Tag Archives: cocktails

Daryl and Ed’s Excellent Adventure.

I’m just tired of “the gay thing,” I blurted bluntly to Daryl on the drive home from Philadelphia’s Gay Pride Event earlier in June… “I just want to hang out with regular people for awhile… straight people. I just wanna watch a Phillies game, Wheel of Fortune, and The Bachelorette. I just want a Miller-Lite in a bottle. I’m worn out with Dykes on Bikes, drag queens, twinks, and tattoos. I feel like Rainbow Brite shit all over the city. I’m too old for this stuff.” He looked at me like one of those Sarah Mclachlan dogs on the commercial and whined, “but I’ve never been to New York City’s Pride Parade and I’d really enjoy going.” I’d seen the parade myself several years ago, and must admit it truly IS quite the event.

Daryl and I grew up in a time and environment where it just wasn’t cool to be gay. We weren’t bullied per say, but sometimes joked about, made fun of, or full out ostracized it certain social situations when we were younger, we could have never imagined a world, or at least a major city, that shuts down as thousands upon thousands of people from all age groups, walks of life, and ethnicities come together to celebrate personal Pride. Being PROUD of who, what, and where we are in life and seeing as how Daryl and I had come out much later in our own lives, we DID have a little catching up and celebrating to do.

NYC or bust. (Does anyone even say “or bust” anymore?)

I had booked a small Hilton Garden Inn on the border of SoHo and Tribeca just below Canal Street in Manhattan for a couple of nights so we could make a city-style romantic weekend getaway in addition to getting Daryl his gay Pride fix. I love hanging out in the city, any city, always have… there are energies that exist like no other. The vast diversity of the people, the visual, aural, and emotional “turmoil” is a huge turn on for me.

I am Julie, your cruise director.

I’m not exactly sure how I got the job, but I tend to do the planning for (some call it over planning) vacations, weekend getaways, day trips, and evening local jaunts. Maybe it’s because it’s instinctive to me, or perhaps I have this need to… what’s it called… control things. I honestly don’t know where this accusation originated, but apparently I make lists, research hotels, neighborhoods, diners, restaurants, entertainment venues, what will be worn when, and clean bathroom facilities whenever we decide to go somewhere. Go figure.

I HAVE mellowed with age, although I still insist that we arrive ANYwhere six to seven hours in advance. Airports scare me. I’m continuously afraid I’ll be late so I arrive for my flight the day before. Job interviews? Hours ahead of time. I end up drinking extra cups of coffee then have to pee so bad during the interview, that I blow it. The only reason Daryl and I even got together over nine years ago was because I was a half a day early for our first date and we had more time to see if we clicked.

Anyway, we arrived in New York way before our room was ready (you can tell when the desk check and the baggage handler roll their eyes at each other when they THINK you’re not looking) and decided to venture into the Tribeca neighborhood on a gloriously sunny New York day.

It didn’t take long.

It was still before noon. We were hungry. We skipped any sort of breakfast (woofing a large banana down on the New Jersey Turnpike does not qualify. Oh… you thought I meant the fruit?) because I couldn’t wait to get on the road (or as I spin it, “We have to avoid traffic.”) I thought for sure we could locate some cute little bistro with red and white checked tablecloths overlooking one of the rivers. You know… one of those places you see in the movies. I researched it earlier via Yelp. Maybe a place to grab an organic salad, soup, some warm pita bread, and a sparking mimosa would be perfect. We rounded the corner of Warren street off of West Broadway and heard “Get Up (I feel like a sex machine)” by James Brown pulsing out of an open door under a large weather worn sign with neon-formed letters that read “Raccoon Lodge.” We looked at each other and immediately knew we wanted a piece of this place. I poked my head inside to see a petite young lady in a tight ponytail cleaning up the bar while bobbing her head. “Are you open?” I inquired, to which she immediately welcomed us in.

The place was dark. It took a minute or two for my eyes to adjust, but the dank, stale beer smell indicated to me that we had stumbled onto a local watering hole that I’m sure had been stumbled OUT of on many occasions. “Hey guys! I’m Cindi with an ‘i,’ what can I get you?” Daryl and I grabbed a pair of metal-based torn-plastic-seated bar stools and dragged them across the hardwood floor echoing the emptiness of the place. We awkwardly swiveled into position to a well worn bar that hadn’t seen a lick of paint or varnish in decades. The out-of-place digital jukebox machine continuing on with a song by Kansas, Daryl and I ordered a pair of Heinekens. Cindi with an I plopped the sweating bottles in front of us with one hand, while slicing limes with the other. She was young and perky… sort of. Of course EVERYone is young and perky to me now. I usually gauge my age using police officers. I remember when I was younger they were figures of authority. I mean, they still are, but they’re so young now. They all look like they’re twelve and wouldn’t be able to save my life unless they checked with their Mom first.

