After Sunday, it was time to learn about project management. And learn we did. During breaks, I checked in at work obsessively.
The lunch had a "Caesar salad" that was actually a giant Romaine lettuce leaf with the Caesar treatment...including anchovies. So I had my first anchovies. They were kind of...weird. I am not sure whether I would want them on my pizza.
I went out to dinner with some of the folks there. The concierge had recommended Sam's Cafe, which was essentially Tex-Mex despite being in Arizona. I led the way, since the restaurant was in Arizona Center, where I had gone to Mi Amigo's the night before. Several times, a man questioned which was the right way, and I continued to insist that I knew where we were going because I had just been there last night. After we had taken our seats, we spotted another person in the class walking around, so we invited her to join us. The waiter recommended the calamari, and he was right to because it was excellent. Corn-crusted and served with a chipotle remoulade, it was probably the best calamari I've had. Calamari can be kind of hit-or-miss since it's so rubbery and mostly tasteless; the waiter himself said he normally didn't like it except for there and some other place. For an entree, I got the desert fire pasta, which had shrimp and jalapeños. It was also quite good.
We had a lot of interesting conversation; topics jumped all over the place. One guy didn't really believe in global warming because a couple decades ago all the environmentalists were crying about global cooling, so he thought it was just a natural cycle, whatever.
I stayed up late processing cases after Heroes. My boss and co-worker back at the office had many other responsibilities and weren't really adept at case processing, so I wanted to help them out as best I could. It would take me an hour to do what would take them eight.
Tuesday, more project management. The night before, coming back from dinner, I had discovered that one of the women we'd gone out with was in the room next to mine, so I asked if she wanted to go out to dinner because it was kind of lonely and pathetic to go to a nice restaurant and eat alone. I had caught her just after taking a shower, so she said she'd meet me down in the lobby in a bit. In the lobby, I met the same woman we'd invited to our dinner table the previous night, so I asked if she wanted to join us. Thus, the three of us returned to Arizona Center to eat at 1130 the Restaurant (not to be confused with 11:30 the Time, apparently).
Oh, I must note that both at 1130 and Sam's, the hostess was extremely cute, supporting the theory that there are cute girls in Phoenix.
For appetizers, we got lobster lettuce cups and queso and crab dip. The lobster meat was pretty good, and the crab dip was surprisingly crab-y! And since my pesceducation had begun just a few miles away, with salmon, I had to have some salmon in Arizona. I ordered the BBQ salmon, and I was asked how I wanted it cooked, and I had no idea, and the waiter suggested medium or medium well, and I was confused about the descriptions, and I said medium well at first, but then I started processing the fact that "medium well" would be more "dry," so I changed it to just medium because I liked my fish moist. And, HOMG, the BBQ salmon was amaaaaaaazing. It had a nice bit of crisp to it on the outside, where the BBQ sauce lived, but it was delicious and tender on the inside. Best salmon I'd ever had in my less than a year of eating fish.
Something else cool about 1130: they projected their television broadcast onto glass. They had the two screens side-by-side and projected on either side so that on one side of the glass, you would see a regular picture and the back of the other picture. It was so cool.
Got back in time for Fringe and more work till past midnight.
Wednesday was the last day, and we all made sure to exchange business cards and whatnot. Networking: it's the new black.
Amusingly, I am pretty sure I accidentally rode on an airport shuttle that was paid for by another company. No one else in the van asked me who I was or what I was doing there, thankfully. They were clearly sales people, though, since they were very outgoing and boisterous.
From Phoenix, I flew to Dallas, where my dad picked me up. The first thing he said to me once I was inside the car? "You're wearing good clothes. You should dress like this every day." Look, who dresses business casual every day? I'm not Barney Stinson here. But, annoying as it was, I was glad he noticed because I had deliberately brought a better wardrobe to wear at home as opposed to my usual pants and T-shirts. (Of course, the only reason I was dressed up when he saw me was that I had come from a training course.)
My mom had had a hip replacement the day before. My little sister had texted me to tell me she was okay and when she was going to be in recovery. I wasn't able to talk to her, though, because she was still zonked out from the anesthesia. I was going to see her the next day, though.
