It promised to be a busy weekend, what with us leaving for Malaysia in a few days for my younger sister’s “extended” wedding.
My Saturday began with the realization that I did not pack a few important things. So much for sleeping in. I “temporarily” placed the items in “assigned” locations in our luggages, and finished the wrapping of the final presents. After walking and feeding Jessie, I proceeded to do spring cleaning on my computer and spent the rest of the morning and the better part of the afternoon with my hard drive. We were going to head out for lunch, but thought otherwise. Not only was the weather uninviting, but since we were going to go into the city for hub’s birthday dinner, we ate in instead. As the king of the day, he did utterly nothing, until it was time to leave. All he did was play XBox the entire day.
The plan was to leave the house at 5 pm, avoid the Saturday evening jam, head towards Jackson Heights, Queens to drop off cheh’s luggage and then meet TnT for dinner at an Argentinian restaurant in the neighborhood. Oh yes, and before that, we had to pick up a birthday cake too. The intention was good, but it was definitely lacking in the execution department.
We left the house at 6 pm. Cutting across town was a nightmare. Not only were there crazy shoppers we had to jostle around, but there were an insane number of weekend road warriors maneuvering the asphalt. When we finally reached 59th street Bridge, it was 15 minutes pass 7. Did I mention that Lincoln Tunnel is only 5 minutes away from my house?
Finding parking at my younger sister’s place is next to impossible. When you want to park, there is never any in sight. When you don’t want to park, the empty spots miraculously appear. So instead of parking, hubs dropped cheh and I, the luggage and presents off at the apartment. The moment we stepped out of the car, there is no mistaking the unique scent of the Indians. Little India, here we come!
Dragging the luggage, and three hands full of presents, we shimmied our way to my younger sister’s apartment, only to find out she wasn’t in! Alarmed, we started banging at her door and ringing her door bell. When I finally reached her on the phone, she told me that she just stepped out with her hubs to get a cake at the bakery.
“We’re coming back. Don’t move.”
Don’t worry. We’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. Not with the baggage. Or the presents.
Tnt finally showed up. Right away, my only brother-in-law told me that the airline lost his luggages. He’s wearing what he wore the day before and his only pair of holey, but comfortable “airplane” shoes. Vagabond #1.
The airlines managed to misplace his luggage for a straight flight from Toronto to NY. His tuxedo for the wedding, jewelry and other important effects were all suddenly stripped away from him.
Instead of hanging out in the apartment waiting for hubs to come up after parking, we decided to meet him at the restaurant. As we walked out of the apartment, my now favorite brother-in-law said, “Er, I don’t know if you want to know this. But I think you have a run on your stockings that run up to your ass.”
In shock I quickly twirled around, more horrified that maybe my ass was hanging out, with my skirt stuck in my underwear – ala my younger sister, who once walked out of her office and into the streets of Manhattan during summer, with her skirt stuck up her thong, flashing not only the locals but a bus-load of tourist. Much to my relief, it was only a “little” but long run at the back. But my dearest brother-in-law had to add salt to a non-existent wound.
“She looks like a hobo with a run in her tights.”
And that is how I became vagabond #2.
As we were walking towards the restaurant, hubs caught up with us, but not before letting us know that he saw parking right in front of the apartment, after parking 3 blocks away. My younger sister and I then proceeded to another bakery after dropping the rest off at the restaurant. At a Mexican/Spanish/Italian bakery, we bought fruit tarts and cannolis for dessert.
It was an Argentinian restaurant, which was mighty noisy. My brother-in-law suggested we speak up so that he can hear us. Has he met us? Or in this case, heard us? We don’t have a “louder” volume. It’s just one volume. It’s called the Waking-the-dead-amplification. And that is our EVERYDAY speaking voice.
Anyway, we were offered sweetbread by our waiter, after my beloved brother-in-law dared us to order it. He questioned me if I even know what sweetbread was.
“Yes. It’s the innards of an animal,” I replied.
“Which part?” he asked.
“I don’t know.”
Mr. Smart-Alec proceeded to let us know that it was the lung of the animal, but was corrected by the waiter, saying that it is the thymus (a gland at the throat) of the animal. He though I was going to say testicles. But I corrected him, arguing that testicles are NOT innards.
“Depending on how cold it is,” he quipped.
Our bread plates were cleared 15 minutes before our entrée was served. So we sat around, looking longingly at the remainder of the crusty and chewy bread (and fried sweetbread). When our entree was finally served, we were astounded by the serving portions. My younger sister’s chicken Milanese was flatted out to the size of an entire dinner plate with the sides spilling over. Cheh’s grilled chicken, even though could feed two people, was the smallest portion of us all. Hubs had two huge slabs of pork chops, each about an inch and a half thick. My brother-in-law’s medium rare steak was just as big and thick as hubs’ two pork chops put together. Finally, my order of seafood pasta in cream sauce was just overflowing with squid, muscles and prawns. This was also hubs’ order, since he was king, which he gladly ate from and cleaned. In the end, the chicken Milanese, steak, grilled chicken and pork chop were doggie-bagged. Oh, not wanting to waste, we packed up the bread that we had to stare at for so long, and the butter that came along with it. We decided to leave the sugar packets alone.
With our bought dessert and packed up extra day of food, we left the restaurant. Some how, my brother-in-law was left holding all the bags.
“You just got a promotion from hobo to a coolie,” I told him sweetly.
“Very nice. At least I’m no longer a hobo,” he replied. “So I’m the coolie, and he’s the mamat,” he continued while nodding at hubs. A mamat is a Malay term for a driver.
“Yes,” I giggled. “You guys are very handy.”
And just as I said that, out of no where, we heard, “Shit!”
We turned around to look, and saw cheh with her left leg flailing in the air, and the sole of her Tommy Hilfiger boot flapping. We all started cracking up at her predicament. It started as a chuckle. But as she waddled and flipped her way back to my younger sister’s apartment with my younger sister aiding her like an old lady, it soon turned into a full hearty laugh. With the uproar and commotion we created, we ensured that no muggers would attack us that night. Cheh made us howl in laughter when she tried to explain to us that she (Ms. Fashionista) was going to replace the pair of shoes, she just never had the incentive. She was utterly embarrassed. We were just doubled over in stitches, and if the ground wasn’t as grimy, we would have been rolling on it clutching our stomachs in pain while trying very hard to gasp for air.
That is how she became vagabond #3.
Cheh got glue from my younger sister to put her ultra shiny boot back together again for the walk back to the car. Before we left for the night, Christmas presents were given to TnT, so that we didn’t have to lug it all the way back to Malaysia. We also had our dessert and watched a little of “The Score” before calling it a night at 11:30 pm. By then, my brother-in-law got a call from the airline that his luggage was found and was on its way to him.