Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas thoughts

Matt and I are both off from work this entire week so no fascinating "lunch at Wegman's" stories for you today.

I'm writing this while lounging in the same clothes I wore the past two days and it is all sorts of awesome. I am redefining the definition of lazy and I am proud to announce that my kids are doing nothing but playing video games and watching SpongeBob. They have that blank look on their face and I can actually see brain cells exiting through their ears.

Christmas vacation at it's finest.

Speaking of "Christmas Vacation", my wife and I introduced the kids to the wonderful world of Clark Griswold and family. As expected, they laughed at Uncle Eddie and I think they understood the humor, but I wasn't prepared for the scene with the woman at the mall:
When Clark said "Can it get any 'hooter' in here?" I saw my daughter confused but clearly aware of what was going on and my son stared straight ahead, afraid to look at me. Shit, we're going to have to have that talk soon aren't we? Can I just send him a Powerpoint presentation? Welcome to Awkward Town John.

Some other Christmas thoughts I need to clear from my brain:

  • There is nothing more disgusting than the thick goo known as Egg Nog. I'd rather drink pancake batter or a bottle of mustard.
  • Contrary to what Matt might say, there is no better Christmas song than Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas". 
  • All recording artists must promise to not record another Christmas song. Besides Mariah, nothing good has been released since the 80's.
  • I couldn't be more thrilled to see that my son is also in love with The Muppets. We've been listening to the soundtrack to the movie and it brings me back to a magical time when Phyllis Diller and John Denver hosted the show.

One last thing - my son is just about on to the Santa charade but my wife and I managed to squeeze another year out of it. We played sleigh bells in his ear while sleeping on Christmas Eve and when he woke up the next morning, he insisted he saw reindeer on the front lawn. Yes!

However, I had to push it further the next day and showed him this picture I doctored:         

I pretended I received an anonymous email with this picture attached. I put on my best shocked face and called the kids over. My son looked at it and laughed uncontrollably. He knew it was fake immediately and could tell our dog was staring right at the camera man (me). I laughed it off and we went about our day. Looking back now, bad job by me.

Hope you had a great holiday and will report to you live from Wegman's soon!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Christmas list

Between days off, conflicting work schedules and last minute Christmas shopping, Matt and I have not had lunch together very often this past week. But that's OK. We're mature adults and understand these things are beyond our control.

But don't think for a minute, that we don't have anything to say.

For today, considering how quickly the holidays are approaching, we wanted to share our Christmas wish lists with you. It goes without saying, my number one wish would be a year's supply of Wegman's lunch, but you know that already. No need to state the obvious.

So without further ado, I give you our 2011 Christmas Wishlists:

1)The ability to grow a normal beard - If neckbeards were all the rage, I would be leading the charge. I can grow hair on my neck like no one's business. But when it comes to growing hair on my face, it's a different story:

True story, a coworker stopped me recently and with complete seriousness, asked me if "mutton chops" were back in style. A quick Google search on that term and I knew it was time to shave. No matter what I do, I cannot hide the fact that I have spots on my face incapable of growing hair. Even a goatee is out of the question as I can't grow the necessary "connectors". A joke and an embarrassment; just look at my avatar for this blog and you'll get it.

Why do I insist on even trying to grow a beard? Because I am afflicted with what I've deemed "Ralph Macchio" syndrome:

Like Mr. Macchio, I have a baby face which made me look young for a long time and allowed me to still get "carded" when buying alcohol all the way up through my mid 30's. But now as I approach 40, I have this strange hybrid look of young and old at the same time that just looks "off".  That is where the beard comes into play; I attempt to pull off the mature/rugged look. That shit ain't happening.      

2)The ability to smell - If you know me well enough, you know I am an avid gardener and love to eat:

What a tool (pun intended).

Anyway, I have zero sense of smell. That's what a deviated septum will do for you. Imagine how much more I would enjoy all of my flowers if I could smell them or enjoy my food if I had a full command of all five senses. On top of that, I have to sleep with my mouth completely open and that leads to a lack of quality sleep. And one more for good measure - my gums are inflamed as a result of all my mouth breathing so dentist cleanings are a bloody mess. You feeling my pain? Time to get the surgery and enjoy life that much more. No more dry heaving after my morning run because I can't get any air up through and out of my nostrils.

