An April Fools Day Loveletter

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Twenty years ago today, I pulled off a pretty cool April Fools’ Day joke. Here’s how it went:

In 1996, I was a fine piece of ass. At the time, I worked at Arthur Andersen, an organization known for its diversity by hiring graduates from both BYU AND Claremont. Whoa! I was surrounded by accounting nerds and a selection of straight-edged people that would make Mitt Romney say, “Golly.” I was, to put it lightly, different. I had an earring. I smoked cigarettes. I wore high top shoes with baggy acid washed jeans and flannel shirts. If not for the fact that I looked like I was 13 years-old and drove a Geo Metro, I would have been the Kanye West of the accounting industry.

Evidently, I didn't stay a bad ass for very long. How did that dork end up with the hottie?

Evidently, I didn’t stay a bad ass for very long. How did that dork end up with the hottie?

It was this bad boy image that lead me to want to play an April Fools day joke at work. We had been working on a project at Stanford University doing a physical inventory of the 100,000+ capital assets at the school and our work required us to be in close contact with people in various departments on campus. I thought it would be fun to have these departmental people call our boss, Mihran, and complain that we were getting drunk, stealing stuff and trying to hook up with the employees/students in the department. Such ribaldry would have set off alarms within Arthur Andersen to raise the mood from, “Golly,” to “Jeepers, we have a problem.”

My idea sprung into action when I convinced the woman I worked with in an engineering lab to tell Mihran that I had tequila on my breath and a penchant for leaving my fly down. (Not a stretch for anyone that knows me!) Feeling confident that my plan was coming together, I rallied my coworkers to join in the fun. They all assured me that their efforts would be forthcoming.

Sadly, they did not. One by one, my co-conspirators wimped out. Their excuses ranged from, “I don’t think this is a good idea. You’re going to get in trouble,” to, “No one would believe I’m drunk, I’m Mormon!”  On March 30, I had exactly zero people signed up to help. I knew I needed to do something drastic to make sure the joke wasn’t a flop.

On April 1, 1996, I showed up to work just like any other day, except that my coworkers had become a gaggle of Japanese school girls, giggling and pointing at me in anticipation of what was to come. Things did not go as planned. I returned from my morning work, slammed my clipboard down on my desk and exclaimed a word that caused several people around to blush. The joke had gone horribly wrong! Mihran said he received the message and that he was going to take drastic action to protect the good name of the company. He sent me back to the San Francisco office to face discipline by the managing partner. Mihran also scheduled an “All Hands” meeting to go over acceptable conduct while working at the firm. I was in deep shit, a development that did not go unnoticed by my coworkers Gary and a certain Amy Wilson. Amy had been acting as my supervisor on the project and, while the thought my whole shtick was a refreshing change from the pressed shirts I was working with, she was not romantically inclined towards me. (At least, that’s what I thought!) Gary and Amy took me outside and, nearly in tears, I explained my predicament. They were flabbergasted and supportive. I stormed out when I couldn’t stand it anymore, noting that Amy was particularly upset by my sad lot in life.

The “All Hands” meeting was brutal. Mihran lashed into a diatribe about the noble history of the firm and how shenanigans like the one I tried to pull off were unacceptable. He had prepared a fifteen minute speech that detailed expressly what the expectations were for people at the company, but the look in eyes of the staff in attendance told him that he didn’t need to spend that long. After five minutes of tongue lashing, he saw that his point had been made, and to avoid really demoralizing the crew, he announced, “April Fools!”

How did I know this? I was in on it! I got so mad at my friends/coworkers that I circled back with Mihran the night before, told him about what we were going to do and then reversed the prank to prank the non-prankers. To his credit, Mihran really got into the spirit, scheduling the meeting and even giving me a few hours off during the day, which I used to by a new car stereo for my Geo Metro. (I told you I was a bad ass!)

