Tag Archives: The Wife

Grocery List: October 19, 2014


“You’re aging right before my eyes.”

The Wife and I watched a lot of television before The Kid came along. We were series regulars to about a half-dozen shows. After The Wife gave birth, the regularity with which we watch television was shattered. That’s okay because, well, I don’t feel too bad about it. I couldn’t really declare a loyalty to a television show, since our viewing patterns were messed up.

A couple of years ago, we got into Anthony Bourdain’s CNN show Parts Unknown, and it became appointment television for us. The storytelling is as good as it gets, while the cinematography is amazing. And, on more than one occasion, I’ve found myself wanting to hop on a plane to eat exactly what Bourdain ate. Aside from that, Tosh.0 and Key & Peele have become the only shows that we watch regularly.

I noticed a disturbing trend this fall. The Wife and I watching a lot more PBS, and for the children’s programming. The Wife, a history teacher with a particular interest in immigrant history, likes Henry Louis Gates’ show Finding Your Roots. The desert of decent television on Mondays has led us to an old standby: Antiques Roadshow. I’ve found myself DVR’ing Nova and Frontline more. I usually end up watching Newshour 3 to 4 times a week. As I write this on Saturday night, The Wife tells me that I’m aging right before her eyes. Why? A 1978 edition of The Lawrence Welk Show“Salute To Our Senior Citizens” — is on our 50-inch Panasonic plasma television.

I’m beginning to get worried. I’ve always had a bit the curmudgeonly old man in me, yelling at kids on my damn lawn. But, I’m concerned that I’ve slipped into my middle-aged years a little quickly.

My exact age never really bothered me. My 30th birthday was pretty anticlimactic; I thought 35 was worse, because I had moved into a new demographic grouping (from 25-34 to 35-44). The idea of getting older doesn’t really appeal to me too greatly. For a long time, I was the youngest person in my office. Now I’m somewhere in the middle to high range on the chart.

On Friday night, The Wife and I went to Lewis Black’s show at The OnCenter. We were expecting a 30 to 50 year old crowd, but it was more of a 60+ set. We found ourselves one of the youngest in the crowd by a couple of decades. It was strange.

So, maybe I have nothing to worry about. Maybe I am still young.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, one of Lawrence Welk’s singers is doing “Among My Souvenirs.”


Colicchio & Sons, New York, N.Y.



It is a rare thing when I ride my sister’s coat tails. The first time it happened was earlier this year, when I went to a work-related fundraiser in Washington, D.C. to meet her former boss, a Long Island Congressman of note in the Democratic Party. We spent a couple of minutes talking about her. The only reason I was at this really cool event was because I had a tangential connection to this individual. So, score one for The Sister there.

Score two and thensome for her on Friday evening. Back in her Congressional staffer days, she worked with Tom Colicchio’s team on a presentation of his documentary on hunger in America, A Place at the Table. She met and became friendly with someone on his personal staff, they remain in contact to this day, blah blah blah, and we were able to get a reservation with ease for the dining room at the Top Chef judge’s restaurant on 10th Avenue, across the street from Chelsea Market.
Continue reading Colicchio & Sons, New York, N.Y.

Garden 2014: Memorial Day (Day 1)

Photo May 26, 2 38 32 PM

While some were busy remembering and others were busy posting trite imagery to Facebook, we here at Al Dente HQ spent Memorial Day doing the spring task that we like least. Gardening itself is not that bad, but the cleanup is terrible.

Part of this is because of the jungle that occupies more than two-thirds of our lot’s frontage. It’s the mass of bushes, weeds, stones, weeds and perennials. And weeds. The Wife (pictured above planting some flowers) and I were talking about this earlier during our lunch break. It didn’t look too bad during the first summer, but unless you are willing to spend 2 to 3 hours a week in maintenance, it ends up overgrown and looking like shit.

And six years later, we have done nothing to remedy the shitness. We joke about dousing it in diesel and letting the fuel burn everything out. We’ve talked about renting one of those hourly pickups from The Home Depot and yanking the bushes. Our lawn guy guesses that ripping it out will cost at least $1,500 and that’s without taking a close look or replacing it with anything.

Continue reading Garden 2014: Memorial Day (Day 1)

Saturday Dinner: Shot-And-A-Beer Pork

2014-03-29 at 17-26-01

“I want comfort food.”

The Wife makes this pronouncement frequently during the winter, a statement that typically results in my braising something. Short ribs. Pot roast. Chicken. Short ribs.

“I think I want Mexican.”

She took an interesting turn. Mexican comfort food usually results in Chipotle or a trip to The Mission. I wasn’t really interested making a messy enchilada or cooking all day to make a burrito. I thought maybe posole, a rich stew made with hominy, might work but time was going to be an issue and, from what I can tell, a good posole needs a solid six hours to simmer. I would have half that.

I came across this recipe at one of those aggregators that pop up at the top of the Google results when you search for something. Booze works for me, as does pork shoulder. I mean, you can never go wrong with pork shoulder.

Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Shot-And-A-Beer Pork

Grocery List: December 1, 2013

photoThe Kid is walking around the house crying as I type this. She went from lying on the floor to walking to now staring out of a window, all the while crying. And now she’s turning off all of the Christmas lights. This is great.

Why, you may ask, am I sitting here typing something while my child is crying? Simple. The Wife told The Kid that she could not have potato chips for breakfast.

Symbolically, this is the end of the gluttonous Thanksgiving week. Turkey? Sure. Pizza? Absolutely! Chicken wings and beer? You didn’t even have to ask.

(Now The Kid is rummaging through cabinets in the dining room looking for “a snack.” This is spectacular. She’s lost her mind.)

After every holiday, The Wife declares that we are going to start eating healthy again and that she wants to go to the gym. Never mind that we were not eating particularly healthy before the holiday and that her gym is open 24 hours a day.

(The crying has moved to the kitchen, where The Kid now has “a snack” and is attempting to extract an episode of Sesame Street from her primary captor, The Wife.)

As it is December 1 — HOLY SHIT IT’S DECEMBER ALREADY — we have about 20 calendar days until the next extended buffet approaches. Between the plates of cookies that arrive at work, the annual holiday dinner out with The Wife, an endless stream of post-work, weekend and celebratory alcohol, and, of course, the two-day consumption marathon surround the birth of our Lord and savior, the idea of eating healthy and going to the gym is really a ruse. It’s an attempt to hoard unused calories like Weight Watchers points so that you can jam as many cookies in your craw as possible.

(I’ve now moved to the kitchen, where a happy version of The Kid is eating quietly, so The Wife can get dressed.)

It’s obesity in the name of family. It’s eating in honor of the season.

And it’s okay.

Jesus wants you to eat those cookies.

(The Kid has returned to her normal happy, chatty state. Start to finish…20 minutes.)

Tuesday Dinner: Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup (Sopa de pollo y lima, or something like that)

2013-10-08 at 17-36-21

If I were to guess, I think The Wife would like it if I used the grill a few more times before the chill of autumn settles in. We have a detached garage that sits towards the end of our property. It seems like the din of fall makes the walk to and from the garage more like an arduous expedition rather than the same 40-step walk (from door to door) that I’ve done since assembling the grill in the spring.

2013-10-08 at 16-51-11(I would ask The Wife about all of this, but that would require us having a conversation about something other than The Kid or work. This is a seeming impossibility these days. And besides, we’re married. I don’t have to talk to her anymore.)

What I do know is that there are flavors that The Wife likes and those she loves. Cilantro falls into the later category. If she approved of such things, you would see her walking around with a wad of the pungent little leaves tucked into her lower lip like a hunk of Skoal.

Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup (Sopa de pollo y lima, or something like that)

Grocery list: June 23, 2013

photoThree has thrown us for a loop.

We thought that we had a sneak preview of three over the last six months. Naw. It turns out that The Kid delayed two until about January or February so that she could slipstream directly into three.

Defiance, testing boundaries, manipulation, deception…all hallmarks of the Paventi family, but now that I see it in my three-year-old daughter, I’m beginning to worry that she comes from a long line of sociopaths. And, by logical deduction, that makes me a sociopath. The only thing in our favor right now is that she cannot drive, tell time or operate door knobs.

Seriously though, today was the first Sunday in a while that she did not accompany me for a Sunday grocery trip. She is not the “gimmie gimmie gimmie” kid at the store. She gets bored sitting in the cart and wants out as quickly as possible. Sometimes this happens in the checkout line. Sometimes it happens before we cross the threshold of the store.

And, like any typical three-year-old/sociopath, when she doesn’t get her way, the results are not pretty. I mean, no one has died (yet), but it can get loud. Last week, I forgot to grab cream cheese. I left The Wife and The Kid a few aisles ahead of the dairy area and walked back. As I was picking up my tub of whipped light cream cheese, I could hear The Kid announce that she wanted to go home.

The Kid. My kid.

So, I went it alone today. It was quick. It was quiet. But, it was lonely.

Grocery list: April 6, 2013

IMG_0087The text message came through at 10:23 a.m.: “Layla is regretting her decision. She just stopped crying.”

Due to a work event on Sunday, I went grocery shopping on Saturday this week. The Wife was going to sit this trip out, but I had planned to bring The Kid with me. After a few minutes of asking, cajoling, faking sadness and bribing, The Kid refused to budge. I told The Wife that I would walk slowly to the car in case she changed her mind. I took my time putting on my shoes, put some thought into a hat (went with the orange Under Armour hat I have been wearing a lot lately), dropped my keys twice (unintentionally), and by the time I reached the car, there was no call to turnaround.

So I left.

And The Kid cried.

For a half-hour.

The Wife reports that she screamed, kicked, threw toys, and refused to be comforted. Why? Because she (allegedly) missed me and wanted to go to Wegmans.

When I got home, it was like I returned from a six-month tour of duty. Hugs, kisses and a refusal to be detached from me. And then she saw one of her new books on the coffee table and took off, going back to her normal place of ignoring me.