**One benefit of no smell - I could change my children's nastiest diapers without any issue. My wife still thanks me.**           

3)To NOT SEE the movie "New Year's Eve" - You know you've seen the trailer and all of the well known actors/actresses in this flick. And you also know if Ashton Kutcher is in it, it has no soul. While you are all sitting in the theater and watching the stereotypical character portrayals, a contrived script and an overall lack of character depth, I'll be home watching a show with smart writing and a better grasp of real life like Phineas and Ferb or Spongebob:

My wife and I sat through the bore that was "Valentine's Day" (from the makers of New Year's Eve) and vowed to never watch another movie of it's ilk again. I've seen more depth and realism watching Jersey Shore.  

Hearing John's "Wolverine" situation makes me think how much I cannot stand the thought of having to shave first thing in the morning. 

I buy every skin care product known to man that Gillette sells to make it a decent experience and still an hour after shaving, I have a 5 o'clock shadow that's worse then George Michael's "Faith" video.

OK maybe not as good looking as George but pretty damn close:
My list is very short this year......

1)To make it through a movie without falling asleep 45 minutes in - Not only does sleep apnea make me wake up every single morning like I just went to bed 5 minutes ago, but it has more importantly, limited my Tivo selections. I am the king of the 30 min show (which are about 23 minutes considering you can fast forward through commercials). 1 hour shows are really pushing it but depending on the subject matter (example: "Snooki's True Hollywood Story" or "Mob Wives Reunion") and a few smacks in the face at about the 40 min mark, I can make it through:

Although having to watch football on Sunday from 1pm -11pm with food every few hours somehow I'm able to make it through that with no problem. Hmmmmm, I wonder why?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Matt's not so relaxing day off

I was looking to enjoy some of the holiday spirit this year so I took a day off from the usual rat race to go at my own pace and enjoy a Monday vacation day all to myself. I really don't like to interfere with my lunch routine with my buddy John, but there are some things that get in the way that ya need to take care of from time to time.

My set agenda would include running a few errands and maybe sneak in a short trip to the mall and do a lil Christmas shopping. I figured most people would be at work on a Monday at lunch time a few weeks from Christmas……Bad Move.

I started with my errands. Wanting to keep things in an upbeat and good mood, I went with the Sirius Radio Christmas Holiday channel. Ahhhhh Michael Buble, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole know just how to put me in a good mood. But before I got too comfortable and put on a Christmas karaoke show in my car, my good mood hit a huge pothole…Mariah Carey and her forever popular “All I want for Christmas is yoouuuuuu” song comes on the radio. Ughh, Again with this song?
The royalties alone of that song will put her twins (who btw are named “Roc” and “Roe”) and her Grandkids kids through college nine times over. Unreal. I’d rather hear William Hung sing “She Bangs She Bangs” 20 times straight blasting in my ear.

First stop, the post office….
Our post office has a real small parking lot so it’s a lil tough to maneuver around. I pull into the lot and there it was right their smack in front of me, one of those drivers with their right turn blinker on that make it a point to hold up all the traffic behind them just to show they are waiting to pull into a parking spot. This is of course right after the really slow person leaving finds it in their heart to move a lil faster so that we can all move on with our day. Anyway, in a panic I take the “employee only” spot (Yeah, I know I shouldn’t have). I figured though what employee comes into work at 11am? they have to all be inside by now right?
Anyway, I finally get inside and the line is longer then the Target returns counter on 12/26. 35 minutes later I pull out of my “employee only” spot and ready to hit the mall.

Second and Final stop, The Mall…..
The mall was much worse then the post office experience just with a bigger parking lot.
Every parking aisle was filled with every Joe Schmo with the same flashing blinker (like the post office guy) letting me know “don’t even try it f’er” this spot is mine”. As they waited for the slow a$$ leaving the mall to pull out of their parking spot, I headed to the area of the lot to park 7 football fields away from the mall entrance just not to deal with the parking obsessed shoppers.

