Lock, Stock & Over The Falls Without A Barrel

 

Niagara Falls has always held a special place in my family’s collective heart. Just over an hour drive away, it had always been the go to destination for family outings, and weekend getaways.

The other night, all of my kids and their significant others were over for dinner. As the conversation turned to our family trips to Niagara Falls, the day trips and the weekends, my wife asked if I remembered the first time that I took her there. There are many things that my aging memory has lost somewhere in that time and space that seems to swallow up my keys and eye glasses, but that first weekend in The Falls, is forever tattooed in my brain, and on my right forearm.

We were still dating then, in that place between let’s live together and what the hell is going on with you? We went for a weekend, and now my wife was questioning my ability to remember that trip.

“Well”, I said, “Let’s just go back a lifetime or two. Pay attention boys and girls, this will both shock and amaze you.”

“Its not going to be about sex again, is it?”, one of them asked.

“No.”, I said, “Its been so long, I don’t remember any of that stuff.”

“You’re such an ass.”, my wife said, as she hit me in the arm.

I began my tale of the most expensive weekend in Niagara Falls history. “We left on Friday afternoon and, before heading out on a mere one hour drive, we stopped and had a late lunch, as your mother was hungry. Back on the road, after her cheeseburger and fries, I took her to Niagara-On-The-Lake. We parked and walked down the main street, filled with artisan boutiques and shops. Your mother had ice cream. We dove on to The Falls, and checked into our Hotel, a quaint little establishment complete with a heart shaped Jacuzzi, and water bed, nestled between a Wedding Chapel, and a liquor store. To this day, I am still not sure if the trip to the liquor store is to be made before or after the stop at the Wedding Chapel.

After settling in, we headed out to wander around the falls. As we walked along Ferry Street, she spotted a Taqueria, and decided that she was in the mood for a snack. Two tacos and a white wine later, we were off to see The Falls. We walked along the pedestrian pathway that edged the gorge, and marveled at the international tourists  who ‘ooohed’ and ‘aaahed’ at the wonder of it all. By now, it was rapidly approaching feeding time, and when she spotted the sign in front of The Love Boat advertising Prime Rib, our dinner plans were secured. Your mother had the prime rib, complete with a baked potato, and some green vegetable thing. I had mussels in garlic and wine sauce. We left the restaurant, satiated, and headed back to the room. As we neared our hotel, your mother spotted a 7-11, and determining that we should have emergency rations in the event of a sudden global shortage of prefabricated junk food, stopped to purchase a bag of potato chips, a bottle of ginger ale, several chocolate bars, and a pack of beef jerky.”

“And you had to pay for all of that?”, one of my daughters asked.

“Oh,”, I said. “In her defense, she always offered to pay. I wouldn’t let her. I figured that she was bound to make herself sick long before I ran out of money.I was however, wrong. I had to make several trips to the ATM just to keep her fed. I mean, she only weighed 100 pounds. How much food could she eat?

Anyway, we spent the night in the room where she finished off the chocolate bars, half a bag of potato chips, some ginger ale, and most of the beef jerky. I was starting to feel sick just watching her eat.”

“You should have dumped her, right there.”, one of them blurted out.

“I thought about.”, I said, “but she was so damn cute. The next morning, we went to Perkins for breakfast. Your mother had an order of pancakes, an order of bacon, and order of sausages, toast and coffee. I kept asking myself where all of this food was going, and hoped that it wasn’t some sort of gastrointestinal parasite. We spent the morning horseback riding along a secluded spot on the shores of Lake Erie. On our way back to Niagara Falls, we stopped at a farmer’s roadside pie stand, and purchased a fresh, home made apple pie, although I have no idea how it was made fresh in the back of his pick up truck. On the way back to the hotel, we had to stop at the 7-11 because, as it was explained to me in the car, no one should have to eat apple pie without ice cream!

Lunch was McDonald’s, and there was fudge from a dessert shop that was being saved for later. After visiting several tourist attractions, and The Harley-Davidson store, I took her across the border to one of the best Italian Restaurants known to man, Como’s in Niagara Falls, New York. We both had veal parmigiana, served with pasta, salad, and a basket of bread big enough to feed a small orchestra. After dinner, there was fudge at the hotel.

Sunday came, and it began with breakfast at a local greasy spoon, after which we checked out of the hotel, and headed back to Niagara-On-The-Lake, to wander through Fort George. We left Niagara, and headed back to the big city. We spent the afternoon at my place, and went out to Swiss Chalet for lunch. It was time to call it a weekend, and I was taking her home, when we passed The Towne & Country Buffet.”

“I think you’re making a lot of this up.”, my wife said.

“Really?’, I asked. “You don’t remember going back 3 times for the prime rib? You also had apple cobbler with chocolate ice cream for desert. Remember now?”

“No.”, she said. “I do not!”

“Well, that’s pretty much how it was, give or take a few meals and snacks. After dropping you off, I went straight to the hospital to donate a kidney. I needed the money for the rent, and a car payment or two.”

