Since Earl and I worked late tonight, we decided that tonight would be our night out on the town. Knowing this all day long, my mouth was watering for a steak and blue cheese salad wedge entree at a local restaurant, Carmella’s in neighboring New Hartford. I believe there are a couple of Carmella’s in Central New York. The other one close to us is called Babe’s.

Earl and I were seated in the farthest corner in a booth near the waitress congregation area. Menus were placed on our designated table and a non-committal hostess flung some fingers in the general direction of the corner. I sat facing the corner, Earl faced the dining room.

After about three minutes we set our menus down and were ready for someone to stop by the table to welcome us to Carmella’s and to take our order.

A few more minutes passed.

Earl observed servers coming and going from the Church of the Poison Mind server congregating area, and while they appeared to be quite engaged with one another, they didn’t seem like they wanted to really mingle with the customers.

As Earl observed this, I listened to the woman in the booth behind me bellow out something about boxed wine and asking her mother how she got home from her 17th birthday party years ago because she was so wasted she didn’t remember. Ah, the good ol’ days.

At T+12 minutes Earl looked at as I gazed back at him and we both said it at the same time: “Do you want to get out of here”? Now, years ago when we said that, we bee-lined back to a hotel room and did the nasty, but it’s been several years and we’ve been married a long time so instead we went to another restaurant.

We settled on the local Olive Garden, which had its grand opening last month. As we walked through the front doors, all expectations of Olive Garden familiarity dissipated as we realized this wasn’t your grandma’s Olive Garden. The “curvy” feel of the room layouts and the bar and passageways to the dining areas that flank the breezeway were absent, our local restaurant has four square dining rooms chocked full of tables and booths. Not only could you barely move in the place, it was loud. Very loud. Like, high school lunch room table in the far corner loud.

A very nice server named Amanda greeted us, and despite her creepy inclinations of coming up behind Earl and asking him questions over his shoulder, she was pleasant and knew what she was doing.

To our side was a table of eight that were celebrating someone’s birthday with all you can eat salad. They must have had four bowls of salad and breadsticks, bring more breadsticks. It went on and on. The four sitting along the wall (next to me) all smoked; they exited and reappeared frequently and at random intervals. At first I thought the birthday celebration might involve a game of duck-duck-goose, but no, they were just going out front to smoke.

Off of Earl’s left shoulder was a young couple with four boys that appeared to be ages 0, 1 and 2. They had a couple of strollers and a car seat flung about. Mom was breast feeding one of her children. I believe it was the youngest one.

Earl and I focused on each other with concentrated eyes and ears to weed out the sights and sounds surrounding us. Again, years ago, this would have invoked the nasty, but we were hungry.

Earl’s entree came out, I believe it was a steak gorgonzola over fettuccine. The gorgonzola was plopped into the center of the fettuccine and apparently had qualms about being over the steak. I ordered a gumbo thing that was on their healthy menu which was fairly good except it was wicked salty to the point that if someone licked me right now they would find me Satisfrying.

When Earl was asked about his meal by the pleasant Amanda, he let her know his disappointment with the gorgonzola plop. She was taken aback and spoke to the manager about it. Apparently the proof is in the plop and it’s actually suppose to come that way, but since he was disappointed the manager took it off the bill and offered us free dessert.

When my pumpkin cheesecake arrived, one of the smokey eight asked me what I was eating and then the smokey mother next to him started proclaiming loudly, “Oh my god, it’s so big! That’s a huge piece of cheesecake! It’s a meal in itself! My god, he’s going to eat it all! All of it! He’s eating it!”

It’s a good thing I’m not a shrinking wallflower.

After we ate the whole thing and left Amanda a generous tip for “handling our disappointment gracefully” (she should kiss us, should we see her again), we headed over to the mall to do laps.


Now Jamie’s iPhone 4S is in rough shape. It has had a good run, but honestly, one of the buttons is broke, it won’t hold a charge and he’s constantly running out of storage space since it’s the 16GB model. He’s due for an upgrade, so after some debating, we ordered him a new iPhone 5c, which we will take with us to Chicago when we visit him next month.

I fondled the HTC One and Moto X, both Android phones. Mike at this Verizon Wireless1 was very friendly and it turns out that he’s the nephew of a friend of ours and he remembered us as “J.P. and Earl that drive the Jeep” (told you we were famous) so he let me play around with the Android phones.

I was going to buy it.

I’ll do another lap around the mall.

I’m thinking about it.

Let me do another lap.

“What phone do you use”? He carries a Nokia 720 something Windows phone. It’s OK.

Let me do another lap.

“I’ll take the Moto X.”

He says, “here, play around with this while I get you set up in the computer.”

I play around with the phone. I like it. I can’t test some of the cooler features because it has to be programmed with my voice and only my voice. Something just doesn’t feel right. It’s smooth but it doesn’t feel premium. It’s good. It’s great. But it doesn’t knock my socks off.

Swipe. Swipe. I flick my wrist to activate the camera. Swipe some more. Something is not right. I feel like a disturbance is brewing in the force, or worse yet, the transporter beam is orange instead of white.

All of a sudden I start sweating. I yell “Stop!!!!!”

He looks at me.

“I’m not ready to make the switch.”

He packs up his toys and continues to smile, giving us his phone number. If we have any questions we can text him.

Earl is visibly relieved.

Still shaken, I caress my familiar iPhone 5. “I still love you, baby.” I’m talking to the phone, not Earl.

Jamie’s new phone arrives next week and I’ve decided to keep my iPhone 5. To celebrate, we stop at Burger King for a diet pop and nothing more. Feeling outgoing, I ask the counter person about the Satisfries. She says they’re delicious. She didn’t offer a sample and I didn’t ask.

I’ll pass until another time.

1 Mike at Verizon Wireless in Sangertown Square is a really good guy and will work with you to get the best bang for your buck. If you see him, tell him “J.P. and Earl in the Jeep” sent you.