A Birthday and Halloween Party

Plus, another ferry ride

We went out to Brooklyn again the other day – it was raining cats and dogs. We were there for the Surgeon’s kids’ birthday party.

They had it at the Ferox Ninja Park in Brooklyn and it was HUGE.

I was in a pretty foul mood as I didn’t expect to have to walk as far as I did and do as many transfers via train as I did but I already promised the kids that we would do it, so we did.

Once we arrived, I just sat down and shoveled food into my pie hole.

Steele: (putting food in front of us) Here. Eat.
Me: We can’t be the only ones eating, man!
Her: As if that ever stopped you before.
Me: Fair.

The kids had a grand time and were a complete sweaty mess afterward.

We were only scheduled to be there for two hours but since it was so rainy and there wasn’t a party after ours, we ended up staying almost four hours before the staff – very politely – told us we were over time.

So, we all went our separate ways.

Didn’t wanna do all the walking we did to keep transferring trains so, for the second time in a month or so, we all took the ferry back to the city.

Her: It’ll take twice as long.
Me: But no walking and the kids wanna ride the ferry.
Her: OK, that works.

Soon, we found ourselves back on the ferry.

The kid and I got into a tiff because he randomly decided to hop onto my bag, spilling food everywhere.

Me: Jesus Christ, kid! Why did you do that?
Him: I dunno.
Me: I told you before, you better have a good reason for anything you do, because everything you do has consequences. (sighing)

But alls well that ended well.

We got home and both kids crashed pretty hard.

Then we went to the next-door building’s Halloween party.

The building next door has invited the kid and me every year since Alison died and I’m always grateful for their kindness.

This year, I asked the building president if I could invite the Firecracker and her kid.

Him: Of course! The more the merrier.
Me: I just don’t to take advantage.
Him: You’re not! Come on by! The kids’ll have a great time.
Me: Thank you!

We went trick-or-treating with my friends Wendy and Andrew while I chatted up the fella that I met at the other party in the park.

After all the candy and activities, we were ready for a break.

But there’s always something going on in the Big City.

Location: In my head again for a bit
Mood: worn-down
Music: Old habits don’t diе (even though you know deep down you don’t want them to) (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Playing Blackjack with the kids

A loss for them

It seems that summer’s finally over – it was 80 degrees last week and it dropped down to 40 something this week.

Good thing climate change isn’t real.

Her: What about Spades?
Me: I used to love that game! But it’s been decades since I’ve played; I dunno if I remember how to play.
Her: No problem, because I do!

The Firecracker and I have fallen into a pretty quiet but nice life of a guy and his kid and a girl and her kid.

We’re both pretty happy that the kids get along so well, because if they didn’t, who knows how we’d be right now.

So, the other night, when we had nuthin else going on, we taught the kids how to play Spades and Blackjack.

Boy: Isn’t gambling bad?
Me: We’re not really gambling, we’re just playing cards. And there’s nuthin wrong with playing some cards, kids.

Of course, we still do things separately.

For example, the kid went to a birthday party for a friend that he’s known since he was two. And while there, I ran into a fella I met last year at a Halloween party.

Him: What about you?
Me: Well, I’m a lawyer, among other things. But lately, I’ve been doing a YouTube thing.
Him: (laughing) Really?
Me: Yup – I actually have close to 20 million views on one of my videos.

Speaking of Halloween parties, I’ll tell you about the one we all went to in the next entry, but until then, here was some pics of my buddy Cotton as “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast and his girl as a taco.

These are good life/relationship goals.

Me: Can I put up one of these on my blog as a follow up? I mentioned you would be doing this and I think my five readers would be tickled to see pics.
Him: Yeah, of course!

Although I don’t suppose they’d be welcome in MAGA country.

Which is a loss for them, frankly…

Location: stuck at home all day
Mood: potentially sick
Music: OK, baby, you’ll be OK. You’ve just gotta keep on (Spotify)

Both the light and the dark always come

Building roller-coasters

Just finished Pax, by Tom Holland – the book that the NFL Player gave us all for his bday party.

Man, if you thought Game of Thrones/Wheel of Time was messed up, fiction’s got nuthin on what the Romans were all about.

Life in Rome was dark, oftentimes. Very dark.

