Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

I thought I would have to fire up the snow blower for the first time in 2019 when I woke up in the morning of the very last day of that year to a fresh snowfall. My snow blower’s gasoline engine is reluctant to start after it’s been sitting unused all summer, so I dressed up in my warmest winter coat, knowing I could be out in the subfreezing weather for a while. As it turned out, I didn’t so much as lay a hand on my snow blower. There was less than a half-inch of snow on the driveway; if I had wheeled out the snow blower to remove that, it would have seemed to me at least like the most egregious misuse of a power tool imaginable. It was a preposterously simple matter to clear the driveway in just five minutes using the snow shovel. I wasn’t even winded when I finished. I probably could have used a push broom.

One of my neighbors, who owns one of the largest snow blowers I have ever seen, does not have the same reservations about how and when to use it that I had about mine. He’s one of those “I paid a lot of money for this power tool and I’m going to use it” kind of guys. His snow blower is taller than he is, and has a mouth wide enough to clear half his driveway in a single pass. After a heavy snowfall, witnessing it make short work of waist-high drifts of snow is an impressive sight to behold. Seeing him use it to clear a half-inch of snow is another thing entirely. I was at the end of my drive, clearing away the inch-high ridge of snow left behind by the city snow plow crew after they cleared our street, when I heard the roar of his snow blower coming to life. I stopped what I was doing and used my shovel as a prop to rest my arm on while I watched him follow his behemoth to the end of his driveway, maneuver it through a 180-degree turn, then follow it back up to his house, all the while wreathed by the faintest haze of snow thrown into the air as a thin, insubstantial whisp that blew apart in the breeze the moment it exited the chute off the top of his snow blower. He tried to make a bigger production of it by spending some extra time at the end of the driveway making sure he got all the snow left behind by the city plow, but it hardly took him five minutes to do the whole thing. I bet the engine on his snow blower didn’t even get warm.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t have even bothered to shovel so little snow off the driveway because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to yard work, to be frank. I should probably hire some of the more enterprising neighborhood teenagers to cut the grass and shovel the driveway, but as well as being lazy I’m also a skinflint, so to this day I still do my own mowing and shoveling and other yard work, but only when I feel I absolutely have to. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times. Our good friends, Becky and John, were coming over later in the afternoon to go out to dinner with us, then come back to our little red house to spend new year’s eve playing games, and I didn’t want them to have to trudge through even as little as a half-inch of snow, because who would do that to their good friends?

We had a very casual dinner at a popular local pizza parlor not far from our house. We figured we’d have a quick dinner there, then return to play games while we noshed on some snacky foods and finally toast the new year, not necessarily at midnight because none of us are spring chickens any more. We ended up spending a bit more time at the pizza parlor than we had planned, about three and a half hours! I can’t account for this. It’s normally a popular place but there didn’t seem to be any more customers than we usually saw; in fact, I spotted empty tables and stools at the bar from time to time, but the wait staff were obviously running their legs off. We didn’t even see our waitress until about fifteen minutes after we were seated when she paused briefly — and I mean very briefly — to apologize for then wait, then add she’d be back in just two more minutes before she dashed away again. She didn’t give us enough time to ask for water. And she wasn’t back in two minutes.

When she did come back, ten minutes later, she stayed only long enough to get our drinks order before rushing off again. We managed to slip in a request for some fried cheese curds, too, but just barely. She swooped in to dive-bomb the table with John’s beer minutes later, explaining his order was easiest to fill because it came in a bottle. Becky got her cocktail about five minutes later, while Barb’s sat at the end of the bar at least ten minutes, for some reason. I got my beer last, many more minutes after B’s cocktail was delivered. If I recall correctly, the cheese curds arrived after we all raised our glasses to toast the new year, but the waitress didn’t take our dinner order until we were burping contentedly after finishing off all of the cheese curds and had nearly made our way to the bottoms of all of our drinks.

So you get the idea: service was slow and the main courses didn’t arrive until well past the time we thought we’d be on our way home. We weren’t in a terribly big hurry, though, so it’s not like we felt like complaining about it, but damned if we wouldn’t make fun of it a little bit.

Back at our little red house, I popped open a bottle of bubbly, poured a glass for everyone and we shared a toast to the new year, again. Then we played a very silly card game that required us to shout out words and phrases that were improbable under any other circumstances that didn’t involve prosecco, and had a pretty good time doing it.

new years eve | 1:01 pm CST
Category: beer, booze, daily drivel, entertainment, food & drink, play, restaurants | Tags: , , , ,
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Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Did you know you can order pizza on line now, just like you can order computer parts from New Egg or books from Amazon? Well, maybe you can’t, but we can. T-Dawg came over for dinner last Saturday night and, just to switch things up a bit, he treated us to dinner, instead of the other way around, with pizza from Glass Nickel. B went to look up the menu on line and it turned out to be interactive. She could choose pizza size and customize toppings with clickable pull-down menus, and she could even track the progress of our order. Too much fun! She put in the orders, then kept checking up on it while we sat around shooting the shit. When it seemed to be taking an awful long time for them to prepare our pizza, B reviewed our order and discovered she hadn’t clicked on the “submit order” button. Oops.

click submit | 5:52 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, food & drink | Tags: ,
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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

image of pizza on bicycle seat

Pizza on a bike seat. Just in case you were hungry.

We’ve seen plenty of oddities on the way to the farmer’s market, but every so often we see something just a notch above the usual weirdness that we have to stop, look and think about it for just a few moments longer than we normally would. This was one of those times.

This slice of pizza was still waiting on the bicycle seat when we walked back to our car forty-five minutes later, so it wasn’t something the owner set down for just a sec while he ducked into the nearby Gotham New York Bagels store (Shameless plug: try the sausage & egg bagel!) for a cold soft drink to go with his early-morning snack.

We had to assume it had been left there quite some time earlier, perhaps even the night before, although now that I think about it the squirrels probably would have gotten to it by morning, so forget I even suggested that. But it had clearly been forgotten. There was no one around, and it was there for at least an hour.

I really wanted to grab it, take a bite and put it back on the seat, just to see what would happen. Would the owner pop out from his hiding place to ask me what the hell I thought I was doing? Would a passer-by flip open his cell phone to report me to the police for erroneous consumption in the first degree? Would the pizza turn out to be made of rubber, and I’d end up in a YouTube video compilation of dozens of random dopes just like me biting into a slice of left-behind stale pizza?

It was a momentary impulse that passed rather quickly. I’m thinking the only reaction I’d get would be a violent case of food poisoning, and I didn’t want that very much, so I contented myself with snapping the photo and continuing on to the farmer’s marked with My Darling B.

Pizza on a Bike Seat | 5:08 pm CST
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