May 09, 2004

Another Change

No more babies and booze. Yesterday was the last babies and booze event as we've known them in the past. What, you may ask is babies and booze? It was the last gasp of formerly very social adults who suddenly found themselves with child. We were four couples, all of whom were somewhere between friends and very good friends. All of whom reproduced at or about the same time, certainly within a year of each other. All of whom used to hang out and often drink a little too much. None of whom wanted to bring a baby to a smoky NYC bar and all of whom considered themselves to be responsible parents. Solution? Pick an apartment and all get together for a 5-6 hour, sometimes longer, visit. We'd divide the 8 into 2 teams of 4 and into 2 shifts. The first time, the guys went to see the first Lord of the Rings movie while the women watched the kids. The second shift involved the guys with the kids and the women imbibing at a local Mexican place. It was a huge success and for awhile there we were getting together like this every 4-6 weeks.

Last night was one of the last with the original 4 couples. We had it at their apartment in Greenwich Village. This couple is moving to Pennsylvania where he will be a professor at a law school there. They live in a very trendy building in the far West Village -- think J-Lo or Tony Soprano guy. They sold their apartment for an obscene amount of money, bought a house in rural Pennsylvania and are going, so the thinking goes, to bury themselves out there in the middle of nowhere. So, they hosted.

We broke with tradition by all staying together the whole time such that it was more like an extended play date with wine. We had all divided up food responsibilities and I took cheese. Shopping for cheese, with almost no constraints because you're buying for 6, is so much fun. I went to Murray's Cheese, one of the top cheese shops in the City, and told the nice woman behind the counter that I wanted 6 cheeses -- three stinky and three non-stinky -- and that she should dazzle me with her suggestions. Well, maybe she was new, but I was not dazzled. For instance, when I asked for the most unusual stinky cheese, she gave me a cheese with truffles in it but where the rind had been rubbed with cinnamon. Sort of yummy, not stinky at all and the cinnamon detracted from the earth richness of the truffles. So I intervened and ended up buying an: Epoisse (very stinky washed rind); two goats; a Tur (goat and sheep, creamy but stinky); a petit Muenster (stinky like old socks); an aged Gouda (almost crunchy); and, for a seventh, they had a cool Norwegian cheese with cloves in it.

We took the kids across the West Side Highway to a very cute playground and ran around with them until we decided it was time to go. We convinced the kids by saying the magic word, "snacks". Of course, they did not expect snacks to include boiled shrimp or smoked salmon, well, with the exception of my kid, maybe, who thinks smoked salmon is about as good as ice cream. No kidding. She used to make her ice cream noise for smoked salmon and nothing else. She did put away so much shrimp though that I sort of apologized to our host who, being inherently a kind person, told me not to worry about it.

We also drank some yummy wine. Our host covered the labels on 2 bottles and had us taste and compare. It turns out that they were both the same wine, a Chateau Talbot, but 10 years apart in vintage. Not to blow my own horn, but I got it immediately on the first sip of each, much to the surprise of my host. I like wine and, while it's hard to talk about wine without sounding pretentious, it's not a complicated subject. Taste, think, describe. Where's the great mystery?

Anyway, it was a lovely day with great cheese, great wine, good friends, adorable and well behaved children, and a perfect way to say good bye to a wonderful little tradition. I don't know if we are ever going to do it again and even if we do, with just the three couples or if we add another one, the dynamics will be different.

So that is another change. Another chapter ended. I'm still going to post about some other changes later. I just need to reflect on them some more, or maybe, I'll just use this to reflect out loud.

Sorry if this one ran rather long. Thanks for reading to the end.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 9, 2004 07:20 AM
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