I was also going to see dachelle the next day! I overslept and had to rush to get ready; I hadn't actually had time to tell my dad or anyone what my plans were, so my grandmother (my mom's mom, who had come down for the surgery) was very confused when I took the van and left, saying something about taking my grandfather to an appointment or something like that. Well, whatever, no one had told me about that, and did they all just expect me to stay at home all day? I waited for an angry phone call from my dad when he came home for lunch.
Fort Worth wasn't far, anyway. I found a parking spot a couple blocks away from Lili's Bistro and put my name on the list. It was busy! Courtney arrived a few minutes later, and we were seated. I had already taken a look at the menu and knew what I wanted, but Courtney hilariously jumped from item to item to item to item...and then when it came time to order, ordered something she hadn't even mentioned!
The big thing at Lili's is the Gorgonzola fries, and oh my God. I crave some right now. They're waffle fries sprinkled with Gorgonzola and crushed black pepper. So good!
My lunch was a turkey roulade, which was like a turkey sandwich baked into a roll. It was also very good. Thumbs up, Lili's Bistro! No wonder you are so popular.
During lunch, Courtney regaled me with tales of her recent time in London chilling with Carl Barat and Dirty Pretty Things. It was good to see her and catch up.
From the bistro, I headed to the hospital, which wasn't too far away. At the front desk, I gave my mom's name and was told her room number. Huh, so it was that easy to go in and kill someone. TV isn't lying!
When I got to the room, though, the curtain was up. It seemed my mother was indisposed. As I listened to the conversation behind the curtain, I gathered an inkling of what was going on. A nurse told me my mom would be "ready" in a few minutes. A few minutes turned into more than a few minutes. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw a nurse wheel out a bucket labeled "Soiled Linens." Ewww, I have the best timing ever.
I sat in a waiting area and read a book until Neela Auntie came and got me. In the room, I gave my mom a hug as best I could. She was still very groggy and tired. Attached to the room was a visitor's suite with a couple couches and two flatscreen TVs. She had gotten herself a suite! She hadn't been scheduled for this room, but when she took longer to get out of recovery, they'd put someone else in her room and given her this one. Awesome.
All this time, I had not gotten the angry phone call from my dad that I had been expecting. Was it possible that I was being treated like an adult who could make his own decisions and have his own plans independent of the family? That was confusing. He did call me then, while I was in the room, and he didn't sound angry at all. He told me to stay there, as everyone was going to come later on, and I would have to take them back in the van. I told him I had plans to meet Ravi, and he said I could take care of them before then. He was so accommodating! It was bizarre.
My mom had a lot of visitors, including my little sister. Hug!
I went and saw Ravi, as documented in the earlier post made when I wasn't sure I'd be making this one.
Back at the hospital, the room was full of people. My mom was generally in and out of consciousness. I took a party back in the van; my dad was spending the night at the hospital.
At home, I tried to figure out a way to watch all my Thursday night television when the DVR was forced to record dozens of Indian shows each day. I managed to watch My Name Is Earl live, and then I went to see what was for dinner and...did not like it, so I snacked a bit instead. When I come home, I want my mother's cooking, not my grandmother's! I watched The Office with my little sister, but the TiVo failed to record Supernatural, so I had to download it. I could also finally watch Sunday's Dexter, which I couldn't watch on my work laptop because I didn't have the admin rights to install the codecs. I had a bagel and cream cheese with strawberries for dinner, late at night, while watching America's favorite serial killer.
Friday morning, I had to wake up stupid early and drop my sister off at school. When I returned, we had a surprise visit from Sadhafoi, who had come all the way from Georgia to see my mom. Having surgery makes you really popular, huh? No one came and visited me a year ago! But I guess that wasn't as big a deal.
As described in the earlier post, I had lunch with Piyusha. Afterward, I got a haircut and waited in the parking lot to pick my little sister up from school. I tried to explore inside but was stopped by a security guard, who said I had to wait until school was out to go bug teachers. Once I picked Jigna up, we went shopping for some stuff. She said she could make me anything I wanted to eat.
