Sunday Brunch and Other Places

Sunday Brunch was one of our few family traditions we had when I was growing up. I think it stemmed from my Mom not wanting to do a damned thing on Sunday and Dad’s desire to eat something with flavor. Mom cooked a lot and while she some real winners (brown gravy to kill for, spaghetti sauce I still try to duplicate) there were a lot of meals that were tasteless mush. Mom was way ahead of the world wide ban on salt. Dad referred to salt as “flavor crystals”.

The Officer’s Mess at the Presido, Fort Ord and the Naval Postgraduate School were staples. But come on, we lived on the Monterey Peninsula and finding new restaurants was an adventure.

As I grew older I started to appreciate just how quirky my parents were. I always thought my Mom was insane. That is, until I went to Germany and saw Germans in large groups. Mom was a fish out of water. She demanded good service.  She was also drunk. I’ve have seen her throw silverware at the waits (that’s cool talk for waitresses) to get their attention. Once, she leaned over and admonished me to “Always use spoons. Never throw knives and forks”.  I wonder when that rule was first put in place?

Dad was subtle.

“Our food is coming soon. I just saw the cook chasing the cow.”

“If we don’t get served in the next five minutes, I’ll kick and scream.” It was at the Presido that I saw my Dad get down on the floor in a three piece suit and kick and scream.

Dad was always open to prank the waits like that. By high school, I joined the show. The “new girl” was always an open target. Dad was at the cashier, paying and I walked up and took the twenty from his hand.

“No Dad, not that one. Use this one (I pull out a twenty and hand it to the girl). See? The ink is still wet on this one. Dad eyes the bill and says, “Hmmm, need to use more sawdust.” Cashier, eyeing my bill now calls the supervisor.

I still enjoy a good meal. In fact, had one yesterday . We had a good, friendly wait named Tina. Ironically, she looked like Tina Fey (or Sarah Palin).

Tina: “Is everything okay?”

Me: Don’t know (mouth full), too busy eating.”

Waits that are attentive and play along get bigger tips.

Busy waits aren’t fucked with. Their job is hard enough.

Other winners at the dinner table:

“I want it rare enough that a good vet can have it up on its feet in a week.”

“Keep cutting slices off the cow until it dies and keep bringing them to me.”

Wait: “Would you like dessert (or a drink)?”

Me: “No thank, I have to play the piano later.”

Nowadays friends help out. We have been known to act out the entire “Tipping Scene” from Reservoir Dogs.

Or this one from Pulp Ficiton…

If I snap my fingers and yell, “Garcon!” and the wait comes over and says “Garcon means boy”, they get a twenty in their tip. Which isn’t a tip. It’s a gratuity. A thank you for service well rendered. A T.I.P. is given to the maître d’restaurant TO INSURE PROMPT SERVICE.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag- The Tumor is on the Table

I hope nobody noticed, but you probably did.  I have been a nervous wreck for the past couple of weeks. If you really want a punch in the stomach, have your child call you and tell you they found a tumor.


The story starts two weeks or so ago.  Brian is on  Prilosec for acid reflux. Urinary tract infections are a side effect (I think, so don’t sue me). Anyway..Brian GOES TO THE DOCTOR to get looked at.  The doctor examines him as says,

“Congratulations, you just won a free ride on the CAT scanner”.

So then I get the call. The kind where they ask you if you’re sitting down and not driving. Brian tells me he has a tumor.  Not a cute, little “We’re glad we found it early” kind.  A big HONKING SOFTBALL SIZED, fucking tumor.

Our Family deals with stress with humor.

Great. Now what? When is the biopsy?

There are a bunch of heroes in this story and one of the early ones was his doctor. Doc says, “FUCK THIS, let’s get you in for a biopsy.” There was a scheduling conflict and apparently Doc got Medieval on the scheduling chick until she pulled her head out of her ass and got with the program.

Then comes the Biopsy and a camera up the pee-pee for some YouTube clips.  Good news is that The Alien (Brian’s pet name for his new pet) hasn’t invaded the bladder. Bad news, tumor is some diabolically rare sucker that has the staff doing a pool to see what kind it really is.  Big money riding on Bladder Cancer but Kidney Cancer is coming up fast on the rail.

It’s been a week now and if I haven’t started smoking again I must have REALLY Quit.

So Surgury is scheduled for …well…today. But this is last week and I have to get through this weekend.  I have Rosie and Andy to keep me company (Read Busy).  I throw a punkin carving contest.  Sorta works.  But not for long.

Sleep completely optional at this point.

Andy drags me to FRIGHTDOME last night. Except for the cut up bodies on the surgical tables, FRIGHT DOME really works. Especially…


I get home about one dark thirty this morning and pass out exhausted.

Slept until 0830 and missed the whole damn thing.  But our family is so electronically wired that we can be bicoastal and still feel like we’re in the same room.  My first clue was missed phone call at 0714.  Then the voice mail. Four text messages from Abby and two from Tina. Everything seems to have gone perfectly but I call anyway,,,,DUH.

And the winner is…….


No..the real winner is Brian who noticed something was wrong, went to the doctor to be seen and then did what it he had to, to get the job done.

So go get your boobies schmushed.  Go get your testicles ultrasounded (with the WARM gel…ummmmm….yummy).  If your mole is bleeding.

If you find a lump ANYWHERE!  Go get it looked at.

Quirky, Dark Humor

This story ends with a happy ending. The surgery went well, the Doc thinks he got it all.

Unsung Heroes

ABBY as the unflinching heroic wife.

TINA as the Mom that Brian never had.

TIMM as the brother who masterminded family time.

ANDY as the unflinching heroic friend.