On a much cheerier side of dark, however, Halloween’s happening soon.

While I love seeing the kid dress up, it’s also a reminder that holiday season is right around the corner, which has its own darkness for me.

But I’m trying to be positive this year.

It doesn’t hurt that the Firecracker’s around and offers her own positivity around here.

Her: I made a flourless chocolate cake. Do you want some?
Me: Yes, please!
Her: You can come by and pick it up when you’re ready.

And the kid’s always doing something that brings me joy.

This past weekend, the Firecracker, her kid, me, and my kid spent a lazy Saturday sitting out in a playground for a kid’s party, drinking sodas and eating carbs.

Gotta say, I think that I engage with the world a lot just because I have to with the kid.

And sometimes, he gives me joy in the most unexpected but simple ways.

Him: Papa?
Me: Yeah, kid?
Him: I made something. Can I show it to you?
Me: I dunno, I’ve got a ton of…
Him: (disappointed) It’s ok…
Me: Wait. I’ll finish up and you can show me in five minutes. Is that ok?
Him: (happily) Yes! Oooooh, I can’t wait to show you! I built a roller-coaster!
Me: (laughing) I can’t wait to see it.

Location: Earlier tonight, a ferry from Greenpoint to Manhattan
Mood: so beat
Music: If you’re not ready yet, I’ll wait – cause when it’s good it’s great (Spotify)

Belle and the Tacos

A serious taco kick

Her: (coming out of my bathroom with a Taco Bell bag) Were you eating tacos in your bathroom?!
Me: (silent shrug)
Her: Is this full?! (opens up bag) There’s a taco in here! You left a taco in your bathroom?!
Me: I sense judgement in your tone.
Her: What were you doing with a bag of tacos in your bathroom?!
Me: I feel the answer to that is self-evident.

Been on a taco kick lately and was in the mood for some Taco Bell but the nearest one to me is on 51st Street.

However, the weather’s been amazeballs in NYC lately, so we decided to take the walk from the UWS to Hell’s Kitchen, which is the next neighborhood south of us.

We picked up some tacos at Taco Bell but since it was just the two of us – sans kids – we decided to walk more.

We found ourselves at Rudy’s, which is a NYC institution – their claim to fame is that for $5, you can get a beer, some well scotch, and a hot dog.

Unlimited hot dogs, actually…

Her: That sounds like it’s right up your alley.
Me: Y’think?!

But we ended up not going in since we just had all those tacos – amongst other issues.

Still, because we were out, we snuck into another Mexican restaurant and had some margaritas.

Me: Does it get any better than tacos and day drinking?
Her: (laughing) I don’t think so.

No umbrellas, though.

We were both perfectly full and lightly buzzed, so we walked alla way back up to the UWS.

My buddy Cotton asked me how the Firecracker and I were doing, and I told him that we took that walk and he brought up Taco Bell all on his own, without any prompting.

Me: We’re great! What about you two?
Him: Pretty good – we’re going to a costume party this week and we’re going as Taco Bell.
Me: Taco Bell?
Him: Yup – she’s gonna be a taco and I’m gonna be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Me: Dude, I’m as straight as the day is long but if you two ever break up, I’m happy to sit her down and tell her what an absolutely *terrible* mistake she’s making.
Him: (laughing) Thanks.

Clearly, it’s a sign that I need more tacos. After all, what is a taco but a Mexican gyro?

You’ll note that I was too busy eating all these tacos to take a single picture of one.

Location: home, the whole day, waiting for some plumbers
Mood: sans tacos so…not great
Music: The better things I have to say will fall to you (Spotify)

Dreaming of Green Grass and Shade

Hobos and Whores

The Firecracker and I trade off on cooking duties, which is nice – although she and I do have very different approaches to cooking on certain things.

Me: Do you know how to make a white gravy?
Her: Of course, I’m from the south.
Me: With a roux?
Her: Well, how else?
Me: (shrugging) I prefer a roux but sometimes if I’m rushed, I’ll use corn starch from time-to-time.
Her: Ew, Lo! That’s for hobos and whores.

Because she is originally from the south, there are some things about New York City that are really appealing to her…

Her: (at Times Square) Wait, that’s a real Lichtenstein?
Me: Yup – a million people walk under it every single day and never notice it.

…but there are definitely things that don’t.

