RSS Feed

Should I Spell It Out for You?

laptop.2Anyone who knows me knows that there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me crazy. (OK, there are lots of things, but this issue, in particular, is sure to get an immediate hair-tearing response.) That would be spelling/grammatical errors, whether on TV, in emails from magazines, newspapers, etc., or online posts from large media outlets. In this day and age of people assuming (you all do know what happens when you ASS U ME, I hope) that all they need is some form of Spell Check to make everything right, let me assure you that proofreaders/copy editors should not be optional employees.

The moment I see a post with the wrong word or a misspelling used in the header, I immediately newspaper3disregard that post and go on to the next one – unless, of course, it’s really juicy. When I read a newspaper (yes, I still do read the paper on occasion), and find multiple spelling errors throughout that paper, I groan and find it difficult to concentrate on what I’m reading. Once again, I’m talking about professional posts that are going out to thousands of people, being written by (presumably) paid employees of that business. Yes, errors by individuals sending private emails or posting something online also bug me, but I can let those go because they are not being paid to get information out to the public. I just grind my teeth and force myself to let it go. Let it go…

dinosaurAnyway, I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times that in this day and age of instant information, fewer and fewer people find it necessary to take the time to make sure that what they’re putting out there is error-free. No one seems to care anymore. I don’t think that this is necessarily a generational issue either. I know plenty of people who are not dinosaurs who are deeply irked when they see this kind of sloppy writing.

 

So, for your amusement and possible enlightenment, here are some recent examples of emails and posts I’ve seen that have caused the aforementioned hair-tearing. I didn’t note all of the sources,  but believe me, they are all real.

bulldog-puppy-catching-a-ball-coloring-page-300x376

 

1. WARNING: These rescue dog transformations are going to make you ball your eyes out!

My question: Is someone going to be flinging balls at our eyes?

 

 

 

2. Exiting Offers for the Weekend – 40% Off

Presumably, these offers are already out the door, so don’t bother going.

 

3. The Washington Post Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:00:23 PM  arizona.map
News Alert
Controversial Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer won’d seek third term

Come on, Washington Post, really? Not one second to check your header before you send a mass e-mail out?

 

4. Is Your Conscious Clear?

Uh, I think so?

 

5. And now, a few choice from Cameron Diaz words on Gwyneth’s divorce

Not that I really care about anyone’s conscious uncoupling, but I have two issues with this header. The first, more obvious issue is that the sentence is complete gibberish. The second, is that the reader might assume (!) that Cameron Diaz is going to say something snarky about Gwynnie by the way the sentence is almost worded, but in fact, she defends her in the paragraph that I had no interest in reading.

 

6. From Entertainment Tonight:
tv.set

Meanwhile, Jay Leno, 63, announced his last guests before he turns over The Tonight Show. On Feb. 3, his predecessor Fallon will appear on the show, but on his final night, Feb. 6, Billy Crystal, who was Leno’s first guest in May 1992 when he succeeded Johnny Carson, will appear on the program along with country singer Garth Brooks, The Associated Press reports.

Did I miss something in 1992?

 

So yes, we laugh, but it’s also kind of sad that the rush to inform trumps accuracy and pride in the finished product. Good writing should not be optional when something is going out to the world. That being said, I feel compelled to reveal that I do have one particular word that I believe should have its spelling changed as soon as possible. If there is some committee to contact for this issue, please let me know.

My  nominee is the word judgment. Seriously, what the heck happened to the ‘e’ there? When I was in college, I had to write a paper about the Social Judgment Theory. Up until that assignment, I had never paid attention to the word judgment and its lack of an ‘e’ where one would assume (!) an ‘e’ would be. So when I was busily researching this theory in the university library, imagine my shock when every book I picked up was missing that crucial ‘e.’ The spelling of this word makes no sense at all. And yes, there are many other words in the English language that have spellings that are absurd, but this one has irked me throughout the years. Way past the time that I can remember anything about the Social Judgment Theory, the only thing that remains is my deep belief that the so-called correct spelling of the word judgment is just plain wrong.

