Return to The Piece (and Other Weekend Foibles ...)
And actually, Jack owns Alex. Alex is terrified of Jack, and the cat chases the dog, not the other way around.
This has been a busy weekend ... but a relaxing one as well. Which makes no sense, I know. :)
Friday, we went to the baseball game. We have season tickets for Sunday games this year, and Bobby got our tickets switched to Friday since we were otherwise engaged for Sunday. We were sitting in the Eutaw Street section at the back of the stadium with a bunch of rowdy young'uns like ourselves. It was cold outside too! But the game was awesome.
The Orioles won 8-1 against the Kansas City Royals. Because we were at the back of the field, our section spent much of the game heckling the Royals' players in the outfield. Reggie Sanders in right field was right in front of our section, so every time the Royals were on defense, our section would start.
He was a good sport and waved or tipped his cap.
"Reeeeeehhhhh-jee," they would yell. Someone would add, "You suck!"
"Reeeeehhhhh-jee." "Washed up!"
For the eight and ninth innings, Reggie got moved to left field. That didn't stop the crowd from trying to get his attention; nearly the whole section was waving at the man. They were not happy with his replacement, whom no one had ever heard of. "Who's this guy, Reggie?!" one insulted fan yelled.
I guess that if you're an MLB outfielder, you get used to dealing with crowd heckling.
In the eighth inning, Nick Markaikis hit a grand slam right into our section! Watching the highlights on ESPN that night, Bobby and I were on ESPN! Granted, we were only an inch high and out of focus as the ball slowly came down on Section 94, but there we were: me in my long, furry coat and Bobby in his black jacket. w00t.
The next morning, we were up early because it's an Aquarium weekend. I was with another assistant this weekend, so we had a to-do list as long as my arm: feeding, checking the life support systems, cleaning two tanks (including one of the big tanks up in the Rainforest), topping off all of the tanks, scrubbing fake kelp from the Kelp Forest ... we were quite busy! The other assistant has been working there for ten years, so he knows how to do everything; he's been trained as well to take care of the leafy sea dragons, which were recently added to our gallery and are designated to be cared for by aquarists only. They're not out for the public yet but are in back-up; what amazing animals! They look like big seahorses covered in leaves. They're very delicate, which is why the aquarist for our gallery is very picky about who takes care of them.
Saturday afternoon, we went over my parents' house to stay for the rest of the weekend. Last week, we made plans with Potter and Andrea to visit them at The Piece, where they are again working since the bookstore where they were working closed. I've been gone from The Piece now for three-and-a-half years; hard to believe sometimes. This was my first time back to my particular The Piece in a long while. We stopped in also to see Ann Marie, who is one of the few servers still working there who had been there when we were all there as well. She was also a very close friend of our family. Like most close friendships, though, despite the best intentions, we lost touch.
At one point, both my parents, Bobby, and I all worked at The Piece. For reasons too complex to repeat now, we all left within a single year. My mom had been there for over ten years by that time; seven years for Dad and six years for Bobby and me. We weren't the only family that worked there; in fact, we used to joke and call it "a family restaurant" because everyone, it seemed, had one relative working there at one time or another. Indeed, Ann Marie's husband worked as a part-time cook for a few months while she was pregnant with their second daughter and unable to work.
Because of the situation that caused our departure, we didn't have too much to do with the place after leaving. Now, though, fractured feelings are finally healing, for which I cannot be happier. A lot of close friendships were ruined that year, and it was one of those unfortunate, tangled dramas where absolutely no one ended up benefiting but many ended up hurt.
We caught up with Ann Marie; it wasn't too busy, and her shift was ending, which let us have some time for chatting. Potter and Andrea were both working fountain and came out to say hi. We were there for a few minutes when Evan, one of our other good friends and ex-coworkers, rolled up with some of his friends.
I would lie if I said I didn't miss the place sometimes. It is the most enjoyable work I've ever done for money (though the money, trust me, is not good!) We all remembered the old characters we used to work with who certainly made life interesting; caught up with who had seen whom and what they were up to ... it was really nice. And even if the work was hard and dirty and not well-paid, I did find myself missing it.
We were getting ready to leave when Dad happened to look across the mall at the Hallmark card store, and he said, "Am I crazy, or is that Marita?" Marita worked at Hallmark when we were at The Piece and was one of our regular carryout customers, but she had to quit to take care of her ailing sister. Sure enough, though, it was Marita, so it truly was a walk down memory lane! We hadn't seen her in years.
Today, it is raining and miserable, and I'm not doing much at all. My cousin Jamie and her fiance Pat are coming over at five to see the new room that my parents are building; we're all going out to Basta Pasta for dinner.