Her: Don’t you want trees and mountains and lakes?
Me: I have Central and Riverside Parks!
Her: (rolling eyes) C’mon, Lo – you know that’s not the same.

Now, I do sometimes wish the kid had green grass and shade, but he does have his time in NJ…

…although I do admit that what he’s accustomed to playing around with in Manhattan isn’t ideal.

Then again, it’s still worlds better than what I grew up around, I suppose.

Still, as long as the kid’s safe, happy, and healthy, I don’t really need much.

Although, I do find myself worrying about him as much as my parents worried about me, I suppose.

Me: Get down from there!
Him: It’s fine! I climb here all the time.
Me: Just get down!
Him: OK! (jumps down) What? You didn’t say I couldn’t jump down.
Me: (grumble)

Location: the big city – Union Square and the Upper Best Side, where else?
Mood: I could sleep for days
Music: All these buildings and mountains, slowly they’ll arise (Spotify)

In Search of PawPaws

I cannot oversell them

Her: Wait, you wrote two entries but didn’t write what you were searching for? Man, you know how to draw out the suspense.
Me: (laughing) It’s not that, I just felt it deserved its own entry.

So, I never told you what the goal of my quest the other day was.

The asimina triloba plant is related to the sweetsop or cherimoya fruit plants, which are pretty popular in Australia and Asia and are essentially tropical fruit.

But the asimina triloba – or paw-paw/pawpaw/paw paw (there’s no official spelling) – is super unique in that it’s essentially a tropical fruit that can only grow in cold climates, including in New York.

AND it’s the largest the largest edible fruit indigenous to the United States.

My quest was to get my hands on some paw-paw fruit.

For years decades, I’ve been dreaming about having some – evidently, they grow wild all over the joint BUT they’re (a) extremely hard to cultivate for mass market and (b) extremely hard to transport.

And the reason for both is that they don’t ripen very well off the tree, so you have to get them while they’re ripe but once they’re ripe, they’re super soft and easy to bruise/destroy.

Found this out myself the hard way but first, lemme back up a bit.

See, I was randomly doomscrolling on IG the other day when I came across this post from a fella in New Paltz:

Decided that it was worth the trip, and the day, to finally try some out.

When I got there, it was a decidedly underwhelming experience in that it was just a lone – but very nice – fella just standing in front of an empty lot with a plastic table and boxes of fruit.

Me: Can I get these four?
Him: Sure, just put them on the scale…3.5 pounds, at $12 a pound, that’s $42, please?
Me: OK!

These were the biggest, nicest ones I could find.

I’ve never spent $42 on four pieces of fruit in my life, but I figured that I’d been waiting to try these for decades, so it was worth it.

Now, I resisted the urge to eat them right then and there – a group of young men did not and happily chomped down right then and there – and brought them home in my bag, along with everything else, to try them there.

I was gutted when I opened my bag and found one completely smashed opened.

Like I said, that’s why you almost never find them for sale; they’re super difficult to transport without destroying them.

Since they were like $10 each, I salvaged what I could and ate that one first.

It was…amazeballs.

This was the smashed one that I cleaned up the best I could and ate as soon as I got home.

Alla the talk about them being creamy and custardy and a combo of banana and mango with more banana-like texture was spot on.

Her: Wow, that’s really good.
Me: Yeah, I’m gonna have to find a way to get more.

For the rest of the week, I ate the rest, about half at a time.

The kid – thankfully – thought they were good but preferred strawberries.

Me: More for me then!

And since they were all fulla seeds, I’m gonna see if I can grow some trees from them and maybe get them to my sister or mom to grow in their yard in Queens.

These were just amazing. I cannot oversell them.

If you manage to get your hands on some – ideally for less than $12 a pound – you totally should.

I’ll let you know how the tree-growing goes.

Location: another quest for $5 beer and a shot of whiskey with the Firecracker in Hell’s Kitchen
Mood: super beat or still coming down with something
Music: I’m holding on to this hope that I have (Spotify)

We’re on a quest, kid – Pt 2

Technically, it’s a keyboard

Getting back into the city was also fun.

We were supposed to head up to Ricky and Kathy’s for some clothes and stuff for the kid, so we headed to their pad in the East Village first.

This was actually shot on the way to Red Hook.

