Daylight Savings Time has kicked. My. Butt. I swear, I don't remember ever having a harder time getting my system to adjust. I am dragging. Of course, it probably didn't help that I went to a party on Saturday night and didn't get to bed until 12ish, which was of course 1ish with the time change. And I may have had one or four margaritas. But still...By now I've had plenty of time to catch up on sleep, but I am still dragging. Why is that? Age? Is that it? Yet another symptom of getting old? Or am I just lazy. Ugh.
And speaking of old and lazy...I got into Jimmy's car this morning and realized that his clock on the dashboard, which I have complained about being set to the wrong time for 6 months, because he never "fell back" the last time Daylight Savings Time changed... is now the right time again.
Downton Abbey paper dolls!!
You can print them all out from HERE.
Sunday night, Jude and I were in the living room watching Who Do You Think You Are?, when suddenly I heard a bang in the bedroom. A little while later, I heard Jimmy cry out for me in a weak voice? What the...? We ran into the bedroom, and there was Jimmy, with his hand stuck in the window. I should explain that we live in a 100 year old house, which has a number of old house quirks. The sash cords in all the windows are of varying degrees of functionality. Rather inexplicably, the windows in our bedroom operate backwards - the bottom sash stays put, and the upper sash panes open and close. In other words, you open the top of the window by sliding it down. Odd, yes. So apparently, Jimmy had been trying to open the window and the upper part of the window slid down really fast and crushed his hand against the bottom part. Poor thing. I tried desperately to pull the window back up, but it was totally stuck with his hand squished in there. I finally had to stand with one foot on the bed and one foot on the window sill and yank up with all my might and finally freed him! It was really scary, we both thought his fingers had been cut off or something, but after a couple of hours of ice and a handful of Advil, he ended up with just some bad bruises. Whew. But Jimmy is a BIG BABY about this kind of thing. Believe me, Jude's stoicism in the face of pain and injury comes from MY side of the family, not Jimmy's. He's most certainly going to milk his injury for DAYS.
Our UPS man has ruined our little dog, Fancy.
The rather clever man keeps one of the pockets of his brown shorts filled with doggy treats. Every time we get a delivery, Fancy runs out to greet him - straight to his right pocket. She's become very well-trained. Unfortunately, not as a guard dog. Now, every time ANYONE comes to the door, she runs out and starts to lick their right legs, expecting to be given a treat. The other day, the FedEx man delivered a package, and when she ran out to him he said "Sorry, I don't keep treats like the UPS man!" I guess he's ruined all the dogs in the neighborhood!
Two miscellaneous boring business things...
And since you just put up with that dullness, I will reward you with these funny things...
Okay, you've worn me out. Dang, this time change thing has kicked. My. Butt. Oh wait, I already said that, didn't I. Well then you should head over to Stacy's for more random thoughters.
Disclosure: This is a repost from two years ago. But I love it, it fits Mama Kat's Workshop's prompt so perfectly and it defines my marriage succinctly, so here you go...
Gretchen has once again stayed up too late doing something important and meaningful on the computer while taking a hot bath and drinking wine. Satisfied after achieving a new personal best in Family Feud, she closes the laptop, gets out of the tub, dries off and covers her body with all of her various special creams. She brushes, flosses, pulls on pajamas, and exits the bathroom.
She tiptoes into Jude's room and finds him lying spreadeagle, having kicked off all the covers, but with one arm firmly clutching his four favorite stuffed animals. Sweet. She tucks the blanket around him, sticks her nose into his neck and inhales deeply, then gives him a kiss.
When she enters her bedroom, she finds Jimmy lying in bed, sound asleep, with the television blaring. As usual. David Letterman has just sat down post-monologue and is chatting with Paul.
She walks to her side of the bed and tries to get into her spot. Unfortunately, Fancy, the dog, has chosen Gretchen's spot as her spot, and is also sound asleep, legs and belly pointing to the ceiling.
"Fancy. Come on honey. You gotta move."
The dog looks up, pissed.
"Move honey. Come on."
