Alison has been off with Jenna, so that left Jeff and me with a couple free nights. Night one, he was at a concert and I was blissfully at home alone with the remote and half a bottle of wine.
Saturday morning found me out in the yard dodging an occasional, chilly October rain while I ripped up a bunch of bricks I'd decided needed relocated from bordering my backyard flower beds. I have this narrow strip of yard that runs along the east side of my house house, connecting front and back yards.
Along the house, there are healthy bushes, our basement escape hatch, the air conditioner and gas meter and a small tree or two. But between that strip and the neighbor's brick yard is a strip of Earth that has a bad case of going bald. Oh, dandelions and scrub grass will pop up here and there, but come August when I run the lawn mower over it, I cause a dust storm that would wake the Scorpion King.
So putting down a walkway seemed like a smart way to go, and the bricks were just sitting there. About 6.3 billion of them.
I got out the wheelbarrow one day in the summer and relocated them. At first I was just wanting to give myself an idea of what it would look like. So I didn't prepare the ground or put down plastic or do anything but configure the bricks into a pattern.
Before you knew it, they were all down. Some were nubby with mortar still attached to them where they used to be part of the original neighborh's wall. Others were smooth. Some were taller than others. It wasn't pretty but it did cover the ground. I wondered how long natural erosion would take to smooth them down like river rocks while they snuggled into the ground to level themselves out magically. I'd planned to put down mulch to even up the edges and sort of disguise my work while the erosion thing happened.
To be honest, it wasn't pretty. It wasn't well-received. And I'd been thinking about how to deal with ever since the family had discovered my latest spontaneous home improvement project.
And then this week, My friend Karen -- despite Squirrel Gravy kicking her Live Action in fantasy football last week -- had offered to drop off a bunch of mulch after a tree was taken down at her house. So I was going to move that mulch to cover my brick walkway.
But even as I contemplated whether I could get the mulch and cover up the thing before Jeff woke up and caught me, I kept hearing his and others' reaction to the whole idea.
Alison: "Mom, how are Alex and I going to run through there barefoot when we play hide-and-seek? It hurts my feet."
Jeff: "That's not going to work, Cheryl. You're going to get weeds and how are you going to get the leaves without scraping off your mulch?
Even my neighbor, Mark, owner of the brick wall: "I think you're going to have some issues when the rain comes."
So I spent Saturday morning pulling up all 6.3 billion bricks and putting them back where they belong. You think planking is hard? Brick work is harder. And longer. But they're all back where they belong and the pathway is back to its bald-headed look.
And here's where Karma comes in. I'd gotten everything put away. My arms were trembling. My back was aching. And all I could think of was that truck-full of mulch headed my way that would have to be shoveled and put into the various flower beds. I was already a muddy mess. I'd broken a nail and had raw spots on the backs of my ankles from wearing my boots without socks. (I hadn't wanted to wake Jeff up and would have had I gone in to get my socks.)
I was in the kitchen, contemplating whether to shower, when I would just get dirty all over again, when my phone buzzed. It was Karen telling me the rain had washed out the tree service so there would be no mulch this weekend.
I may have fallen to my knees to praise God or Karma or whomever had sent the rain. I'm not sure. All I know is the lack of Round 2 with the yard left me time to shower, recover and have a lovely night out with Jeff.
We went, finally, to Delicia, which is probably a mile away from our house. We'd wanted to go there for a while but had been told it was hard to get in and we're poor dinner planners. We had a school fundraiser and an award winning Broad Ripple Kiwanis fundraiser on the schedule before dinner, but I advised the school folks we weren't going to make it. (I'll send in money Monday to keep my friend Karma happy.)
So we set off walking to Delicia. By early evening, it was brisk, but dry. It was a great walk. When we arrived -- early so we could make the Kiwanis event at The Speak Easy Indy, there were only three tables occupied on our side of the restaurant.
Our waiter, Alejandro, was telling us of the specials. One of which was a spicy beet salad. He was extolling its virtues and all the accompanying vegetables and peppers. "But there are still beets in there, right?" I asked.
He confirmed it. I advised him that I'd like to try it but I'd recently tried to convince myself that I could eat beets -- they're kind of the popular root vegetable right now -- but no, I hadn't like Napolese's beets. Alejandro thought Delicia had a special take on it. I was not convinced.
We did order drinks while we perused the Latin menu. My mojhito was excellent but came in a water-glass sized container. Jeff had some fancy thing but was jealous of my drink and had to have one himself. On top of the wine we'd finished, I was a little woozy before the appetizer came.
Before the goat cheese-stuffed jalapenos arrived, Alejandro dropped by with a slice of beet on a saucer for me. "So you can decide," he said.
I appreciated the gesture. Really I did. But to me, it looked like a bit of raw liver looking up at me. Raw liver that tastes like dirt. You can spice up dirt, but it's still dirt. With the texture of raw organ meat. Blech.
The entrees, however, were extreme. So amazing. I had corn cakes with shredded beef and Jeff had fish tacos. It was so amazing. Made me think they might have made similar magic with the beets.
Jeff loves flan, which to me is the beet of desserts, so I had coffee. The restaurant was nearly at capacity by this point -- and it wasn't 7 o'oclock yet. The hostess came by to ask if we'd mind moving to a two-top. They had two, two-tops left and we were at one of them. A disabled American veteran in a party of six was waiting for a seat. Of course we didn't mind and happily scooted over.
Jeff had his flan and I had my coffee and we were talking about walking to the next event where I was sure my body wouldn't tolerate one more bit of liquor. The bill came and they'd not just treated us to dessert and coffee, they'd doubled the cost and deducted it.
Delicia would have been on our list of favorite restaurants before then, but consider this: it's fabulous food, indulgent wait staff, generous in pour and portion, and they're kind to veterans.
Love them. Will definitely be back.
Right now I have to scoot to Alison's football game and then get her off to basketabll game. Jenna and Amy will get to watch, so it'll be super cool.
I'm going to have to do something nice for someone today to keep my karmic roll going. I'm accepting ideas for good deeds....