Today was one of those days where you make plans and God laughs. It started out ok. Getting things done and working through the to do list. For my quest, I was working on a plan to celebrate pumpkin cheesecake. I found a recipe for one that looked and sounded delicious. However, while it was easy enough to make, it was kind of time consuming to cook between time in the oven and cooling. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it wasn’t the best use of my time. No worries though. I will save that recipe for another day (it looked good enough to make for the next family holiday). As far as my celebration today, I realized I could find a pumpkin cheesecake at a bakery or restaurant and that would do the trick.
When I started searching for pumpkin cheesecake online, all signs pointed to the one and only Cheesecake Factory (any internet cheesecake search brings you there – they must have a pretty solid SEO strategy.) I have only been to the Cheesecake Factory three or four times in my life. It’s always been good, but it’s kind of a lot to soak in. The menu alone is so vast it makes your head spin and to order, you feel like you are working on a term paper trying to wade through all the materials to come up with the answer. I have some other biases against them too, but for the most part, it’s good food, a clean albeit sterile environment, and they know how to execute. I don’t know if I’ve ever had their cheesecake (I must have tried it at some point but it doesn’t stand out in my mind), but I am going to assume that they make a pretty great one seeing how people go crazy for it. They are also featuring a pumpkin cheesecake on the front page of their website too, so I figured this would be the ideal place to celebrate. My only hesitation was that the closest location is in Providence and we had no plans on being out that way.
Maybe it was fate or divine quest intervention, but mid-morning Lola asked me if I wanted to go on an errand with her to beautiful Seekonk, MA (which is probably about 5 minutes outside of Providence). That would make it super easy to go with her, swing by the Cheesecake Factory to pick up some pumpkin cheesecake and then we could be home in time for happy hour. We left our house around noon and made our way. Our stop was at Target. Over the last few days, Lola has been researching cell phones and cell phone plans in the hopes we could consolidate our bill and lower our monthly rate. She also wanted to get me a new phone too because she’s thoughtful like that. Target was offering a plan that would allow us to get a phone today and also sign us up for a plan that would lower our monthly bill. We marched in and Lola was armed with her notebooks full of her notes and encryptions from her extensive research (I often say that Lola could be another Lisbeth Salander when it comes to thorough research (without the dragon tattoos)). We were ready for battle and this is where God started to chuckle.
Target seems to have different ideas for Sprint plans then Sprint does. It took us a while to get the info from the Target people on what they’re best plan was and why they don’t offer the same thing that Sprint does. Lola had all the numbers and facts but the Target folks had pamphlets and excel sheets which weren’t much help. After about 45 minutes, we went outside and Lola called Sprint and they said to get the phones there (Target had the phones in stock while Sprint would have to order them) and we could switch the plans when we bring them back to the Sprint store. We went back in to Target and said we are going to take the phones and to sign us up for Sprint who will change the plan for us tomorrow. The Target clerk seemed unwashed by the news but then he had to go get the phones which are kept in a safe room about 500 yards away from the mobile electronics counter. He sauntered his way there and back. After he brought them out, we changed our minds on a phone color, so he had to go back and saunter again. That’s when he started to put our info into the system.
I think we were victim to the widespread internet issues that were happening throughout the cyber world today. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that (although they never offered that info). It happens. But we were there for three hours. Not one, not two, but THREE! The clerk would put info in, then he’d have to talk to someone, then Lola would have to talk to that phone support, then I would. It was the most ridiculous dance and at every turn, something was stalled or slowed. The clerk was nice, I suppose, and he wasn’t clueless about what he was doing, but he never offered us any kind of explanation or apology for the delays. Never got a supervisor involved. Never said he was sorry this was taking so long. It was bad. Really bad. As 4:30 rolled around, my phone had been activated but our account was inexplicably locked so that Lola could not get her phone or set up. That was enough. We grabbed our stuff and left with one new phone, half a plan, an unresolved phone for Lola, a deep-rooted anger for Target and a spinning head of anger. As we left, the clerk said we could come back tomorrow and get Lola straightened out. Still no apology and not even a glimmer of realization that we had just spent three hours with him without any resolve.
When we got back to our car, the air was thick with tension. I quickly abandoned our Cheesecake Factory plan because that was not what this moment needed. That was a good decision too because as we got on the highway to come home, we noticed the traffic on the other side into Providence was at a standstill for miles. If we had driven into that, Lola would have hopped out of the car, walked away and may have never returned. The ride home was quiet. We talked about it, but anger was still flowing through our blood, so we kept it tempered. Like all hard moments in life, when you start talking about one issue, the other themes about your marriage and life start to peek out as the tension rises. But we did our best to stay calm, to keep love in our hearts and to understand each other. We did our best.
We were also starving too as all we had to eat since breakfast was some coffee at Starbucks in Target (couldn’t they have offered us a free coffee for the trouble)? When we got home, I reheated some of the pretzel encrusted pork from yesterday along with the cheese sauce and potatoes. I was kind of excited to do this because Lola had not tried it on Thursday and it really needed to be tasted. We sat down and put on an episode of How to Get Away With Murder, the air still quiet and tense. Maybe it was Rhode Island’s own Viola Davis taking us away that made the moment better or maybe it was the pork, but after some time, we were able to calm down. We were still mad at the whole situation, but we were able to find common ground and could sit down and enjoy each other’s company. And yes, Lola was a big fan of that pork. It really surprised me how good it was so I was glad to get her validation on it.
I still had some pumpkin cheesecake that I had to celebrate, so I ran to Clement’s to see what I could find. Their bakery section usually has some nice surprises so I had big hopes. Pumpkin flavor is everywhere there but I couldn’t find a pumpkin cheesecake (I searched in the bakery section, the freezer section and even the specialty section). I did find some pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, so I picked them up knowing that it wasn’t exactly what I needed, but they would work in a pinch. Then I found some help from my old pals Benjamin and Jerome who have a limited batch ice cream out for the fall called Pumpkin Cheesecake. Boom. Thank You Ben & Jerry!
They were both good. I feel pumpkin is that flavor that makes anything pumpkin flavored taste the same. The ice cream tasted like the cupcake, just colder. Whenever I take a bite of anything pumpkin, my first thought is always “meh,” but then it gets better. On your second bite, you start feeling that this isn’t so bad. By your fourth bite, you feel it’s pretty good. But by the sixth bite, you’re over it. We had our treats watching the Hamilton documentary on PBS (we’re so cultured). If you don’t feel inspired and wowed after watching that, then you aren’t really celebrating life. From the very start of the program when you hear the first few bars of the opening song, all the happy thoughts that have come from this show come back to you. Your skin starts to get all goosebumpy. Your heart grows with hope and inspiration. That kind of made pumpkin cheesecake pretty great to me.
So in the end, after God stopped laughing, I got to spend a night watching a truly inspiring documentary with the person who has been by my side throughout the whole Hamilton movement and it was sweetened up by some nice pumpkin taste. I also had a new phone to play with too. It wasn’t the celebration I thought it would be, but at the end of the day, it turned out to be a pretty good one with absolutely no help from Target.
Next Up: National Nut Day