quill__scroll_2_rhyvvHow did this happen? You have the word judge. Why would you drop the ‘e’ at the end?I have a theory. I can picture the first dictionary scribe painstakingly writing out the words in the very first dictionary. He gets to the word judgment, which he knows should have been spelled judgement. He carefully writes the first few letters: j…u…d…g… He is about to put the ‘e’ in and accidentally knocks over his drinking vessel filled with grog. He quickly swipes away the liquid so it doesn’t smear all of his hard work  away. He sighs with relief, and in his agitated state, he continues writing: m…e…n…t.  No one notices at first, and several months go by until one day, the Master of the Dictionary happens upon the word by chance. He calls the dictionary scribe in for interrogation.

“Can you explain why in the world you would have written the word ‘judgment’ without the first ‘e’ since there is no proper way to pronounce it the way it is written?” the dictionary master demands.

The dictionary scribe quakes in his boots. He frantically searches his mind for a response that won’t result in his hanging. “Well, my lord, it seemed perfectly sensible at the time,” the scribe offers. “After all, think of all the ink it has saved not only now, but in all future dictionaries, to have one less ‘e’ in the word.”

The dictionary master, being a man who is always looking to pinch a penny, agrees that this is most sensible. And there you go.

I happen to be tired of spelling a word based on a spilled cup of grog. And, when I do see this wordLatin_dictionary misspelled approximately 90% of the time, I nod in agreement and solidarity. So if anyone is aware of the committee to change the spelling of inanely spelled words, please advise. But meanwhile, I beg you, check your spelling twice, write it once. Thank you for your understanding. And the hairs on my head thank you, too.

 

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

Sky High

dotted.shoesI recently read that a research study had been done concluding that people often judge others by the shoes they wear. As if we’re not judged enough by other ridiculously superficial criteria. But that’s a rant for another day. Anyway, there were several factors taken into consideration including the obvious – if the shoes were expensive, the style, and their condition, along with other factors. People made snap judgments based on those factors, including political affiliation, income and emotional stability. Hmmm.

Anyway, I pretty much live in two kinds of shoes, depending on the season – sandals sneakersthroughout the summer, and sneakers in the winter. Or, if I must, the least hideous walking shoe I can find. Not an easy prospect with AAA feet, I promise you. I honestly wouldn’t want to know what snap judgments anyone makes about me when – or if – they bother looking at my feet.

pink.wedge.shoeThere was a time I cared about style. Back in the day, I wore outfits that required a stylish shoe – specifically, platform shoes. I could wobble down the street with the best of them, confident that I was at the height of fashion. Comfort be damned – looking good was all that mattered. Of course the definition of looking good at the time was so skewed it included giant shoulders, giant hair, and a giant amount of glitter. So subtlety and class were obviously in short supply. But it was the ’80s, so need I say more?

Fast forward to our modern age of sky-high stilettos. I have walked  past these modern beaded.shoestorture chamber devices in various shoe stores and I am certain that if I even ventured to try one of these shoes on, I would end up breaking both ankles in an exceedingly painful, cringe-worthy display of flailing arms and limbs askew.

The phenomenon I’ve noticed both in person and on TV is that women walk very strangely nowadays. They take tiny little pigeon steps while moving as quickly as possible. At first, I had no idea what was going on when I’d see female guest stars on talk shoes hurrying to their seats in this odd  manner. It’s such an unnatural walk, but it’s ubiquitous these days. (*Please note, that this walk excludes supermodels who are capable of model-striding on mile-high stilts, unlike your average human female.) But back to mortals wearing these shoes. Even down-to-earth funny ladies feel obligated to wear these ridiculously uncomfortable shoes, in the name or femininity and style. And they do that quick pigeon-shuffle as well. But they don’t walk this walk for laughs, but instead, to get to their seat and get off their feet as quickly as possible. The relief on their faces is palpable as they sink into their chairs, having successfully navigated any obstacles in their way, without toppling over or humiliating themselves in any other heel-related way.

