Saturday, July 02, 2011

Watermelons are heavy

Today I went into the city with a specific errand. That was to buy and take a watermelon to my invalid in-laws in their Chinatown apartment. Their caretakers are generally good, but bringing in a watermelon..?

The genesis of this idea was that for the last two years of my father's life he ate and loved his watermelon every morning. The local Food Lion store seemed to have it year round chopped up and in plastic containers. At first I just viewed it as a tasteful way for him to hydrate himself, but a few months ago in my Nutrition Action newsletter I learned that watermelon is an incredibly healthy melon, full of things that our body needs. Who would have thought? Maybe that was my father's successful every morning recovery mechanism, tasteful, and forget about Revive Vitamin Water.

My father in law can still eat foods that are not too dense, he always loved watermelon, and even though he no longer talks he does understand things and appreciates visits. So off I went this morning.

85 degrees and humid in New York is not like the same measure in other places. With all of the concrete, all of the 98.6 degree bodies, and all of the cars, taxis, and trucks, it is really serious sweaty hot weather. I took the subway down from Penn Station and walked over to East Broadway where the major vegetable and fruit stores are located. That's maybe three quarters of a mile from my in-laws apartment building. The seedless watermelons, best for him, were really big. The store triple bagged one and off I went.

Manhattan Chinatown is one crowded place, sidewalks packed more with locals than tourists, but certainly with both. I kept switching hands with this heavy item, trying to get around strolling locals, gawking tourists, and balky children, while still being polite. I had never appreciated either how heavy a big watermelon is or how age can diminish one's strength. By the time I arrived at their apartment the caretakers took one look at me and brought a role of paper towels for me to dry off with and turned up the air conditioning.

Hey, it was a success. I visited. I hope that the watermelon was good for all.

My day, as always in Manhattan, continued. I went to Big Wong on Mott Street and bought some ribs in black bean sauce over rice and some Singapore Chow Fun to take home. Then I walked up Mulberry and saw that despite it not being a Feast week in Little Italy the street was blocked off and festive. My wife's financial interest in 142 Mulberry seemed to be thriving, her almost no control of the situation notwithstanding(I could say so much more but even my disclaimer heading for this blog might not be good enough for the controlling "partner").

Next was buying some "Chinese broccoli" on the street at upper Mott still in the expanded Chinatown. This stuff is terrific, can't be bought at any regular supermarkets, and at $2.50 for two pounds is a bargain. Steamed with garlic, salt, olive oil, a little fennel, and a little fresh lemon juice at the finish, I can make this healthy food delicious. That said, my wife Kathy does it better.

Then it was up to McNally Jackson bookstore, as mentioned before the best independent bookstore in the city, and a few books picked up because they highlight literature that almost no else does, good stuff. On to Dhaba for a quick Indian buffet at Lex and 27th, not too much as the heat had muted my appetite for what can be heavy Indian food. I did simply take a long rest there over my rice pudding, reading and being cooled down by the a/c, enjoying the always cooled down music as well and the eclectic crowd.

Finally off to Penn Station, while walking Kathy called and reminded my that the trains were on the :19 on weekends, as in 3:19 and 4:19. It was 3:10 and I was not going to make it. I went into Szechwan Gourmet on 39th and had a second small lunch, hot and sour seafood soup and sauteed spinach with lots of garlic - enough left to bring some home(I'm almost 6'3 and rarely exceed 165 pounds, so if the least bit hungry my metabolism allows me to eat) --- that was not always the case when I was working all of my waking hours but that's another story.

So that was a good exhausting day that finished in a sort of amazing way. Going to my train in Penn Station I quickly grabbed a Barrons and handed over the 5 buck price and the Asian Indian proprietor wouldn't take it. I was confused. He explained that I had given him a 1953 silver certificate $5 bill that was worth at least $70 to collectors. How honest is that, beyond all reason really. I gave him a regular five, thanked him profusely, and made the 4:19.

I was in Manhattan yesterday as well doing errands and dealing with my broker on some transfer of mortgage backeds from MSSB to Fidelity that are being blocked. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is such a poorly managed if not corrupt firm. What a pain, inherited from my father's completely hoodwinking preppie self serving broker who he adored.

Tomorrow I'm staying home, reading, writing, no rithmetic unless a bill or two gets paid, but Manhattan has gotten all of me in the last two days. I will rest.


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