We chilled back at home for a couple hours before heading back to the hospital. My cousin and his wife arrived, and we watched Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? in the suite. Then my brother arrived.
After a while, we were itching to leave. My sister was staying the night this time too, but we needed to get home and play video games. So we left and got lost on the way, which was fun since I was following him and he had a GPS. We filled up the van using the credit card my parents had given him and also used that card at Target to buy salt (as asked) and a bunch of the Office $1 goodies (not as asked). Score.
At home, my brother set up the Xbox. We were all set to play Dead Space, which was the hot new game that had only come out that week that he had downloaded...except he'd forgotten to bring it. He had Assassin's Creed, though, and I'd been wanting to play that, and he said it was short enough that I could probably beat it in the limited time we had. He was still determined to play Dead Space with me, though, so he started to download it again while I played some Bionic Commando: Rearmed.
Assassin's Creed is really fun, oh man. You get to free-run everywhere and kill people! Run on rafters, jump from rooftop to rooftop, climb up towers, fall into haystacks...it's pretty awesome. It's also extremely repetitive, though; you basically do the same thing over and over after the first mission. But yet, you're compelled to keep playing and see where where the story goes, especially the one in the future. Er, present. Where you get to talk to Kristen Bell! It's kind of freaky to talk to a digitized Kristen Bell, but it's neat. She's a good voice actress; she makes you care about her character with a very limited amount of screentime. I played till about five in the morning; it was to the point where my hands were hurting and it was hard to swordfight.
Saturday, my brother and I didn't wake up till, like, noon or so. I think on this day my sister made us pizza sandwiches with turkey pepperoni and mozzarrella.
My mom had been transferred to a different suite, but it still had a flatscreen TV. We hooked up the Xbox, and I played Assassin's Creed for a few more hours while my mom slept and/or watched Law and Order: Something or Other. Thankfully, my dad and sister brought us Taco Bueno burritos for dinner. Mmm. They never stop being good!
Finally, we three children went home for the night; my dad was staying with my mom as usual.
At home, we waited for the grandparents to stop watching TV so we could hook up the Xbox; the big-screen TV in my parents' bedroom was really old and didn't have a good enough resolution. I asked my brother to study his molecular biology with me so we could bond while I casually walked up to Templars and stabbed them. It took me until about six to beat the damn game; the last hour or so was pretty killer. Overall, Assassin's Creed could stand to have some more varied gameplay, but, man, is it fun.
Sunday, my mom was discharged, so we set up the living room to prepare, moving the couch around to give her extra space. She had to use a walker to get around, and she needed help getting into her bed, and she had to keep her legs apart, and she had to be moved just right so she wouldn't hurt. It wasn't pleasant.
My brother had to drive back to San Antonio, which was sad.
The next couple days were mostly filled with taking care of my mom. Helping her out of the bed. Setting up the little toilet thing. On one occasion, bringing the little toilet thing and the bucket into the living room so she could use the bathroom right there. My dad took care of the cleaning duties there. I slept on the couch and was woken in the middle of the night to help her out of bed and again early in the morning. I had to get her a change of clothes and help her get her pants down a little so she could get them off. I gave her foot massages and rubbed cream on her legs and thighs. It was not very sexy, but what're you going to do?
We also enjoyed Banoo Mein Teri Dulhan, a soap opera about a woman who kills a man and woman who are then reincarnated as people who look just like them and then the woman tries to kill them again. It's kind of awesome. I think there are all sorts of other familial shenanigans as well.
On Monday, my dad had a drug rep in town, so we got free Pappasito's for lunch. I tried the quail because it sounded fancy, and it was very tasty.
I slept on the couch Monday night in case my mom needed any help. She was improving a little bit each day, though. Soon, she'll be using that bionic hip to its full potential!
Tuesday morning, I was spared the conversation with my dad on the way to the airport since he had to go to work and my flight was at noon. But before he left, he did remind me that I needed to find a wife by next December.
I flew back to Oakland for one night. The next day would take me to Louisville and a host of new stories. Such is my life.