Supposedly, flat shoes are making a comeback. For the last 20 years, let me assure you, theyblack.shoe haven’t ever left me. On the very rarest of occasions, I have managed to find a shoe that merges both comfort and style (to the extent that a heel-challenged shoe can do that), but generally it’s one or the other, and these days, comfort always wins.

red.high.heelSo, as in so many things these days, I will leave discomfort to the young. You girls look great when you’re standing still or sitting down, waving your feet around in your shoes that resemble works of art adorning your feet. Just do your best to not have to rush anywhere when you’re wearing those things. Because that pigeon walk kind of destroys the glamorous, sophisticated image you’re trying to project. Unless, of course, you’re a super model. In that case, the rest of us don’t stand a chance anyway.

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

Happy 2014

2014Best wishes for happiness, good health, lots of laughter, and dreams coming true for all of you in 2014! Thank you for all your support over the years!

I’ll Be Watching You

tv.antennaOnce upon a time, TV was free. Of course, there were only 8 channels, and the only thing you could watch at 2 a.m. was the test pattern with its accompanying high-pitched drone, but still, it was free. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am not a fan of the insanely high cost of watching cable TV,which is pretty much run by a monopoly that has no compassion for its customers, our monetary plights, or our viewing preferences. To add insult to injury, we were recently notified that in order to continue watching TV, we are now required to have HD boxes on every TV in the house. Mind you, I can remember a conversation I had with a cable rep several years ago when I was assured, that switching over to HD would NOT mean I would have to add boxes to all of my TVs. Those of you who know me know this is astonishing in itself – that I actually remember any conversation from several years ago – but this one stuck in my head, because a promise was made to me at that time that I took to heart. And now, as in much of life, the value of that promise turned out to be worth as little as the enjoyment I get from most of the shows airing on TV.

I tried to ignore the deadline for getting these boxes, hoping this was all a big hoax – then I could laugh at everyone who raced like lemmings to get their boxes. I received emails. I even received snail mail. Still, I remained firm in my belief that this was a rumor like the one about all computers ceasing to work when the calendar hit the year 2000.

mailboxBut then came the letter warning me that time was running out and that as of 5 days from the date of the letter, I would no longer be able to watch TV without those manditory boxes. This didn’t sound like a joke anymore. I actually started to sweat a little (or I should correct that to say ‘perspire,’ as a female living in the South). Anyway, I finally caved and called the cable company, meekly requesting the 2 new boxes I would need. They said I had the option of having them shipped to the house, or I could find my way to the store and wait on the days-long line snaking around the city. I chose to have them shipped. When I told the rep that our bedroom TV was older than my kids, she said she’d send the box specifically made for the “non-HD TVs,” along with the regular box. She said it could take a week – still not enough to lure me over to the store, so I hunkered down to wait it out. And as promised, a few minutes past midnight on the promised day, all remnants of TV-watching disappeared from the 2 unboxed sets in my house.

Surprisingly, the boxes arrived 2 days later. But they were identical – no box specifically for ancient televisions. Plus, when I looked at the cable set-up in my kitchen, I CellPhoneColoringPagerealized that years ago when we installed cable for the TV we had added there, the tech had drilled a hole into my floor to run the cable through, although I couldn’t remember the reason for defacing my kitchen floor. And I had no idea where the cable actually went, so I didn’t have any idea what we should do. The rep understood the identical box situation, but told me over and over that she didn’t understand the hole in my floor scenario, no matter how many times I explained it to her. She agreed that I needed a tech to come out to my house to hook it all up, and set the appointment for the following day.Then she put me on hold for awhile, only to discover that the boxes I had received would work on both TV sets. There would be a 4-hour window for the tech to arrive, and I asked if it would be possible to get a call before the tech headed to my house, since I work only a few minutes away, and I could meet him at my house. She promised to do that and emphasized that she had it all written down and would make sure he got those instructions. Are you laughing at my misplaced trust yet?

The next day, I didn’t let my phone out of my sight while I was at work. But, the call never came. Relieved that I didn’t have to leave work early, I left at my normal time and headed home. My son was there. And he informed me that the tech had come and gone about an hour ago. “WHAT?” I pretty much screeched. But then I calmed down, figuring all was set up and ready to go.I don’t know why I continue making these inane assumptions, only to be dumped flat on my face. Because then, my son explained that the tech had shown him how to hook up the cable from the hole in the floor into the new cable in the TV. And then he had left.

