Archive for November 2005

November 27th, 2005

Crying Over Spoiled Milk

Last Thursday I was awoken by the ringing of my cellphone. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but when I did, I jumped up and scrambled for the phone — when someone is calling at 4 am, it’s most likely an emergency. It was Steph. She was having extreme stomach and side pain which was getting worse and worse and it was so bad that she thought she needed to go to hospital. (Don’t worry, everything turns out ok. I’m just telling this story in the most dramatic manner possible.)

All kinds of awful things were running through my head as I frantically got dressed and found my keys and wallet and glasses. Steph may be small, but she’s tough. Usually when she’s sick or in pain, she just lives with it and keeps going like normal — doctors are an absolute last resort. Driving over, I was thinking maybe she’d have to get her appendix removed or something. That’s when she called and said she’d thrown up, and she thought she might be feeling better.

You can probably think of many reasons you shouldn’t eat dinner at Wendy’s, but in case you need another one, it looks like they gave Steph food poisoning. When I got to Steph’s apartment, she was doing much better and was going back to sleep. That’s when I remembered I had also eaten the #4 — the exact same thing that she did — earlier that night. So I laid down and waited for it to hit me. After quietly sobbing in the dark for a few hours, I was still feeling fine. I started to think maybe I’d dodged the bullet. Then, all of the sudden…I went to sleep. And I never got sick.

I have had food poisoning once before, though, so I know it’s not just “a stomach ache.” The level of pain is excruciating. It’s scary, especially if you’ve never had it and you don’t know what’s going on.

Actually, since I have nothing better to tell you about today, I’ll recall my food-poisoning experience for you. I’m going to get a bit graphic here, but without the disgusting details, this won’t be as funny….

It was sometime when I was in middle school and we were on vacation at the beach. I had eaten cereal for breakfast and then, about an hour later, as we were all getting ready to go down to the beach, I collapsed onto the sofa. I remember it feeling like a baby alien was preparing to hatch out of my stomach…while a prizefighter was using it as his punching bag. I was hurting bad, for about half-an-hour. Then I threw up like crazy. And then, like magic, I felt good as new again.

My dad went through the kitchen, trying to figure out what had made me so sick, and discovered that, even though we had only brought one half-gallon of milk with us, there were two half-gallons of milk in the fridge. One had been left in the condo by someone, a very, very long time ago. I had grabbed this jug, poured it all over my cereal, and then somehow managed to consume the entire bowl without noticing how terribly spoiled the milk was.

I have no idea how this happened. My only guess is, since we were on vacation I was so excited about the cereal’s sugar-content that that’s all I could taste. (The only time we ever got sugar cereal was as a special treat when we went on vacation. Actually, when I say “we,” I mean Kate and I. By the time Kevin came along, our parents were tired of the effort it took to make us follow rules and they just let him do whatever he wanted. Kate and I have a term for this: “canned Cokes in lunches.” Whenever Kev gets something we don’t think we would have gotten at his age, we shake our heads and say “canned Cokes in lunches.” Mom would have submitted to repeated dental drilling before she’d let us take anything but a 100%-pure-fruit-juice juice box in our lunch. We leave for college, cases of Coke start rolling in. But I digress….)

I’m actually glad for The Congealed Milk Incident because it taught me, first hand, what food poisoning is like. Now I recognize the symptoms and I know you should be really, really nice to someone who has gotten it.

Also, I always check the milk for huge floating chunks before drinking it.

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November 5th, 2005

Andy’s-Size Me

You’re never going to guess what I saw yesterday. It’s ok, though, ’cause I’m going to tell you: an Andy’s Restaurant is under construction…in Cary!

Do you know about Andy’s? For those of you who don’t, it’s a small, eastern North Carolina chain. I hesitate to call it a “fast-food” place, because they’re not like McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Andy’s food is actually greasier. Their specialty is sort of a southernized-version of the Philly cheesesteak. It is unbelievably good. Currently, I think the closest one to Cary is about an hour away from here in Smithfield.

My family would occasionally stop at an Andy’s on the way to or from the beach (there’s one in almost every small town along the way) and that’s how I got my first taste. Then I went to school in Greenville, which is about 100 miles east of Raleigh, where they have two Andy’s. I just used socially at first; a whole group of us would go there once in a while. No big deal, right? Flash-forward a few years and Steph and I were going out for cheesesteaks once a month. This may not sound like a lot, but if I’d been jonesing any harder than that and I would have needed bypass surgery before graduation.

As I write this, it’s been a year since my last cheesesteak. This would explain why I seem to be using more Chap-Stik (less grease in my system). But it also explains why, when I saw that hideous Andy’s logo last night, it was like seeing the face of an angel. I need Andy’s cheesesteaks. It’s just who I am. Steph is the same way. I parked the car and we walked calmly (ok, sprinted desperately) over the the door to find out when they were opening. There was nothing posted that said, but the renovation of the strip-mall space (aah…Cary) seemed to just be getting underway. My guess is it’s going to be a while. Still, just knowing it’s coming could probably get me through another six months.

It’s easy to slam Cary, I know. You’ve got the cookie-cutter housing developments and the yankees with too much money. (I talk smack about Cary all the time, and I live there.) But as far as I’m concerned, this city’s just earned some major cool-points.

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