The dog won't move. Gretchen manages to shove her slightly to the right, and jam her own legs into the tiny space allotted her by the dog and the husband.
She then carefully arranges her pillows the way she likes them. Five pillows. One particular pillow under her head, two special large pillows on each side of her, creating her little nest. Unfortunately, Jimmy has one of her special pillows under his head. Stealthily, she eases it out and eases a "not special" pillow into its place without waking Jimmy. Whew.
Pillows arranged, she then pulls yet another jar of special cream out of the bedside table and rubs it into her hands and arms, followed by Vaseline, which she applies to her lips and forehead wrinkles.
All ready for bed, she looks around for the remote control, so she can turn Letterman off. Damn. No remote in sight. She looks around on Jimmy's side. On the floor. Under the covers. No remote.
She extricates herself from the sheet and blanket and pillows and dog, walks over to the tv, and punches it off manually. She then crawls back into the bed, squeezes herself back under the covers and arranges her pillows again. Fluff, fluff, fluff, pat, pat, pat. Satisfied, she reaches over to turn out the light on the bedside table.
"And the man said...banana!" says David Letterman. The audience laughs and applauds.
Gretchen sits up.
The television is on again.
Puzzled, Gretchen looks around. The remote must be in the bed somewhere, and she has accidentally hit it. She does another thorough search for the remote. Nothing.
"Well, this is ridiculous." she says to herself.
Again, she extricates herself from the sheet and blanket and pillows and dog, walks over to the tv, and punches the button manually. A little harder this time. She crawls back into the bed, squeezes herself back under the covers and arranges her pillows yet again. Fluff, fluff, fluff, pat, pat, pat. Sighing heavily, she reaches over to turn off the light.
"And my son Harry said...It was like a monster dance!" says David Letterman. The crowd roars with laughter.
"No way!" Gretchen says, sitting up again.
She looks at Fancy, who is sitting up now, looking disturbed.
"Fancy! Did you do that? Are you on top of the remote?"
Gretchen digs her hand under the dog, disturbing her thoroughly. No remote.
She searches under the sheets, under the pillows. She feels around Jimmy, careful not to wake him.
"Well this is just silly!"
Gretchen angrily kicks aside the sheets and blankets and pillows and dog. Gets up and walks around the bed, smacks the off button on the tv, gets back in the bed, jams her feet under the covers, jerks the covers back over her and arranges her pillows yet again. Fluff, fluff, fluff, pat, pat, pat. She reaches over and quickly turns off the light.
"Number Two: Do I get a jet pack?" Much laughter and applause from the Letterman audience.
"NO FUCKING WAY!"
Gretchen sits straight up in the bed, the room filled once again with the light from the television.
Gretchen then realizes that the bed is now shaking violently. She looks to the right and sees that though Jimmy still has his eyes shut, his entire body is shaking with laughter. Slowly, he pulls the remote out and hands it to Gretchen, never opening his eyes.
"Oh, VEEERRRY funny, Mister." Gretchen says, snatching the remote and finally turning the tv off.
Dramatically, she settles herself at last into her nest of pillows.
Slowly, a sound builds in the dark and quiet room.
It's the sound of Gretchen giggling so hard that she's crying. Jimmy joins her, and they both laugh themselves to sleep.
Inspired to repost by Mama Kat's Prompt #2 - A time you were tricked.
1. Which of the following phrases characterizes how you live your life?
a. You only live once
b. test the water before jumping in
c. stability is the key to life
Hmmm, let's see. I think I'll go with b. test the water before jumping in. While I like to think of myself as spontaneous and free-spirited, this is not the truth. I hem and haw and ask about 60 people for their opinions and then I'll suddenly just go with the first thing that comes to me and foolishly dive in.
2. What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?
Jimmy, Jude, Fancy (the dog) and I were all sleeping together in our king-sized bed. Right after we said good night and turned the light out, we suddenly became aware that somebody had...farted. We all accused each other, and finally realized that it had been the DOG. We all giggled our heads off for about 30 minutes.