I returned to meeting room expecting to burst in and yell, “April Fools Day!” to my stunned coworkers, but, as I said, the meeting had been cut short and the beans had been spilled prematurely. When I finally saw everyone, they punched me and razzed my hair, admitting that I had gotten them good. I had pulled off the perfect prank! To celebrate, we all decided to go to a bar and watch the college basketball championship game together. Armed with the knowledge that my potential departure had caused an emotional reaction from Amy, I asked her if she wanted to share my umbrella to the parking lot. She agreed! Even better, after I withstood a headbutt at the bar from a drunken Irishman who was hitting on Amy, she grabbed my hand, locked me in the bathroom at the Polk Street Grill, and we made out.

That was the last night either of us was single.

We moved in together the next day.

We joined checking accounts the next month.

We bought a car together later that summer. (Goodbye Geo Metro!)

We got engaged the next year, married the year after that and had a baby boy seven years later.

Now, we have a fantastic life together and I can’t imagine a better way to spend 20 years. I didn’t think my little joke would alter the course of my entire life, but it totally did. It has been totally awesome.

Happy Make Out Anniversary, Amy. I love you.

Holy Crap!

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

I have a secret to share. It’s a good one too. It’s not quite as good as “I was waiting at the pharmacy and just overheard all of my neighbor’s medications,” but pretty good nonetheless. Actually, it’s better than good. It’s huge. You really won’t believe me at first, like when I told the guy at the AT & T store that my phone had not been wet even though I had jumped in Lake Shasta with it in my pocket and it still smelled like lake. Wanna hear my secret? I bet you do. Patience. I’m going to make you wait. You’re going to have to sit through an entire blog post of my useless drivel to get to the good stuff to hear our big news.

Malcolm started reading books by himself. I have always been jealous of parents who tell stories about their kids sitting and reading quietly by themselves. While Malcolm does a lot of things that I find cute and interesting , like …

Ah shit. I can’t do it anymore. Time to spill the beans.

 

We are moving to France.

 

Whoa. You read that right! France. Croissants. Wine. Croissants and wine! I was trying to think of a third thing there, but my brain wouldn’t let me. Seriously! We are moving to the land of croissants and wine! I can hardly stand it.

You have questions. I have answers.

This is my first day ever in Paris. It was a pretty good day.

This is my first day ever in Paris. It was a pretty good day.

Why? Why you ask? I say why the hell not? They have croissants and wine, for starters. They also have bread and cheese. And butter. And gelato. And crepes. And steak frites. And crème brulee. And duck confit. And pastries. My colon is literally vibrating just thinking about the food. Well, I hope it’s my colon. Or do I? Is it good or bad to have a vibrating colon? I’m gonna have to check on that. Actually, the real reason for our move is Amy’s work. Her company (Workday) is growing rapidly in Europe and they want to make sure that the company culture makes it way overseas. So Amy will be thinking about company culture while I have croissants dancing through my vibrating colon. (So, we’ll both be pretty busy.) We are moving to Paris for a year and are a bit excited by the prospects.

Who? All three of us. Amy will be the one working in Paris. She will buy some fancy shoes and spend a lot of time flying around Europe talking to people about business software. Malkie will be there too. He’ll be going to school. The international schools there fill up their slots in March, though, so we are going to have be flexible with whatever school he gets into. Don’t be surprised if he sends you a yearbook picture from mime school or if we just get him a job as a busboy and call it work study. He took the news pretty well, asking if we could go to Barcelona and Italy and then immediately starting to pack. He’ll be fine. As for me, I will be there, as always, trying to get us pointed in the right direction. With all the access to quality food, I may have to change my blog title to “Big Fatty Paul,” or its French equivalent.

When? We have selected October 12 as our move date. It is exactly one day after our visas are supposed to be approved. We will petition the EU to name October 12, “Big Daddy Paul Day.”