I digress, again.

As Cindi with an i continued slicing citrus for future cocktails, I gulped some iced cold beer and surveyed the interior of the Raccoon Lodge (not a raccoon in sight.). Memorabilia everywhere, with photos, banners, NYFD and NYPD patches haphazardly taped, stabbed, and stapled into the wall behind the bar. Not a blank space to be found as I studied photos of smiling men, arms around each other, cigars in mouths, cars and boats and frosty mugs of beer as backgrounds. There was an unusually large Moose Head hanging on a wall toward the restrooms in the back directly over an old elevator door that had long been painted over and was obviously no longer in service. A lonely pool table sat in the middle of the hall with cues resting atop it’s well-worn fading green felt, cigarette burns dotting it’s side from a time when cigarette smoke was a decadent part of the tavern culture. As a Christopher Cross song snuck its place into the jukebox lineup I asked Cindi if she chose the music herself. She shrugged while hand drying glasses and stated that it was a satellite station that is chosen at random. “I don’t really hear it!” she yelled from other side of the bar.

As soon as she worked her way closer to us I asked her about the memory-made conglomeration on the wall. “It’s many of the locals. We’re a few blocks from Ground Zero. This bar was one of the first in the area that remained open after that day in September. The responders and construction workers always came here after working at the site. Some would bring photos of friends lost, we’d put them up, and then they’d drink shots to those in remembrance.” I studied the faces in the photos a little more intently as Cindi asked if we needed another beer.

I could tell Daryl was enjoying the music as he continued to suck on his cold brew, and I asked him if he was getting hungry. I nodded to the perky ponytailed blond with tattoos and piercings everywhere to bring us a couple more beers and asked her if she had any suggestions for lunch. She pulled out her iPhone and suggested a pizza joint a few blocks away. “I’m from Brooklyn, so I don’t really know what is good around here,” she giggled as if making fun of us while we pretended not to look like the gay tourists we were. “Are you guys a couple?” she inquired. Daryl rolled his eyes as I blurted, “Yeah, a couple of nuts… or actually four nuts if you’re counting.” Cindi politely grinned while most likely just hoping that we’d tip well. I asked her if she was part of a couple. She replied with attitude that she was on again off again on again now off again.

Cinnamon for breakfast.

I asked Daryl once more if he was ready to go explore the area and find a place to eat as I noticed him eyeing a dusty Ms. Pacman machine in a forgotten corner of the Lodge. “Lets do a shot!,” as his eyes lit up, “Fireballs please!” he motioned to our bartender. We asked Cindi if she wanted to be a part of this self-inspired brunch of shots before noon, but she gracefully declined stating that she has spent too many late nights sleeping on a worn couch in the grungy basement of the Lodge because she liked to have too much fun. Daryl and I toasted Cindi with an i, New York City, Gay Pride, Marriage, 9/11, the jukebox, and each other as we swallowed what I consider cinnamon breath freshener.

We slammed our shot glasses down on the bar a little too hard, apologizing for slamming them as we left, tipping well, and singing along with a Cher song from the juke as we burst out onto Warren Street hearing our own laughter being swallowed up in the noise, the confusion and the amazing sunshine of New York City.

We headed toward Ground Zero…
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waiter… there’s a kiwi in my drink.

 I’m sitting here after dinner watching a rerun of Sex and the City on E. It’s the one where Miranda has a date with a guy that licks her ass and she’s unsure how to react. Speaking of anal licking… I had a shitty day at work. I’m pretty much sick of being nice to people to get them to buy a sofa and an accent chair. I have days like that.

When I came home I wanted to rip into several pieces of greasy Kentucky Fried Chicken, a box of chocolate truffles and half a pepperoni pizza. I was fortunate tonight. Daryl saved me from comfort food frenzy.

Sort of.

He decided to chef tonight since he was off today and he likes to reciprocate for when I cook during the week. I had some Tilapia in the freezer and he got some asparagus and rice. Daryl decided to “experiment” with our cocktails. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cocktail experiments. Some of my “absolut” favorite drinks have been born completely by accident. As long as there is lots of ice and lots of Vodka, USUALLY you can’t go wrong. Right?

Earlier in the week, Daryl had brought home several kiwis (approximately 20) from a school function he had attended. Who the hell needs 20 kiwis? Anyway… he decided to try to “incorporate” some of these kiwis into our cocktails. For some reason, when Daryl bartends he likes to include fruit chunks into the beverage. I’m good with that. Texture, I like to call it. Pieces of orange or pear floating in my drink is great! It makes me feel like it’s truly GOOD for me instead of 3 million sugar calories from the mixers.

