My brother has realized that time is running out, and so he steps up his efforts to kill or maim me, or (god forbid) derail my budding path to triathlon glory. Tonight while cooking dinner, I reach over the stove to stir the melting butter, and he turns on the front burner, almost sending my arm up in flames. The cheeky, innocent grin and the “oops” comment do not allay my suspicions. Then after it gets dark, I go to get something out of my car, and “someone” has taken the huge trashcan for recyclables and put it RIGHT outside the little gate, where a person less clumsy than myself would have tumbled over it willy-nilly. Hmm. The coup d’grace, however, is the dinner itself that he’s preparing: rack of lamb with a berry reduction sauce, cream of asparagus soup, real scalloped potatoes with heavy cream, asparagus with a hollandaise sauce. As an appetizer, a triple-cream cheese with buttery crackers. For desert, éclairs. And he’s been cooking like this EVERY NIGHT! Now, if this isn’t an attempt to kill me outright, then I don’t know what is. So sad.
We go to dinner at the house of one of my brother’s friends – a beautiful place in the Hollywood Hills. We’re barely there 10 minutes, drinking some tasty wine, when it begins anew: Andrew “accidentally” knocks over my leaded glass wine tumbler, a hefty thing that weighs at least 5 pounds easy, and it misses my foot only because of my super-quick reflexes. I just give him The Look, the one that says “I’m on to you”, and get the usual cheeky grin in return, the one that says “hey, it was worth a try.” The rest of the evening passes without incident.
Chicago, IL – 66 degrees
Tujunga, CA – 62
Later – Big Boy’s Big Adventure
After bundling up in heavy coats, we decide it’s time to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, aka Bob’s Big Boy restaurant, the oldest one still standing. I take Big Boy out of his hiding place for this excursion, and it’s clear to see that he’s excited about the trip to visit his namesake – I’ve told him that they needed to make the little Big Boy (him) so that they had a model for the big Big Boy (restaurant and accompanying figures). The burgers, onion rings, and milkshakes are as outstanding as usual, enjoyed by one and all. And while I don’t see anyone else with their Big Boy at the table, or subsequently taking pictures, this doesn’t seem to be too freakish of an occurrence, because the waitstaff is very careful to not blunder in front while I’m taking pictures. I guess they’re used to this kind of madness.
Yes, a very scary moment for all of us at Bob’s. Big Boy wanted to have his picture taken on the counter, in front of the glass case of other Big Boys throughout the years – you can see from his smug look just how thrilled he was at this. But while a couple of waitstaff folks ducked and weaved while this was going on, one woman did so and then did a double-take, looking at Big Boy and thinking that somehow he had escaped.
Waitress, moving towards Big Boy: “Hey, how’d he get out? Was the case left open?”
Me, aghast: “No, no, he’s MY Big Boy – he’s just vintage, so he looks like yours.”
WMTBB: “Are you sure? Because he looks just like.....”
As she started to pick up BB with her grasping hands, I quickly snatched him up to my bosom protectively and hustled out of there. Now, while I certainly appreciate her diligence towards making sure that itinerant rapscallions do not walk off with original Big Boys, this incident left us shaken for some time. Well, at least a minute, after which we were shooing people away outside so that we could take more pictures of little Big Boy with his mini-me, big Big Boy, in his "king of the world!" pose. Still, one can’t help but think about these close calls, with more than a touch of horror. So close......
We’re watching the news and when the weatherman does his little teaser and says “it’s been a bit chilly, but things are looking up for the week ahead!” Angela just starts laughing. A bit hysterically, but laughter nonetheless.
In the meantime, on my last day, my brother has finally figured out the way to wound me most deeply: he starts talking about their tomato plants last year, how they have to cut back this year because they had “so many tomatoes, they were rotting on the vine, we just didn’t know what to do with them. Hazel would wag her tail and send tomatoes flying in every direction.” And on and on and on. Considering that I spent about $2000 and 480 hours of my life last year tending to my tomato planting and all that entails, and had pretty much nothing to show for it thanks to those beastly rodents called squirrels (who I’ve declared war on for this year, oh yes), this cut me to the quick. Had my trip been any longer, I’m sure a coronary or perhaps just death due to overwhelming tomato sadness and jealousy would have done me in. I hope he doesn’t remember this for my next visit.....