Tag Archives: High school

Agnes and Hammerhead…a tribute.

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One of Agnes’ most treasured possessions is probably her ’91 or ’94 (seems there’s a conspiracy afoot) Toyota Celica affectionately named Hammerhead. Together they’ve covered roughly 217,000 miles. The paint has dulled to a grey-ish hue. The seats have ripped. The A/C ducts are all willy nilly. The carpeting lifts at the edges. The dashboard says “poop” in faded white out. The trunk is held open by a monopod, 2X4, or most times…Leonard. Still, Agnes loves this little 2 door and Hammerhead most certainly loves Agnes! The two share a special bond. Aggy’s grandma was the original owner. She was full of moxy in her hip hatchback and promised the Toyota to Aggy. Aggy, in turn, vowed to keep that thing running come hell or high water…no seriously! Since then Ag and Hammah (to her homies) have been inseparable. There have been countless trips to Orlando and Tampa and all over. Hammerhead has been a storage unit. She’s been a closet. She’s been a moving truck. She’s been a recording studio. You get the drift! Well, this week Hammerhead got sick. Over the years there’s been this and that but never like this. She was spewing oil and and lost power steering…all on I275 in Tampa. Aggie was distraught! She pulled off the highway to their destination in Ybor. Leonard hopped out to look under the hood. He’s not a mechanic, but this night he played one to the best of his ability. Upon first sight it was clear that the power steering belt was shredded, taking another belt or two with it. There was oil all over poor Hammerhead’s engine and she smelled of coolant. There wasn’t much Leonard could do beyond his initial and obvious diagnosis, “Dag nab it Agnes. This thing is all gummed up!” The duo weighed their options and decided it best not to try to drive much further that night. They sought refuge in South Tampa with the intention of visiting Tampa’s best mechanic, Bill of Bill’s Family Auto, in the morning. When they arrived at their accommodations (thanks again Kaeleen) Hammerhead was burning up. They bid her goodnight, hoping she’d cool off. The next morning they woke with the sun and wrestled the powerless steering 3 miles to Bill’s. There was a line of worried car parents in the waiting room. The man in front of L+A was told his car couldn’t be seen for a couple days. When it was her turn, Agnes batted her eyelashes (frustratingly irresistible), and had Bill was under the hood within 10 minutes. The two looked on as Dr. Bill and his greasy nurses tended to the patient. They sat outside and inside. They walked to the corner store for drinks and gum. They played basketball with their gum wrappers. Two hours later the surgical team emerged, exhausted and shopworn. Leo and Aggy held hands, bracing for the worst. The worst was only 168 bucks!! Hammerhead needed a little tightening here and there and 3 new belts. Other than that A+L were told to make sure she had plenty of fluids, an annual check up and all the premium gas she desired. Hammah was processed and released that day to Aggy’s watchful care. What a relief! Girl and car reunited, with Leonard in tow. Here’s to another 217,000 miles of memories!


something about ct.

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So, we’ve been bumming it around CT (my old stomping grounds) for the past two weeks…perhaps you’ve seen us.  As it’s Agnes’ first trip to the Nutmeg State, I’ve taken it upon myself to show her some of the local sites, sounds and tastes.

A must see stop on my patented tour was the Wiffle Ball factory in…you guessed it…Shelton, CT.  Yes, every single one of those impossible-to-hit balls were invented and manufactured in my home town!

We took to the winding, hilly roads on the vintage 1976 Honda CB 550 to explore neighborhoods, cow pastures, shops, and state parks.  Honorable mention goes to  Oronoque Farms (gifts and incredible apple crumb pie), Huntington Street Cafe (friendly service, great tunes huge mugs of coffee and an inventive menu.  The veggie burger club is a must have), and we even hit East Village Park for some Agassi vs. Sampras style action (I think Agnes much preferred exchanging smiles with the nice older gentleman quietly enjoying a midday swing as he watched our showdown)!

My mom took us to The GRAYGOOSE in Southport, CT for an incredible lunch.  We started with calamari appetizer.  Mom chose the ahi tuna salad (best ever), Aggie had a homemade veggie burger, and I enjoyed the Mykonos Salad!  Mmmmm!!Using her new found CT prowess, Agnes put together a great Mother’s Day care package to send home to her mom in FL.  It included a genuine wiffle ball, First Blush wine made at Jones Family Farm (we’ll be spending time exploring the farm in the near future), a map of Shelton, and a homemade plastic grocery store bag holder!

Another crucial tour stop is high stakes bingo at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket (say that 5 times fast!).  We played 20 games, 9 bingo cards at a time, for 4 hours…and won nothing.  We did, however, have a ton of free coffee and soda so I’m pretty sure we beat the system!

On the way to the casino we stopped in the quaint sailing town of Essex– this place was perfect for mama and aggie!  We visited the old steam train, yachts in the marina, and historic homes.

A couple nights ago we had the pleasure of dining at an Italian restaurant called Trattoria Roma.  The food ruled, the portions were huge and the waitress scored big points with Agnes by giving us free tiramisu and saying she looked liked Amy Adams in “Julia and Julia“.

Today we went antiquing and had two great meals.  Agnes scored a leather coach messenger bag for 3 bucks (we’re still on the hunt for a couple antique watches)!  I on the other hand scored nothing (though I loved watching her squeal at her conquest).  We lunched at Katz’s Deli in Woodbridge, famous for the pickles and coleslaw which arrive practically before you’re even seated!  The nova lox and bagels for two were fantastic and a fabulous value at $14 for a ginormous portion!  We were accompanied by my mom (the other CT tour guide) who had a heaping sandwich that was reported as delicious.

For dinner we landed at Aribella’s in Huntington Center.  We were joined by my mom and our good friend Tracy (great company).  We shared laughs as we sipped our red wine and ate some really fine Italian cuisine.  The only low point was the service.  I requested another sauce for my pasta and was informed that “this isn’t Burger King”.  I guess that also gets me out of tipping (that’s not required at the BK)!

Our stay in CT has had about a million highlights.  The days have been jam packed with little projects, organizing, very minor exercise, eating a lot and running Agnes all over the damn state.  Tomorrow we travel to NYC for a two week stay.  Guess we don’t have to bust after all!  Many stories to come….

Thanks for tuning in,


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