Tonight though, the kiwi drink was green. Not a pretty green. More like something you’d clean bugs off the front of your car green. He tries. He really does, and I so appreciate his misguided sense of adventure, however, this time I sipped and smiled, then sipped again as I tasted something that reminded me of… what’s the image I’m looking for… wait for it… GRASS. Yeah, grass! NOT the kind you light up either. The cocktail tasted like someone’s lawn. Daryl caught on quickly and replaced it with something orangey and fruity. Whew. Crisis averted.

Dinner was lovely.

After I cleaned up the kitchen, I decided to turn on the laptop and blog on our cocktail hour. Daryl headed to the dining room table to play some sort of supermarket game that he’s been collecting pieces for. I never do those things. I tried to do it once with some cookware “stamps” and we ended up with three sauce pans that I never use except once I used one as a hammer.

This current game is called “ACME’s Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway!” I’m not completely sure how it works, but apparently you have to collect sets of stickers to claim over 10 million dollars in prizes and coupon offers. After a few minutes while I’m deep into Trey and Charlotte discussing the name of Trey’s penis, Daryl exclaims, “See! We are already are on the road to savings! Here is a coupon for 25 cents off for a container of cottage cheese!” He was seriously excited. I was less than thrilled. He then said that said he hopes we don’t win the backyard makeover prize, because well… we don’t have a backyard.

I got up to go the bathroom and the dining room table was covered with thousands of… okay HUNDREDS of these little sticker things… oh alright dam it there were maybe 30 stickers tops. I wonder if the contest includes a new boyfriend prize.

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all this talk about debt ceilings is making me hungry.

The roast chicken is in the oven. I prepped the 8-pound bird first by shoving a large orange with a few well-placed cloves up its ass without so much as a last name and a kiss. Ouch. Then I proceeded to forcefully thrust some fresh twigs of rosemary and sprigs of thyme up in there for good measure. Sort of had a quick flashback to an online porn movie that involved a chicken (I think) and a hand (I think) that I viewed once by mistake that was like watching a train wreck…

ANYway… I continued by cutting up half a sweet onion to line the roasting pan and I also poured about a cup of organic chicken stock in the pan for moisture. I dotted the chicken’s skin with fresh garlic, cracked pepper medley and a touch of ground sea salt. It should be done in a couple of hours. I have some fresh sweet corn on the cob and a couple of heads of fresh broccoli to steam, a few flavored martinis to shake and lo and behold, we have a great meal to celebrate our second weekly “NO TECHNOLOGY” night!

We’ve decided to have one night a week where we lock up (not literally of course) our laptop, television and while leaving the cell phones ON for emergencies, we put them DOWN on the nightstand. This was part of our “plan” to reintroduce more conversation and um… more SEX back into our growing relationship. We tried this last week after I got home from work at 9 pm., so it REALLY was only about a couple of hours of technology withdrawal, but we did fine. Tonight will be several more hours than that and I have YET to finish this blog and get to Level 34 in my “Garden of Time” game on Face Book before Daryl comes in the door!

I’ve given up cigarettes, cursing and sugar much fucking easier than this.

We have other “nights” too that we agreed are most likely necessary to increase communication and foster good will toward each other on a daily basis. For instance, last evening we had our first official “budget meeting.” We actually sat down at the dining table with cocktails in hand and discussed our budget. Lord knows we like to spend money like the political parties that we represent, but we want to find ways to do a little less spending and a lot more saving. You know… like the government. We want to find that proverbial debt ceiling. We ain’t getting’ any younger and the “R” word (retirement) really needs to take a front seat in this relationship. We even went out one night a few weeks ago as part of the process to get a “budget book” to record our daily expenditures so we could get a “snapshot” of our woefully wallet-less ways.

Now mind you, we have only been at this for a week, but I am already having misgivings about our spending habits. Maybe I should say MY spending habits. I do most of the grocery shopping as some of my earliest blogs have indicated… but how can two men require close to $300 of groceries in less than a week? We cut out sugar for Christ’s sake! We’re not eating fast food at all anymore! I shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and chicken, organic yogurts and snacks fill the cupboards now. We’re losing weight, but at the same time, we’re losing our cash!

Sure, I could do that “X-treme” couponing that I hear about. They even have a TV show about it I think. Some woman makes it her JOB to find out how to get two free rolls of paper towels and a dozen eggs with her grocery order. I just CAN’T bring myself to get THAT involved with coupon shopping. Daryl suggested that perhaps we eat more leftovers. I already DO that and I swore at the onset of this relationship that I’d never eat the same thing two days in a row damn it! How much more do I have to sacrifice? How much more can we take?

No wonder the government can’t get their (read: OUR) act together with this budget thing. Maybe they too should learn to eat leftovers. I’ve decided that the only ceiling I want to be aware of from now on is the one I see when I lay down on my bed to have sex during our “no tech” night.

I better go baste that chicken and mix up the cocktails before the keyboard is ripped from my clawing fingersssssss…

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