Saturday, December 24, 2011

The cup (of alcohol) runneth over

So Grandma and I managed to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday relatively unscathed, as we went to Normal Brother’s place and had a cheerful, gala sort of day with him and his family. That was actually the one fly in the ointment, so to speak: Grandma isn’t happy unless she has something to complain about. But Andrew cooked up a feast, everything was perfect, Crystal and Scarlett were helpful, and even the dogs were well-behaved.

The only time that Grandma could show that her methods of doing things are far superior was when Andrew’s wife Angela was trying to crush some almonds for the stuffing version she was making, and she was doing so by putting them in a plastic bag and pounding on them. Grandma was having none of it, and took over the task, using a knife to chop up the almonds.

But other than that, seamless.

This presented a problem though when I was driving Grandma back to her place. Normally, this would be an hour+ drive of one lament after another – but now? Poor Baba had nothing to work with. Oh, she tried. She certainly did try:

Baba: ....як вона там с оріхамі..... (what she was doing with the nuts)….

Then she’d lapse into silence. Then 10 minutes later, the same thing, then more silence. She was completely stymied by Normal Brother and his family’s competence.

It was almost sad.

Then the day before I was leaving California, I craftily decided that Baba and I and her friend Rosemary would go to dinner, so that I could pay for Rosemary as a thank you for picking me up from and taking me to the airport. But first, we had to decide on a place.

Me: I don’t care, where do you guys want to go?
Baba: You decide.
Me: Okay, is there a good fish place around?
Baba: Kentucky Fried Chicken!
Me, patiently: Okay, we are NOT going to KFC. Seafood maybe?
Baba: Marie Callender’s!
Me: Okay, fine.

So off we head to Marie Callender’s, which I had never been to as an actual restaurant, though I’ve seen their frozen food in the stores. And apparently Rosemary and my grandma had been there enough times to know what they served, so this seemed like a good choice.

Until we got to the restaurant.

Me: Baba, what do you want to have?
Baba: I don’t know! I have what you have.
Me: You won't like what I have. Look, they have everything. Chicken pie, pot roast, beef stroganoff.
Baba: I don’t know!
Me: Baba, how in the world can you not know what you like??
Rosemary: You once had the fried chicken, right?
Baba: Kentucky Fried Chicken!

They then lament that the KFC that used to be nearby is no longer there.

Me: Okay, they have fried chicken, do you want that?
Baba: Hamburger!
Rosemary: What’s that place across the street, The Islands or something, where we’ve gone before for burgers?
Baba: Yes, hamburgers!
Rosemary: But theirs are less expensive. We should have gone there – we could have gotten less expensive burgers.
Me: Baba, do you want a hamburger?
Baba: I don’t know!
Waitress: Hi, and welcome to Marie Callender’s! Can I start any of you off with a…..
Me: YES, please, for the love of god, just bring me a mojito as quickly as possible……

Several mojitos later, we were all having a lovely time, even as my grandmother and Rosemary continued to discuss the demise of KFC, and what a fine establishment that was. Then the check came, which I grabbed up. Rosemary was having none of it.

Me:….but you have to let me pay! You do so much…
Rosemary: If you pay I’ll just leave this $20 as a tip.
Me: But I’ve already left a tip. That’s silly!
Rosemary: I’m leaving the $20 as we speak, see?
Me, to waitress: Can I get another drink? Maybe to go?

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