“What about the TV in the bedroom?” I asked. “I don’t even know if there are little thingies in that TV for him to put the new cable in, so please tell me he at least set that one up.”

My son shook his head and told me the tech had never left the kitchen.

And upon closer inspection, I saw that the tech hadn’t even hooked up the kitchen TV. Literally, all he had done was put one cable into another, and then he had left! I gave myself a pep talk.  I can do this, I cablesthought. I had instructions. I have a Master’s degree and should be able to follow those instructions. And I had my son, who quickly figured out how to hook up the rest of the things that needed to be hooked up on the kitchen TV. But when he took a look at the prehistoric bedroom TV, he told me it was a lost cause. After a moment of silence, he reminded me that we had a miniscule, somewhat newer TV in the playroom that he and his sister used to play their video games on, that was sitting completely unused. So he switched them out, and soon had the hard-to-see, hard-to-hear TV hooked up to the cable.  Now, I had to figure out how to sync the remotes to the TVs. The one in the bedroom worked after I followed all the steps, but I couldn’t get the one in the kitchen to cooperate at all. In frustration, I called the cable company, because in spite of following the instructions to the letter to get a picture to fly through the air into the TVs, they both remained picture-less. When the rep answered the phone and asked if I would take a survey about the service I received once we were done with getting everything working (another optimist), I pretty much warned him that he most likely would not want me saying anything that was on my mind on any survey about my experience – ever.

This rep was not only efficient, but patient and he had a sense of humor, so he defused what remotecould have turned into an ugly situation. Soon, the second remote was in sync with my TV, and pictures flew through the air and landed in both TVs. It only took an hour. I told him about the tech showing up at my house with no phone call and not even doing one thing I had needed him to do, aside from showing my son that he didn’t have to pull the cable out of the floor. He said he would note that on my account.

bill.plannerThe icing on the cake came a few weeks later when I received my monthly bill and there was an extra $50 charge for the home visit I had received. You can imagine the words I had to hold back as I called the cable company again. I went through the whole deal with this rep. I pictured him nodding his head and rolling his eyes as he listened to my rant – luckily, the rep who had made everything work had actually taken notes about everything, and this new rep concurred that I shouldn’t have been charged for the two-minute fly-by. Because the first rep who didn’t understand about the hole in the floor situation had written the order up as me needing new cable connections put into my house. An order which the tech who zoomed in and out of my house had obviously never paid attention to, either way. And this final rep had the good sense to realize that he needed to keep nodding his head and agreeing with me since what I was saying might actually be true. I’m waiting to see this month’s bill before I put this whole mess behind me. But meanwhile, rest assured, I am getting my daily fix of the HD stations I can still  barely see and barely hear each time I attempt to watch TV in my bedroom.

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

That’s OK, We’re In No Rush

I know I have been writing a great deal about air travel, but there’s a reason for that. After all, there always seems to have been some sort of misadventure involved every time I’ve traveled recently. In fact, one of my friends had a travel mishap the other day and told me that she and her husband said they had a “Nancy” story now. So I’ve now become an adjective for any time something goes wrong with any form of travel.

thanksgiving.drawingSo let me fill you in on my Thanksgiving adventure. I had opted to travel on the two supposedly not-horrible days of Thanksgiving week – the Tuesday before and the Friday after. And since the originating flight left in the wee hours of the morning, I was hopeful that we might actually get to New York before nightfall – that was my first mistake.

It was only me and my daughter traveling this time, and we woke up Tuesday morningrain (or late Monday night, depending on your perspective), to a cold, icy rain. I wasn’t too worried, however, since our connecting flight was through Reagan Airport which I knew pretty much had flights every hour on the hour to New York. Even though bad weather was predicted up and down the East Coast, I guess I was still in a fog from the 3 hours of sleep I had managed to sneak in and I had this not-so-logical sense of confidence that all would go well.

