As best I can remember and as best I can tell, the first official meeting at O'Bagelo's (165 State St.) happened on January 16, 1999. So now it's ten years later to the day and, despite not stopping by this weekend, I'm still basically going every week. It used to be a hub of activity for all my college friends to catch up on the week. As the years passed, though, friends moved away, or they just stopped coming. In the interim, I started writing up events for this crazy website and have pretty much kept with it every week. Looking back, it sure seems like a lot of work.
Oh, you know you all love it when I go on a rant. It just flows so nicely … so buckle up 'cause here goes:
Today I met up with Ali's dad at her house. She had bought a new tub and surround but it wouldn't fit up the stairs. It's a complicated 3-D geometry problem to determine just how big something is that can fit up the stairs. There's a staircase corner above the stairs (for the stairs to the attic), and the shortest distance from the upper corner to the opposite-side line of the stairs is 60 inches — so the tallest thing that fits is 60 inches. Well, if it's flat. If it's a rectangular extrusion, then you lose some easily calculable length on the staircase-side, and some other, not-so-easily-calculable length on the upper corner. I know there's a way to know for sure, but let me finish the thought that if you are intrigued, beware of nerd sniping.
Anyway, the short version of the story is that the tub surround wouldn't fit. So we went back to the big-box hardware store that-shall-remain-nameless and looked to see if they had one that had a 4-piece surround. That way, each segment would only be 3-feet wide or so and easily fit. No such luck, except for crappy adhesive ones — which would probably fit up the stairs anyway even if they were three pieces. So we're looking at a different one and it's 6 inches shorter than the first one. So I ask Ali's dad, "do you think 6 inches would be enough?" He's not sure but it was so close last time that he figured it'll work. We pick up the tub and surround — which is both more expensive and more heavier — schlep it back to Ali's house, take it out of the box, and find that the big part of the surround won't fit up the stairs. It needs to be an inch shorter.
We go back to the store and return it then stop at the other nameless big-box hardware store. The guy there almost got choked to death by me when he asked, "are you sure it wouldn't fit?" Apparently I needed food badly. Coffee, too. And I didn't need someone giving me a nice Southern insult which, translated to Brooklynese is, "what, are you fuckin' stoopid?" — clearly a chokeable offense.
By the time we get back — empty handed — it's closing in on noon. I want to get to The Rochester Public Market (280 Union St. N.) before it's too late so I decline a surely commiseration-filled burger lunch. Then to start off, a new friend of mine isn't home who lives right by the market. Then I realize I lost my mitten somewhere — and, if you don't recall, on one of the coldest days of the year so far. So I get my apples and go to O'Bagelo's (165 State St.) It's strangely quiet and I discover the door's locked with nobody apparently inside. I don't know what's going on but I figure I'd get something at Open Face (651 South Ave., right by the corner of Hickory) instead.
Finally a reprieve. The chicken dumpling soup was excellent. The brie and pear sandwich was excellent. The toasted Havarti was excellent. The coffee was excellent. Whew.
So then I headed out to an estate sale on Baird Road. I had actually stopped there yesterday, but they said everything's half-off on the second day. I picked up some neat stuff — an old Craftsman belt-drive table saw, a CB, metal thread taps, and a Smith-Corona manual typewriter which works and is also quite attractive.
The trouble was that it was a tinkerer (like myself) who had died (not like myself yet) and the family hired Hidden Treasures to handle the sale. Well, they don't know when something just isn't worth anything, so they wouldn't take a couple bucks for the electric boat-trolling motor that wouldn't work at all, insisting that the $40 base-price necessitated a better offer. I liked the 12V cooler (old-school refrigeration, not those Peltier-based ones you get these days) but I was glad to have left it behind. Well, except that I'm sure it ended up in the garbage. I'm also sad that I didn't bite on the floor-model drill-press because its cast-iron-ness would make it too heavy to move around and I don't have the space for it right now — of course, at only $50, it would have been an absolute steal and worth every penny five times over.
Oh, and later that night — at Ali's birthday dinner at her parents' house — I did get my mitten back. It was in her dad's truck.
But then my bad luck continues from there. The snowstorm had started and I tried leaving early from Ali's dinner to see if I couldn't make it to "The Bunker" to see the show there. Unfortunately, I took my time getting out of there, and then it took longer than I thought, so by the time I got to the secret location downtown, nobody was at the door to let me in. They had said the show started at 10 p.m. and since it was in a secure warehouse building, you had to be there between 9:15 and 9:45 when they had somebody hanging out by the door to let people in. Crap.
I headed to O'Bagelo's (165 State St.) around noon even though I didn't really have many plans for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, I determined they had closed for the holiday. I meandered back and went to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) instead. I got a coffee, a stew (I think they said it was called "Montana Stew") and a grilled cheese with tomato and pesto [unfortunately the website doesn't have an up-to-date menu that I could readily reference … hint, hint Boulder]. The stew was great: a beef-based stew with nutmeg and cinnamon spices. The sandwich was good, but the whole wheat bread detracted from the chewy, gooey cheesiness.
I decided that I'd surprise Ali — after all, she was working her regular job then going to our friends' business for the rest of the afternoon immediately afterward, and I didn't think she'd get a chance to have lunch. I got her a grilled cheese on focaccia bread (my preference) with no tomato (her preference). I also got a cup of the cream of broccoli soup as I didn't think she'd like the spices in the stew. I also brought leftover pies for the owners and the rest of the crew.
Well she was suitably surprised and glad that I brought food. We spent her lunch break together. The cream of broccoli was excellent although thinner than I prefer, it was at least packed with vegetables. I liked the grilled cheese with focaccia better as well.