Sunday, May 15, 2011

#10 He Will Go To The Ends of The Earth To Get Me What I "Need"

Commercials, weekly circulars, billboards--they are all catered to me. It doesn't matter what the product is, I gravitate towards advertisements. New things excite me. Different things interest me. Bright colors pull me in. It was therefore no small wonder when the Pier One Imports circular pulled me into their store after I probably had not set foot into one in over a year. (P.S. There is a reason for this. I do love Pier One, however, cannot go there unless I have, oh, a few hundred dollars to just "throw" around.) But, there it sat, perfectly placed, in the corner of their circular entirely composed of bright pinks, oranges, yellows, and just about every possible springy, girlie color: an apron. An apron, you say? Shouldn't the image of a housewife slaving over a hot stove spring to mind, and the apron she dons is one of sturdy polyester and only available in one color: puke brown? No. Housewives of America this does not need to be the picture you are part of. I had for some time been seeking the perfect apron that personified me as a stylish housewife, ready to please her husband. And then Pier One created it, specifically for me. So after a family dinner, my husband, my sister-in-law and I hopped in the car to go to our local Pier One.

The time? 7:00 pm. Plenty of shopping time, considering we were only going to one store. We arrived and I used my keen shopping intuition to instantly sense out where the aprons were hanging and began digging for what I needed. Upon first glimpse I thought I'd found it, but it turned out that they had a similar style in a half body apron. So I tried to make it work. I wrapped it around my waist, posed and practiced moving about in it, yet even before asking my husband his opinion I knew--it was cute, but wasn't what I had been seeking. So I approached the management and had them get on the search for my apron. After getting my hopes up that they might actually have the item in the store (and after an hour in the store) the manager told me that another close by location has four in stock.

The manager told me the location was close and that I should definitely be able to get there before closing if I wanted to go tonight. The time at that moment? 8:20. Pier One's closing time? 9:00. Now you have to know, I have worked retail. I know what it is like to have someone come into the store minutes before closing to shop. You want to slap them, then yell at them, then lock them out and tell them never to return. But I also realized the importance of making this purchase as soon as possible due to the fact that clearly the rest of the world loved my apron as much as me and it was selling out.

Ordinary husbands would have ended all hope at that moment. Drive to another location just for an apron, are you kidding? My husband looked at me and said, "Do you wanna go?"

My natural woman response said, "I don't know. It's late. They're closing."

Moments later our sights were set on the other Pier One. But of course since time already wasn't on our side we added an extra hitch into the situation. We start out headed the wrong way on the highway, clearly because we just felt like making a u-turn. This great start was followed by driving to where we thought the other location was to find out that nope, it wasn't there. At this point I would have turned around. Especially considering that 9:00 was creeping up more quickly than slowly. Then after deciding the correct direction of the highway to head towards we missed the entrance to Pier One due to a highway exit located right in front of the store and an obnoxiously long median separating the road from the exit.

Another u-turn it is. I'm rolling my eyes at this point, embarrassed for the fact that I will be annoying the Pier One associates by coming in right at closing time, that is, if we even arrived before closing time.

But believe it or not, I ended up walking into the store five minutes before 9:00 pm. I instantly found the aprons and, no apron. I started thinking that it might be possible that I created this apron up in my head and that in actuality it did not exist, but the circular that I had all but super glued to my hand said different.

I then approached the sales lady who after checking the same section I just scoured starts looking in the system and then tells me she thinks that the other store confused the items. Or, perhaps they put it in their system wrong. But four aprons in stock? This just seems wrong. It seems impossible. I had all but given up hope and walked out the door ready to be depressed the entire night when the manager walked out of the stock room (halo shining on her head I might add) and asks me what I'm looking for. The sales lady tells her. The manager then walks to the apron area, digs around, and finds my apron, folded up and hidden in a nearby basket. Yes, some workers clearly not intent on selling aprons had decided not to unfold the aprons and put them out on display. I then showered the manager with my praises and give the sales lady the "eye" of disapproval.

The best part, second to now having the most wonderful apron in the world, the price:

Now that is a deal that you can't beat with a stick. (P.S. Why would you beat an awesome deal with a stick?)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#9 He Respects Daddy Daughter Bonding Time

If you take the word tradition as it is used in "Fiddler on the Roof" you'll see tradition that always was, always is, and always will be. There would be no convincing Tevye otherwise. It is a stubborn sort of reality, not really created to be something looked forward to, but it is simply what is to be done because it always has been done.

However, sometimes traditions poof into being by chance. When they are first experienced they are well liked and enjoyed and therefore they stick around to eventually become known as tradition.

Carving a turkey. Typically a man's task, typically completed at Thanksgiving, yet not quite exactly a "tradition". However, my father and I have slowly formulated a tradition that whenever he carves a turkey I get the pleasure of standing by, fingers ready, to glean from the carcass as he carves. It has gotten even more fantastic over the last few years because he began deep frying our turkey with a Cajun rub that is applied to the turkey the night before and left to soak delicious flavor throughout the bird. Not to mention that he also injects the bird with Cajun flavor. We are hard core about our turkey.

Now I know those of you health nuts out there are freaking out just at the thought of the words "deep fry", however, those of you who truly understand flavor can grasp what I mean when I say: out of this world. Crispy skin oozing with flavor. Chunks of juicy meat that need no gravy. Fatty? Duh. Worth it? You betcha.

My mom used her free Easter turkey that she earned from Shop Rite and recently we had a regular Thanksgiving feast...only not on Thanksgiving, in fact, not even on Easter...a week later to be exact.

I allowed my new sister-in-law in on the tradition. I have to say, it was difficult letting an "outsider" in (and by the way, anyone who is not myself or my father I consider an outsider). My youngest brother had begun tagging along for the tradition a few years back, so I figured, 'What's one more?"

The art of gleaning from the turkey carcass as your father carves with a ridiculously sharp Cutco knife is certainly one that requires practice and precision, because he will not stop carving once the knife is going. This is literally the only way I eat fresh turkey. I won't have it any other way. I refuse to eat it at the table. It must be enjoyed piping hot as my mother and grandmother scurry around making sides and as my father is within inches of taking away my trigger finger. Occasionally he'll be kind and hand me a good piece of meat that falls off or a nice hunk of deep fried skin (yes health nuts, skinnnnnn!)

I am scavenging the entire time, however, once all the meat that can be cut off is on the serving plate, the task has only been half completed. This is the point where the under belly of the turkey is dug into (with bare hands, of course) in search of the tenderest pieces, the ones coating the bone.
It is a melancholy moment when the realization is come to that there truly is no more meat left on the bird. I slowly leave the carcass that brought me such joy and excitement to head to the dinner table and eat a plate full of sides.

Now, if that isn't a tradition worth sharing with your father, I clearly don't know what one is.