“Where the f* is Cordelia’s Mom leading us?”
In October of last year, I had my very first blogger meet-and-greet when the Grumpy Old Dude (otherwise known as G.O.D., and the owner of the blog, Archon’s Den) and his Mrs. drove down from Canada to have lunch with my mother-in-law and me in Tonawanda, NY, after which I led the way to the hotel where they were staying – via my famous back roads short cuts. They survived. And agreed to return.
Over this past weekend, I was again honored by G.O.D.’s visit, this time accompanied by his son, Shimoniac Jones [his blogger name – check out his blog here]. My husband, a non-blogger, graciously agreed to join us – once I promised that the ENTIRE visit would not consist of blogger talk.
(Cordelia was supposed to come, but opted out – offering the excuse that now that she has returned to the 9-5 grind, she would find the visit depressing. Far be it from me to upset one of my kids, even if she was the one who got me into blogging in the first place.)
(And blogger Mark Bialczak had hoped to come with his wife, but it turned out they had a prior commitment for Saturday, and unfortunately, I was unavailable on Sunday. Someday soon, Mark – I promise.)
This year’s meet-and-greet was at The Grapevine Restaurant in Amherst, NY. Hubby and I arrived first, and the hostess expressed surprise when I told her that the other party would be carrying a stuffed teddy bear. Sheesh, doesn’t every one carry a teddy bear when meeting someone new for the first (or second) time?
On the other hand, she didn’t seem the least bit curious that I was carrying not only Teddy Rosalie, but also Not CM’s new cat, Shadowpaws (thank you Lady Ryl, for the name). I guess somewhat elderly ladies can carry whatever they wish into a restaurant – stuffed toys are probably just considered charmingly eccentric.
The Grapevine is my favorite restaurant, and I chose it to impress. Naturally, because I had raved about it, the service that day was just a wee bit below par. For whatever reasons, the soups came out one … by … one. Mine was served first, and I politely waited for the others to be served. When I realized my French Onion soup was getting cold (who wants congealed cheese?), I decided to dig in – at which point the next soup came out, followed by the third one several minutes later. And then, of course, the sandwiches came out immediately, forcing us to juggle soup bowls and sandwich plates.
This restaurant prides itself on preparing food however the customer wants it. Normally, if a hamburger is ordered, the customer is asked how he or she would like it cooked. Not the day of our visit, however – Shimoniac’s burger was delivered medium, and he prefers well done. And of course, being Canadian, he was too polite to say so – until the meal was over.
All the food was tasty, however, and the vibrant conversation made up for the restaurant’s minor failings.
I had heard that G.O.D. really wanted to meet Puppy Cody, and of course, I was dying for someone other than family to see my newly renovated house. So after lunch, we piled into our respective vehicles, and I led the way (via my famous back roads shortcuts) to my house.
Unfortunately, Puppy Cody decided to be skittish that day. I think she may have been a bit intimidated by G.O.D.’s son, whose nickname is “The Bear” – and who totally lives up to that name. Good thing I have a nice new kitchen table that’s just right for a dog to hide under.
After a short visit and chat, it was time to lead the way to the Walden Galleria Mall in Cheektowaga, NY.
In my own defense, let me say that I rarely go to that Mall because it’s so big, and normally someone else drives. But hubby opted to stay home with the now-traumatized dog while I escorted our guests to their next destination. Again, back roads and short cuts. Everything was fine until I turned into the shopping plaza BEFORE the Mall instead of into Galleria Drive, which leads to the Mall. No harm done– we simply wound up going back out onto extremely busy Walden Avenue, with G.O.D.’s vehicle within easy striking distance of my SUV’s back bumper.
I remembered now why I seldom go to that Mall – parking is a NIGHTMARE. My first thought was, “Oh, shit, there won’t be anywhere for two vehicles to pull over together.” And as usual, the Mall parking lot was full of Canadians – who, of course, have absolutely no idea where they’re going and are never in any hurry to get there. But hey, I’m told our local economy needs their loonies and toonies.
Eventually, I managed to wend the way to the back of the Sears store, where parking spaces were ample (well, duh, few people willingly enter the Mall through the back of the Sears store!).
By now it had started raining – of course. We said our goodbyes as quickly as possible and hopped back into our respective vehicles. The last I saw of G.O.D. and his son, they were pulling into a parking space other than the one I had chosen for them (fickle people). I took a deep breath and headed out onto the Cheektowaga roads – how I wound up on Union Road when I had come in on Walden Avenue, I don’t know, but fortunately I knew the area well enough to get myself back home in a timely fashion.
Hopefully, G.O.D. and Shimoniac had a nice afternoon of shopping, and they hopefully found their way back to the Thruway to make the really long trip to their selected hotel. (Apparently, no rooms were to be had anywhere in the Buffalo, NY area due to events that weekend at the University at Buffalo North Campus.)
For me, it was a great day – I got to meet and eat with a blogger I admire, I got a new supply of maple sugar candy, and Cody got a new toy. And I didn’t have to drive across the bridges into Canada to do so!
I’ll leave it to G.O.D. to tell his side of the story and enlighten us to any events that occurred between the time I left them at the Walden Galleria Mall and the time they finally arrived back home in Canada (be sure to check out Archon’s Den in a few days!).
Images by Cordelia’s Mom