favorite fictional characters (you’ll see that one pop up on this blog at a later date), our favorite movies, and the countries we want to move to (in order of preference)…which is becoming more and more relevant given the state of our 2016 Presidential election thus far, but I digress. So, yeah. You get the idea. We like lists.

Recently we were discussing places to go and things to do over pancakes and hashbrowns, so of course, we had to put pen to paper napkin, and come up with our handy-dandy “to do” list to cement things just so. And now, lucky you, I’m sharing…

  1. Get scared senseless by a ghost:
    1. Spend the night in Lizzie Borden’s room (Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, MA)
  2. Visit the home and gravesite of one of our favorite authors
    1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum and Memorial Grave (Baltimore, MD)
  3. Absorb some culture and enrich our lives (not to mention eat tons of soft pretzels from the street vendors!):
    1. Smithsonian/National Museum of Natural History (DC)
    2. National Gallery of Art (DC)
    3. US Botanic Garden (DC)
    4. Smithsonian Gardens Butterfly Habitat (DC)
    5. United States National Arboretum (DC)
    6. National Zoo (DC)
  4. Pretend we’re high society but also get some laughs (cause seriously, we are who we are):
    1. Attend a play or musical in Baltimore – subject matter is up for grabs but we’re determined to wear our going to town Sunday clothes, so yeah, something nice.
    2. Snag tickets for stand-up comedy
  5. We’ll tell people we’re going to NYC for the culture of the city but we’re really going for the black and white cookies and Pokemon battles:
    1. American Museum of Natural History
    2. Bronx Zoo
    3. Central Park Zoo
    4. Times Square
    5. Metropolitan Museum of Art
    6. The Cloisters
    7. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
    8. New York Botanical Garden
    9. Fraunces Tavern Museum
    10. Hamilton Grange National Memorial
    11. Pokemon Center (Gotta catch ‘em all!)
  6. Because my daughter apparently wants us to end up in one of those “found footage” movies that are all the rage…as this is exactly how those stories unfold – and it never ends well:
    1. Take an overnight self-guided tour at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV)
      (When you don’t hear from me again, keep an eye out for the movie trailer – don’t leave for popcorn or anything as I’ll likely be the first one gruesomely dissected by the killer doctor-ghost running around the asylum – oh, not because I wear matching silk and lace underwear as so often seen in the horror movies, but rather, because I can’t run very fast, or at all really, and will most probably be used by the others as a momentary distraction…but hey, at least we’ll be in the movies. Everybody wants to be in the movies, right!?)