With a Whine and Cheez(its) wedding approaching, my calendar is filled with tying up loose ends. And one of those items included a site visit to wrap up details at the actual venue (which by the way my mother is not shy about reminding us how she found it and is singlehandedly responsible for all of its splendor. It was mentioned no less than 30 times during the meeting.)
Thankfully, the dress fitting the week before, another item on the list, was a wild success according to my mother.
(BeeTeeDubs, Sophia Vagaries = Sophia Vergara)
My parents accompanied us to finalize the menu, so we pretty much knew that the interactions would ooze some good blog material.
Although we are having a small, family only affair in a private dining room at a beautiful restaurant, there was still lots to discuss.
The meeting was called for 2:30, which is exactly when SLS and I arrived, to find my parents already there. I’m gonna guess that they probably got there at 2:00. And while I’d love to blame the overt earliness on allowing time for travel, you should know that my parents literally live walking distance to the site of the upcoming Jewish nuptials. So close, you could throw a matzoh ball and hit it. My mother is just SUPER punctual. For a little context if she is picking up my child from school, she leaves her house at like 1130am but begins mental preparation at least one day prior. Let me be clear that school ends at 2:45 and my parents live about 45 mins away.
So we sit at the table with the restaurant manager and settle into our seats for what I like to call, the full Arlyne interrogation.
My mother had already (admittedly) been up for hours the night before scouring all of the menu options/prices online. Hours, people. She has the same diligence when she decides she’s going to watch the horses run at the track, gets out her paper, pen and newspaper section compiling notes using all of the expert commentary on the horses and devises a plan for each race. Granted, she usually ends up betting on the right number horse in the wrong race (repeat offender), but she’s definitely a planner. I can picture her sitting in front of the computer calculating each drink for each guest trying to figure out what the bill will look like. I know for a fact she called one Aunt to ask “how many pieces of shrimp, ballpark, do you think your sons will devour?” to which my aunt answered something along the lines of “All of them”.
The manager goes over the proposed menu, and my mom sits up tall with her readers at the bridge of her nose and gets ready. Then the questions start. She usually adds the disclaimer, “My daughter’s going to get annoyed with me for asking this but (insert any number of ridiculous questions here).” She’s right. I almost always do, but I think it’s part of the obligatory Jewish mother/daughter dynamic.
But this time, after the disclaimer, my mother followed her first question up with this doozy, “Sorry for asking so many things, but I’ve never done this before.” I stopped. Looked at her for a second to wait for it to click, and when it didn’t, had to say, “Um….Mom! Yes you have! I’ve been married before. We’ve literally done exactly this.”
Unfazed, “Oh right. They both were married before actually. So was I. We are all basically recycles.”
Moving on. Here are some highlights between my mother and the manager, Heather. My mother’s portions are written in the language known as Long Island.
“So, Heathah. This awl sounds wondaful, but what will everyone nosh on afta the ceremony? I mean there’s no cocktail ow-ah, but we have to give a little nosh, right?”
“Of course! We usually serve truffle butter popcorn and we can put out our signature duckfat fries before everyone sits down for dinner (the fries being out before dinner was SLS’s suggestion which earned him “genius” status with mom. This is in addition to his stellar Words with Friends prowess. Yes they play each other regularly and my mom has asked him constantly if he cheats and tells him he must have killed the SATs). Also, 99.9% of my mom’s questions were basically restatements of what SLS was saying or asking with some words in a different order.
“I don’t undastand the popcawn.”
“Mom, you don’t have to understand it, it’s a thing. It’s not like carnival food. It’s fancy popcorn and fries. These are the trendy things restaurants do now.”
“So I just wanna undastand, we’re serving popcawn and fries?”
That last question was mentioned a minimum of 3 more times throughout the conversation, usually followed by something like, “I mean , if that’s what they do these days, and I know you say it is…I just nevah heard of it.” My mom chases questions with passive aggressiveness the way a spring breaker chases Jaeger with Tequila.
“Listen, Heatha…We wanna make a beautiful dinnah, but I’m worried I’m gonna get hit with a four thousand dollah bill!”
Then, this is where SLS earned his Mensa status.
“Let’s do a beer and wine package. What can you offer us?” he says.
My mom, was KVELLING.
“You are an effing genius! How did you even come up with that?!”
