Monday, May 15, 2006

The Apartment tiny! But, very nice. I think that, for a short while, it will work out very well. If the rooms were just a smidge bigger, I would like it better, since we have been accustomed to 3200 square feet and almost an acre yard. Once it warms up, the pool will be a great asset. J has great plans for grilling out by the pool this summer. The location is great, too, right around the corner from a mall, movie theater, cool restaurants, a farmer's market, and good coffee. It will be fun to show our friends around when they come visit.

After the boys got home from school on Friday, we corralled the cats & headed up. That sounds so simple when I write it, but it wasn't! Storm didn't want to get into her box & did the protesting arms & legs thing. But, every time she got free, she just sat by us instead of running away. Lutley was a little more savvy & started running around the house, away from the scene of terror. Fred looked at us like, "What are you doing to them???" and Pixie meowed at us, telling us to knock it off, I imagine, or checking on Storm's well-being. Finally, Pie and I chased Lutley up the basement steps right into Boot's hands. His football experience must have helped, because he was able to nab that slippery little Persian boy! We loaded the pink carriers into the car, assured the other two that all was well, and hit the road for Cleveland.

It turned out to be a long trip, since the hideous stench of cat poop arose from Storm's cage before we even got out of our town! Things got worse. Boot slept through the worst part, which was Storm panting & foaming at the mouth for a good chunk of time. That was really scary. She drooled, then threw up & then emitted spit that looked like soap bubbles for a long time. Of course, by the time we stopped at a truck stop, she was soaking wet from having to lie in her spit-up. I felt absolutely terrible for inflicting the car ride on her. I think I will get some kind of kitty Valium for the next round of cat transport. I was able to clean her up a little when we stopped. She did fine for the rest of the trip, luckily. But, she was an utter mess by the time we reached the apartment. J took her into our bathroom & bathed her, after which Storm walked around shaking her feet & sniffing everything. Lutley, who did just fine in the car (aside from turning his head upside-down, like an owl turns its head backwards, & looking at me with huge blue eyes and open mouth revealing tiny pink tongue), was terrified of the apartment. He ended up spending the first half of the weekend either in my arms, in the boys' closet or behind the dryer. He was in fine spirits, though, and sitting in the windows by the time we left last night.

We arrived about 8:30. Pie was thrilled that we live in an apartment complex "with its own sign!!!" They were both thrilled with the apartment & could barely contain their excitement. I was just excited to see J after a 5-day separation! The stairs to the apartment are VERY long & steep...I dread hauling groceries up them & imagine guests having to stop for breath when coming in! We checked out the apartment, then went over to the mall to check it out.

Pie was excited that there is a giant chess board. He was just thrilled with the whole place & kept exclaiming over everything, saying "I can't believe this place has a _____!" Boot was sleepy & hungry & irritable. We tried a fancy seafood place that we'd noticed. J & Pie split an order of crab legs that they loved, Boot had a cheeseburger which he hated, and I had bland grilled tilapia with bland garlic mashed potatoes and some kind of shredded veggies. It was close to closing time and the service was atrocious. The food was okay, but not great. I was pissed. Unless they drop the prices to reflect the drop in quality, restaurants owe the same kind of treatment to the last customers as they do to the peak hour diners and early birds. It wasn't crowded and there was no reason, aside from the cooks and servers wanting to get out of there, for it to be such a bad experience. I kept thinking how lucky they were that I was not reviewing the place. However, should any of you ever consider Blake's Seafood, I will say that it gets a no-star review. Mediocre food, a long wait for it to arrive, two different stories on why we got no bread for ages (did it have water accidentally poured on it or did it sit so long that it dried out??? We'll never know), cold soup, outrageous prices, stupid and annoying servers, being seated at a bad table when there were all kinds of decent ones open...ugh! I did something I never, ever do. I tipped the irritating and crappy server only 10%. After we left, I regretted leaving any tip at all and regretted not speaking to the manager (although, he seemed as unconcerned with quality as the rest of them) about it. For a meal that costs almost $100, I expect a hell of a lot better.