3. Who is the last person you hugged?
4. What song always makes you happy when you hear it?
Duh. "Hey Jude". Okay, I guess that was the obvious choice. And only one of MANY, MANY songs that make me happy. A few things that immediately come to mind off the top of my head...all of Elton John's Madman Across the Water - Side One, the soundtrack to Rocky Horror Picture Show, almost everything by Van the Man Morrison, Carole King's Tapestry, everything off Gram Parson's Grievous Angel, most of Joe Cocker Live, Sinatra's That's Life, The Stones Sympathy for the Devil, most everything by George Frideric Handel, Dylan's Simple Twist of Fate, early Billy Joel, Blondie's One Way or Another and of course...turn it up...
...just to name a few.
5. What's the first thing you thought about this morning?
DON'T TAKE THE DOG CAMPING! I seemed to have had a disturbing dream that I had taken Fancy camping, and it hadn't gone well - something about a skunk and a creek. I woke up in something of a panic.
This week was once again brought to you by...
Oh hello there.
You thought I'd forgotten about you, didn't you? But no, I have just been in a seafood induced stupor, which I am just barely coming out of. Ergh. I just ended a sentence with a preposition, but I'm just too damned worn out to try to fix it.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes was a success. Much booze, much fun, much children excited for Santa, much good friends and much fishes.
Here is the menu, which I promised you last week, and am just now getting around to sharing...
Lemon Martinis/Martinis/Wine/Good beer
Fish #1- Salmon Tartar
Fish #2 - Mussels & Basil Bread Crumbs
Octopus Salad (what Mommy calls the Pulpu)
Scallops with Basil Stuffing on a Bed of Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette
Linguine Frutti di Mare (Linguini with Seafood Sauce)
Baccala Alla Vesuviana (Salt Cod With Tomatoes and Capers)
Roasted Shrimp with Feta
Whew. I really have to say, it all turned out very well. I'm afraid that the roasted shrimp was a tad underroasted. And by underroasted, I mean raw. This was due, I hate to say, to the fact that by the time we reached this point of the meal, yours truly may have imbibed one too many Lemon Martini, and wasn't paying good attention. Oops. But otherwise, it all came out very well. Particularly the scallops, which got raves, and honestly should have been stinking excellent, considering I could have paid the gas bill with the amount of cash I coughed up for them. Here is the really SIMPLE recipe...
Scallops with Basil Stuffing
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. scallops (the really good, fat ones, the ones that you ask the fish man for, not really looking at the price per pound, and then when he rings it up, you stare at the price and start to hyperventilate)
Mince the basil, garlic, salt and pepper together until very fine. I used the old fashioned mortar and pestle that Mommy gave me. Mix in a small bowl, or cup with 2 tbsp. olive oil.
Make a deep horizontal slit in the side of each scallop, but don't cut all the way through. Fill each scallop with about 1 tsp. of the basil mixture; close. Pour the remaining oil onto a plate or pan, and turn each scallop in it, then place on a broiler pan.
Broil the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, no more. (Or grill them, which would have been excellent, but I was too damned lazy to go stand outside grilling while all the fun was being had inside.)
I served them on a bed of arugula and endive (which I insist on pronouncing ahn-deeve, just because I can) with a Lemon Vinaigrette - 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts olive oil, salt, pepper.
Serves 4. You may do the math re: how many pounds I had to buy to feed 11!
I will only brag on my sweet boy once here. I swear.
On Christmas Eve morning, before he ran in to play video games, Jude sat down at his little desk and made...a birthday card for Jesus. Couldn't you just die.
I fear he is just not an artist. But I particularly like the little "You" with an arrow to the baby. He put the card under the tree next to the nativity scene. Very dear.
No one gave me a Snuggie. It's sad. I keep asking. Nobody gives me one. I can't decide if people just think that I'm joking or if they think I'm too good for one. It must be something like that, or surely somebody would give me one by now. Come to think of it, nobody's ever given me a Chia Pet either. Always wanted one of them too.
