Musings & Observations / Barry Halpin
Oh what a perfect day, Oh such a perfect day, Ooh such a perfect day -- Lou Reed, "Perfect Day"
The following takes place between 6 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 18:
6 a.m. -- A well placed nudge to the ribs from my wife wakes me up.
"Can you be a love and go downstairs and get me a cup of tea and a slice of toast."
When I come back upstairs, she takes the tea and toast and hands me a hot-off-the-press two-page "Honey Do" list. I put up my usual resistance, but am incapable of marshaling the necessary resources or excuses to counter either the penetrating "I'm waiting until you see it my way" stare or the all powerful multipurposed "look." As with most couples, my wife and I have very different timetables when it comes to getting stuff done.
7 a.m. -- I drive my wife to the station and do my best to avoid hitting the commuters as they do their version of one of Monty Python's classic silly walks -- the mesmerizing half-walk, half-sprint intermittent cha cha -- or the hot-coffee-and-doughnut commuter quick-tep. She points out three archetypal commuters: notorious nonstop talker; pointy elbow guy who's always poking people while adjusting himself in his seat; and the infamous groomer.
7:15 a.m. -- I'm making my signature Spanish omelet -- that I perfected on the island of Ibiza years ago -- for Kelly before she goes to work. While slicing some peppers and onions, a few pieces fly off the cutting board onto the floor just as she walks in.
"Dad, you're not going to use those."
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"They fell on the floor."
"Haven't you heard of the five-second rule. It's a known scientific fact that nothing bad happens to food that falls on the floor if you pick it up within five seconds."
"Dad, for me it's the no-second rule."
"Kelly, I know I'm prone to make up bogus scientific facts but trust me on this one, it's perfectly safe. Anyway, you know I make a yummy Spanish omelet.
"Fine. Then you eat it!"
7:30 a.m. -- I'm overjoyed at finding $20 in a pants pocket, more so since it's my daughter's jeans and it was originally my $20.
Of course, the joy is tempered by the knowledge that tomorrow I will give it back to her and the change will no doubt end up in one of her many pasta sauce jar coin banks. I always tell Erin to carry cash and not use her credit card so much. Unfortunately that translates into: "Have Dad give you some of his cash."
6 p.m. -- My wife and I walk into Mi Rancho Deli on Fairfield Avenue in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport -- they serve authentic Mexican food in the back of a small grocery -- and immediately know we have come to the right place.
The small dining area is packed with families; the smells are sensational and take me back to my apartment in the Bronx, where the wafting aromas of my mother's roast duck, brisket or liver and onions would hit me as soon as I got off the elevator.
They make a killer version of huevos rancheros -- there is no time during the day when breakfast isn't a good meal -- with a delicious and spicy sauce overflowing with veggies. Steaming hot corn tortillas is the perfect accompaniment.
8 to 10:15 p.m. -- Another evening of real fine music at Stage One in Fairfield, courtesy of Dan Bern, singer-songwriter and raconteur.
Some of the memorable lines from his tunes are: "They shut down the government and I'm gonna shut down, too," "Red states have Waffle Houses and blue states don't," and "Marilyn Monroe should have married Henry Miller, not Arthur Miller."
11:45 p.m. -- I'm sitting in the kitchen satisfying my chocolate jones with a Cadbury Flake when Erin wanders in.
"Hey, Dad, how was the concert?"
"Wanna see pictures from my trip?"
She shows me some incredible photos of her sand boarding down a volcano in Nicaragua; she tells me it was exhilarating and frightening at the same time.
Best of all are the photos of her and the special-needs kids she worked with in Merida, in the Mexican state of Yucatan.
I say good night and start to head up the stairs when she gives me her version of the look.
"Want to hear about this great guy I met in Costa Rica?"
As with her mother, I have no choice.
Barry Halpin can be reached at email@example.com.