I mean, how do you carry the stroller with your little darling in it up and down the subway station stairs? Unlike its younger, newer, cleaner, more modern thus even more comfortable counterparts around the world, the New York subway stations do not come with escalators by default. Elevators are either hidden away or questionable depending on who's around you. Oh, and then it snows, which means bulkier outfits and slippery steps that are already narrow.
So unless S and T tell us their preferred location to meet up, we'd try to make it convenient for them by having them over - lunch usually - at our place which is a subway ride away. No need for reservations or queueing for a table, and their son N gets to hang around the living area while the adults keep a lookout from the dining table two steps away. Hey, that's really how tiny apartments here are.
The fun continues long after our friends leave because there will be leftovers. Oh yes, I make sure we do every time, so that JL and I can have them for a subsequent meal, or I can turn them into a different dish, somewhat like how people repurpose knick knacks found around the house.
So the roast leg of lamb we had on New Year's lunch became a warm salad, among other things. It comes from the beauty of planning a week's worth of meals, as I had mentioned in an earlier post on good kitchen habits for the home cook. In this case, I bought a bag of romaine lettuce and grape tomatoes knowing that we'd have extra roast lamb.
The same ingredients - corn kernels and haricots verts - came from a "cleansing" meal of tuna salad Niçoise-style along with some beautiful potatoes. In all honesty, that was a half-hearted effort for repentance after our two weeks of unrestrained bingeing back in France during Christmas. Speaking of which, here's my father-in-law's unlimited supply of lemons.
I had to tell you this because it was hilarious when she came over that evening. You see, well before her retirement, Monique started taking English lessons and had even test-driven her skills with trips to London and New Jersey where her son is currently based. She would text or email me in English as well. I just never realized how preoccupied she had been those two weeks with family and festivities.
We had aperitifs - pre-dinner snacks and drinks - in the living room, basically catching up on what each other has been up to. And ten minutes into it, she jumped off her seat, headed towards her bag at the hallway, fearing she might forget when it is too late, and returned with her English textbook. My mother-in-law grabbed a pencil at that instant.
The next thing I knew, I was doing Monique's homework on verb tenses in active and passive forms. When we said our goodbyes, we reminded her not to sound too confident when going through the exercises with her professeur, lest she be asked to explain to her classmates. Hats off to her though for learning a new language and sticking with it.