How? Stupid question. Not gonna even answer it. I would however, like to take this moment to talk about how much we are going to miss our family and friends here, as well as Malkie’s sports teams, Amy’s coworkers in Pleasanton and the community at Malcolm’s school, Urban Montessori. Our excitement about our move is tempered only by the temporary loss of the lives we have here. We will feel this sting, and have to hope that we can replace each and every one of you with cooler, more interesting people in France. OK, back to the questions you are dying to ask:

Paul, you are so sophisticated and sexy, are you worried that the entire female (and male, for that matter) population will fall madly in love with you? You betcha! I will however, have to change my game up a little. The hoodie and flip flops that have served as the mainstays of my “look” here in Oakland will sadly have to be left behind. I bought myself some skinny jeans at an outlet mall, which, from far away, make me look like a baby alpaca. The hip wrinkle that I  bring to the look is that my legs are different sizes right now, due to the atrophy in my left leg from my broken ankle. So, if you are gonna search google images for pictures of me in Paris, be sure to type in, “Fat, baby alpaca with different sized legs.” That should do it. I probably shouldn’t have started shopping for Parisian fashions in the town of Vacaville either, but, at this point, there are a lot of things I shouldn’t be doing. Femmes D’Paris beware, Big Daddy Paul is on his way!

Do you speak French?  No, unless you consider French to be the language of love, to which I would say that I do a remarkably poor job at it for 20 seconds and then roll over and fall asleep. The first few times we visited Paris, I refused to speak the language. I felt so awful about my pronunciation that I didn’t even try, except for the one time I asked a garage attendant where the elevator was. (I’ll never forget it, “Ou a la ascension?” which roughly translates to “Or did Jesus go to Heaven?”) This time, I am not going to be a tourist. It’s not just the skinny jeans. It’s everything. I want to learn the language. I want to learn about art. I will put down the Weird Al and listen to some jazz. I might even pay attention to <gasp> tennis! Ha, ha, just kidding. That’s just crazy talk. Tennis is for people who like the look of yellow gold against a hairy chest. That will never, ever be me. There are a lot of things that I don’t do now that I want to do when we are there. Speaking French is one of them. My accent won’t be perfect and my words may wrong order be sometimes in, but I will be in the trenches trying.

Will you blog? Yes. Heck ya! I will be writing. I don’t really know what I will blog about. There are already enough blogs about expats in Paris, parents in Paris, foodies in Paris and even one about taxidermists in Paris. It won’t do anyone much good to talk about all the stuff that has already been covered. (There’s dogshit on the sidewalks! French bureaucracy is slow! The men are horny and the butter is divine!) I will however, find some way to entertain you, I promise you that. Most likely, I will just put a fetal monitor near my colon and you can hear it buzzing with excitement. I can’t really say what the future holds except that our future lays there and not here. And that is our news.

Told you it was good!

15 Years Of Memories

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

15 years ago, on this very day, Amy and I got married. As you might guess, it has been a rather wild ride. I am writing this post as a love letter to my wife.

1.On my first day of work at Arthur Andersen, you threw a “Welcome to the job” party for me but forgot to invite me.

2. Our getting together story is awesome. Never before has headbutting (or getting head butted by) a drunken Irishman proved so valuable.

3. We moved in together essentially after the first date, joined checking accounts after a few weeks of living together, and we bought a car together at the end of the summer. (If Malcolm ever tries this, we will kick his ass.)

4. We used to ride to work together and fed each other handfuls of cereal in my Geo Metro while listening to the Cranberries. When we traded the GEO in, there were approximately 20 cereal boxes in the trunk.

5. We had a tiny apartment in the Marina. You made me peach chicken and tried to get me to jog with you. I showed you how weird a taco could taste. We had an orange corduroy couch and later returned all of our Christmas presents so that we could afford a new one.

I guess technically, all this happened before we got married, but it’s part of our story, so indulge me.

Paul Pics for 40th_00456. Our wedding week in Tahoe was awesome. I have yet to see a woman more beautiful than you in your wedding dress that day. An elderly African American woman crashed a lot of the pictures at the reception, though, so that was weird.

7. During our honeymoon in Costa Rica, our river rafting guide kept yelling at me to paddle and I was like, “Dude, I’m on my honeymoon. You need to chill the fuck out.” You waited several weeks to make fun of me for drinking white russians and crying to, “My Giant.”