We made our way through security without issue, sat at our gate and waited. And waited. Several announcements advised us that they were de-icing the plane, which I agreed was a good thing, so I had no issue with waiting for a plane to have de-iced wings before taking off. We were also told that this wasn’t considered a delay, and we shouldn’t worry about making our connecting flights. I have no idea what the logic is behind that statement, since we certainly were delayed if we weren’t leaving on time, but I am not fluent in airline-speak. But after approximately a half hour, we were told we were now allowed to board the plane. We were also told that since we were in a flying tin can, that all carry-ons were to be left on the jetway since there would barely be enough room for the humans on the plane, let alone anything inanimate.

luggageSince I refuse to pay for a seat in advance, assuming they will not make me stand during the flight, we ended up being seated in the first row of the plane. That was kind of cool and we had a lovely view of our luggage waiting to be stowed under the plane. We sat on the plane for about another half hour and were advised that they were still de-icing. OK, still no problem there. But I was puzzled as to why no one had picked up our luggage yet. I finally asked the flight attendant if she knew what was going on. She told me that since 3 planes were supposed to leave about the same time, they didn’t have enough people to load the luggage. I indicated my surprise at this and asked why in the world they wouldn’t have scheduled a sufficient number of people to do so, considering it was the day before the WORST TRAVEL DAY OF THE YEAR. She looked around and conspiratorially whispered that she was pretty sure that when some of these workers had taken a look at the weather, they might have suddenly come down with some sort of airline illness that would preclude them from working that day.

plane.flyingFinally, after about another half hour, we saw luggage movement, then disappearance, and we finally took off. At about the time we were originally due to arrive in DC. An announcement was made that since we were now officially leaving late, no worries, the airline had already re-booked all of us on later connecting flights.  So I agreed I shouldn’t worry. (Please control your laughter.)

We arrived in DC, went to customer service, and we were told that the next flight after the one we had just missed was full, so we’d be on the noon flight. That didn’t sound too bad – that would still get us to New York by early afternoon, with plenty of time to relax – or pass out from exhaustion - and still have an enjoyable day visiting with family. Reagan is a lovely airport, and we grabbed some sustenance so neither of us would passcoffee out, having not eaten anything up to that point, and parked ourselves by the gate to wait.

At 11:30, an unwelcome, nagging thought popped into my brain – Shouldn’t we be getting ready to board already? But the screen behind the gate agent still said our flight was scheduled to leave on time, so I attempted to kick that pesky thought out of my head. Until I looked at the screen again and it said our flight was cancelled. Instinct propelled me to fly out of my seat and race up to the gate – the same thing happened to several other people and we swarmed the agent, asking what happened. At first, the agent denied that our flight had been cancelled, because of course, why notify her? And the display had magically changed to another flight leaving from that gate which was on time. Then she got the call and subsequently made the announcement that I had been dreading – yes, the flight was cancelled (due to a broken plane) and we should all go to customer service and get rescheduled.  Which we all did like a bunch of lemmings.  Or more accurately, a herd of runningcattle in a stampede. While on line, all of our cell phones began ringing and buzzing simultaneously to advise us that our flight had been cancelled. The poor souls who hadn’t seen the display and had to discover the news by phone ended up at the tail end of what appeared to be an endless sea of humanity. And only one person was working the desk, in spite of the fact that there was a second seat awaiting an eager co-worker – I guess no one volunteered.

I was 4th in line and the customer service rep was obviously in no mood for chitchat. I was brusquely informed that all flights were sold out until 4 o’clock and that was the earliest flight she could get us on – this was in spite of my desperate begging and pleading to get us out of there earlier.

Looking out the window, the possibility loomed that we might not be leaving at all that day, as the air had pretty much turned to pea soup. I knew we’d be lucky to get out of there by Thanksgiving since the next day was the WORST TRAVEL DAY OF THE YEAR, awful weather was being predicted, and most likely every seat on every plane was full.  I had a vision of myself as Tom Hanks in “The Terminal,” begging for help, but never being able to leave. As I mentioned earlier, I was trying to remain lucid after 3 hours of sleep, but I was quickly losing that battle.

