A Hero Walks Among You. (Hint: It’s me.)

4 Feb

Today, while you were wasting your afternoon tweeting or trying to pretend you were engaged on a conference call, I was off saving a life. Let me set the scene for you…

I was at Pret-A-Manger, catching up with my friend Lynne over a cup of soup, when we were suddenly distracted by a little bird flying around inside the restaurant. To take advantage of the warmer temperatures, someone had propped the door open, and apparently a little sparrow had found its way into the building.

What probably stemmed from a place of curiosity (what IS that place?) or greed (holy shit – look at all that BREAD!) had obviously morphed into sheer panic. The bird kept zooming toward the windows, trying desperately to get out – only to crash into the glass and fall, stunned, to the floor.

As soon as we realized what was happening, I tried to help it. Apparently, however, it didn’t WANT help, because it zoomed away as I approached it. It took another shot at leaving – by way of the corner windows, right above a couple eating lunch. It tumbled to the ground.

I don’t know if the woman half of the couple had seen Hitchcock’s “Birds” one too many times, or if she was worried about getting crapped on, but she slid out of her chair with a haste I previously associated only with grease fires. Her date remained seated, cautiously pulling all their food across the table until it was safely protected by his arms.

Without asking, I took my entry and slid over her seat, finding the little bird sitting dazed on the floor under the table. Before it could get its bearings, I scooped it up, gently closing my hands around it. It began nipping at my hand as I carried it outside. I don’t speak “bird” but I’m pretty sure it was saying, “THANK YOU for getting me away from that crazy broad.”

Within seconds, I had it tucked in a flower planter outside, where it could calm down and catch its little birdie breath before flying away. As I rejoined Lynne, she quipped, “Hmm… I hadn’t realized Pret was expanding their menu.”

Had Alan been there, he would’ve agreed – he always says he’ll eat anything he can catch. I guess if that idea took off, they might want to change their name. Prêt-Attraper DOES have a certain ring to it.

So in summary: Unless you saved an animal this afternoon, you need to try a little harder.

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Hmmm… perhaps I’ve just stumbled upon a new career path? Clearly there’s a need.

A little less honesty, please?

18 Jan
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Gray hair? What gray hair?

Exchange with Tom, my stylist, at my most recent haircut.

Me: You know, I think my hair is actually getting thicker!

Tom, after a pause: Is it also getting grayer?

Me: Yeah – there are a lot of them now.

Tom: Well… there you go.

#winning

 

At least I can’t taste the eggs.

14 Jan

I might be the only American alive who hates eggs. Can’t stand them. The concept. The texture. The taste. The smell.

In fact, want to watch me go berserk? Microwave an egg near me. Gah!

So you might therefore find it a bit surprising to learn that I made a quiche on Sunday. I have a recipe for a bacon leek quiche that uses only 2.5 eggs and about a pound of gruyere, so the egg is really more of a binder than the main star, thus making it tolerable. Also, I double the bacon (science be damned!) so it basically becomes a bacon gruyere vehicle.

The catalyst for the quiche was two things: I had thawed a pound of bacon and realized I didn’t have any firm plans for using it (other than just sitting around and gorging myself on it), and the leeks at the farmers market looked amazing this weekend.

(Alan might have disagreed – I made him take a long whiff of them on our walk home, thinking he’d appreciate the fresh earthy smell. “Gross,” he declared. “What? Gross? They smell like green onions,” I told him. “More like green onions and FEET,” he corrected me.)

 

Undeterred, I transformed them into a quiche. My recipe actually yields two quiches, but I knew there was no way I’d eat two, so I halved everything, thinking I’d cook all the leeks, then reserve half of them in the freezer to add the next time I made broth. Only I forgot that was my plan and ended up adding ALL of them to the quiche. So it was a bacon, double-leek quiche.

Even so, I thought it tasted delicious – mainly because I couldn’t taste any eggs. When I served it up to Alan for dinner, I didn’t tell him I’d accidentally doubled the leeks. He took a bite. “Very. Um. Oniony,” he declared.

I waited, seeing if that would be considered a good thing. “Delicious,” he finally concluded. “It’s just not every day that bacon is overpowered by something else.” Agreed.

But it could’ve been worse – he could’ve said it tasted like feet.

Smells like feet.

I reserved a hotel room – and almost left with a television?

4 Jan

2015 Pithypants.com

Alan and I spend Christmas apart each year, so we celebrate on New Year’s Eve instead. Depending on the timing, we like to make a long weekend of it and get away. This year he had his kids for the weekend, so we needed to limit our celebration to just Thursday night. Add to the equation the fact that some dumbass thought it would be a good idea to schedule the Cotton Bowl (in which our beloved Spartans were playing) on New Year’s Eve, so we a bit perplexed about how to celebrate.

What to do, what to do?

Actually, I decided this was the perfect set-up for an easy Christmas present. Since neither of us own a television, and since every bar that might broadcast the game was likely to have either a cover charge or be filled with rowdy party goers, the answer was clear: STAYCATION.

I did a bit of searching and found that – much to my surprise – most hotels in the DC area were running serious discounts on New Year’s Eve. Apparently we don’t have quite the same draw as Times Square. (Who knew?) PERFECT.

So when we wrapped work Thursday afternoon, we checked into a hotel for the night. We took a quick walk to a nearby grocery store for some wine and nibbles, then returned to the hotel for a swim and a spell in the steam room before the game. As 8pm approached, we donned his-and-her Spartan shirts and settled in to watch what would be a very disappointing game. (If you are the only person in the US who didn’t watch it, Alabama throttled the Spartans, 38-0.)