We had a much better experience at Bob Evans Saturday morning. After breakfast, we did some more exploring. First we toured J's new plant, which smelled like chili powder, then the mall. Boot was surly & unpleasant because he didn't find anything he liked at Dick's or PacSun and because we went into stores we were interested in (like Z Gallerie), rather than just stores he was interested in. He was really aggravated at us for taking a brief walk around the farmer's market...good thing we didn't check out Trader Joe's. That would have put him over the edge. Pie just remained glued to his GameBoy. Buying Boot a cartoon DVD improved his mood and Pie was thrilled with his graphic novel. He is an interesting little kid. He picked an Orson Scott Card story. Maybe I can get him interested in Neil Gaiman, too. I got magazines: Ohio, Cleveland, and Girlfriends' Getaways. J got two CDs (Ani DiFranco and Lucinda Williams) to tide her over until we arrive with the rest of the music and got a Laurell Hamilton novel to keep the loneliness at bay. We took Pie to EB Games, where he spent his allowance on 2 used GameBoy games. Boot got pizza next door. We got groceries & did some Mother's Day shopping with the boys, then went back to the apartment.

After a rest, we tried to cajole the kids into coming to dinner with us, but they were having none of it. Rather than having fast food ourselves or dragging the boys out with us, we came to a compromise. They got to have Wendy's (Boot loves the club Frescata) and McDonald's (Pie is wild for Big Macs) brought to them in the apartment. We locked them safely in & went to the Winking Lizard for our dinner, which was fabulous. It's nice that they're old enough not to have to be dragged out with us all the time. They were thrilled at getting to stay in. As soon as we walked into the Winking Lizard, we could tell it was a good choice. It had really good energy, a wall of windows, and a huge iguana in a glass enclosure. We each ordered a drink (I was amazed because J usually only has beer if she drinks alcohol) and they were great! I had an icy-cold Sex on the Dryer martini (raspberry Smirnoff, Chambord, sweet and sour mix, and cranberry juice) and J had a Sex with the Captain (Captain Morgan, amaretto, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice, if I remember correctly). The spinach and artichoke dip was the best I've ever had and was plentiful. I had terrific ribs and J had a huge and delicious buffalo chicken salad.

In the morning, we headed down to the pool, even though it was clearly way too cold for swimming. There was a mallard swimming in the pool, but it was too cold even for our crazy kids. So, we tried the hot tub, which turned out to be 110 degrees!!! After our very brief soak, we headed back to the apartment & got ready for brunch. My aunt & uncle hosted a Mother's Day brunch at their house. Her sister & nieces (who are 11 & almost 9) were already there. Her folks came, too, bearing pretty little plants for all the ladies. We chose an ivy and another hard-to-kill plant. I picked the ivy knowing that I have kept ivy alive before! The food was fabulous and the kids loved playing with the dogs. Anne made a lovely frittata, a Florentine egg casserole, hash brown casserole, blueberry coffee cake, & apple muffins. Jazzbo grilled up a bunch of handmade sausage, much of it chicken. My favorite was the rice pilaf sausage, while J loved the black bean salsa sausage. For dessert, there was pound cake with berries and real whipped cream. I ate too much! We have such a good time visiting with them. I am so glad we will be living near them!

After brunch, we opened our Mother's Day gifts. Pie gave J an amber glass earring & bracelet set, while Boot chose a DVD of Stand By Me for her. Pie gave me a gorgeous necklace, a marcasite circle around a mother of pearl disk. Boot chose earrings to go with that. We found the (fabulous and huge) public library, which I should be able to bike to. Then, we took the bitties to the Winking Lizard for dinner. Pie had a 1/2 pound cheeseburger, Boot ate half his steak and cheese sandwich (why only half, I was to discover later), J had a swiss burger, and I had a delightfully juicy buffalo chicken sandwich. Again, great service and a great feel. After dinner, we said our reluctant goodbyes. Then, the kids and I hit the rainy highway for home. But, it doesn't feel like home anymore, just a place I am anxious to be free of. Truly, where J is...that's home. And she's not here anymore. It's a lovely, wonderful house and I can't wait to be out of it and with my baby.

We had a nice trip back, though, despite the rain. We listened to much of Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel, which is really funny. Pie loves it. Zombies pining after brains and Ikea, what's not to love? We stopped at a Goasis and the reason for Boot's delicate appetite at dinner was revealed...he'd been saving himself for Popeye's chicken! Pie and I had ice cream sandwiches and I indulged in a Starbucks caramel macchiato. Once home, I tucked the boys in, made sure we were all set for Pie's school camp trip & then hit the hay myself. Today, it's back to the unpleasant reality of packing. It feels endless!

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