After finally parking in no mans land and dealing with the chaos at both locations, I decided that there a few things I never want to hear anyone ever say based on what I witnessed an hour into my joyous day off: “things are tight right now”, “I’m always broke”, “just living paycheck to paycheck”, “times are hard”, “there are no jobs”, “we are in a depression”, “retail sales are down”, etc, etc. When I hear that mentioned again I will say “Oh Yeah, you wanna go to the mall?”

Whew, writing this I feel like I went through it all over again…Anyway, the moral of the story is this….Let’s all just take a deep breath, embrace the holidays, don’t park in the “Employee Only” spot and do your shopping in September not December!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Give me a coke and a slice

It was a different kind of lunch today. Matt was off and I had a half day at work. But have no fear, I still made it to Wegman's on my own.

Today's lunch needed to be portable as the plan was to eat on the way home. That eliminates anything requiring a fork or two hands. I was beyond hungry and craving carbs like a marathon runner so the decision was easy - three slices of pizza.

I could talk about pizza all day and night so sit back and get ready to read all about the history of the pizza pie. I kid. A few interesting pizza anecdotes did pop into my head today and thought I would share them with you because you need to know:

Ordering a pizza slice - A good debate can be had as to the proper way to order a cheese slice. Some will say "cheese slice please" and that would be fine ... but wrong. The correct way to order would be "plain slice please". That's how I've done it since the late 70's and it makes sense. All pizza has cheese so that assumption is already in place. I don't care if menus and labels at pizza joints say "cheese slice", you still don't say that when ordering.

How to eat - To fold or not to fold? Easy one - always fold. It is a more convenient way to hold the slice, especially when driving as I was today. Folding basically doubles up the cheese, sauce and bread in one bite. An explosion of heaven if you will. But most importantly, you look like an amateur if you don't fold; especially here in the Northeast US where pizza is sacred.

Best temp to eat pizza - I may be in the minority on this one, but my preference is to eat pizza that has already been cooked, cooled down and is only then briefly reheated. You get the crunch in the pizza without destroying the roof of your mouth from the cheese lava when you eat it right out of the oven. Also, I know it sounds all cool and college student-like to eat it cold or for breakfast; please don't, it tastes like crap that way and you know it.

Frozen pizza - NEVER. If you live in NJ or NY, you know there is a pizzeria within 5 miles of your home. Get on the phone, order, go pick it up and never think frozen again. Sacrilege.

Deep dish pizza - I throw up in my mouth a little just thinking of it. I had the authentic version once while in Chicago and never again.

Stuffed crust pizza - My kids love it and I want to eliminate their trust fund every time they say it. Totally unnecessary.  
So on my way home from work today, I folded my three slices like a champ and had a smile on my face the whole time. There really is no better food and compared to a lot of other nasty lunch options out there, it is quite healthy. C'mon, it's full of lycopenes and cheese is protein, right? Damn straight.                            

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Like two old ladies

We were bad ass yesterday. We left for lunch at 1:30, not our usual 11:55. Bout that? Who says we're not flexible in our old age?

Truth is, we were both totally thrown by the later departure. We talked food the entire drive to Wegman's and started to map out our lunch strategies before we even set foot in  ... Heaven. The problem is, it's difficult to make rational food decisions when you're that friggin hungry. Everything looks good but it so easy to end up with food regret when all is said and done. Yes, we take it that seriously.

For me, it was a mix of the Asian and Indian buffet bar. I piled that shit in there like you wouldn't believe. Sesame chicken piled on top of tandoori chicken piled on top of a vegetable spring roll ... and some broccoli which played off of all of the chicken nicely. A protein orgy that I'm still recovering from.

Yes, the 1:30 departure had me so hungry that I was looking for old crackers that have been in my desk since 2005. I would have eaten them even if they were out of the packaging. After making our 1:30 grand entrance into Wegmans I went for a little bit of my own "combo" platter. A few pieces of peking pork, John's favorite tandoori chicken, scoop of vegetable fried rice (hey it says vegetable), topped off with 3 pieces of broccoli (had to color coordinate the meal) a mini egg roll (mini means barely any calories in case you did not know that), with my #1 beverage, diet Mountain Dew. Yeahhhh lets go find a seat to enjoy all of this happiness.