8. In our sea-foam colored apartment in Davis, the guy in the hot tub asked if we were sisters.

9. You made law school a breeze by coming home on the weekend and forcing me to get my shit done early. Luckily, you made enough for us to eat at Dos Coyotes regularly.

10. You bought our first house before I saw it, and I bought our second home without you seeing it. In front of the first house, we found a dirty diaper with porn in it and caught the postal worker leaving trucker bombs in front of the second.

11. When I was an attorney and you worked at Oracle, we ate two bowls of cereal every night for dinner. One bowl was healthy (Honey Bunches of Oats) and the other was for dessert (Lucky Charms.)

12. On the beach in New Zealand, you told me I could be a stay at home dad. Our ATM card expired during the trip and we lasted 4 days on 15 dollars, even getting an innkeeper to do our laundry for us.

13. You gave birth to our little boy Malcolm and our lives have never been the same. It felt like Nora Jones was there with us and she would not stop singing the same damn songs over and over and over again. You did real good.

14. We are the only parents in Oakland that think their son’s baseball and soccer practices are as fun as the games.

15. Sometimes our anniversary celebrations involve dining at the Ritz Carlton or traveling to Turkey. Other times, they involve arguing with time share employees over why our credit scores are better than we said. Either way, memorable.

Thanks for 15 years of crazy, stupid love. I can’t imagine anyone better to share it with.

-Me

I Am Sick And Tired of Drinking Liquor And Talking About Children

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

I am getting quite the knack for being mysterious with my blog titles, aren’t I?

We had a very busy weekend. We went to a surprise 40th birthday party on Friday, a parent-teacher mixer on Saturday, and a relaxing backyard barbecue on Sunday. You’d think that these events would be sufficiently different enough to ensure that things didn’t get stale, but, sadly, that wasn’t the case. We spent most of the weekend consuming alcohol and talking about school. It seems that’s all we ever do nowadays.

One time, (right around this time of year) I got attacked by a 12 pound lobster! It made quite the story.

I am not sure how this happened. I used to be a thrilling conversationalist. In my heyday, I could react to current events, accurately describe what it would happen if two angry camels were trapped in a tent and if you heard me start a story with, “One time, I ate a handful of Slim Jims and then…” you could bank on the next ten minutes being quite enjoyable. Now, the angry camels and Slim Jims are all gone.

In their place lie the details of learning, school and the educational system as a whole. If I am not talking about what Malcolm’s classroom is like, then I am talking about what my classroom was like growing up. What happened to me? I’m not really sure why I find the subject so fascinating, but like the Hooters patron desperately trying to make eye contact with the waitress, I try and avoid the topic. But just at the point where the patron’s eyes wander downwards, I say something like, “Well, actually Malcolm doesn’t go to kindergarten. His classroom is for 3 to 6 year-olds” and boom, I am sucked back into the vortex. If you ask me what I think of the Anthony Weiner debacle, I could give you a few minutes of penis innuendo (Penuendo?) If you ask what my fears are for Malcolm’s next few year years are, I will literally follow you home after boring you at the party, just so I can bore you some more.

I apologize to any of you out there that have subjected to my relentless eduspeak. I need to get over it and recognize that Malcolm would probably turn out the same whether we had him in a Montessori school or a tent with two angry camels in it. In an effort to try and rehabilitate myself, I would like to ask you, my readers, to help me come up with things I can talk to other people about. I will take your suggestions, write them on my hands, and then bust out with them in social situations. The more ludicrous the topic, the better, as I would recapture some of the magic I used to have.  Thanks in advance, I hope I get some doozies.