Needless to say, I was asleep LONG before the clock struck midnight.

The next day we made our way downstairs for breakfast, which was included with our stay. It was a leisurely meal, the kind with multiple coffee refills.

Alan had an omelette, and as he stood by that station of the buffet, I could hear him chatting with the chef.

“Where are you visiting from?” the chef asked.

“We’re local,” Alan explained, “We just don’t have a television and wanted to see the Cotton Bowl last night.”

“Oh,” was all the guy said as he handed Alan his plate.

Back at our table, once Alan sat down, I said, “I bet they’re all scratching their heads right now.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they’re thinking, ‘How can you afford to stay here if you can’t afford a television?'”

We then proceeded to debate the idea and eventually decided that my interpretation of the conversation was crazy, because pretty much everyone in the United States who wants a television, has a television. Right?

Later, as we were wrapping up our meal, the waiter stopped by to drop off the check. I peeked. The total was outrageous.

“Sorry,” I said, “This should be comped for us. We had the bed and breakfast package.”

“Oh,” he said, “I’m sorry. I got confused! When he,” pointing to Alan, “said you were local, I thought you just came here for breakfast.”

“No,” I explained. “We spent the night here so we could watch the Cotton Bowl. We don’t have a television at home and wanted to watch the Spartans play.”

He looked at me, and I could see his wheels turning. Then, after a short pause, he said, “You know, I have an extra television. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of it…”

I stopped him, not sure where he was going with it. “Oh no – we don’t have a television by choice! We don’t want one.”

Silence.

He didn’t know what to make of us.

After some consideration, he tried a different angle. “You know you can jailbreak your phone so you can watch television on it? There are videos on YouTube that show you how. People used to pay me to do that for them, but now anyone can figure it out on YouTube. You know YouTube?”

We assured him we did, and only after we asked enough questions to satisfy him, did he walk away to adjust our check.

I turned to Alan. “Wait. Exactly what was on offer there? Do you think he was about to try to sell us a television?”

Alan nodded. “Oh definitely. And even worse? He thinks we don’t even know what YouTube is.”

Sigh. So much for a creative Christmas present. Maybe next year I’ll just get Alan a television. I happen to know where I can get a good deal on one…

To catch a fugitive: Christmas Edition

30 Dec

Image source: google images

My sister lives about 30 minutes from my parents, so our tradition is to drive up and have dinner with her family on Christmas Eve. This year was no exception and it was almost 9pm when we pulled out of her driveway to return to my parents’ for the night.

Ten minutes later we were stopped at a red light near Briarwood Mall. Through the intersection, we saw three cars, all parked in weird places and at odd angles. Steam rose from the hood of the third car. “Do you suppose there’s been an accident?” my mom asked.

We were still puzzling it out when the third car suddenly reversed and peeled out, flying toward the mall and away from the accident at a break-neck pace. “Do you think he’s fleeing the scene?” my dad asked from the backseat.

That was the only nudge my mom needed to zip through the light and investigate. She pulled through the intersection, pausing next to the remaining car, where a man was standing outside it on his phone, looking incredulous. “Did that guy hit you?” my mom called out to him.

The guy confirmed that he had. “And did he just take off?” my mom continued. Again, the guy nodded. “Yeah – he just hit me and left. Can you believe that?”

“I’ll see if I can get him,” my mom told him, goosing her Prius into  action. Had she owned a police light, she would’ve rolled her window down and smacked it on the roof. We sped into the Briarwood complex, the parking lot and surrounding streets deserted from the earlier crush of shoppers.

As we started winding our way along the street circling the mall, something caught my mom’s eye off to the side. There, parked at a drive-thru bank, was a car with its lights off, steam still rising from its hood. “That’s him!” she yelled, cutting a wide, obvious u-turn to circle back to the bank.

Time-out as we assess my mom’s performance as a private eye for a moment:

  • Pros: eagle eye, fearlessness
  • Cons: discretion, stealth

No sooner had we pulled into the bank parking lot than the “perp” hopped back in his car and sped away. (He’d been standing outside it, presumably assessing the damage and calling a friend to pick him up). Mom, no shrinking violet (see pros listed above), pulled out right after him yelling for me to call the police.

What then ensued was was a game of cat and mouse as we tailed this guy all through the Briarwood parking lot, with my mom trying to get close enough for us to read the license plate, my dad trying to figure out the last four digits on the plate, and me shouting the letters we could see to the police dispatch, all as the guy did his best to lose us. It was a scene worthy of Home Alone.

Finally the guy DID manage to lose us – mainly because I urged my mom to stop matching his speed. (Sorry, mom!) We’d only been able to identify three of the seven digits for the police, but they also had the make/model and year of the vehicle, so between that and the fact that his radiator was probably out of fluid and would grind the car to a halt soon, they seemed fairly confident they’d find him.

“If only you guys had let me really chase him, we could’ve nailed his ass,” Mom sighed.

“Well, if you’d been driving my van, we could’ve used my binoculars to get the plate without needing to chase him,” Dad sighed.

At that I had to laugh, imagining the call the police would’ve received about US if my parents had gotten their Christmas wishes:

Image Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_nkdggYHwcLc/S2nAWRTFJ3I/AAAAAAAAAuE/hvEaRCQoHMY/s320/prius2042.JPG

“I’d like to report a Prius driving recklessly in the Briarwood parking lot. It’s going about 60 mph, ignoring the pavement markers. It appears to be driven by two white-haired grandparents – and one of them seems to be trying to birdwatch!” 

 

However you spent YOUR Christmas, I hope it was memorable! 

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