Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Mum is not a Dim Sum, 1st Annual Car Wash and who's a Chutzpahnick now?

My mama and I went out for lunch this weekend to her favorite Dim Sum restaurant - The Paradise. She will probably be upset with me for revealing her age so let's just say she's somewhere between eighty seven and a half and eighty eight and a half. What's totally remarkable is that she is as fit as a fiddle and this was the year she "taught" herself to use a computer. My niece and nephew recently bought her a glossy new laptop which is set up in my old room. She is on the computer the majority of the day seated on double stacked lawn chairs. Yes, that's what I said. She has created a booster seat with two plastic white outdoor chairs and a couple of pillows. *Note to self and my siblings: Mom needs a nice comfy office chair for her computer room for Mother's Day.

We spent some time together in her "computer room" and she led me through her desktop applications this afternoon. I was so impressed with her super active INBOX. Yes, she likes to keep all her emails....ALL 1735 of them! I offered to delete some for her but she wouldn't allow it. I believe she likes to refer to them if she happens to exhaust all the Rag Magazine search engines. Needless to say it is quite an accomplishment to learn a task such as this later in life. It keeps her mind fresh and ensures that she is in touch with her family and friends. She even SKYPES! Kudos to mama for becoming a PC star !!!

We left for Paradise at around 1 p.m. When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by the hostess and were quickly seated in a nice booth that would normally seat 6 patrons. You see, when you go to Paradise with Frieda you are treated like a celebrity. Why? Because my mother practically lives in Paradise. She even has nicknames for all the wait staff. One of which is "sleeping beauty" who is actually a man. She has given him that title because he sleepwalks all around the restaurant sloooowly. They also know that she requires Plum Sauce on the table upon arrival and a fork and knife in case she gets frustrated with the chopsticks. So there we were....sitting with the lunchtime crowd and the only two Chews (Chinese Jews) in the joint.

The dim sum is "made to order" and the menu is written in Chinese (with English translations). I took a look at it to decide what numbers to check off and my mother pulls out her PreChecked version from her purse. She travels with it just in case there is an opportunity for Dim Sum on the Run. I examine what she has highlighted and here's what the selections are:

Char Siu Bao (Steamed Stuffed Buns)
Har Gau ( Shrimp Dumplings)
Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Rice and Meat wrapped in a Lotus Leaf)
Siu Mai (Meat/Shrimp Dumpling)
Wu Gok (Pastry Meat Filled Turnover)

She asked if there was something else to order besides her five choices and I picked a steamed chicken dumpling with peanuts (which my mother labelled - wrapped fire....transalation: too spicy FA SEENYA SITASIN ). When all the food arrived it was noted that each straw steamer contained 3 portions. Here's how lunch proceeded at my Chewish mother's instruction. Eat one, give two to the youngest child. Needless to say I was more stuffed than a Char Siu Bao. At the end of the feast there was two small stuffed pastries left on a plate .....more instructions from ChewMa - these must BE eaten with tea for dessert even though it's not dessert. We stayed in Paradise for hours and lost complete track of time. But then again...when you are in Paradise do you ever want to leave? Since they were already setting up for dinner we got the bill and paid. We then made our way to the front lobby where there was a table of goodies on display to purchase. Chinese delicacies such as a fish shaped cakes and sugar encrusted walnuts. This is the part where my mother pointed out to the hostess that her nuts were too expensive and I quickly pushed her to the nearest exit.

When my mom was walking to the parking lot I noticed her black pants were covered in road salt and dirt stemming from the state of my car. I have been meaning to wash it's the truth......I bought it April 8th, 2009 and haven't yet. I don't see why it was necessary seeing that I am always getting it dirty. So against my mother's advice (she said the car would freeze if I washed it), I went to give my car it's first bath on the way home. I don't like gas station car washes. They are totally useless. I like going to the full service - stand alone - take my car - charge me lots - clean the inside and out - CARWASH. When I drive up and see the red flashing sign I get myself into the groove and find I'm belting out the lyrics to the Carwash song ....Here's how it goes....sing along with me:


You might not ever get rich

But let me tell ya it's better that diggin' a ditch.

There ain't no tellin' who ya might meet. .

A movie star or may be even an Indian Chief.

(Workin' at the) car wash.

Workin' at the car wash yeah !

Come on and sing it with me car wash.

Get with the feelin' y'all car wash yeah.

Come summer the work gets kind a hard

This ain't no place to be if ya planned on being a star.

Let me tell you it's always cool

And the boss don't mind sometimes if ya act a fool.

At the car wash

Talkin' about the car wash yeah!

Come on and sing it for me car wash.

Car wash yeah!

(Work and work) Well those cars never seem to stop comin'.

(Work and work) Keep those rags and machines hummin'

(Work and work) my fingers to the bone

(Work) at five I can't wait 'til it's time to go home


get your car washed today.

Fill up and you don't have to pay.

Come on and give us a play.

Get a wash right away.

Car wash talkin' about the car wash yeah!

