Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is it snowing yet?

It hasn't snowed in Seattle since last April. It was just a few days after we had a 90° day that we wound up getting a couple inches of snow that stuck around for a day or two.

It was cold enough to snow today. The very definition of freezing. I got up around ten and while I was getting dressed Paul sent me an email to call him back. I called and he said he needed the address to Memo’s Mexican Kitchen, where he was taking me for lunch. I looked at their web page and red him the address. It was odd because the address on their web page did not go with the picture in my head as to where I thought I saw it.

After exchanging stuff at the library I caught the bus to the University District. As I suspected, Memo’s is located about four blocks North of the address on their page. I figured the only way that Paul and I would hook up is if I went to the address I told Paul and wait. I would sit there for a half an hour if I had to. This was one of those times I wish I still had my cell phone.

About six months ago I had asked the finance manager if I could pay for a cell phone out of my disability check before I paid the home my “participation fee.” The participation fee is basically all of your monthly income minus $57.50 “mad money.” Medicaid pays the rest of my room and board ($6,000 a month. Seriously!) The finance manager said "No, cell phones are a luxury. None of the other patients need one." I countered that it wasn't that much money and that the other patients don't go out as much as I do. What if someone needs to get ahold of me when I'm out or if I have an accident. "Why do you need to go?' she said. "Everything you need is right here." (Ever since I have dreaded talking to her about anything. She is probably a nice person, when she isn't trying to get money out of somebody. I know it's her job. She does her job very well. So well there are times I want to die).

Anyway, since I would rather eat outside food for a few days than pay for a phone I rarely need, therefore, I have no cell phone. I am just saying I could have used one today. I should have at least taken Paul's cell phone number and change for the phone with me. Oh, well.

This was my first trip to the "Ave" in over a year and a half. It hadn’t changed. Some new places have replaced the old. The Herfy's that replaced a Taco Bell, that replaced a Pizza Hut was now a place with the exotic name, Barbecue Chicken. A sandwich shop, that used to be a coin shop, now specializes in “build your own kabobs.” But despite a few new facades, the Ave hasn’t changed a bit. It is still the dirtiest street in Seattle, filled with black-clad little “Ave rats” (Sid & Nancy wannabees), with their dogs crapping on the sidewalk, dodging traffic with their scratched up skateboards. They crowd the sidewalk sharing smokes and drinking stuff out of paper sacks. Some are selling drugs and some are buying drugs. I wish I knew which one was selling weed for future reference, since I didn't have any money.

In my wheelchair I felt conspicuous only in that I felt I fit in too well. There is usually a lot of police presence on the Ave, though, now that I think of it, they show up closer to sundown in their giant mobile command post. In case the UW students get to rowdy around closing time. Frat Row is just two, maybe three, blocks East of the Ave. A guy sitting in a wheelchair near known drug dealers can expect to get hassled by the Seattle Police.

It’s hard to look like your not a beggar when you are in a chair wearing sweat pants and sneakers and three long sleeve shirts. The Bartell’s sign showed it was 12:30 p.m. and was 30°. Luckily I only had to wait a couple minutes before Paul showed up and we headed up the two blocks to Memo’s (correct address: 4743 University Way NE).

I had read several great reviews, both professional critics and ordinary eaters, and all were universal in their praise. I asked Paul if he liked his Chicken Torta (sandwich) which looked to be the size of a cigar box. He told me it was good. For Paul that is saying a lot. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him tell me something is great before, except when describing some foreign language book or movie I’ve never heard of. Comparing the Paul scale to the more traditional scale of one to five stars, “O.K. would be four stars, and “Good” would be a perfect score of five. If he ever says “Great” I’ll have to rewrite the scale.

I thought the food was great. I ordered the Chicken Chimichanga with beans and rice and a medium Coke (>$10). See pictures, below, of what we ordered. Note the plates are 14" in diameter! The servings are that big!

My chimichanga was perfect (and thanks to the medication I switched to recently my taste buds were fine). The tortilla was crisp and flaky. The chicken inside was large, tender, juicy chunks of white meat. The refried beans, if I am not mistaken, tasted home made. The rice was very flavorful. Moist but not mushy.

My only complaint, besides the faulty information from their web page, is that the décor is lacking something. Let me rephrase that. It is lacking a décor. It is nonexistent (think of junior high school cafeteria). And there were only two seating options. Tall tables and stools, which, while in my chair, came up to my forehead. It would have made using a knife and fork impossible. They also have booths that I couldn’t quite fit my legs under while sitting in my chair).

But still the food was great! (When I got home I emailed the owners of Memo’s to tell them about the address on their web site being wrong and the seating problems, but also to compliment their food. Within a half hour the owner emailed me from his I-Phone and thanked me and told me all that the website and the seating would be fixed. Another reason to go).

At lunch Paul and I talked about the usual stuff: what our friends are up to, what I want to do for my birthday (Pazzo’s, Lunchbox Laboratory, or something else), my health and progress in getting better, and he gave me a lot of good advice about my blog to make it more readable in the future, advice of which I will be soon. We parted company as I saw my bus rolled by, so I decided to head south on the Ave to check things out, and also to catch the bus at a better stop, several stops before where I knew the bulk of the borders would be getting on (good thing too or I would have waited longer because I passed two people in wheelchairs and when I got on the bus there was only one handicap spot left). I did a little window shopping, debated whether I wanted to roll into the University Bookstore (I didn’t) or Bulldog News (I did). I got to the bus stop with a couple minutes to spare. The bus ride between the Ave and the nursing home is roughly 30 minutes (officially it’s shorter). I noticed the bus passed a lot of familiar landmarks, including a bar very close to my friend Erik’s house. I wish I had known that last summer I might have been able to hook up with people. Now it’s the holidays and freaking cold. Someone a little while ago said it was snowing but I can’t see out my window.

Back at the ranch.

I finally watched the remake of 3:10 to Yuma with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. Christian Bale I such an excellent actor and he is particularly good here. Much better than the lack luster performance of Van Heflin who originated the role. I have always loved the original version of 3:10 to Yuma but have never been a fan of Van Heflin’s acting. He’s a one note actor and that note is flat. It’s a shame because he is in a lot of classic movie’s, most notably Shane. The reason I liked the original is because I have always been a big Glenn Ford fan. Russell Crowe does an excellent job in Ford’s role because they are very similar actors. It’s a shame that Ford wasn’t allowed to show the depth that Crowe has been allowed to show in his career.

I love both movies now (thanks Toby for lending me the remake) and I have to say this is a rare example of a remake being much better than the original (top f my head, John Carpenter’s The Thing and Man On Fire, with Denzel Washington the only two examples that comes to mind). However, it is easy to watch both because both films are different in tone and each have a different ending (I would watch the 1957 version first). The first one has a lot of talking and most of it takes place in a single room with the two man characters. The second one, has a lot more action.

I got back to the home at 2:30 p.m. and now it is midnight. Besides some R.T. with Lamin it’s been very quiet tonight. No insanity from Crazy Alice tonight. Or anyone else for that matter. There isn’t anything even n the news worth talking about, except now The Slog says it is snowing outside but I can’t see it. If it’s worth seeing, it will be there tomorrow.

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