“That’s a lie.”, she exclaimed.

“Yes”, I said, “that’s a lie.

“I can’t believe you went out with her again.”, one of them stated. I looked at my wife, and saw in her eyes what I had seen so many years ago.

“She’s was worth it.”, I told them. “Still is. But now you know why I can’t afford to retire. I’m still paying off a restaurant tab from 1995.”

 

 

 

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Life Is A Carnival

I seem to have a propensity for not being able to hang on to money. I never really spend any, yet I rarely come home with the money I left the house with. I don’t buy anything. I simply lose it. Not nomoney1gambling losses. I just can’t find it. It was in my pocket, and then it is not! My wife says that she has seen people follow me around, just waiting to pick up the money that falls from my pockets. She has decided knows not to put money in my hand. If I am going shopping with one of my kids, she gives them the money. I am permitted to debit. But no cash.

I suppose there are good reasons for this. Many years ago I went to the drug store to pick something up for one of the kids. I left with a $20 bill, and returned with a $10 item and no change. I had no idea what happened to the other $10. “Did the cashier give you back the change?”, my wife asked.

“I don’t know.”, I replied. “Why wouldn’t she?”

“Where is it?”, she asked.

“I don.t know”.

My wife called the drug store, and, when they closed, they discovered a $10 overage. “Well, at least I didn’t lose it.”, I told her proudly. I drove back to the drug store to collect the money.

It is not just money I seem to lose. I have misplaced, or forgotten my debit card at ATMs and gas stations. I have left packages or newly purchased items on the counter of stores after debiting. And, on one occasion, I forgot my infant daughter in a bank after depositing a cheque. Now, I didn’t leave her there. By the time I got to the car, I realized that I had left her in the bank, and went back confusedto retrieve her. My wife insists it is a memory problem, possibly early onset Alzheimer’s.

She tells me there are times when I get lost. Okay, there was the time in WalMart, when I wandered off, and couldn’t find her in the store afterwards. I roamed up and down the aisles, but to no avail. I decided to sit on the bench at the front of the store believing that sooner or later, she would head for the door. About 30 minutes later, she appeared, not the least bit concerned that I had been missing, but focusing on whether or not I had learnt my lesson about wandering off. I didn’t. I still do it.

I am no longer permitted to cook unless someone else is home to check up on me. It seems I have a habit of forgetting to turn the oven or stove top off when I am done, and forgetting that I have left something in the oven cooking. She is afraid that the house will be incinerated, and therefor, the kitchen is off limits unless I am supervised.  She bought me a kitchen timer, which I am to set for cookingthe time needed to cook. It rings when the time has expired, and that is my cue to go back to the kitchen, check on the food, and turn the oven off. Can you see the problems with this plan? Yes, I usually forget to set the damn thing, and if I do set it, I don’t always know what the ringing is for. My kids have said, and they laugh quite hard at me for this, that they have seen me answer the telephone when the kitchen timer goes off.

A doctor appointment was made to look into this. I sat with my doctor who asked me a series of questions. What day of the week is it? What year is it? My date of birth? My address? my wife’s date of birth. All of these were answered correctly, and he concluded that I do not have Alzheimer’s.

As if this was not enough, I have been told by 2 of my daughters who live with me, that I do some rather bizarre things. Once, after putting groceries away, my daughter found a package of cheese in the cutlery drawer, and canned tuna in the freezer. To my credit, this drawer is right beside the fridge, and well, I cannot explain the tuna in the freezer.

clumsymanI have been breaking many household items recently. We have a shopping cart to bring groceries home so we can walk to the stores. Well, I have broken the wheels on 2 of them. And, somehow, I have broken the electric can opener. I am not certain how, but it now requires a butter knife be inserted between the lever and the activation button in order to operate. In essence, one requires 3 hands to use this small appliance now. I told my wife it promotes togetherness and cooperation. Surprisingly, no one wants to participate.

While changing a light bulb in the kitchen, I dropped the fixture, and well, we no longer have a fixture in the kitchen. I installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and was surprised there was so much left over hardware. The fan works, however it seems to sit off to the left, making a whirring noise as the blades spin. We don’t use it much. Years and years ago, we purchased a small, charcoal barbecue that I had to assemble. While putting it together, in the backyard, I dropped some screws handymanand nuts in the grass. I finished the assembly, and we began a wonderful Sunday family event. Once the coals were just the right color, and the flames had ebbed, I put the food on the grill, only to have it collapse. I think we ordered in Chinese food that night.

I remind my wife that I never claimed to be handy. Not in any way. I have a list of people I know who are handy, and I can call them and they will be here as fast as they can to fix, build, construct anything. That is my area of expertise. Knowing who the right person for the job is and getting them to do the job. Enough said!!! I remind myself that most of these ‘accidents’ were intended to impress my wife, to demonstrate some level of testosterone driven manliness. If not, I hope that at least I have made her laugh. And that seems to more than compensate for the lost money, broken items, and potential fire hazard.