Woo car wash

Those cars never seems to stop comin'


I say

Keep those rags and machines hummin'

Wasn't that fun? What else did I have to do in the long line? It was finally my turn and the nice man in a very big fluffy parka came to my window to ask me if I wanted to add some kind of turtle to my car. This was a topic I had debated while waiting for my turn. To Wax or not to Wax....that was the question. Now keep in mind....there was a long procession of vehicles behind me that were probably not pondering the Waxing idea but I like to ask questions so I got out of the car insuring that the impatient people could get a better view of the Wax Debate. "Regular Wash or Super Wash with Wax Ma'am"?, the parka man asked hurriedly. "What do you think I should do"? I answered. "What do I think YOU should do"? he said (looking really cozy toasty in that parka). "Well, it's like this ma' you go for manicures"? he queried. "Uh ya", I said. "Well...when you get your nails done do they finish your manicure with a clear top coat"? he asked. "Uh ya", I said. "Well, if you are going to take care of your nails so nicely you should consider taking care of your vehicle in the same fashion". he explained. Oh...this guy was good. Never in a million years would I have expected this big carwash guy in a parka to be so metrosexually intune with how a woman thinks......  Once I considered his analogy how could I say NO to the turtle package?  I grabbed the pricey PINK ticket instead of the cheaper BLUE ticket which indicated that I was getting the Super Special Spa Turtle Package and ran inside.....oh and then I turned around and ran back outside to tell the metrosexual Parka Man (MPM) that he must handle my car with care because my mother's homemade mushroom barley soup was unsecured in the trunk. Just to let you know this "chutzpahnick" did not sustain one HONK from the 20 cars that witnessed this whole delay. (Definition of Chutzpah: Someone with a lot of nerve or audacity - pronounced HUTZSPA, a chutzpahnick is a person with a little bit of nerve) I proceed to the long narrow hallway that is next to Carwash Viewing Windows. There are two people ahead of me with blue cheapo tickets but more expensive cars than mine. They were poised and waiting to press the underspray button. I was so excited with the prospect of underspraying the car  - I could be a carwash worker for 3 minutes !

Here's a little something you need to know about my past ....when I was a little girl we used to go to Lichee Gardens for Chinese Food every weekend (that's how we got to be Chews by the way). When you frequent Oriental restaurants as much as we do you are automatically inducted into the Chew Tribe. Chewish people must adhere to strict dietary rules. There is no mixing Chinese food with any other food. Example: Ravioli and Springrolls are forbidden. You also must keep two sets of dishes. Chopsticks, bowls and tiny tea cups will do. Anyways, my dad used to drive downtown every Sunday for our ritual dinner. I sat in the backseat alone. I don't even think they had seatbelts back then but nonetheless I was so bored with the journey I had to hang out with my imaginary friends to keep occupied...  this is what I did.....ready? Cars didn't have automatic anythings yet so I held the window handle and played Elevator Operator for a half an hour. The window would go up and the window would go down. Sometimes the wind would piss off my mother because she just had her hair teased but I WAS a brat and I needed to mimic the Elevator Operators who worked at the Eatons and Simpsons Stores. I had to ensure that the customers got off on the right floor. "Next floor Ladie's Lingerie". "Next floor Housewares". "Next floor Men's Fashions". I believe my parents were oblivious to the Elevator in the backseat but then again....they knew I was a bit odd. I was totally fascinated with Elevator Operators. I realize now that my desire to pursue a career in Elevator Operation wouldn't have been the best choice. I would have one day been replaced by a multitude of buttons. I still think it would have been so amazing to wear those cute hats and white gloves, cranking that handle in the elevator all day long.

Where was I? Oh ya...back to the carwash. I am waiting in line for the underspray and I strike up a conversation with the gentleman who was ahead of me. His hand was perched on the button and he was ready to spray. I have no idea why I talked to him but I decided that it was better than standing there watching soap fall from the sky. So I am talking and talking and talking and he's smiling and not responsive. Why? Because he doesn't speak English. I believe he was from IRAN and once his car passed through the underspray HE RAN away from me....

I spotted my nice clean car coming through the soap section. I needed to focus. My hand was placed firmly on the underspray button like a contestant on Jeopardy. I was slightly nervous. I didn't want to press it too late otherwise I would miss the chance of spraying. As the nose of the car came closer I could feel my hand getting a little sweaty. I was ready....I saw one of the carwash Nars walk down the opposite side of the car and he scared me so I PRESSED the RED BUTTON.........TOO SOON!! The water forcefully sprayed up over the hood of the car and HIM and I rapidly ducked down below the window so he couldn't see me anymore.....I peaked up to see if he was still there but he wasn't.....I am guessing he went home to change?

I watched seven people pile into my car to schpritz, wipe, dry, clean and polish the interior. So worth the extra Spa and Turtles. As I made my way into the vehicle I noticed that one of the seven people was the guy who I sprayed ..and...he was still in my backseat. I wondered if it was payback time because he was pointing a Windex bottle suspiciously at the back of my head. Once he exited I tried shifting the gear into D for Drive but for some reason the car wouldn't go. I am guessing it was because I was so anxious to leave the wet carwash attendant behind I forgot to start the car? I am so happy with my wash, I've decided to do it more often but...... maybe at a different carwash....?