Monday, February 14, 2011

Cabbage Patch Restaurant, Snohomish, Washington

Saturday was “girls’ lunch out” – if you’re a regular reader you know that means a meet-up with my three childhood girlfriends. One of my girlfriends, Beth, lives a quite a bit north of the rest of us so we made a plan to meet in Snohomish for lunch so that Beth wouldn’t have to drive so far.

Well, as it turns out Beth couldn’t make it and the reason is wacky. Her birthday is Valentine’s Day and for years her family owned a floral shop. If you know anything about flowers and Valentine’s Day you know that the entire week leading up to Valentine’s Day is a frenzy of activity in any decent floral shop. And for years Beth was working Valentine’s Day week and on her birthday!

Beth’s dad is now working for another florist, delivering flowers. And this year he somehow roped other family members (including Beth) into delivering flowers this past weekend to help with the Valentine's Day crunch. And that’s why Beth couldn’t join us for lunch on Saturday. Nevertheless, we decided to celebrate her birthday without her!

So off to the Cabbage Patch Restaurant for lunch we went.

We arrived at the restaurant before noon and were seated in the front room (the restaurant is an old house converted into a restaurant). Our server, Mary, brought waters, scones and coffee for me. Soon enough we ordered. After Mary took our order I asked if she could please take our picture when our meals arrived. I told her that we were celebrating a birthday (Beth’s, of course!) and I wanted a special picture for the occasion.

I was never more surprised when she replied, “Yes, I can take your picture IF I’m not too busy…” and off she went. The three of us were aghast! Having worked many years in management in the hospitality industry I could not, and still cannot, believe that a server would make that sort of remark. We were the only customers in the front room – it’s not as if the restaurant was packed. I have no idea what other tables were in her section, but that really was not my concern.

It was, however, my concern that my coffee cup was completely empty before Mary brought more coffee. Again, I was shocked. And I probably would not even mention the coffee if it was not for the snide remark Mary made about taking the picture.

Our food was delivered by another young woman, not Mary. I had my camera on the table and she gladly agreed to take our picture. I said thank you very much and was appreciative. To Mary's defense, I must say that she did come by and offered to take our picture, but I advised her that it had already been taken.

And here is the coveted picture! Our food (crab & shrimp louie salad, crab and shrimp sandwich, and crab and shrimp omlette - we were feeling seafoodish...) was hot and good...doesn't it look yummy? So sorry you missed your lunch, Beth!

Call me crazy, but Mary provided very poor customer service. I sent an email to the restaurant owner and am waiting for her response.

On a brighter note, after lunch we walked over to see our friend Shelly (another girlfriend from junior high) that I mentioned in my last post. She works at Joyworks - the "girly stuff" store that is very cool. Check out her blog to see all the girly, crafty things Shelly creates!

Here's Julie and Cheryl at the entrance.

The four of us yakked and yakked and shared stories since the last high school reunion. Next time Shelly needs to join us for our girly outing.

Here's Shelly and Cheryl.

After that we went to Cheryl’s house and she dug out her high school yearbooks. What a hoot! We were so goofy back then (haha…not like now when we are so mature…haha). We read some of the “comments” Cheryl’s friends had written in her yearbooks and we were very surprised when reading something Julie wrote. You see, first we found my comment to Cheryl in one of the books…and we laughed and laughed…I even used some gibberish words (almost like Spanish) which I think I made up.

But the FUNNIEST part was that in the same yearbook we found Julie’s comment to Cheryl and it was EXACTLY THE SAME COMMENT I made! Even with the Spanish gibberish…HAHAHAHAHA…none of us remembered having done that or why we did that. Geez, I guess our memories are fading…but it was very funny.

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH! And Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lunch in Snohomish

Teresa from Lake Stevens and I decided to meet halfway, in Snohomish, for lunch on Saturday and what a lovely afternoon we had! We left the guys at home (hehe) and had a "girls only" outing.

We met at noon at El Paraiso, a good sized Mexican restaurant with delicious food. In fact, here's Teresa now.

We both decided on fish tacos and our waiter had a little fun with us. I asked what kind of fish was used in the fish tacos and he looked me straight in the eye and replied with a heavy accent, "guppy". It took me just a second to realize what he had said…hahaha, Victor! And then he clarified and said the fish was tilapia. While we waited for our lunch Teresa and I caught up with each other.

The topic of the day was unemployment. Teresa's youngest son is back home and still looking for a job. I explained how my Nintendo job is just temporary so I'm actually in the same boat as her son. I mentioned that ProLango Consulting was having another mixer on the 7th and she thought that was something from which her son might benefit. I'll have to check in to get his feedback about the event.

Our food came and it was hot, fresh and yummy! I found that I really like "guppy". Here we are with our funny waiter, Victor.

And we splurged and shared churros for dessert. Yum!

After lunch we strolled through downtown Snohomish, popping into one antique store after another. We were just window shopping…it's always fun to look and dream.

The last shop we stopped in wasn't an antique store, but one of those girly stores with all kinds of girly stuff like dinnerware, linens, clothes, household stuff. Teresa got a ceramic frog for her frog-collecting son.

And I got a surprise when I heard one of the store clerks and realized it was Shelly Dankenbring from high school! Well, actually Shelly reminded me that we met in junior high, yep, Alderwood Junior High. Oh, we yakked and yakked and had so much to talk about. Next Saturday I am tentatively meeting my girlfriends from high school in Snohomish (what a coincidence!) for lunch and I hope to bring them to Shelly's shop so we can all say hello. Hey, maybe she can even join us for lunch!

After that surprise Teresa headed home to Lake Stevens and me to Kenmore. But I just had to stop at the airport on the way to the freeway. It's something about small planes, I guess...

