mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

3 days with the folks...

So, about an hour ago my parents drove away bound for the great frozen north of New Jersey.

They came down Wednesday, got here in the afternoon. I gave them a tour of the house. It seemed pretty quick, considering I'd spent a bunch of time the last couple days to clean stuff up, shove crap into the closets, hide the pile of Maxims that were on the top of the toilet, and otherwise make the house look like I lived neater and better than I really do.

Still, they seemed impressed by Casa De Mad. My mom remarked a couple times that I had a lot of furniture, especially compared to my older brother - I guess my bargain-shopping of the clearance stuff at Target and the as-is section of Ikea has paid off - I've spent very little on furniture. Of course, it also helps that I moved out at 22, so I've had a few years to accumulate stuff.

We went out to dinner on Wednesday night at Ammicis, followed by desert at Vaccaro's. Thursday we decided to tour some wineries. My dad seemed off-put by the directions (and I was mildly frightened by his driving around Baltimore the night before) so I offered to drive. My parents drive an '02 Chrysler Town and Country (with a mere 30k on the clock). It actually drives pretty well - the engine is pretty perky, and it handles well.

Our first stop was Basignani. Nobody around except a dog. The office/tasting room had a sign that had a "come in we're open" sign and two more barking dogs, but no lights and nobody home. After a few minutes, my parents decide it's not worth hanging around, so we go to the next one - Woodhall.. Same deal - there's a guy doing some construction, but no wine people. He says they might be in the house. We decide against it and keep going.

The next stop is Boordy, which is actually not all that far from Casa De Mad. Unlike the other two wineries, which seemed to have been run as a hobby (or maybe a tax shelter) with minimal actual interest in selling wine, Boordy is run like a business, and I say that in a good way. A short, cute, bubbly, sunburned blond woman gives us a quick tour of the grounds and we try some wine. I'm not a huge wine person, but they had a Seyval-Vidal-Chardonnay blend that was decent, so I buy a bottle.

Dinner Thursday night was Chiapparellis, followed by Vaccaro's for desert.

My parents probably would have been happy to spend Friday just sitting around, but I wanted to actually do something. Having gone through most of the Maryland wineries, we decided to head north to Naylor Winery, just over the border in PA. It's a really nice area, and a really nice day. Being the low-class drinker that I am, I'm glad to discover that they have a line of "socially sweet" wines, including a very good Niagra. My parents usually drink dry reds, but they also sometimes used to buy Widmer Lake Niagra, but feel that the quality has gone down. They try the Naylor Niagra and love it, and buy half a case along with a half-case of some dry red. I pick up a couple bottles of the Niagra, which I really like (although it's considerably more expensive than the two-buck chuck that I usually drink on the rare occasions that I hit the wine bottle). We spend a while sitting in the gazebo at Naylor - the weather was nice, and my dad was fondly recalling the people who lived in their small town in NJ who used to make their own wine while he was growing up.

The original Friday night plan was to go to the Outback steakhouse near me, where MadAnthony could get a steak and a beer. While my parents are using the bathroom, I decide I would rearrange the liquor and wine bottles on the Baker's Rack that I have in my dining room. Then I feel a pain in my head and a loud crash. I had precariously balanced my Cuisnart Griddler on the top of the rack, and it fell and grazed my head. My mom goes into typical mom mode and panics that I might have a concussion, that I should sit, relax, and put ice on it. She also makes me look up directions to the nearest hospital, just in case - and tells me I shouldn't drink just in case. Which kills my desire to go to outback, so after a while without passing out, we end up going to the Double T diner, where I get an omlet and a piece of strawberry shorcake the size of my head.

I knew my mom would want to check on me, plus I figured I'd see them off, so I suggested that we do breakfast before they leave. I picked up some cinnamon buns at Ikea (best breakfast deal in town, and they literally came hot out of the oven), we ate, talked, and they left.

It was good to see them. I really wanted them to see the house - it's kind of my biggest achievement so far in life - plus I know that they haven't gotten to see a whole lot of me in the last few years and would like to spend more time with them.

I'm also realizing how old they have gotten - they are in their upper 60's, and it's starting to show. They move slowly, they are starting to look older. There were a bunch of times I had to wait for them to catch up. It kind of makes me sad- they used to be a lot more active, and I can tell (especially for my mom) that it's getting harder to move around, and that it will only get worse. It's sad, but I guess it's part of life, and they seem to be taking it in stride.


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