first my grandmother didn't want to go, and then suddenly she did want to go. i was fine either way, with one of the options being getting some takeout from the nearby chinese restaurant and eating dinner at my place. i even did some cleaning this morning in anticipation of possible guests, including vacuuming the house, washing the sheets (in case my grandmother needed to take a nap), and even flipping my queen-sized mattress (i noticed a slight sag on the side i always sleep on).
since my father's still in new york city and my uncle wasn't coming, there was enough room in my sister's car to fit all of us. they arrived at 4pm. it was raining which slowed down the traffic. like a child, my grandmother (sitting in the front passenger seat) kept asking if we were there yet, regretting her decision to come. we didn't arrive at flaming grill in revere until 30 minutes later. the last time we were here was back in late december, for my mother's 65th birthday.
despite their popularity, buffets are a racket. it's hard to eat enough to make back what you pay without painfully engorging yourself to capacity. with more expensive buffets you get higher quality food, but it's even harder to eat what you paid. cheaper buffets - like flaming grill - are a better bargain, but the clientele is on the lower end of the social economic scale, to put it politely without sounding like a complete snob. there were a lot of minorities and a lot of overweight people. maybe some were getting out of church, but i saw a few women all dolled up like they were going to a fancy club when in fact they're just going to a cheap buffet. not only that, but you essentially have to wash all your clothes afterwards because they reek of oil.
it was a mistake to come on mother's day, as we quickly realized when we saw the crowd of people waiting outside the restaurant. there was more people waiting inside, as it was warmer and you could hear them announcing the numbers. ours was 52, and the last number called was 6. i asked them what was the expected wait time. 45 minutes she told me. i relayed this information to my mother, expecting her to find us a different restaurant, or even go back to my place. but it took us so long to get here, she was fine waiting. while my aunt and grandmother sat in the restaurant waiting area with a few dozen other people, my mother, sister, and i went to the dollar store next door. it was 4:40pm.
while we were waiting in the checkout line, my aunt called frantically, saying something about they might've called our number. but it was still too early, so i went to go check it out. of course the two people in our party with the worst english skills were asked to listen to the numbers being called, that was a mistake. turns out my aunt was just freaking out because they started calling numbers higher than 52, afraid they might've called us earlier and she didn't hear it. that wasn't the case, numbers were being called based on the table size available. anyone who's ever waited for a table would know this.
i waited outside the restaurant because it was less crowded, but it was cold and bit drizzly still. i then realized i couldn't hear the numbers from outside and moved inside to wait. after about a total of 50 minutes of waiting, i thought i heard them say 52, but the party size was wrong (3). i showed them my number, said our party was 5 people, but the guy told me he called 62. however, a busboy standing nearby heard our conversation and said he had a table of 5 ready for us. finally we were seated. time: 5:30pm.
my grandmother can walk but she prefers to hold on to someone. my mother acting as her chaperone took my grandmother to see the selection of food. she ended up getting two plates of food and didn't get back up to get more. as for me, i ended up eating 3 full plates of fried protein and starch. there was no vegetables whatsoever in my buffet selection, unless you count a fried plantain or a few pieces of melon. by now i'm a pretty seasoned buffet eater. i learned to stay away from the stuff that fills you up - things like sushi rice is the worst. i think i ate the most out of everyone else (even my sister), and my grandmother was fascinated by my relentless feeding, because growing up i was a very picky eater. afterwards i had an orange creamsicle followed by a chocolate ice cream cup.
we finally finished close to 7pm. the bill came to $100, but the super-helpful chinese girl waitress told us there was a senior discount, and since everyone except my sister and i were over 65 years old, the adjusted bill came out to $90. we left the girl with a $15 tip (i think most tables don't even bother tipping). my sister went to go wait in the car while everyone else went to go use the bathroom except me. once i saw my mother come out of the restaurant, i called my sister to swing by the front of the restaurant to pick us up.
the ride home was faster. the rain had stopped as well, which seemed to help. i got back by 7:30pm. i bumped into jack on his way to the supermarket. he was wearing shorts, which revealed his pale legs. i thought was a bold wardrobe choice on this relatively chilly and wet day. once back in the house, i stripped off all my clothes and hung them in the kitchen to air dry to get rid of some that oil stink. i should've held off on doing that load of laundry earlier today, since i could've washed these clothes along with them. after a cleansing poo and a hot shower, i waited for the start of the latest episode of american gods. that's when i discovered it'd already been uploaded. i managed to finish downloading right at 9pm, when it normally broadcasts.
the internet went down just as i was preparing for bed around 1am. typically it's a problem on comcast's end, and by the next day they should have it fixed. but i couldn't bare the thought of waiting, and was curious to find out if it was outage related. i found a bill and called the 800-number with about 20% power left in my phone. hopefully it wouldn't take too long. i've called comcast in the past late at night, they have 24/7 service, but it'd be a call center somewhere on the other side of the world, most likely india. but first i got the automated message, said everything was find, no outage reported, and asked if i wanted to reset my cablemodem. that's there solution to most things, a modem reset. i said yes, but they couldn't see my modem. i agreed to have the reset signal sent anyway. the phone tree that navigated me out of tech support and hung up.
annoyed, i called back again, this time randomly punching numbers to get me the option for a live operator. finally i got someone, a young man named john. he spoke with an accent, had a habit of breathing loudly into the phone, and sort of mumbled enough that i couldn't understand him at times. he was also following the call center playbook, essentially reading a series of written responses. eventually he told me i was experiencing service disruptions because i was using an outdated cablemodem. i told him that couldn't be the case, because i'd just replaced the modem back in march with a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. while i was calmly explaining to him his mistake, he told me there was in fact a power outage in my neighborhood. so the problem wasn't on my end. he mumbled something about possibly get back some credit for the lapse in service, but i wasn't going to hold my breath. he then went through his scripted "thank you for using our service, is they anything else i can help you with today?" speech, before i was finally able to hang up.
later in the evening, while i was already asleep, probably around 2am, i heard my phone making the noises that i recognized as the internet being back in service.