Here I am at Harvey Airfield. Hmmm…they also offer helicopter rides, hot air balloon rides, I really need a permanent job so I can have health insurance and I can take to the air at Harvey Airfield!!

Aren't they just so cute?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Neighbors in the 'Hood

Mike and I have lived in Kenmore for almost nine months. And I love it. It is close to where I grew up and close to people I have known all my life. (Being "close" to anything in the Seattle area is good because traffic here is very challenging!)

We have attempted to befriend some of our neighbors, but sometimes it has backfired. Like when we had the upstairs family over for a BBQ last summer...they moved out shortly thereafter…it might have had something to do with my frank conversation with the wife about the kids making too much racket above our apartment. Whoops.

And a few weeks ago we asked neighbors from the building next door over to our place to watch a Seattle Seahawks playoff game with us. It was a 10:00 a.m. kickoff on a Sunday morning and we fixed a brunch-like spread. We were all set to go and at 9:45 I pressed the button on the coffeemaker to make a fresh pot. At 10:10 we started to get a little nervous. By 10:30 I started eating. By 11:00 we concluded that we had been stood up. HMPFF! So Mike and I ate (a lot) and watched the game together. And not only did the Seahawks lose, they lost bad. It wasn't until 3:00 that our neighbors came knocking on our door, thinking it was an afternoon game….

Currently the neighbors in our own building include a single gal with 2 doggies who live upstairs from us and a dad with his teen-age daughter and their little doggie who live in the other upstairs unit. (The fourth apartment is vacant right now.) We all got to know each other a lot better one night last week when the bathtub faucet blew off the wall in the tub of the single gal and water was shooting straight out of the wall at a very fast rate of speed….if only I had grabbed my camera! It was unbelievable!!!

Luckily the woman had a five-gallon bucket that she was using to empty the tub as soon as it was full. But the water was winning and the tub was overflowing. By the time Mike and I heard the commotion and went upstairs there was water everywhere! And then the dad and teen-age daughter joined the action…the next thing I knew was that Mike and the dad were out in the parking lot looking for the water main. They had the building owners on the phone and they finally found the water main and shut off all water to our building. The owner arrived shortly thereafter and was able to do a patch job so we could turn the water main back on.

But the apartment was a mess. We grabbed dry towels and brought them upstairs to help with the mop-up. The teen-age daughter worked diligently on getting the bathroom in shape and the dad gave out kudos for her initiative in helping out. Mike took wet towels and hung them over the deck railing. And I tried to calm the poor woman down. She was exhausted from dumping all that water.

Soon enough we said good-night and headed downstairs. To our nice, dry apartment – except the fan in the bathroom was "leaking" water from upstairs and some had also seeped into our kitchen. It was quick work to clean up.

And out of adversity often comes surprise. We were surprised when the woman washed our towels, folded them nicely and returned them to us quickly. Mike had offered to wash all the towels, but she wouldn’t agree to that. And the dad brought us some home-made fried chicken this week (he's a chef). Nice, huh? All we needed was a little water emergency and we have new friends in the 'hood.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alternative Transportation

For those of you who've been reading for a while you know all about Mike's brain cyst and the brain surgeries he went through in Mexico City. Since that time Mike has not driven and we have been a one-car (well, actually a truck) family. And somehow we have managed. But it gets tricky sometimes.

For example, when we lived in Guaymas I taught English at the Preschool and there was a big parking area for the teachers. So I drove to work. And I drove fast. In fact, it was a daily ritual…how fast could I make it to work? (Remember that speed limits are a suggestion in Mexico, not a rule…) I had it down to eight wild minutes, door-to-door. And fun at that! Shopping, appointments and going to the beach could all be arranged in the afternoon after school or on the weekends. The guy who changed the oil in our truck was about 3 blocks up the street we lived on so we walked home while waiting for the oil to get changed. In Guaymas it was never a problem with just one vehicle and just one of us driving.

Then we moved to Salem, Oregon. I worked in the Capitol Mall, and there was rarely parking available. So I usually rode my bike to work. In bad weather - I took the bus. When I knew I had a parking space – I drove. But mostly I rode my bike to work. While a lot of errands could be done on the weekend, we were lucky to have Betty as our upstairs neighbor and landlord – she took Mike to many appointments. Plus, the two of them would go swimming and sometimes shopping together. Salem was small enough to get around and we had a truck guy who came right to the house for a "house call." Again, it was never a problem with just one vehicle and just one of us driving.

And now we live in Kenmore, just north of Seattle, at the north end of Lake Washington. There is no speedy eight-minute racetrack to work. There is no guy on our block that can change our oil. There is no easy bus commute to my job. There is no neighbor for Mike to hitch a ride with (well, actually there is one guy that has taken him a couple of places…) There is no truck guy who will do "house calls" (well, there might be – but I don't know him). All of a sudden we have problems with just one vehicle and just one of us driving.

Saturday morning we had an appointment at Midas to get three belts replaced. It was going to be a long appointment because one of the belts was the timing belt (one of the most expen$ive belts to replace, of course!) and the Midas guy wanted us to drop the truck off at 8:00 AM and pick it up "sometime in the afternoon." So what to do? What to do? Well, we knew exactly what to do!

Friday evening Mike got my bike out of our garden shed, checked the tires for air, and schlepped it into the truck bed. Saturday morning I drove to Midas, gave them the keys and hopped on my bike. The Burke Gilman Trail was a block away and after a leisurely ride west on the Trail, I was home within 15 minutes. Around 2:00 we got a call advising that the truck was ready. By now it was drizzling, but no matter. I got back on my bike, rode the quick ride to Midas, paid, put my bike in the truck and was home by 3:00. Not bad, huh?

Where there is a will, there is a way!