Wanted to take a ferry there as well but I couldn’t make the timing work, so we caught the express bus instead.

We found ourselves passing the same churro store the Firecracker and I were at just a week earlier.

Kathy was out and Ricky was feeling under the weather, so we just grabbed the stuff and left.

Him: A piano!
Me: Well, technically, it’s a keyboard.
Him: A keyboard!
Me: (laughing) Yes.

But we weren’t done yet.

I’d pulled him from his playdate with his friend Ralph but had a second one lined up for him with his friend, Chuck so we hightailed it back to the UWS, where we promptly found ourselves in the middle of another street fair.

Now, I still gotta tell you what the quest was for in the first place, but I felt that deserves an entry all its own.

Until then, here are some more pics.

Good god, I have a huge head…

Location: a playground with the kid, typing furiously on my laptop
Mood: beat or coming down with something
Music: I know we’re onto something good (Spotify)

A Week of Birthdays, Pt 3: The Night of Churros

My old college house and old haunts

The Firecracker had met my college friends a few times before but cappy only once because he couldn’t make several of the last get-togethers.

He and I actually met before we started college – totally randomly – at a party out in Queens when we were seniors in college. Otherwise, there wasn’t really anything interesting that they told Firecracker about me back in the day.

Later, Cappy and Rick told her all about our college house setup.

Her: How many guys were in the house?
Cap: (thinking) 10?
Ricky: We gave Logan the closet.
Me: This is true. And, besides the 10 people that lived in the house, there was always someone in the living room – regardless of time or day – for some strange reason.

She also had a good story to tell him.

Her: I found his stash of snacks the other day.
Him: What?
Her: Logan keeps a box fulla snacks under his bed.
Me: In my defense, they were the backup to my emergency snacks…which she ate!
Her: You shouldn’t have left them with me!

Cappy, and architect and interior designer by trade, took my pen and sketched out our ground floor layout from memory.

It was weird seeing him draw it because I found myself remembering things about living there that I’d not thought of in some 31+ years.

Because I’d had a full basket of bread at the restaurant earlier that evening, I decided to get myself a couplea sweet mixed cocktails.

Her: You can get yourself a girlie drink.
Me: God, I do love myself a girlie drink. Doubt they have any umbrellas.

I did manage some self-control, though. Cappy ordered a ton of churros and other desserts and, as much as I wanted some, I didn’t have any.

Since my kid and the Firecracker’s kid were away, we decided to head downtown to see my buddy Fattah, who’s now a member of our Scenic Fights team.

Along the way, we came across a store that seemed to only sell churros.

Me: Dammit. I shoulda had a churro.
Her: We’ll get something later.

He was working at Verlaine and Pac had literally just ran into him that same night so I decided to see him as well just for a little fun.

Me: Hey man, how are you?

It was nice seeing him outside of our work. I’d been to Verlaine a few times decades ago with Rain and company. This was the first time I’d been there in at least 20 years, I gotta think.

Fattah got us a killer table and comped us two drinks.

Our waiter, Brian, was a nice young fella with two black eyes and bruises all over his face.

Me: Dude, what did the other guy look like?
Fattah: Guy(s) – he got jumped.

I’m guessing he got beat up purely because of what he was – which is a young gay man. It just boggles the mind that such a thing can happen in this day and age in NYC.

Then again, I suppose there will always be assholes around, regardless of time or geography.

There’s more but this is getting long so I’ll wrap it up in the next entry.

Location: just now, dislocating another finger on my keyboard. I’m a menace to myself.
Mood: menacing
Music: Let’s get rich and build our house on a mountain (Spotify)

A Week of Birthdays, Pt 1: Pour House

An open book exam

While I didn’t have the best time around Columbus Circle the other day, got a chance for a do-over with the help of the NFL Player.

He invited me and my buddy Thor over for dinner at the Pour House, some place I’ve always wanted to go but never had the chance to.

I headed there after a full day of work.

Greeter: You’re the first one here. Would you like to sit at the bar?
Me: It’s good to be first, and sure.

After a bit, my buddy Thor rolled up. He’s recovering for some surgery himself; it seems the be the destiny of aging athletes.