Jimmy did, however, give me that scarf I've been dying for (I actually got the card from the store, and wrote the name of the scarf with the color I wanted on it, and handed it to the man - sometimes you've just got to take care of yourself.), a gift certificate for a massage (which I NEED) and a gift certificate for Barnes and Noble, which I'm looking forward to using. My sister-in-law gave me a fabulous cookbook from Cook's Magazine. And my friend and Christmas Eve guest Laura gave me this cool trio of kitchen products- hand soap, dish soap and counter cleaner in a little holder thing, which I'm strangely excited about - I keep finding reasons to clean the kitchen counter. She reads this blog, so I'm going to count this as her thank you note. And my friends and other Christmas Eve guests, Scott and Melissa, always bring me a new bottle of special bourbon every year. This year's treat is Black Maple Hill...
We spent Christmas Day at our friends Pat and Debra's house. They always do a fabulous meal, and their home in the Hollywood Hills is lovely and warm. And I'm always so stinking exhausted that I love that I can just sit there and do NOTHING. Pat (Patsy) is an amazing Italian chef, who also does outstanding meats, and Debra handles all the "American" food and the desserts. Jude blew me away by eating a gigantic plate of gnocchi with sauce and prime rib. He loves Uncle Pat's cooking! I've posted Pat's videos before, but here's his take on a simple tomato sauce...
Patsy also made me what I think may become my new favorite cocktail, a Negroni. It's a really old-fashioned cocktail, that's kind of bitter and strange. An acquired taste, but then pretty addicting. Mmmm...
1 part gin
1 part Campari
1 part Sweet Vermouth
Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice, and serve straight up in a martini glass. Garnish with a curl of orange peel.
I think I'll need to buy some Campari tomorrow!
A couple of years ago, we started this sweet/silly tradition in our little family. On holiday nights, we let Jude sleep in bed with us. So that makes FOUR bodies in the same bed, because our little dog Fancy always sleeps on my feet. But I'm afraid that this is gonna have to come to a stop soon. On Christmas night, we all snuggled in and watched the Marx Brothers Duck Soup, then went to sleep. I swear, Jude must have rolled over and hit me in the head 4 times during the night, Jimmy was snoring like mad, and the dog wouldn't get off my feet. And on top of that, I woke up a couple of times with my hormonal night sweats. NOT a festive night.
Last night, after an absolutely BRILLIANTLY lazy day, Jude and I ventured to downtown LA, and went ice skating with his Cub Scout pack. And by "Jude and I" went ice skating, I mean Jude went ice skating. I stood on the side of the rink and waved in support. Middle-aged Texas Woman = NOT ice skater. However, Little Californian Boy = Pretty decent and scrappy ice skater. No points for form, but he manages to stay on his feet and have a lot of fun. I'm thinking we might head down there again later in the week. Anybody else in?
Remember those 15 pounds that I lost with Weight Watchers? Well, about 5 of them have come home again, thanks to all this feasting. January 2? Back on the WW. Damn.
That's it for now. Damn, I wish I had some of that Campari. Sounds so good...
Y'all head on over to visit Stacy for the usual Tuesday randomness.
Yo, yo, yo, people. Whazzup. It's Tuesday, so it must be Random Tuesday Thoughts...
The makers of Beneful Dog Food have produced this commercial, which is running in Germany and Austria...
According to the Washington Post, this commercial has been created to appeal to dogs as well as their humans. The ad is full of weird high-pitched sounds, which are supposed to get dogs attention. As an experiment, I sat down with our little dog, Fancy, and played it for her. Several times. Nothing. She shows absolutely ZERO interest in it. I fear that the Beneful people may have invested their money to no avail. Give it a try on your dogs, and let me know what their reaction was.