How A Phone Charger Cost Malcolm His First Day Of School

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Ever heard of Chaos Theory? It stands for the principal that very small factors can have rather large long-term influences over things. (It is NOT, as some might suggest, used to describe the stain pattern on my pants.) Figuring prominently in Chaos Theory is the Butterfly Effect, whereby a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and causes a tornado in Texas. Sometimes, the smallest things can set off a chain reaction of events that have drastic consequences. (My version involves a crab farting in Japan leading to a tsunami in Singapore. Oddly, the analogy hasn’t stuck.) Here’s how chaos theory applies to our lives:

The Friday before Labor Day, Amy left her cell phone charger at work. This meant that the only way she could charge her phone over the weekend was to use the charging chord in our car. She tried over the weekend to get a new charger, but like the hermaphrodite and the eunuch on prom night, sometimes things don’t work out. Imagine Amy’s panic on Tuesday morning when she realized A) she had a conference call, B) the conference call would take place while she was riding to the airport, and C) her phone was dead. Springing into action, she took her phone out to the Prius, turned on the car, and crossed her fingers that the phone would get enough charge to last through her call. Luckily, it did and Amy happily spent her day talking on her phone while traveling to New York.

Tuesday was also Malcolm’s first day of school. Even though this week was “Orientation Week” where he was only going for a few hours a day, we have been talking about the week for past months, and he was excited. Excited doesn’t really even capture the energy by which he was looking forward to going to his new school. The word I would use is enthusiasticalbedazzled. Imagine my sense of disappointment, then, when we got in the car to go to school, only to find that the car was dead. Evidently, when you leave a Prius on for extended periods of time, the battery gets drained, a fact not considered by Amy or I in the planning process of our Tuesday.

One day, he'll miss his graduation because I forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste. I'm just not sure how...

I can tell you about the expletives Malcolm and I hurled Amy’s way upon discovery of all this, but it really wouldn’t do anyone any good. Luckily, the Prius was blocking the driveway, making our other car useless in our quest to get Malcolm to school. So, while Malcolm’s classmates were yucking it up together at the new student mixer, we waited for AAA, watched the guy jump start our car, and then drove around on the freeway for half an hour to recharge the battery. We missed our first day of school, and here is what I wrote to Malcolm’s school:

Dear Malcolm’s School, please excuse Malcolm from class on Tuesday. His parents are idiots. His car has a battery that only has enough voltage to power a flashlight. We will try to bring him to class tomorrow, but honestly, there is a lot that can go wrong, so I won’t make any promises. Kindly yours,

Paul

Somewhere there is a butterfly smiling (and a crab farting!). Beware of the consequences, people.

Our Bedroom Takes A Turn For The Worse

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Don’t worry, there isn’t anything weird in this post, I just thought I would relate the somewhat comical night that Amy and I had the other night. One night last week, I got home late and found Amy asleep already. Our sheets evidently never made it out of the laundry that day, so Amy was sound asleep atop the comforter with the guest bedroom comforter on top acting as her blanket. Amy took the good spare, so I was left to fend for myself. I ended up using a thin, cheap blanket the quality of which you’d find in a crappy motel. It wasn’t much better than a beach towel, but it was late and I really wanted to go to sleep.

After crawling into bed, Amy said hello to me and then announced that her body was a rope and that she could feel the connections all up and down her body. “Oh,” I said. “That’s nice,” not really knowing how to respond to such an announcement. This was not the first strange conversation Amy and I have had in the middle of the night, as Amy has bountiful history of sleep talking. Once, she screamed at the cat, “What do you think you are, some kinda chicken?” and after poking me in the ribs at 3am once and asking whether I was asleep, she smiled at me and just said, “Ha!”

While soaking up the connections in my wife that would lead her to believe that she was a rope, I noticed the smell of jasmine. IMG_2686Some might be comforted by such a smell, but to me it served as a reminder that I am a lazy homeowner. Over the summer, we left our bedroom windows open all the time. While open, our neighbor’s night blooming jasmine plant started growing towards our bedroom. When we finally tried closing the window, the plant got stuck. The plant is now trapped on the inside of the window, sealed between the window and the screen. It has become part of our bedroom. It wouldn’t be so bad, except that since the plant blooms at night when the weather is warm, it has mistaken our warm bedroom for a nice summer night and floods the room with its jasmine scent. Nice smell for some, but I can’t get it out of my head that we have plants overgrowing our room. I am also somewhat afraid that it is going to try and kill us while we sleep.

