We caught the Harrahs limo at 9:45 headed to Ralph's on the Park for Sunday brunch.
Located in City Park, Ralph's is owned by Ralph Brennan and has tasty items like shrimp and grits, Crab Benedict and "endless" mimosas. Cole ate his hand and a few dozen spoons (all of which wound up on the floor).
Then it was off to the French Quarter and a tourist stop at Pat OBriens, the premier piano bar, patio and Hurricane purveyor. It was like a flashback for me. Most of the waiters have been there for 40 or 50 years. Joe, our waiter was there for 47. He remembered serving me when I was probably 14 (the age that you can start drinking in New Orleans).
I walked with Nikki back to the hotel so she could get packed to leave that afternoon. About a half hour later, Debbie called to ask me to come back to Pat O. Our group was dancing on tables, singing loudly and ... Yes ... drinking.
We met lots of new friends. My favorite family wore tee shirts that were numbered Drunk 1, Drunk …
Someone once said ... "All you do in New Orleans is eat and drink". That's pretty much the case for us. The weather still was miserable yesterday so we had to drown our sorrows with beignets, shrimp poboys, gumbo, bloody Mary's, dirty martinis and ... And ... More food.
Started at Cafe du Monde (in Riverwalk) continued at ACME oyster and ended at Landrys. In between, we drank coffee, beer, liquor ... And some other liquids that no one could identify.
The baby was a trooper. Pretty much dragged through the sloshy streets of NO , he still managed to pose and smile at Landrys.
Alissa was happy on her golden Godess machine at Harrahs.
Forgot to mention that when we landed at the airport, I was told that the cars were oversold and that cars we reserved were unavailable.
So ... Stranded downtown without transportation, we are (now at least) wet but happy in our little corner of the world
We landed in New Orleans yesterday at 2:30. Josh, Alissa, Nate and Theresa flew with Deb and me from Tampa. It's been raining ever since.
Nikki, baby Cole and Steven flew from Savannah. They were delayed because TSA searched Cole's 5 suitcases and scanned his drinking bottles for illegal substances and baby weapons apparently.
They arrived a few hours before us.
We ate at NOLAs on St. Louis St in the Quarter. One of Emiril's restaurants, still one of my favs.
After that ... We headed for Harrahs for a night of gambling, dancing and drinking. Deb and I lasted til midnight. The kids stayed a little longer.
Alissa won the Dance Fever award. I promised not to show the video but if you want a visual ... imagine Elaine from Seinfeld drinking four margaritas and waving her arms wildly. She was feeling no pain this morning.
I know it's silly to dedicate a whole blog post to the fact that I got my eyes checked and refitted for glasses but it's the little things that excite me.
Because thanks to my nephew, Mike Levitt, Ophthalmologist to the stars (and me), I can see again. Ever since my surgery, my vision had changed dramatically but I didn't really notice it until recently. There were clues ... People waved to me from across a room and I didn't know who the hell they were, I knew there were letters on street signs but I didn't speak Chinese, I walked into things a lot (okay ... So maybe that's not because of the glasses).
But now it's crystal clear ... so for all those people over the last year that waved to me or smiled at me and saw just my blank stare and thought "he's pretty rude" ... I'm so sorry. Now ... I will see you!
Of course I still might not know who the hell you are.
Man do I feel old today. I heard from a former student of mine who I taught in 1978. He's not the first student I've heard from over the years. With the advent of Facebook, I get friended now and then by former students who have kids, grey hair, some have faces I can't quite remember ... Many still call me Mr. Momberg. But today was a little different. The student who wrote to me today ... Just retired!
My mother in law, Joanne Gallagher passed away on Saturday. She was battling the effects ovarian cancer and congestive heart disease. She was and will always be a very special lady.
One of my favorite stories about Joanne was one that I wrote and have reposted today. It was published when she first was hospitalized: Jewels from Joanne(originally posted January 2, 2011)
Joanne is my mother in law.
She has a very strong faith and has great courage in the face of adversity. She also has given birth to seven children that she knows of ... including the twins, Debbie and Dennie. Immaculate conception aside ... Joanne apparently knew more about sex than her children give her credit for ... or not. Certainly, married to Larry, she needed a manual to understand the mechanics (I think even she probably admits that she should have taken a test drive first).