I have recently decided that I need to help my kid develop more up-to-date tastes in music. All that I ever listen to in the car is either a) old rock and roll from the '60s, '70s and '80s. b) NPR or c) classical/choral music - it mellows me in bad traffic. And he's never asked me to put on anything else. He definitely knows his old rock - the kid can identify Dylan, The Stones, Bowie, Elton John and of course, The Beatles. But when we were driving to San Diego (for our Naval experience) in my friend Ronda's car, she had on KIIS-FM, the station where Ryan Seacrest works. They play all that Top 40 stuff, which I am ridiculously, old-womanishly ignorant about. And Jude just loved it. And he seems to have been listening to this music somewhere - I guess at his friends houses. He recognized Eminem, which kind of blew me away. But at some point, Ronda's son A.J. said "Can we put on the station that they play in Jude's car? I like that station." So Ronda switched over to my old rock and roll station. Isn't that typical? They both wanted what the other was used to! So anyway, I'm forcing myself to listen to that KIIS station more often. It's probably good for me. And I like that new Adele song. But the other day, I heard a DJ say something about a band, and I swear they said it was called "Enjoyable Menopause". Which, I'm thinking is a poor band name, and I must have missheard. Any ideas of what it really was?
Did any of y'all pay attention to the list of 2011 Nobel Prize winners which were recently handed out? The Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to some Japanese dudes who invented...are you ready?...A wasabi alarm clock. Apparently, it was very difficult to determine exactly how much airborne wasabi was necessary to wake a person. According to the patent, their alarm consisted of...
1. An odorant receptacle containing an odorant whose concentration in air at which a person can no longer tolerate a strength of smell is lower than a no observed effect concentration of the odorant.
2. A drive section which emits the odorant from the odorant receptacle.
3. A detector which detects occurrence of an unusual situation, and outputs a detection signal.
4. A controller which, when the detection signal is inputted from the detector, causes the drive section to emit the odorant in accordance with the detection signal.
And I know this is the NOBEL PRIZE, for God's sake, but doesn't that all just make you giggle?
I just looked back over what I'd written, and realized I was a little thin this week. So I walked in to Jimmy, who was lying in the bed, and asked him to give me a random thought to share with my readers. He thought about it for a moment, then said...
"Trip in, trip out, don't worry, in doubt, flip out."
I have no idea what this means. And I'm fairly embarrassed to admit that it came out of my weirdo husband's brain. It is certainly random, I'll give him that.
Stacy is still the organizer of all things random, so please drop her place and check out the others.
My weekend - in bullet points...
It has taken a lovely turn toward COOL around here, putting me in my usual happy autumnal mood. Not that we get much Autumn here in SoCal, but I'll take what I can get. Actually, I just like saying the word "autumnal".
Cool always makes me want to do a little housekeeping, and I've suddenly realized that I haven't done a "follow-up" post in AGES. So I thought I'd fill y'all in on what's been going on with some of the many topics I've ranted and complained about over the last several months.
* I STILL haven't gotten my writing on a path. Even after so many of you gave me excellent advice on ways to get my work published, and I even went out for a wonderful breakfast with Elizabeth, who was FULL of excellent guidance which I eagerly wrote down, ready to take that next step forward...I have done nothing. Well...practically nothing. I have been fiddling with the novel I want to write. Making lots of notes. And I've written a page. Yes, a page, as in one page. But it's a start.
* I'm happy to announce that our little dog Fancy has had no more adventures. In fact, since her kidnapping (because that is what I'm choosing to call it), she hasn't even attempted to wander off once. The yard man has left the side gate open TWICE, but all she does is run around to the front porch and bark until I let her in. Clearly, she prefers to be at home with her little family than off gallivanting with the blackmailers. Good dog.
* I am still enjoying my peculiar little Social Media Management job, wherein I go on the internets and pretend to be someone, and Tweet and Facebook for them. The woman I "am" now has 10,000 Facebook friends (she actually maxed the number of "friends" she could have, and had to start a fan page, which now has over 5000 "likes". And 2000 followers on Twitter. I used to just post links and videos and quotes and such, but now she has me wishing "Happy Birthday" to all her "friends" - 10 to 20 birthdays a day. Crazy.
* The hole in my mouthhas healed up nicely, thank you. I don't know if the healing had anything to do with the collagen treatments that my endodontist used, or if it was just...time. But it's all better. I'm sure you're all relieved.
* Facebook is still suggesting that I become friends with Ruth Buzzi. But now they also say I should be friends with Jane Lynch (10 mutual friends), Buck Henry (13 mutual friends), Lee Grant (21 mutual friends) and Michael O'Keefe (20 mutual friends). So far, I have saved them all the embarrassment of Ignoring me.
