I’m madder than a fish forced out of water — by water — over the fact that you can’t control everything in life, and sometimes you get thrown a curveball that you just don’t expect. But the best of us all know that when life serves you lemons, you make lemonade, and that’s something I’ve tried to do my entire life. Heck, why else do you think I write this column?
Look, you all know that ol’Carmine is the ultimate optimist, and I always look on the bright side of things. Even when our great city and the surrounding area gets pummelled by a storm that was probably the worst I’ve ever seen in my more than 70 years on this planet, even when I watch videos of the Battery Tunnel getting filled with water, even when there is so much doom and gloom around us that it gets difficult to find the slightest beam of light, I give it a shot.
I think about the things I’m thankful for, like my family, which I love so much and would do anything for.
So while I’m sad for all those who lost so much, and I pray for them every waking moment, I give thanks that my loved ones are safe, and take homage in that fact. And that helps me sleep at night.
And you know what else helps me sleep at night? A full belly!
And I got just that on Sunday at my first granddaughter Alexa’s confirmation party out on Long Island.
Now, as usual, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, how the heck can you go out to Long Island on a Sunday when the storm of the century is approaching?”
Well, I’ll tell you why.
Because the party wasn’t canceled, and, more importantly, because my son-in-law Michael, who is a gourmet chef on the side, was going to have more food than he knew what to do with.
And with a lot of people canceling at the last minute, I knew there would be even more food for me! So away my lovely wife Sharon and I went down the Belt Parkway as Sandy was bearing down on us. But I knew we’d beat her there, because, as I told you before, Sharon’s nickname is “Old Leadfoot.”
Boy, was it worth it! I would put Michael’s culinary expertise right up there with Lydia’s and Wolfgang’s — and it’s head and shoulders above that garlic queen Rachael Ray! I hate her stuff! Bleah!
On top if that, the location couldn’t be any better: Dana and Michael’s backyard is a homeowner’s paradise: there are a couple of high-tech barbecues, a pool for the kids, plants, trees, shrubbery, fruits, vegetables, and a huge freshwater fish pond!
I don’t need to tell you that Michael also loves fishing, and he has fish tanks with tropical fish that, to me, look good enough to eat. Unfortunately, he shuns that.
Their home is a joy in fair weather and is able to accommodate their combined families — and it doesn’t pose any problems for my trusty steed, Tornado.
We got there at 12:05 pm and I went straight to work, noshing on dips, potato chips, pretzels, taco chips, gummy bears, Sweedish fish, wine, beer, sangria, and soda, because I knew I had to leave early. By 1 pm, I put a good dent in the supplies, and everyone else had arrived.
That’s when I started in on Michael’s inventions: spinach loaf, broccoli and cheese loaf, ham, pasta with vodka sauce and rigatoni with arugula and sausage, and for good measure, some salad.
Next up was the pizza, but I had to pass on a slice because I was so full! See, there is a first time for everything!
But the clock was ticking and the storm was coming, so we said our good-byes at 4:30, and 35 minutes later I was back at the beautiful twin towers of the Harway Terrace, where the wind was blowing harder than it was anywhere in Brooklyn. It was so strong that Sharon couldn’t even open the door for me, and we had to wait for Tony the Handyman to rescue us.
The next morning, Dana told us that everyone left at 9:30 and got home safe. But the same could not be said for their home, which is just a block from the water.
Turns out their street started to flood! And the flood made it into the backyard.
Michael’s beautiful yard was flooded and there were casualties: 32 fish, some of which had been happily living there for 15 years, perished on the streets outside their home.
So, again, I thank god everyone I know was safe, but I feel really bad for those fish.
And my stomach feels worse, cause I didn’t get to eat them!
Screech at you next week!