She’s still talking about it. Seriously. Even as recently as yesterday.
“Rachel, how did he come up with that idea?!?!?!?”
“Mom, it’s a common idea. And he’s smart. And he’s also in the restaurant business….soooooo.”
“Well I never heard of it and I think it’s brilliant and he’s a genius.”
Then SLS asked about bringing in wine and what would the corking fee be.
“It’s $35 dollars per every 2 bottles.”
The readers come swiftly off my mom’s eyes with one of the arms dangling from her teeth.
“35 DOLLAHAS TO TAKE THE CAWK OUT?!?!”
A few months ago, my mother diagnosed herself with diabetes, which is impressive, but also validated for her that she is always right. Plus now she thinks anything sugar-free is “good for her” and has every version of cookie, dessert, whipped cream, etc. in her house at all times.
Since then, we cannot go anywhere without her dropping the D bomb. Usually it happens during a meal and will go down like this…
Her: “Excuse me, do you have any desserts for people with Sugar Diabeetus?” (that’s how she says it, just like Wilford Brimley)
Server: “Um, i’m not sure ma’am. I can ask the chef.”
Her: “Yes, please ask him, he’ll know. But make sure you ask about sugar AND ask how many carbs because that is important to know.”
Me: “Mom, why can’t you just ask if they have any sugar-free dessert options instead of dropping the D bomb and demanding nutritional information?”
So, she asked Heather about sugar-free desserts and the response was basically, yes, we have berries.
You may as well have told my mother she could have dog shit. Berries??? The woman does not want berries, she wants a REAL dessert.
“I was here for Miami Spice, you know the Prix Fixe menu thing, and I let the chef know beforehand that I needed a sugar-free dessert and he made a panna cotta…can you check?”
She gets up to leave and my mother has a little bit of panic over portion control and says to us,
“Actually for Miami Spice the portions were a lot smaller. I hope we are not getting those portions and they are real portions. Should we ask?”
So we dotted the rest of the i’s and crossed the remainder of the t’s and obviously headed to lunch at the other restaurant in the hotel, because god forbid we miss an opportunity to eat.
During lunch my mom mentioned the beautiful pool and lazy river a minimum of 4 times. We finished lunch and she was trying to strong-arm us into going to see it but we declined. We also talked about Jason’s wedding band.
“What do you want?”, my mother asks.
“Something plain and simple.” he says
“No…you should get something funky!! They even make black wedding bands for men now!”
“Nah, I’m good. Probably just gonna go with a plain, white gold band.”
“Or you could get something funky…just saying!”
As we were waiting for the car, we struck up a conversation with a super friendly valet attendant. He asked all about the wedding, yada yada yada and told us he’d see us next month. Just then, my parents appeared (mom dragged Bob on the obligatory pool/lazy river tour that we declined. He couldn’t escape.) We mentioned we were off to purchase Jason’s wedding band and immediately were bombarded with a million suggestions of where to go in Aventorture.
“The jewelry exchange is right here and they’re open til 9pm.”
Except we got there at 5:30 and they had already closed.
The problem is, my mother hands out bits of data with such conviction, it’s hard not to believe what she’s saying is accurate. She is a wealth of (incorrect) information.
Then came the phone call offering more advice and a recap of the convo with my mom’s new bestie – the valet.
“Go to the mawl. There’s a million jewelry stores and even some kiosks with “funky stuff”. I immediately shut down my mom’s idea of purchasing SLS’s wedding band at a “kiosk” which basically means Piercing Pagoda.
“And Rachel…I just had the best convo with Kevin, the valet…he’s the head bellman.” (I’m already confused)
“He said the whole family can come to the hotel since YOU are staying there. You just have to come down and get them. (So basically my Long Island faction of 40 is going to invade the pool/lazy river).
“Also, he said you can absolutely request late checkout. As a matter of fact, there is no rule for checkout time. It’s 24 ow-ahs so you can check out at 1am if you want.” (Somehow I don’t think that’s accurate).
After I spend the day with my mom, there’s usually a debrief of some sort. So I got that phone call. We kibbitzed and then everything came full circle.
“I’m so glad we got everything settled Rach! It’s going to be beautiful. I mean, I personally would think cheese and crackas would go better with wine, but if you’re saying popcawn and fries are okay, which it sounds like you are, then I guess it’s just something new.”