* Jude's summer pop cultural schoolingwas mostly successful. He is now a full-fledged Star Wars dude. Though we still haven't watched that "Revenge of the Sith" one. So many of y'all warned me off it, that I've kind of avoided it. But Jude's pretty much driving me crazy wanting to see it, so I might just go ahead and rent it. I told Jude that I thought it was too "dark" and he reminded me that the last two Harry Potter movies were "dark" and he was just fine. Maybe he's right...He also took to Monty Python in a serious way. But I'm afraid the Star Trek education is still lacking. I've tried to get him to watch the original series, but he just has no interest. I'm deeply upset. How can he have missed inheriting the Star Trek gene from me? I tried to point out how cool Mr. Spock was and how Captain Kirk always gets the groovy chicks, but, alas, he didn't seem to care. Perhaps I should skip ahead to TNG. I always enjoy me some Patrick Stewart.
* Okay, look over to the right at the little pink square on my sidebar from Amazon.com. I put that thing over there, and filled it with a bunch of favorites and then, of course, completely forgot to update it. So yesterday, I decided that it was time to add some new stuff and figure out why I haven't earned any big cash from Amazon, and when I opened up my Amazon Associates account, it said "Residents of CA are not eligible to participate in the Associates program." What??? Why didn't they tell me this before? I'm so mad. Should I just change my address with them? Use Mommy's address in New York? Or do y'all think that's illegal?
* Remember my obsession with Zoopla.com? The British real estate website? For when I pack up and move to the UK in my next life? I have a new one - Property Ireland. Because I read somewhere that Ireland was one of the best places to live right now. And come on, who wouldn't want to live in a place called Lobster Cottage in Kinsale, County Cork?
* The latest from my old college acquaintance and Facebook nemesis who drives me crazy with his endless, pedantic, creepy, hippie-dippie status updates -
"Wow, an amazing experience this morning while Shamanically Journeying during ecstatic dance--my former Spirit Animal was gone and I was given a new one! Guess it's time for me to soar!"
Eeeeeek! I hope I don't run into his lost former Spirit Animal. How embarrassing would that be?
"Just finished an 8-page script for a video I'm gonna start shooting later today called (with my typical utter lack of modesty!)...'The Best Damn Learn-to-Juggle Video Ever Made!'"
Of course, he juggles.
"Got index cards filled with each day's discrete activities leading up to the Launch of my super-secret online project just 9 days from now!"
He's been talking about this "super-secret online project" for months and months. Only 9 days, can't wait!
Okay, I've really got to get over this. Or hide his posts.
* We still haven't heard hide nor hair of Chi, the guy who rear-ended me. It still makes me giggle every time I say "guy who rear-ended me". I fear he will remain a mystery. I wish him well. As long as his insurance company comes through with the last of my cash.
*Jude and my tandem reading is progressing brilliantly. Every night we lie down in his bed and he reads his book and I read mine. He just absolutely PLOWED through "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", then immediately grabbed "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator". I made him a stack of all our Roald Dahl so he can just read his way through it. Such good stuff. And amazingly, I have actually been able to do some reading of my own for the first time in 8 years! I've read three books in the last month. I feel like myself again!
* Jude's scar's healing nicely. Thank you Vitamin E oil and Mederma.
* Jude's friend Gus has made it through his first round of chemo, and is doing great. He's lost all his hair and is wearing hats, but he's such a spirited, funny, strong kid, that he makes it look cool. Please keep saying a prayer for him every time you see the little button to the right.
* And the thing I'm sure you've all been most concerned about - the hot flashes have temporarily abated, but the mood swings are rockin'. Woohoo.
Well I guess that's about it. I'm feeling much tidier. Very autumnal. Is there anything I left out that you've been wondering about? I'm sure you're all on pins and needles.
On Tuesday afternoon, I returned home after my auditions to find Jimmy and Jude, still sick and wearing his little pajamas, standing in our front yard, looking panicked.