Not soon afterward, the birthday boy came in and we all went to get settled. Turns out that he eats there regularly and the Maitre’d got us a central table with each seat having a copy of Tom Holland’s Pax: War and Peace in Rome’s Golden Age. That was a nice touch.

Me: Will there be a test? Is it open book?
Him: It’ll be multiple choice.
Me: But will it be open book?!

That’s one of my favorite bottles of rum.

Thor and I sat together but the fella on my right was one of the producers of Oppenheimer and Thor, who’s in film himself, wanted to speak to him.

Me: Let’s switch seats.
Thor: You sure?
Me: (getting up) Yeah, you talk shop. It’s fine.

Ended up chatting with the fella next to me, who was a football player at Yale and ran a real estate company. He was acquaintances with the fella that got killed by a career criminal last week.

Him: The killer had 66 prior arrests!
Me: That’s insane. (shaking head) I’m so sorry.
Him: He just had a kid too.

Thor and I are both in 8/16 intermittent fasting, which means that we eat for eight hours and fast for 16 – well, most days, anywho.

But the fella I was chatting with was on 2/22 IF, which means that he eats for TWO hours and fasts for 22.

Me: Jeez-louise, how does that work?
Him: It’s not terrible but I have to eat a lot during those 1.5-2 hours.

He ordered two appetizers – bone marrow and the steak tartar – which made sense considering he ate nuthin else all day.

Thor and I ordered the creamed spinach with bacon but the waiter told us we should share since one was probably enough for the two of us. We took his advice.

We should not have.

Thor: We need another one of these.
Me: At least!

But it was too late. The main course had arrived so we dug into that and chatted up everyone else.

We were out for a while but then dessert came, and it was a mountain of stuff.

Him: Are you having any?
Me: Looks that way. We’re in it.

Both Thor and I weren’t planning on having any, but we ate and drank enough that our defenses were down – which should be the theme for the next several entries, for reasons I’m sure you’ll figure out.

Waiter: Do you want some coffee?
Me: Yes, decaf please, with cream.
NFL Player: Oh no, never with cream.
Guest: Did he ever tell you why he never has cream in his coffee?
Me: No, but I’m assuming that he’s gonna do it now.

And he did.

Afterward, Thor and I walked back to my pad from the place because it was a beautiful night.

Him: Nice group of people – and it was great finally meeting his wife.
Me: Yeah, she’s great. They all are, really.
Him: If there’s anything [our old coach did], he did get us all together.
Me: I suppose.

Location: early today, waking up with another hangover from a night out with my college buddies
Mood: pretty fat
Music: not saying that I am a saint I just don’t want to live that way (Spotify)

Caught “Merrily We Roll Along”

Not great

Her: That was…
Me: …not great.

The Firecracker invited me to catch Merrily We Roll Along with two of her favourite actors, Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Groff.

The singing by both actors – and the cast – was pretty impressive.

And that’s pretty much the best thing I can say about it.

The story itself was pretty bad, plus it went in reverse chronology, which was very annoying and confusing, finally, none of the characters were…good.

Jonathan Groff’s character was a habitual cheater and wholly unreliable.

Daniel Radcliffe’s character was stubborn and inflexible and kind of a scold.

The main female character, played by Lindsay Mendez, had an unrequited love for Groff’s character for some 20 years.

20 years!

You just felt pity for her character. There’s a lot more I wanna say about this part but I suppose I’ll wait for the next entry.

All-in-all, there was no one really worth rooting for, which was the biggest issue. It’s tough watching something for some three hours and just not caring about anyone involved.

Honestly dunno why Radcliffe and Groff even agreed to do it because the musical was panned way back in 1981 when it first came out and alla the issues that people had with it – like telling the story backward – was annoying and confusing then, annoying and confusing now.

Felt bad for the Firecracker. She’d been looking forward to the show for weeks now.

Her: This is the first time I went to a show and it was a bad.
Me: (shrugging) Well, you gotta expect the occasional dud.
Her: I guess… Did you have a good time?
Me: Of course – we had a night out, I broke my fast, and I got to spend the evening with the prettiest girl in the joint. That’s a win in my book.
Her: (smiles) Aw, Lo…

Location: helping a tenant wrap up his wet garbage in front of the pad
Mood: fat and tired
Music: Put on your best shirt, I can’t miss another night like this (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

%d bloggers like this: