Friday, December 11, 2009

Maintenance and Merriment

Richard is fond of reminding people who complain about getting old that getting old beats the alternative. This is only true if we make it so. It’s easy for me because I was never proper in the first place, but for the good girls it’s gotta be tough.

So-very-serious Richard has a policy of adding something fun to all of aversive activities. When he used to be on call for days at a time with little sleep, and no time for fun, he’d do simple, quick things to treat himself – like buy a lottery ticket convincing himself that this would be his last week-end to work. Or, he’d buy himself some Honey Buns for a treat. Both these activities were done while accomplishing something necessary, like stopping for fuel. Now, Richard’s doctor has told him he has to kick the Honey Bun habit to get his triglycerides in check. Since sweets are his cure for stress, he may have to divorce me to succeed in this endeavor – but I hope not.

I prodded Richard into setting up his post-transplant care in Atlanta because I wanted to be able to visit with Rachel’s family whenever we went through Marietta on our way to and from Emory and the VA. Knoxville is a bit closer, but we don’t have people there; and my sense of fun is all about our people. Rachel’s family is now much too busy for much family time, other than the four in their nuclear family, but we still have Holly and Don – and sometimes Roger. So, we overnight at Holly’s and, with the money we don’t spend on lodging, have dinner on the town.

It’s exciting to me to see that Atlanta has become a food town. When I lived there for ten years in the eighties, it was all white bread WASP food. Steak was about the most exotic thing you could get at a restaurant. Now there are ethnic restaurants on every street.

Because Holly’s a chef, we usually ask her to pick our pleasure. On this trip, we were celebrating her birthday, so we really wanted it to be special. Holly loves short ribs, and had heard that there were good ones in a trendy restaurant in a relatively new dining area. I called and booked a table, being very careful to explain that Holly is the governor’s chef and that this was her birthday celebration. Holly even asked for the restaurant chef upon our arrival.

The short ribs were outstanding, and Holly’s mussels were very good; but we won’t be back. Absolutely no mention was made of her birthday or her status. The chef didn’t acknowledge Holly in any way, and the service was rushed so much that Holly didn’t finish her appetizer before her entrĂ©e arrived. Even though I had been assured that this would be a quiet night at the restaurant, the noise level was quite high. Since Richard’s voice doesn’t carry past his nose, this precluded conversation.

Richard, Holly, Don, and I are all excellent cooks. We can create magic in the kitchen for very little money. We pay a premium for ambiance and service. I think, for our next visit, we’ll hire Holly’s housekeeper to clean up after us, and cook in Holly’s home kitchen. At least we’ll get to really relax; and we’ll be able to converse in the quiet of her home.

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