After lunch, we put on our girdles and did some shopping.

The full Wegman's experience.

As expected, Matt immediately headed to the supplement aisle. He's looking at glucosamine in the photo below and just to prove how well we know each other, I know he's making sure that shellfish is not listed as one of the ingredients. Apparently, he would break out in hives and foam at the mouth if he ever ate a shrimp or a piece of crabmeat.

The "serious consumer face" he was pulling here was priceless and I couldn't miss out on it. Even more priceless was the look I was getting from the pharmacists as I took this picture. All in a day's work:        

John mentioned that he needed to pick something up after lunch so we headed down to do a lil shopping.

He said in a very low tone "I need to get something for these friggin lips". I said to myself OK maybe you can get a flavored chap stick or something to go with your earrings. Sure enough my partner never lets me down. Being somewhat health conscious, he finds the most non-masculine healthy remedy "Pomegranate Lip Balm". Are you kiddin? Anyway, it went perfect with his skirt.

What? All dudes don't use lip balm with pomegranate oil? You can't imagine how glorious my lips feel as the pomegranate sinks in. Fine, a little soft on my part. I get it. But damn it is exquisite.

During our lil shopping excursion I made my dessert choice and went for something that I knew would satisfy my craving for sweets. It helped with the non-stop coffee craving, fake sweet taste (sugar free of course) along with it being some kind of candy. Something only a tough guy from the Bronx would get. See for yourself.

The cover makes them look like you need to 2 people to lift one out of the bag, but when I opened it up they might have been the smallest candies I've ever seen. Werther's "Sugar Free" Caramel Coffee hard candies. They pack a punch let me tell ya.

My confection of choice blows away Matt's choice of Werther's. Are you kidding me? I think my grandmother used to give those to me in church back in the 80's. And I'm still picking them out of my teeth.

I went with something decadent and smooth and silky. The combination of chocolate and raspberry is divine so I opted for the following:  

In the fanny pack it went to be enjoyed later at work.

Ah, the full Wegman's experience was had. Now time to head to Bingo at the local VFW building.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's talk "overrated"

We went to Wegman's for lunch today. The End.

That would be the story for most. Eat lunch out of necessity and then back to work.

Matt and I, on the other hand, have turned it into our own personal variety show. We love our food and all and can talk about it all day, but I think lunch hour represents a chance to just riff on whatever the hell we want. Very few people we interact with understand that concept. Coworkers give us that smile that says "Aren't you two middle aged adults cute going out to lunch together each day. Do you carry each other's books to class too?" Guess what? We like it, there's nothing homoerotic about it and it affects you in no way. So do me a favor, move on. Thank you.

I won't bore you with the food details today, but will let you in on our topic du jour. It was all things "overrated". It ranged from foods, to movies, to music, to holidays. I'll let Matt start it off with his top 3.

1) Angelina Jolie - OMG, I cannot stand when her name comes up. "Oh she is just beautiful". I cringe when I hear that statement. Now I'm not saying she is ugly, but jee whiz let's get over it. I get it, no sh$t she's this and that. If she is so beautiful then why is it that for the past 3-4 years the only time her name is included in a movie credit is being the voice in a "Kung Fu Panda" movie. Please. Now Sofia Vergara...that's another story.

2) New Year's Eve - I really love the holidays. This day though is the beginning of the end for me and I'll tell ya why. #1 Christmas is over = Sad, #2 have to go back to work right after New Years day = Sad, #3 "Auld Lang Syne" - I get choked up every time I hear it = Sad, and last but no least #4 I have to hear everyone's New Years resolutions. Everyone goes out to join a gym. Everyone joins Weight Watchers. Smokers buy the Electronic Cigarette. Everyone updates their resume and everyone starts a new money management plan. All down the drain in week to 10 days...

3) Madonna - Not sexy. I can't remember her last good song. Voice stinks.