Anyway, after 6 hours in the airport, it was finally announced that they were boarding clockour flight. And I discovered from a fellow passenger that he and his family had been scheduled for the 3 o’clock flight but that flight had also been cancelled due to a broken plane. What was with the broken planes, anyway – don’t they ever check these things? But, I ended up realizing that I should be grateful we hadn’t been booked on that earlier flight, since at that point, one more incident might have caused me to crack. I had put up a good facade, but seriously, one more glitch might have caused the whole thing to crumble.

trafficSo I did find something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Even in the bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic we had to deal with once we landed in New York.  Bringing our door-to-door travel time to 13 hours. And yet, still grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

Let’s Make A Deal

yard.sale.imageSo we had our community garage sale on Saturday. I had mixed feelings about participating in this sale since so many of my friends have told me about their frustration with the ratio of time invested in prepping for and participating in a garage sale vs. actual money received. Something along the order of earnings that might cover a fast-food meal if you’re lucky.

But my house is in desperate need of de-cluttering. And that is an understatement. I used to de-clutter by moving every few years. I didn’t purposely plan my moves in order to get rid of stuff, but that was a great byproduct of the uprooting. These moves occurred during my single days in my 20s, and involved moving from one apartment to another. So what I was basically divesting myself of pretty much involved a bunch of indeterminate paperwork.

house.imageThen I get married and we bought a house. It was a rather petite house, and although I was still clueless about the whole paperwork thing, there wasn’t a whole lot of space for the problem to get too inflated.

After a few years we moved across the country, so I once again got rid of a whole lot of stuff when we moved. This had been my pattern, and I expected things to continue this way until I was so old and forgetful that I wouldn’t really care what happened to my stuff.

The house we bought was almost twice the size of our previous home. I didn’t immediately realize that this was the first problem. And when the kids came, I was unprepared for the accompanying stuff that arrives – and continues to arrive – when you have children. I clung to the belief that within a few years, we’d move again. But that didn’t happen. In fact, over 20 years later, we’re still in the same house. And the stuff has bred and multiplied when no one was looking. I don’t want all this stuff but my head hurts every time I try to figure out what to do with it.

image.thermometerSo I decided to participate in the garage sale. We’ve had beautiful weather here in the South this month. Until this past week when the temperatures began dropping. And the night before the sale they plummeted into freezing territory. I still could have backed out. But I had piles of stuff ready to be re-homed, and I was determined to send them on their merry way. And there was certainly no room for sentimentality, which threatened to rear its maudlin head if I decided to back out of the whole thing.

I don’t know about you, but I am not an early-morning person. Seriously, you cannot pry my eyes open before the sun has made its appearance and is fairly high in the sky. And if you’ve ever participated in a garage sale,  you know you have to be up and at ‘em in the dark of night, with all of your stuff set up and ready for the cheery, scary people who are early-morning people, laser-focused on getting deals, deals, deals.

Due to the big chill, few people came in the early-morning hours, but those who did show up were looking for serious bargains. I decided not to label things this time, but told them to make me an offer on the few larger items that I had laid out - otherwise most items were in the $1 – $5 range. Nothing that would break the bank there. So all jewelry was $1. A lady held up a necklace and bracelet.

necklace.image“How much?” she asked, waving them in the air in a circle over her head, to the extent that if she spun them any harder, she might just rise in the air and lift off.

“A dollar each,” I said, smiling.

She glared at me as if I was a child who had misbehaved in her classroom. “I thought it would be a dollar for both of them,” she chided.

“Oh, OK,” I said after a long pause. But really? Is it imperative that you bargain for everything at a yard sale, even if you know you’re already getting a great deal? I guess so. I proceeded to sell almost everything I had for next to nothing. This is good, I reminded myself through my chattering teeth and the realization I could no longer feel my toes. At least I’m de-cluttering, I told myself, repeating the mantra of my very insistent  friends.

One lady looked at the small pile of self-help books and cookbooks. One was about preventing diabetes. She thumbed through it.

