Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toss Me a Bone Here...

Here in Astoria, we have lots of delectable options for meals thanks to the largely immigrant community. The most prolific is Greek cuisine, but we never really go out for Greek food for some reason. Last Friday was a mellow night and we had been thinking about trying this one place that was highly rated both in the blogosphere, in the NYC Zagat guide, and by the local population (apparently, considering the place has a line out the door every time we walk by): Taverna Kyclades. We invited our Greek expert Paul over so that he could tell us stories of yore from when he lived in Cyprus and choose a meze of his choice. Anyway, a table full of food later, we were all stuffed and I licked my lips in anticipation of leftovers-a-plenty for the weekend.

Fast-forward to Sunday after yoga, after eating leftover pizza, after watching a dour Liverpool game that ended 0-0, I was starving. I busted out the leftover sole stuffed with crab, gave it a ride in my microwave, and dug in. Halfway through the main course, I felt a small bone in my mouth, which was surprising since it was the first one I had but, it's not unusual for the food processing machines to miss a bone, right? That little bone got lost somewhere in my mouth, though, and my muscular tongue launched a search-and-destroy mission for the little bastard. Eventually, I gave up and just swallowed. I kinda felt it get stuck in my throat, but I figured it would get washed down with the calamari, which it didn't.

A few hours later, I'm sitting on the couch watching a movie and I notice that when I move my head certain ways, the bone was actually hurting my throat, making me wince. I dug around my mouth with my finger and could feel it way, way, way back in my mouth. So far that it was making me gag just trying to find it with my finger and a mouth full of fist. There was pretty much nothing I could do about it though, so I ate some bread and peanut butter, hoping to wash it down for good. No love.

The next morning, after a poor night of sleeping. I tried toast with peanut butter, but I could still feel it back in there. By lunch time, it was feeling better and I decided that if it was still alive and kicking back there, dual-broccoli with fire and some rice would finish it off for sure. It wasn't hurting at all by the end of the work day, so I was golden. Then I got home and shoved my fist in my mouth again and could feel it back there still! It hadn't moved at all.

On the second full day, I woke up and it was starting to feel like a sore throat. Not good. I called my doctor, who instructed the receptionist to tell me "CALL 9-1-1 RIGHT NOW! TELL THEM TO SEND AN AMBULANCE, GET TO THE HOSPITAL ASAP BECAUSE IT COULD GET DISLODGED AND CHOKE YOU TO DEATH! CALL 9-1-1! HURRY, THERE MIGHT BE TRAFFIC ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL (which is like a 10 minute walk from my house)!!!" I'm not even kidding. She was frantic. She didn't care that I told her it's been in there for two full days already. Just to get her off the food and quit telling me to hurry up and call for an ambulance, I told her I would and hung up. Meh, I thought, maybe after work I'll go to the hospital and get it taken care of.  

I realized yesterday that I had never actually been to the ER before, except for when Erika ended up in the skanky Astoria Mt. Sinai. My co-worker describes all Queens health institutions as third-world, but I wouldn't go that far after my experiences in Peruvian public hospitals and health clinics. Anyway, yesterday was my first trip to the ER, but after suffering with a "sore" throat all day, I decided to head to the city and check myself in to Lennox Hill (which I prefer to spell Linux Hill). How embarrassing. There were probably people with knife wounds to their head in the ER, and there I am with a stupid fish bone stuck in my throat.

The ER was interesting. There was almost no one in there and only one lady looked like she was suffering. It was clean, ESPN on the TV, and most people were using it as a waiting room. Things moved efficiently and by the end of an hour there, one of the Physicians Assistants had identified the foreign object deep in my throat and used some pliers to pull the bastard out. It was stuck into my flesh with only a little tip exposed, which is why it wouldn't wash down I guess. I know my tongue is muscular after doing working out all day doing pushups against my buck teeth, but I didn't think it was strong enough to chuck that bone like a javelin into my throat!

The moral of the story: don't eat fish bones. Duh.

J. Riley, that little incident added an extra $100 to the cost of my Greek dinner. Next time, I'll stick to the meze.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Deal....Or No Deal??