Joanne also has an interesting vocabulary all her own. While she has been in the hospital, she has shared some of her "Jewels" :
Nikki and Steven spent the weekend with us. Before they left, I had a few minutes alone reading the Sunday paper with Cole. I showed him pictures of cars, buildings, trees ... All he cared about was the obituary page. Yes ... He sees dead people.
It's that day that we give thanks and I have so much to be thankful for this year:
* The Big Balls in the dining room. The objects of Debbie's last interior design foray prior to the viral redo of our bedroom ... surprisingly ... she has kept them for a whole year without changing them out.
* Bicycles. On our walk today we were passed on the sidewalk by about 10 cyclists (ON YOUR LEFT ... ON YOUR LEFT ...). I'm thankful there were just 10. I'd be much more thankful if they USED THE BIKE LANES IN THE STREET.
* Dr. Van Loveren. He was the neurosurgeon who fixed my brain this year. I think that's his name. Isn't it? Wait a minute ... I seemed to have forgotten MY name. Where am I?
What was I just talking about?
* Sammy. I am thankful for Sammy because ... well ... because he's .... um ... I know there was something ... oh yeah ... because he is still with us and continues to give me great material for my blog.
But I guess if you live to 93, unless you are a convicted felon, you are allowed to be cranky, critical and demanding and not only will you be forgiven ... women will actually think you are adorable.
Today, I picked up Sammy to take him on a drive. He wanted to go to the beach.
When you pack up a 93 year old, it's kind of like packing up an infant. The biggest difference is that his stroller is a 100 pound wheelchair and his diapers are a little bigger. Throw in a box of kleenex, a few towels, and protective plastic covers for the front seat and you are ready to roll.
"You know ... I love the outdoors, the fresh air is great." Sam said as we drove away.
I opened the windows. "Does that feel good?"
"No. I'm too cold."
I closed the windows.
"What did you do that for?"
"You said you were cold."
"Whatever Joel." He scowled as he looks out the window.
Bill Murray is "St." Vincent ... a sloppy, disgruntled, nasty curmudgeon who lays around on a lawn chair, smokes too much, gambles too much and has a Russian hooker as a girlfriend.
Yes ... he is my new hero.
Truth is, I always liked Bill Murray and related to all his characters ... even his sleazy nightclub singer, Caddyshack groundskeeper and Todd DiLaMuca (Lisa Loopner's boyfriend) on SNL. But as St. Vincent he has touched a special place in my heart. I think us guys are all Vincent at heart. When we hit our sixties, our innermost thoughts change from being cool to sitting around in our underwear, bitching about politics or sports or women and in general not really caring about much of anything related to appropriate behavior. We'd all be happy smoking and drinking and gambling (if we weren't afraid of immediately dropping dead). Women are different. As they age, young "wild" women become clones of Mother Theres…
I never thought in a million years I would say that sentence ... especially during our construction period (which lasted a little over 52 years) ... but there you have it. Yes, Debbie was right (oh how that hurts to say out loud).
There is now enough room for my stuff. All my tee shirts are stacked, my ties all have hooks, my shoes have homes ... all is put away.
Thank you honey.
Only one question ... what the heck is that thing that Michael (who created the big balls in the dining room) put next to my bed?
My head hurt. I was feeling out of sorts. I turned on my phone and after getting through one move of Words With Friends, I wanted to go back to sleep. How could I still be tired after sleeping all night?
Last night we had dinner with one of my heroes, Les Muma who got rid of all his unhealthy habits in his thirties and is the most focused, committed man I have ever met.
Today's the day I do it. I'm ready for my new life. I started making mental notes:
Step one. Put on a pair of shorts and sneakers. Make the two mile walk downtown. It's a great start for a daily exercise program. I will make this a ritual every morning or evening and in few months it will escalate into daily workouts in the gym.
Before you know it, I will look like the stud on the left ... or his husband.
Step two. Eat a healthy breakfast at one of the cafes along the water. Fruit and nuts kinda food. No potatoes, eggs, bacon ... anything that tastes good. Ap…