"We can't find Fancy! Fancy's gone!" said Jimmy frantically. Fancy, many of you will remember, is our precious little dog.
Seems Jimmy had left the front door open for "just a minute or two" while he was vacuuming the living room, and she "must have gotten out". Uh-huh. Jimmy and I have had an ongoing argument about this very thing for YEARS. He loves to open up all the doors and windows to "air the place out", sometimes leaving the front door wide open for hours at a time. I have probably asked him 12,000 times not to do this or Fancy is going to wander off, but he NEVER LISTENS TO ME. We lost Imogene, our old cat, once this way, and now it was Fancy.
We all went into crisis mode. Unfortunately, because Jude was sick, we couldn't both go out and search at the same time, so we took turns running around the neighborhood, then driving around the neighborhood, calling her name. We knew that she had on her collar and tags, which had her name, our address and my cell phone on it.
When I left the house to search the neighborhood, I had grabbed my cell phone, and noticed that about 45 minutes before, I had missed a call from a Blocked number, and the person had failed to leave a message.
While searching around, I received another phone call from Blocked.
Uh. Hello. How are you?
Fine. Who is this?
Do you, uh, have a dog?
Did you lose it?
Yeah, I, uh, got the dog.
Oh thank God!! Where are you, where is she? What's your name?
I'm, um, uh, Tony. The dog was running around in the middle of Melrose. It almost died. I had to run out into the street to get it.
Oh my God! Thank you so much! Thank you so much! Where can I come get her?
Uh, um, you gonna give me a reward?
Uh, well, I hadn't really thought about it yet...uh...sure, I guess.
(digging in my purse)
I have...$50 on me right now...I can give you that.
Well...I had to run out in the street. The dog almost got hit by a car. I think it might be worth a little more than that.
(suddenly sobbing like a hysterical woman)
WE JUST WANT OUR LITTLE GIRL BACK!!
Yeah...I'll call you back.
And he hung up on me.
I ran home and told Jimmy. "That sounds like extortion." said Jimmy. Yes it did.
We sat and waited. No return phone call from "Tony".
Jimmy talked to his cousin, Cathy, who, being a well-meaning alarmist, threw fuel to the fire. "There are rings of these people! They steal dogs then extort money from you. And if you don't give them what they want they just set the dog back on the street. It happens all the time!"
Jimmy started to freak more, and called the police. They were very nice, but completely unhelpful. Unless the guy had actually said something like "If you don't give us $500 you'll never see your little dog alive again!", there was nothing they could do. They offered to send a squad car over, but we feared that since "Tony" had our address, if they came to the house to bring the dog and saw police there, they might run and we really wouldn't ever see Miss Fancy again.
We waited. And freaked more. I don't think I've seen Jimmy this upset since many years ago when I had a miscarriage. I realize that he felt guilty for leaving the door open, and if we couldn't get her back, would be eaten up with guilt forever.
Over the past few years, I have auditioned several times to play a woman whose child had been kidnapped, or was missing in action or some such thing. As I was sitting there, completely powerless, I had one of those weird actor thoughts that I should work on remembering this feeling so I could recreate it in some future audition.
I tried calling the phone company to trace the Blocked phone number, but they wouldn't help. I called our friend Sylva, a dog rescuer, for advice. She said that it didn't sound to her like any kind of professional dog thieves, just some guy who wanted to make a little cash off the dog, and he probably didn't like the amount I offered, but would go for maybe $100. She suggested making Lost Dog posters with a picture of Fancy and the phrase "$$REWARD$$" and hanging them up and down Melrose. She suspected that "Tony" would, after letting us stew for a few hours, have a friend call and pretend that they had found the dog and ask for a higher $$REWARD$$, which we would need to cough up. I set to work making signs.
In the middle of this, one of Jimmy's acting students, a young guy named Alvaro, showed up for a coaching session, which Jimmy had forgotten about. Jimmy decided to go ahead and coach him, that it might take his mind off the whole Fancy thing.