This weekend was full of amazing deals...or no deal??
  • Deal: Ever since getting a newly styled haircut in Peru, I've been thinking about what I'm going to do when I need another haircut. Do I got back to my $10 barber and have them attempt to recreate the genius, or do I (acckkkk!!!) try a new hair stylist, randomly choosing one of the throng of hair stylist on my block. I hate going to new hair places, who knows if it'll end up like a mop chop-shop, similar to the plethora of the car variety that we have in the hood. I found one that looked reputable, and the haircut was $15, not bad! So I went for it!
  • ....Or No Deal? It was disastrous. First of all, the lady didn't hardly speak any English, wish isn't a problem for me except that she didn't understand what I wanted. In Peru, the lady didn't speak English, but she went to town and my five hairs looked like a work of art. This lady decided to use a hair trimmer and cut it super short in one spot and asked Erika "Is this hair long enough?" What? What, if it's too short (and it was) should I have her use a longer trimmer so it's all uneven? I didn't see the back of my head, but Erika was on the verge of tears and started telling the lady how bad it looked, and she just kept saying "it's because his hair is blonde." Uhh, no it's not. It's because it looks like crap.  Eventually, the owner of the place (who actually knew how to cut hair) came over to finish off my hair cut and make the wife (and me) somewhat happy, although the damage was already done. Erika tells me it looks fine now, but I think she's lying ;o).
  • Verdict: DEAL. $15 is still cheap for a haircut and I know nobody noticed my hair (other than the lack of it).
  • Deal: Last year, Erika was in search of some boots to keep her feet warm and dry during our brutal winter. We couldn't find anything even remotely affordable. Everything was over $200 and we eventually found some boots (not waterproof) that were somewhat affordable, but they are just leather and not exactly warm with sub-zero (C) temperatures. I saw some interesting boots at Clarks the other week, so while we were out we stopped by there and we found some boots that she loved! They are different than her typical medium-height, Brazilian-style heel, boots that she wears, but they were both waterproof and real-fur lined (and not Fugly Fuggs). They are from Canada and should do the trick for sure - all for $109!!!! Recession shopping at its best!
  • ....Or No Deal? They didn't have her size. So we bought a half-size bigger and she was satisfied enough, until we got home and she realized they are just too big for her. We went to another Clarks store, but they didn't have her size either. Was this boot love story going to have a sad ending?
  • Verdict: DEAL! The store said they would order her boots in her size and have them shipped (for free!!) to our house. And since the boots were just over in Queens, they should arrive shortly, hopefully in time for the impending snow-storm.    
  • Deal: I found out that it is possible that insurance may cover a portion of the Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis lab testing. This will insure that any offspring that we have are Myotonic Dystrophy free, which is a relief.
  • ....Or No Deal? The place that I got stuck with doing the testing is Out-of-Network. My Out-of-Network deductible is $3000. Ouch...
  • Verdict: It's a lot of cash, but in the long run this is more important than cash. DEAL!
  • Deal: 25% off at Banana Republic led to the resumption of shopping at my mecca for some badly-needed pants for work. I got a good five years out of a couple pairs of my pants and they were looking ragged and weren't fitting so hot. I did my due-diligence by checking out some pants at other places, but honestly I couldn't find any good deals on pants that didn't require tailoring for them to fit me. Not only that, but Erika found a nice wool layering sweater on the clearance rack. Not her favorite color, but it'll help keep her warm this winter.
  • Verdict: DEAL. No qualms about this one, they were a great deal for pants that look hot and that fit my like a glove.
  • Deal: My neighbors were moving out (I think) and ditched a cheap, light-weight, black coffee table at the curb. And what do New Yorkers do best? Go dumpster diving and pick up perfectly good things that are waiting to be picked up and delivered to one of the local landfills. The vacuum machine that I dragged all the way home from Jackson Heights (on the subway and bus) didn't end up working, but this table? AWESOME! Our TV no longer lives on a chair, it's on a sweet, perfect black coffee table. 
  • Verdict: Duh, it was free and perfect and only had to be carried from downstairs to my apartment. DEAL!

Saturday was a great day, with all these deals, the fact that Liverpool beat their local rivals in a feisty match to continue their resurgence of form (finally), and that Saturday night we went out to the Sounds of Brazil (SOB's) nightclub for some Samba and Reggaeton dancing and drinks for one of our Dominican friends. Top top it off, we ate dinner at Pio Pio, which we haven't been to for a while. Alan and Andrea, this was a day for you!

Sunday, duh, was Super Bowl Sunday. With the real football over for the weekend, I got invited to the Bronx, but coerced Melissa to come down here since we could watch the commercials in HD. But Erika wanted to go to New Jersey. To a Chili's (where one of her friends works and invited us). Chili's + New Jersey = bad combination. Well, either of the two alone is bad enough, but a combination of them both is just vomit-inducing due to my snobbishness attitude. Thankfully, the other girl who was going to be the Jersey tour-guide had a vicious  hangover and wanted to hang out with us instead! Rather than waiting on hold to place pizza orders, we stocked up on Trader Joe's Rustic Italian Flat-bread and made some sweet homemade pizzas for us and our guests.

J. Riley, Overall, I can't complain about this weekend! Next topic will be about my latest addiction: KeyPass! The best way to protect your online accounts from getting hacked due to your weak passwords! :o)