Oy, what a week! (I'll warn you now that I'm on heavy cold medicine, and this entry is going to babble on and on, so feel free to skip to the easy-to-digest recap lists at the end)
Last Friday I embarked on a top-secret mission (cue: Mission Impossible theme) to surprise my mom-ah-lah for her 65th (65 going on about 30, I'd say) birthday and Mother's Day. My only co-conspiritors were my husband and my fiendishly sneaky dad (cue: "muah-ha-ha-haaah"-type laugh).
I took off from Boston on my first-ever JetBlue excursion and landed in Oakland, CA by noon PST. Dad picked me up and we had some meaningful father/daughter time for the first time in forever. See, even when I call my parental units and Dad answers, Mom usually wrestles the phone away from him within a minute or so. So, Dad and I made a bee-line to his favorite soup place, a small Chinese restaurant near his old office. We talked about everything under the sun while happily slurping an incredibly rich "pho"-like soup. And then it was back to the scheming. Dad called Mom and said he was on his way home from errands and meeting up with his old work cronies for lunch. Halfway home, I called her and told her I was on my way home from work in MA. Cell phones are a wonderful thing. She fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
When we got home, she was in their bedroom at the back of the house. I, craftily wanting to sound like my dad, stomped through the house. My mom called out for my dad, and I said nothing, she turned around, and, TA-DAAH! there I was. Her jaw dropped and for a minute I thought she was going to faint. Next thing I knew, I was being hugged and kissed nearly to death. It ruled.
Thus began a terrific weekend hanging with the 'rents. Friday night was dinner and jazz at Yoshi's, followed by a trip to Fenton's (home of the drippiest, stickiest most wonderful homemade ice cream sundaes ever). On Saturday, Dad dropped Mom off to have her nails done and we hit a new Asian market, where I promptly stocked up on necessities. Apparently "necessities" include nearly my weight in Pocky, but I digress. Next, we were off to Dim Sum. Real Dim Sum, not like the kind you just order off the menu here. Oh, the delight of scallion dumplings, shao mai, and dear G-d, mango pudding with cream. The tiny, sweet waitress marveled out loud at how much we could put away. I took it as a compliment.
Then came Shop-a-palooza '05, as my mom and I hit Sephora and a couple other stores downtown. I even had a makeover, and picked the prettiest Sephora employee in the place to do so. He was wearing more eye makeup than I'll ever dare to wear at one time, and looked fantastic- like a young David Bowie. I believe that my mom and I may have inhaled more perfume scents than any one person should inhale in a day. We had a blast, and even though I protested sincerely and what I'd like to think was a little menacingly, Mom-ah-lah (and Dad-ah-lah via cell phone) bought me a few gifts. After dinner that night, we just hung out at home and talked.
Sunday morning was Mother's Day, and I woke up sick with a cold. We should have taken that as an omen and just stayed home, but we had reservations for a Mother's Day brunch at a hotel. I won't go into the horrific details, but suffice it to say that any hotel brunch that results in a normally pacifist ZigKvetch yelling at a biker chick and cronies who cut in line, and a ZigKvetch's-Father-led mob revolt against the ridiculous management is a disaster. Ahem. I will also mention that nearly-instant karma was granted on our way out as we witnessed the biker chick being busted by the waitstaff for trying to steal all the carnations off the table centerpieces.
Sunday night we went out to dinner at a local coffee shop where our waitress confided in us that her husband was off in Iraq, and that she was so worried. He's been gone longer than they've been married. She showed us pictures and lit up when I told her that I thought he looked like a far more handsome Tom Cruise. Obviously, this put the morning's theatrics in painful perspective.
As we drove home, Dad surprised us with audiotapes he'd unearthed of my second birthday party. My young, mischevious dad laughing easily on the noisy tape, interviewing my Grandma Zelda, Grandpa Harry, Grandma Sylvia, and Aunt Bea. I babbled happily in the background. They talked about the airplane hijackings of the early 70s, what my parents were like as kids, a trip that my Aunt and Grandma Sylvia had taken to the "Orient." It was like stepping into a time machine and we laughed and cried at everything we heard. And then my Grandpa Harry started singing Yiddish and Hebrew songs in his deep, booming voice, and there wasn't an unchoked throat in the car. Dad has promised me he'll have them transferred to cd and will send me a set asap. I can't wait to hear more.
The night ended with my mom and I laughing our heads off in her new office- the artist formerly known as MY BEDROOM. It's adorable, don't get me wrong- from the picture of her as (the cutest!) little girl to all of her books and tchotchkes, but it is a weird feeling that MY BEDROOM is gone. I know: get over it, spoiled brat.
Monday was breakfast, followed by a visit to my Aunt Bea who is now in assisted-living. We surprised her, too, and we had fun chatting. Then, there were a couple of errands, and back home to hang out, nap, and chat. Then we packed up the car (why is it that no matter what, I always leave with at least one extra bag than what I came with), grabbed dinner, and were off to the airport. Man, even typing it makes my insides churn. My parents even came in with me to sit and gab for a few minutes before I had to go back to the gate. I cried. I always cry.
And then I was back in Boston after my redeye, with my wonderful, sweet husband waiting for me. As my mom always says after a visit, it's so weird how we can be together one minute, and on opposite coasts in a matter of hours. I miss my parents so much, I ache. I keep telling them how nice Connecticut is, how it doesn't snow as much there (in parts), and how they should move to New England immediately. And Mom begs us to consider moving back, which would mean starting completely over on our music careers, something that's taken all 13 years of our being here to finally establish with some regularity. Obviously, the answer is that one of us needs to become independently wealthy immediately. When's the next PowerBall?
So anyway, here is the breakdown:
Things that rule:
- My husband and parents
- Dim Sum
- Pho-like soup
- Father/daughter time
- Mother/daughter time
- Birthday surprises
- Cell phones
- Being hugged/kissed to death by your mom and dad
- Audio tapes of your relatives from the 70s
- Grandpas singing
- Rude biker chicks getting busted for stealing centerpieces.
- Wonderful husbands who get up at the crack of dawn to pick up their sickly wives
Things that suck:
- Saying goodbye.
- Being an only-child and living on the opposite side of the country from the parents you're really close to.
- That my husband couldn't go with me for this visit.
- Hotel Mother's Day brunches
- Biker chicks who think it's ok and even funny, to cut in line in front of several nice families who've been waiting in line for an hour.
- That sweet waitress-wives need to be worried sick about their husbands who are off fighting in Iraq.
- Colds that turn into vicious double-ear infections/sinus infections that last for days and knock you on your ass so bad you can't get out of bed/off the couch.
- Not winning the lottery.
Yeah, so anyway, hi! I'm back!