I was quickly snapped from killer vine fantasy by Amy starting up another conversation. “Nurse Nancy needs nets,” she exclaimed to my surprise. My mom, Nancy, is a nurse, and I found it odd that Amy would be alliterating about her in the middle of the night. I looked at her quizzically, and she continued. “Nurse Nancy needles noses. Naps. Necks. Nights.” I started giggling and Amy turned over and promptly returned to a peaceful slumber. I didn’t get much sleep that night, and it is not hard to see why. I was freezing, the room was overrun with potentially homicidal weeds, and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck my wife was dreaming about.

So, there you have it. Nothing weird about this post eh?

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

I love fantasy football.  I love fantasy football more than I love my cat.  If fantasy football asked me to the prom, I would say yes, even if I were a senior and it were a freshman.  Sometimes, when I am with fantasy football late at night, I make eyes at its naughty parts.  I have a problem.

Our marriage used to be strained by fantasy football (not because of the naughty parts though!).  I spend Sundays at a sports pub watching all the games.  I obsess about trade proposals.  I lose sleep.  Amy, at first thought all this was funny.  When she realized that it happens every week of the football season, she got concerned.  She never got hostile, but occasionally she would make her true feelings known, feelings that I didn’t necessarily find flattering.  (I do not, under any circumstances, like being called a loser!)  After some time, she started to root against me, hoping that an early elimination would return me to my normal self. Sadly, I am usually not eliminated until quite late in the season, meaning I am a sick little man from September to December.

When I sensed her uneasiness, I tried to incorporate her on my team to A) make her feel like my team was our team, and B) stop rooting against me.  I would consult her on trades and ask for her suggestions on which players to use.  She gave me feedback and we became somewhat of a team.  The problem was that the advice she gave me was absurd, and I would never follow it.  Even so, she didn’t really vest as a true partner and she kept calling it "my losing team," not "our losing team."   She still rooted against me too.

This year was different though.  She has her own fantasy football team!  She manages it every week, talks trash to the other gals in the league, and has to make the same tough decisions that I have had for the past few years.  The kicker is that she actually enjoys it.  She doesn’t really put in the same amount of time (or tears) that I do, but I don’t care.  I don’t know if either of us will win our respective championships, but at least this way we can enjoy an obsession together.  The significance really hit me last night, when we settled down after dinner and watched the Sunday night game.  We were both rooting against the Pittsburgh defense, and I fell in love with my wife all over again. I may have even checked out her naughty parts, but she didn’t notice because she was enjoying a Ben Roethlisberger sack. Yay!

They Said It Was 9 Courses, But It Was Really More Like 13

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me, Cooking and Eating

We celebrate our anniversary, and when I say celebrate, I mean we go the whole hog. Some of you may only celebrate half a hog (or even less) and to you I say boo. We usually go out of town and stay at a nice hotel, get massaged, enjoy a an exquisite meal, and talk about what we like about each other. This year we didn’t really want to go anywhere, so we decided to spend our time and a huge brick of our hard earned money (the state of california says that I get half!) at the Ritz Carlton. We went a hog and a half. The room was immaculate, containing over 30 pillows, and the massage therapist had the softest hands I have ever felt. They give you a glass of sparkling wine at reception, so even that is a joy. But all of these things were easily outshined by the best meal that we have ever had, or likely to ever have again.

I am a little hazy on the details, because we drank two bottles of wine that we brought back from France a few years ago, and also because we spent three and a half hours at dinner and everything kind of runs together. We started with an amuse bouche of a puff containing cheese and basil, followed by a dish that was best remembered as having basil seeds in it. Basil seeds are like little baby bunnies in that they scatter when you try to pin them down and eat them with a fork. The dish was supposed to highlight a Japanese fresh water fish that Amy liked, but since I got no fish, I hunted seeds.