“Do you think I should buy this?” she asked. “It looks like a lot of words.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond to this question tactfully. Finally, I said, “Well, do you have diabetes? Or are you worried about getting diabetes?”

“Well, yeah,” she responded. “But it looks like too much reading.” She then proceeded to pick up a book about low carbs. She thumbed through it as well. “There’s lots of words in this one, too. Do you think I should buy this one?”

book.image“It’s a good book,” I said, keeping a straight face. “If you’re interested in keeping your carb count down, you might want to read it.”

She put it down. “I don’t think I feel like reading all those words,” she decided. She picked up a cookbook and rifled through it. “I like this one. There’s not a lot of reading. It just gets right to the point, showing you what you can cook.”

I mentally pinched myself. “Yes, this one is a cookbook,” I said, holding back the torrent of giggles welling up inside me. “So it’s good that way.” Needless to say, she didn’t buy any of the books. But she was very entertaining.

game.imageBut then something happened that made the whole frigid, odd, not terribly lucrative morning worth everything. A grandmother and her young grandson approached. The boy was bright and charming beyond his years, and interested in everything. His eyes lit up when he saw the board games I had for sale. “Oh, look, you have my favorite games!” He turned to his grandmother. “Can we please get these games? I love them!” He did not say this in a demanding or whiny way. Just a sweet statement of the joy he felt upon seeing something he loved.

I couldn’t believe a child in this day and age would go so excited about seeing board games, but he was. Then he saw the Nok Hockey game and the excitement on his face was unmistakable. He ran over to show it to his grandmother.

“Please, please, please can I have this? I haven’t seen one of these in ages. I love this game so much!”

His grandmother smiled and agreed to buy it as well. I looked at this sweet and wonderful young boy and I felt as if I had just landed at the end of “Toy Story 3.” I turned to him and said, “I was feeling kind of sentimental about selling these games today because I have such fond memories of playing them with my kids. Knowing that you love these games and will continue to have fun with these games makes it so much easier to let them go. I never expected to find someone who would appreciate them so much. Thank you.”

And then things took a turn that was so unexpected and lovely, that my whole morning, and really, my whole outlook, turned inside out. I helped them carry the purchases to their car. The young boy gave his grandmother a bear hug and thanked her profusely for buying these treasures for him. I smiled at his open display of gratitude. Then he turned to me. “I have to hug you, too,” he said. He proceeded to propel himself into my arms and hugged me tightly.

smile2.image“Thank you,” I said again, this time rather huskily, my eyes misting up, my faith restored. And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. It ended up being a lovely day after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

Are You Being Served?

So, I have mentioned before that I no longer am able to eat much these days aside from lettuce and cardboard. This often makes it a bit on the frustrating side when I am joining friends or family for a nice meal out. I mean, at home, it’s still not much fun, but at least I have some sort of control over what’s in the fridge or freezer and I am generally aware of what I’m eating – except for the nights that I’m so stressed or tired I forget to eat until bedtime and then I’m not responsible for what I shove down my throat.

wheat-macaroni-pasta-bread-muffin-whole-grainBasically, I do not eat meat and I can no longer tolerate delicious foods which include gluten or cream. Meaning I can no longer tolerate delicious foods. On a side note, you would think I’d weigh 90 pounds at this point for as little I can eat and how often I get sick if I accidentally ingest something that is delicious. But life is cruel and life often goes the opposite way that you think it should, so I have learned not to expect justice.

Following the above-placed dots, this brings us to your example of the week of the frustrations that can be faced by those of us on any kind of limited diet – I know many of you can relate on some level to the following situation.

I went out to dinner with the boy child for his birthday (and hopefully the girl child – they are twins –  and I and maybe even my hubby will get to celebrate soon next time we’re all in the same city at the same time).

We went to an Italian chain restaurant (not the Olive Garden, but one that has a name spaghetticontaining the word Grill) that I used to love, pre the no-gluten thing. I haven’t been there for awhile due to the delicious pasta-based foods calling my name, the delicious bread that is plunked on the table singing its Siren song, the cream-based sauces that demand to add 10 pounds to my thighs… But it was not my birthday, so that’s where we went.

