Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hotter than blazes

I shouldn't complain about the weather. I live in a city where complaining about the weather is practically required, like property taxes or shoveling your sidewalk in the winter. It's either too hot, too cold, too humid, too snowy, too rainy, too dry, too too too. Perhaps this is a national problem, not local. It may even be a function of being human, though I doubt it. Those who live in and around Erie, though, love to grouse.

Lately, the common lament is that it hasn't really been summer yet. It's been too mild, too wet. We haven't had proper sunny days with soaring temperatures. Not enough people are being treated for heat stroke at area hospitals and people seem to be displeased. For me? Well, rain means I don't have to worry about watering my tomatoes twice a day. It freshens the earth, makes the grass grow green (not burnt and brown and dead) and keeps the ponds full.

Okay, so there's ants and spiders galore. I could do without that. The way I figure it, though, the nice thing about living in Erie is the killing frost and long winters means the spiders only grow so big. You know those big mother *&!!@*! spiders you get in October? Come November, they're a distant memory. Bring on the snow, I say, and keep your poisonous spiders and snakes.

I've been enjoying the mildish weather, but it seems summer descended with a vengeance today. All of a sudden it was 80 degrees at 8:30 this morning, soaring to 95 by lunch. We chose to go to a baseball game this afternoon, which didn't seem like such a crap idea until about the seventh inning, when baby girl was hot and cranky and I wasn't much better. We went to the lovely refrigerated house of my parents and Baby Girl and I jumped into a lukewarm tub. Ahhhhh.

How do people in Miami and Phoenix and Houston and Jackson do it? I barely wanted to eat today, let alone cook. I told Darling Husband I wasn't much hungry, and thought I might just have a couple of crackers and go to bed. He was hungry and, fortunately, thought I probably was, too. We ordered Chinese from our favorite spot, Cathay Express, which is coincidentally just a few blocks from my office. As soon as we put in our order, I realized I was famished. I felt confident in going there despite the fact that they had two critical violations last week. Actually, it's probably safest to eat just after a violation, because everyone is on their toes. As I recall, their lo mein wasn't kept cold enough (it's just noodles, for goodness sake. And they recook them anyway) and some such.

The food at Cathay Express is good, and I can say without hesitation that they are willing to put up with any number of wacko bollocks custom orderings. Ladies at my office do not make it easy on these people. They almost always get the orders correct, and I applaud them. What do I mean? The following is a typical list of orders, which I call in to the person who speaks broken English (keep in mind the lunch specials include pork fried rice and choice of wonton or hot and sour soup):
  • Off the lunch special, Chicken and Broccoli, no chicken, with pork fried rice, no pork. Also, no soup, but a can of pop instead.
  • Chicken and Broccoli, no broccoli, with white rice and hot and sour soup.
  • Curry Chicken (which isn't a lunch special, but please make it a lunch special) with white rice, no soup but an egg roll instead.
  • Orange Chicken, extra spicy, with steamed chicken (not fried), white rice, no soup but an eggroll.
You get the picture. Nary a one of us orders straight. Yet I state again, 99% of the time, no matter how bonkers we've made the order, it's correct. Bless 'em, they know their customers.


  1. I understand from a Danny DiVito movie that it is a very in, power, celebrity thing to go into a restaurant and order something that isn't on the menu (and, get it.) "Take some General Tso chicken, only make it in a lobster sauce and serve it over plain rice noodles. Thank you. Oh, for a salad, just slice some green tomatos and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar."

  2. Oh yes, it's very much a power thing. There's a very funny scene in one of Tony Bourdain's (fiction) books about a guy who always comes in and does that and how much the entire restaurant hates him for it.

    And I feel like the nothing-and-broccoli person and the chicken-and-nothing person (both of whom I know by their chinese order) should be kind to poor Cathay Express and just share. To accommodate their rice and side demands, they can share two orders. :-)

    And to whoever it is that gets the double secret curry chicken lunch special... I wish I'd thought of that. Cause yum, curry chicken.