The third thing they brought was a poached quail egg served with caviar on, get this a glass jar of cedar smoke. The spoon that was brought with the dish covered a tiny whole on the top of the glass, so that when you lifted the spoon off, the air was filled with cedar smoke. It was similar to a proper shooter, but instead of licking some salt, squeezing a lime and downing a shot, you breathed in some cedar smoke, lifted some caviar, and downed it with some quail egg. Amy never really understood a thing the waiters said the whole night long (they were low talkers) so her smoke escaped within seconds of the dish arriving. By the way, quail eggs are ridiculously tasty, although they are only the size of a loogie, they taste like butter. If you ever see quail running around where you live, follow them home and steal their unborn children. You’ll thank me, even if you don’t have any cedar to burn with it.

I was a little concerned after the third course that the meal was going to be a little sparse because, while I probably had already consumed 1,000 calories, I only had three of four real bites of food. Things weren’t looking up when the next course arrived, three tiny mushrooms and two carrots in a large bowl. Amy got abalone, but I got a mostly empty bowl. Luckily it was soon filled tableside with a corn and sweet pepper soup. The taste of the mushrooms and soup blended perfectly with each other, and I soon realized that I shouldn’t worry about how much food I was getting, but rather enjoying the varying tastes and textures that were arriving with each new course.

The next course blew my mind, as I I would never had order it. They brought me zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta. Sounds like something people on survivor would eat, but it was awesome! The flavors worked perfectly together with a creamy texture, so already the tasting menu was a delight. I would have laughed at anyone ordering that (probably making the comment that, “why don’t you just order a dandelion and peanut butter sandwich?” I am not sure what Amy got, but it probably swam in the ocean at one point.

At the arrival of the sixth course, I knew the meal was going to be special. I received a braised ox tail ravioli in its braising liquid. At this point, I was fine with how much the dinner cost, as this one dish involved cutting off an ox’s tail, braising it, peeling it off the bone, putting into a fresh made ravioli, and then reducing the braising liquid into a yummy sauce. All that work went into just one of our many courses. (By the way, ox tail raviolis are, indeed, delicious. If you live near any oxen, chop off their tails and then follow the above recipe for a wonderful culinary delight.) Amy had something which translated to “stupid clam” tongue. We were kinda drunk, they talked kinda low, so some of the items are not very clear to us. Whatever Amy had it was large, triangular and licked her back.

The seventh spot in the line up was the foie gras. I had never tried foie gras until a few months ago at a french restaurant. Now, I am a stone cold addict. Except for stone cold foie gras. Each time I have had it, it has been served both warm and cold. The warm foie gras is seared and served with sauce (usually a reduction of yummy beef or veal stock). The warm stuff is light and delicate, the cold presentation is a bit more mealy and leaves a bit of an aftertaste that I don’t really care for. Since I am a stay at home dad, I will compare the cold stuff to eating 9 month old poo, while the warm stuff is more like newborn. If you had to eat baby poo, I am sure that you would agree that the newborn excrement is the better way to go.

The eighth course sounded great, baby suckling pig, and it was executed perfectly. What made it perfect was it was served on top of a poached peach. I normally eschew sweet elements (especially fruit) in dishes, but the pig and the peach (sounds like a pub eh?) were a perfect compliment to the other in both flavor and texture. Now, I can’t wait until I get the chance to combine parts of the pig with fruit. Amy had lobster knuckles, which I thought was funny because I didn’t even know lobsters had fingers. At this point, we had finished our first bottle and wondered if we had enough time to drink he second. Luckily we were still 2 hours away from finishing dinner.

The waiter arrived with another dish, which I thought sounded really boring, crispy chicken. I soon realized that they did not just mean fried chicken, or even, chicken that you have ever tasted, as the thing that arrived did not resemble the stuff that we eat all the time. The chicken was sous vide, or vacuum packed and cooked at a very low temperature for a very long time, and then seared so that it’s skin had the same consistency as bacon. Yes, imagine if bacon were attached to a buttery, salty piece of meat, that’s how good it was. Amy had some nice duck with fresh peas. I raved to the waiter about the dish, and he said that the chicken was milk fed. Ever since, I have been unable to get the imagery of a chicken drinking from a cow’s udders out of my head. The duck was very tender and seemed like the bridge between poultry and red meat.