When we told Alvaro what had happened, he was extremely sweet and sympathetic, and strangely knowledgeable about it all. After a while, Alvaro shared that long ago, in his misspent youth in Miami, he and his friends had made quite a bit of cash...dog-napping. He said that these guys would definitely call back. They probably weren't serious criminals or anything, just sort of sleazy guys who wanted to get a little cash. He agreed with Sylva that offering them $100 would get Fancy back to us.
Sure enough, about 7:00 pm, I got a call from another Blocked number...
Yeah, you the lady with the dog?
YES! Is this Tony?
Tony? Uh...oh. No. I'm a friend of his...Manny. I can bring your dog to you.
I then blathered on naively, as Alvaro had instructed me, talking about how relieved our little boy would be, and how much we appreciated their kindness. "Manny" was actually really nice. Sort of a good cop/bad cop thing. He went on about what a sweet dog Fancy was, asked me what we fed her, remarked that she was so friendly and never barked. I told him that I'd spoken briefly to "Tony" about a reward, and how we really very much wanted to thank them for their help. I asked him how much he thought would be appropriate. "Oh really, whatever you think you could give out of the goodness of your heart" Manny replied.
He then said that he would head over to our neighborhood with the dog, and call us when he got closer. Maybe we could meet him someplace?
Well this didn't sound sinister at all. Maybe we were just being incredibly paranoid. Maybe they were just really nice guys who had rescued our little dog, but were just poor people-persons?
"They'll call back in about an hour" Alvaro said "But this time it will be the first guy again. And he'll ask for a specific amount of money. They have your address from the dog tags, and they'll probably drive by, check out the place, and decide how much to ask."
It was the first time I'd ever been happy that we live in a tiny house which desperately needs a paint job.
Sure enough, about 45 minutes later, the phone rings again. It's "Tony". He sounded pissed.
Yeah, so...how much is this reward you're gonna give us?
Well, I have $50 on me, but if you want more, we could get it for you.
I went to a lot of trouble for this dog...I ran out in traffic to save it. I think it's worth at least $100.
Okay, we can do that. But my husband's going to have to run to the ATM first.
We arranged for Jimmy to meet him at a nearby gas station. Alvaro's only fear was that these guys would show up and decide to ask for more money. He said that that was pretty common. They'd decide at the last minute to up the price to $500 or so, depending on how the dog owner reacted.
Jimmy left the house looking like he was headed into war. I made him swear that he wouldn't lose his temper and piss these guys off. We didn't want them to take off without giving us the dog. He swore to me that he'd give "An Academy Award performance." Which I knew he was capable of.
Ten minutes later, Jimmy showed up with Fancy and we all had a tearful reunion.
Apparently, Jimmy retrieved the cash and showed up at the gas station in fine form. You have to understand that Jimmy is often cast as a nut/whackadoo/gangster, and he decided to play this to the hilt. He got out of his car and walked around, waving the dog leash semi-threateningly and asking everybody in the place if they were the guy who had his dog. Finally, "Tony" and "Manny" pulled in. When they got out of the car, Jimmy ran up and hugged them both. They were apparently taken aback. "These guys saved our dog!" he enthusiastically told all the other gas station customers. He got them talking and it turns out that "Tony" and "Manny" work up the street at one of the local Medical Marijuana dispensaries. He thoroughly charmed them, even getting them to carry the dog and put her in Jimmy's car. They told him that if he came by the shop, they'd give him a great deal.
When Fancy got home, she ran around like crazy, jumped on everything, kissed us all, then fell asleep immediately on the sofa. Like she hadn't spent most of the day in a marijuana dispensary and driving around with a couple of thugs/drug dealers/extortionists. Typical dog.
I'm still not sure what to think about the whole thing. I tend not to believe that these guys stole the dog. Or that they were dog-nappers. I think they really did just find her, probably really did save her from the middle of a busy thoroughfare, and just thought that they should get a little cash for it. Not to defend them in any way. I mean, what kind of human being wouldn't just get your dog back to you immediately? Especially if they worked a half a mile away. What kind of person would hang up on you and leave you panicked and worried for hours?
What do y'all think? Kidnappers? Extortionists? Kind-hearted souls?