Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The Marys Spring A Surprise.

Written by Tom Fitzmorris November 04, 2009 06:38 in

Dining Diary

Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The Marys Spring A Surprise. At about a quarter past six this morning, without getting solid evidence that I was awake, Mary Ann sat on the side of the bed. "I have something to tell you that's really going to piss you off," she said. "Mary Leigh and I are going to Washington tomorrow to fight that health care bill your people are trying to get away with. We're going to talk to Congressmen face to face."

I was too groggy to take that in, let alone reply. "Do whatever you want," I said, taking the easy road. She'd do that anyway. I rolled over, put my face into the pillow, and waited for the further details.

"Well. She's going to come home Sunday. I'm going to stay until Tuesday. We have buddy passes, so the flights won't cost much, and we'll stay at Christie's house."

I didn't answer. She went away. I didn't get back to sleep. I began adding up the days that the Marys have been out of town without me this year so far. Almost seven weeks. And: Why is Mary Leigh taking time off school for this? Obvious answers: she's in an advanced-placement political science class, and the teacher would no doubt approve of this experience. And it would get her off two days of school.

I stewed about this plan all day. Some drastic responses came to mind. I kept them to myself. What else can I do?

The repair to my car was finished, but not early enough for me to get to town for the show. Nobody misses me when I'm not in the studio anyway. The price for the new switch: $361. I made my last loan payment for that car in almost exactly that amount about two months ago. The payments don't stop, they just become repair bills. My guess on the next thing to go: timing belt.

When Mary Ann came home, she seemed remorseful about leaving me alone again. She asked if I'd like to go out to dinner. I suggested Zea; it was exactly where she wanted to go. But she didn't eat much. She's lost a noticeable amount of weight on her flushing diet, and doesn't want to backslide. So it was just an order of hummus for her.

For me, a bowl of artichoke-oyster soup. Bowl? It's a generous cup, but it is in a bowl. If it were in a cup, it would need an underliner plate. Two pieces of china instead of one. Chain restaurateurs think about things like this, and give you a bowl. But the heavy-duty air conditioning in the place makes it a near certainty that the soup will get cold before you finish it. So I ate fast. Liked it. My hat is off to Pete Hilzim.

Then one of the new dishes on their fall menu: grilled chicken atop what they call "Mediterranean hummus." This is the Middle Eastern version of a Mexican five-layer bean dip, with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and a few other things. Good dish, but I like other things on the fall menu better. Especially those duck sliders.

That menu had a special dessert: a basic pecan pie with ice cream. Big slice, well made. Too big by half, and I left that half. Mary Ann had a bite and said she wished she could eat more of it.

Typically, a conversation with Mary Ann about her leaving town to work on some extreme right-wing chimera would descend into acrimony. But she was warm and borderline apologetic. All I could do was try to gain pity for being left alone after two weeks of being left alone on the ship, and for another day after that. But she seems determined to leave.

During the night, she woke me up to ask whether I thought she was doing the right thing. Not about trying to bring down the Administration; she's certain about that. "I'm having those thoughts again about the plane going down."

I knew I could get her mind off that ridiculous fear by playing the politics card, but I kept my mouth shut. And seethed with resentment, as I would for the next several days. My family is leaving me, little by little.