It was about 10:30, we had already had 9 courses (the whole meal was supposed to be 9 courses) and I remember thinking, I could really go for some red meat right now. Luckily, the last savory dish arrived and I got a rib eye and Amy had the best looking lamb chop I had ever seen. The meat was perfectly rare, seared off well, came with another zucchini flower with ricotta, and I ate every bite. Luckily for me, Amy went and used the restroom, so I got to eat most of her lamb as well. Meat cooked that well is so crispy on the outside and soft and tender in the middle, and you never want to go back to the crap that you make at home. I think it also bathed in butter during the cooking process, but I decided I wasn’t going to think about the number of years this one meal was going to take off the end of my life.

To cleanse the palate, they brought us some sorbets, Amy getting watermelon and I getting peach. As it was now past 11, we were drunk, tired and speaking way too loud for the size of the restaurant. I wish I could tell you what one talks about towards the end of a three and a half hour dinner, but frankly I have no recall.

Then, for the 12th course, they brought desse
rt. Amy had a chocolate cake with some weird foams, an I had panna cotta with more sorbet. We ate every drop of the dessert, although I am not exactly sure why. There was no room left in our stomachs. I had to lay on my left side for a few minutes, which definitely raised eyebrows, but it was worth the scorn. They put a nice touch on the plates, inscribing them with, “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate. We liked it so much, we licked it off!

Finally, they brought out the confectionary cart. I do remember thinking, “you gotta be fucking kidding me, who needs chocolate and a bunch of candy right now?” Evidently, we did, because the waiter proceeded to put down 15 or so different candies (marshmallow, caramels, meringues etc.) and we sampled each and every one of them. The highlight was easily the dark chocolate and peanut butter lollipop, we finished in exactly three bites.

So, we finally finished. We drank two bottles of aged French wine, had 13 or so different things to eat, and reveled in all of it. We waddled back to the room and collapsed, celebrating the fact that another celebration was as wonderful as our lives together. Actually, that is schmaltzy and not true. Amy took out her phone and checked out facebook for an hour (being so drunk though, she couldn’t actually read anything) and I passed out on the bed on a pile of about 12 pillows. Easily the best meal we will ever eat, and I am glad that we were able to enjoy it.

Amy & I at 11

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

We are coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary, and of course I have been thinking about our relationship.  At first I focused on the negatives.  I thought about how we have a mortgage, and with the decline of the real estate world, we’ll be living in this house until we are about 60. I thought that we have a child, and that he too will probably be living in the house until we are 60.  I thought about how we argue about whose sweatpants are more ridiculous whether the term, “frack” in Battlestar Galactica is cool or lame. Sadly, we still argue over whether I am simply good looking or whether I am good looking AND have a great personality. I thought about how we spend time thinking about what plants should go in the front yard, and whether to tell our neighbors that their compost heap is ruining our lives.  I dare say I thought things a bit stale.

Then I realized that I was becoming one of those people who lament all the “problems” they have, and how they aren’t the hipsters that they used to be.  I literally talked myself out of the pity party I was trying to have.  I have a wife who, despite the fact that I haven’t worked in over four years and weigh twice as much as I used to, actually likes to talk to me and wants to see me happy.  I have a child who keeps me on my toes, but enjoys living and makes me belly laugh a couple of times a day.  I have a group of friends who rib me mercilessly and make the week fly by.  Ya, the days of drinking kamikazis on a tuesday night are long gone.  But if you ask me, there is nothing better than a glass of wine, some bizarre sweatpants and a fracking good episode of Battlestar Galactica.  Of course, it only works when the love of my life is next to me.  Happy anniversary baby.

Our Recent Amazon Arrival

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Today, we received two boxes from Amazon.  One box contained the book, The Daddy Shift:How Stay at Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family and the Sound of Music DVD.  The other box contained 3 business books.  I don’t know if there are any humans that work at Amazon, but if there are, they must be scratching their heads.  The business books were addressed to Amy, and the parenting book and shmaltzy DVD were sent to me!