My top 3:
1)Seinfeld - go ahead, rip me a new one. I get it. I know I am in the minority with this one but I've never laughed once the few times I've watched the show. Jerry does the same schtick over and over, George annoys me to no end and Kramer with the sliding into the room, just not funny to me. Runner-up: Cheers - Was Norm really that funny or interesting?

2)U2 - another case of blasphemy, I know. They just bore me to death. The older stuff was decent but only went in the wrong direction as the years went by. I can only hope they continue to fail miserably with the Spider Man project. A little ego in check would be nice. Runner-up: Dave Matthews Band - zzzzzzzzzzzz

3)Crab cakes - maybe I've never had one prepared the right way, but I'm always disappointed whenever I eat one of these. I hear people rant and rave about them but I always find them a bit tasteless. Very little bang for the buck. Runner-up: French onion soup - c'mawn, it's about the cheese only.

How 'bout you all? What do you find overrated?                

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Give me a "canal" and ... a piano

We were back at Wegman's for the first time in over a week and it felt good. I made three rounds around the "cafe" just to let it all soak in again.

Buffalo wings looking good.

Asian buffet bar, don't you ever change.

A quick wink to the servers at the salad line who rock it like no other.

I felt like John Travolta walking down the street in the intro to Saturday Night Fever.
The lunch decision was a difficult one because we had been away for so long. It all felt fresh and new. After changing my mind three or four times, I went with three parmesan/garlic wings and a caesar salad.

I f'n choked.

While it was delicious, as usual, I could have done better. I wanted to bang my head on the Wegman's self playing piano (no joke), where we sit upstairs, like the guy from Sesame Street:
If you get that reference, you rule. If not, sorry. Sesame Street dominated my childhood and I still value all that Grover, Big Bird and especially Oscar taught me.    

Once we entered through Wegman's doors, John and I split up to hunt down our feast for the hour long "Lunch Show". I had my mind made up and headed right to the sub counter to get the usual cold cut (nitrates on a log) sandwich.

While at the counter a weird thing happened. I'll explain:

I asked for whole wheat bread, and every time the person behind the counter goes to the bakery rack to get the popular "7 inch wheat", I panic because I want the middle of the roll taken out so I don't feel like I'm eating just a loaf of bread. However, I don't want the person next to me or the person behind the counter to look at me and say "you gotta be kidding me". So I have to make a judgment call on whether or not to ask, based on how brave I feel at the time. I felt comfortable to ask this time because the person behind the counter seemed real nice. After asking if she could remove some of the bread inside the roll, she says "No problem I do that all the time, I'll make like a canal for you"......5 SECOND PAUSE.....Enter the DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS look...
I gave her this fake smile and immediately became nauseous. "I'll make like a canal for you?" Really? After making sure that last statement never came through my mental thoughts again, she still had more to say...I guess she thought by me asking to remove some of the bread I was trying to watch my caloric intake. Ha.

After asking what meat I would like in the sandwich she says "Would you like light mayo?" Light mayo? C'mon, who says that? Why not just say "Mustard or Mayo on that?" All of a sudden light mayo sits on top of the condiment hierarchy? The whole 5 minute sub shop experience was odd and made me never want to ask for the middle of the roll taken out.

There was a bit of an edge to our conversation today. As thrilled as we were to be back, I sensed some anger in both of us. After eating lunch together every day for the past ten years, we tend to be in sync with our emotions. Sort of like what happens when a bunch of women live together and their "cycles" eventually align. Shit, did I just say that?  

"People" were the issue today. More specifically, certain type of people who piss us both off. Here's an example:

Do you know "that person" who so politely asks you "How are you doing? How are the kids?" but has no intention of actually listening to your response? Me too, and they drive me nuts. Don't even bother asking if you don't care. I know you are following the handbook of how to converse properly with someone, but it's OK, just get to your question/demand and it will be OK.

I could go on and on but we'll save some other examples for a future post. Maybe we'll start "People Who Annoy Us Wednesday", or something like that.  

John is right. Those are the same people who go "Hey you look like you lost weight". This after you just gained 10 lbs.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your lunch.

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