I searched frantically for a salad that was larger than 3 tomatoes, 3 slices of mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf to eat, since everything else on the menu pretty much either had meat, cream, or gluten. No such luck. So I resigned myself to the Caprese Salad, and explained my situation to the waitress who couldn’t believe that was all I was going to eat, especially since I’m sure I look like I have a much heartier appetite. Anyway, she said they have gluten-free pasta there – specifically penne – and I could order off their menu where you can pick your own ingredients. That sounded like a great idea until she told me I could actually order anything off the menu and ask for gluten-free pasta as a substitute.  Well, now we were talking!

menuI really wanted something delicious. I felt like I deserved something delicious. So I ordered a shrimp dish that I used to order that had a lemon sauce and pine nuts and other yummy ingredients. Now, I don’t think I mentioned that when we got to the restaurant, we were told there would be a 10 – 15-minute wait. Not a terribly long wait, although I was surprised there would be any wait on a weeknight, but OK. We waited a half hour. Then it was about another half hour until we got our food, so I will admit that I was hungry. My boy child got to eat the entire loaf of delicious bread on his own, so he was doing OK. I was ready to eat the crayons that were on the table.

pizzaFinally, the server arrived. She handed my boy child his pizza. Then she smiled and said, “Here is your Chicken Piccata.” I looked at her in confusion. I explained I hadn’t ordered that chicken or any chicken. Our waitress was at the next table, and server worriedly hurried over to her where they conferred in hushed tones over this dilemma. The waitress approached and smiled.

“This is what you ordered,” she told me.

I shook my head. “Do you remember our conversation about me not eating meat?” I asked as nicely as I could at this point. “I guarantee you I did not order chicken. I ordered the shrimp and pasta.”

I think a little light dawned at this point. “OK, well, I’ll just move the chicken off this plate and you can keep the pasta and then I’ll have them heat up some shrimp for you.”

Now, the chicken was in with the pasta. I really didn’t want chickenish pasta. So I asked if they could just make me what I had ordered. She said it would take a few minutes and gave me a look like I had told her to dance around the restaurant with a jug of wine on her head.

Ten minutes later, she smilingly brought me the shrimp and pasta – the pasta which looked very suspiciously like the pasta on the first plate. I decided not to say anything other than asking if she was sure it was gluten-free pasta. She assured me it was.

I took a bite. It was not bad, but I was pretty sure the dish I ordered didn’t have chunks of mushroom and cherry tomatoes in it. And this pasta had no pine nuts either. But I thought I’d let it slide, since I was kind of ravenous at this point. Then I crunched on something. Something that tasted suspiciously like a meat-related food. Such as bacon. I called the waitress back over. You can only imagine her joy as she approached the table.

“I think there’s bacon in this pasta,” I said through gritted teeth, trying to approximate a smile.

“Oh no, it’s not bacon,” she assured me. “It’s pancetta.”

I looked at her in shock. When I was finally able to speak, I said, “Do you remember the part of the conversation where I told you I don’t eat meat? This is not what I ordered.”

images.padShe did not admit that she had made another mistake – a mistake partly due I’m sure to the fact that many restaurants these days insist that your servers are not allowed to write anything down and must instead memorize every last detail of your order. I will happily pay an extra dime for them to use a piece of paper and get my order right. Instead of her apologizing profusely and admitting that she had no idea what I had ordered, she said that she had shown me the list of allergens (she had) and asked if I was OK with what I ordered. I asked her to bring the menu, and proceeded to show her that the dish I had ordered didn’t have pancetta or tomatoes or mushrooms, and should have had pine nuts and other MIA ingredients.

She looked at me, sighed, and told me she’d go ahead and put in an order for the dish I was telling her I should have had. I told her never mind, I had completely lost my appetite.

.
She did apologize, but advised me that next time I came there, I should order the choose-your-own meal so I could get exactly what I wanted. I sighed, we left, and I proceeded to get sick when I got home. Yes, sure, I’ll be back there soon.

 

Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers