Something Nice About My Dad

This morning, I awoke to the sound of the guitar floating through the house. When I came out of the bathroom, I heard Daddy singing, too.

It was so nice and comforting. This is how many days began when I was a child. When I moved out, I never thought I’d wake to that sound again.

In fact, back when I was husband scouting, “plays guitar” was on my list of criteria. Despite Tom’s claim that he plays the bass guitar, I’ve never heard him play. Sometimes my sister Amy would play guitar or ukulele when we lived together, but she was never awake in the morning.

I asked Daddy what he was playing and he told me, but I forget the name of the song. He was just fooling around while waiting for his carpool buddy to show up. This is his version of checking facebook on your phone.

I told him we were going to Virginia tonight for Tom’s cousin’s wedding tomorrow, and he said “Oh, give me a kiss then, because I won’t see you before you leave.” I obliged.

I like my dad sometimes.

I just thought up a corollary to the rule “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

something nice

I’m a modern day Aesop

“If you actually have something nice to say, say it quick before you change your mind.”

Quick, say something nice about your parents.

Project Optimism: So, I Lost My Phone

funny-lost-phone-silent-modeFriday after improv, a couple of us went out to karaoke. Since two hours is never enough karaoke, I missed the 1:40 train. So, I was forced to hang out and drink until 4am. Tough times.

Flash forward: I wake up at 5:21 am in Huntington. The train is sitting in the station, empty. Any true Long Islander can tell you what that’s like, and also what happens next: you hear the “Beep Beep Beep” of death, the doors close and you have to frantically fly around the train trying to find a conductor to let you off before you end up at the yard.

This knowledge in mind, I jumped up and fled the train. This was when I lost my phone.

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Project Optimism: In Memory of Twinkie the Cat

Twinkie “Twinkle Toes” Pinnella died on Friday, after bravely admitting defeat in his battle against inoperable abdominal cancer. He is survived by his parents, Gail and Ron, sisters Jill and Amy, and brother Oreo.

photo (4)

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Coming Out Irish

Over a year ago, my mom’s friend Aunt Kath did an ancestry search on our family and found out something shocking: we’re Irish.

me with red hair. maybe I should’ve guessed.

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Do I Look Like A Sucker?


Ok, yes. Yes, I do.

Yesterday, I read this awesome post on Oma’s Blurt Blog, titled “A Lesson In Panhandling And Communication“. Go read it now; I’ll wait.

Alright well, in case you didn’t listen, Oma begins: “I had a friend who pointed out that things happen to and around me that do not happen to other people.”, which reminded me that my sister Amy once said something similar of me. I must get it from my mom, who looks like a sucker too. Amy looks like she doesn’t take shit from anybody.

Pinnella ladies

Left-to-Right: Amy “The Boss of You” Pinnella, Sucker 1, Sucker 2

Oma goes on to describe how a panhandler approached him and, based on my interpretation, tried to scam him (only, Oma is probably not a sucker, because he walked away).

Anyway, his story made me reflect on all the ways I have been scammed, or otherwise taken advantage of, in my adult life. These are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. Sadly, I’m sure there are others.

1- I once bought Chinese food for a woman, gave her 10 dollars, and listened to her life story (although I believe she actually needed it).

2- I once put an old woman’s long gray hair up in a scrunchy for her because she asked me to as I was coming out of the subway. I looked around for pick-pockets the whole time. This apparently was not a scam, but just proves that I can’t say no if I don’t have an excuse lined up.

3- Based on the same principle, I once gave my Skype phone number to an Hasidic Jew, who I did not expect to hit on me since he was an Hasidic Jew and I wasn’t. He then proceeded to call me 11 times in 24 hours and made me glad I didn’t give him my mobile number.

4- I was legit scammed out of $40 by some guy who gave me his car keys and told me he just needed the money to put a deposit on a gas can, then never came back. I felt really stupid after that one but he was a professional for sure.

5- This woman outside my building, who did not appear to be in need, saw me walking up looking like an easy target, and asked me for some money. “Even $10 would be fine.” Luckily that time I didn’t have any cash, or I probably would have given her whatever was in my wallet because I’m a sucker!

6- I have signed up for monthly contributions to every major charity that employs clipboard people on the streets of New York City. Four so far. Not technically a scam but not exactly a calculated decision on my part either.

7- I once asked my car service driver to carry my luggage up 4 flights of stairs for me. He said he would in exchange for a hug and a kiss. I laughed and said “No, that’s ok” but he parked at a hydrant and carried my suitcase as I nervously followed, clutching my keys. Sure enough, he came in with his toothless mouth for a kiss and when I rejected at him, he gave me the evil eye before turning on his heel and storming down the stairs. I was living with Alice at the time and she recalls how she heard me calling from the door “Thanks anyway but I’m not a prostitute!”

Are those enough examples for now?

A Tawdry New Year

What did you do for New Year’s Eve?

Tom and I… got a hotel room. ;)
…And I’ve been embarrassed to tell people about it since. :(

Something about the phrase “got a hotel room” makes it sound like we rented it hourly or something. Added to the facts that we didn’t leave town (unless you consider Huntington-to-Commack a trip) and that it was a Hampton Inn rather than a fancy B&B, it sounds like we went there for one reason only.

sleep eazy

credit: The Simpsons

My gut feeling was affirmed when I told my sister about our big plans. Her immediate response was “Well, that’s awkward.”

I know I shouldn’t be embarrassed: the man is my husband; we didn’t feel like partying; staying home wasn’t much of an option since we live with my father in the saddest bachelor pad of all time; and it was our first married New Year’s Eve.

But alas, even Ms. PC feels the flush of shame sometimes. And when I do, I confess it to the whole damn internet, apparently.

Even with all my rational defenses, I still feel the need to say, for the record, that in addition to other things, the night mostly consisted of camping out with sushi and watching the ball drop.
So it wasn’t all about the whips and chains, ok?

Feel free to publicly shame or applaud me.

Am I The Only One That Still Loves Friendly’s?

This ode* to Friendly’s has to do with another story (I swear I’ll get to it), but it turns out I have a lot to say about Friendly’s on its own.

In case you don’t live in the suburbs of the Northeast U.S., Friendly’s is a sit-down diner-esque restaurant chain, that is slightly fancier than Denny’s but less fancy than Ruby Tuesday’s.

…And if you don’t live in the U.S. at all, I’ve made nothing clearer for you - although, side note, we went to a Ruby Tuesday’s in India so that’s apparently universal.

Friendly’s is famous for their ice cream, especially:

The Wattamelon Roll

sherbet with chocolate chips – you’d think they’d clash but they don’t

And, most of all, the Cone Head sundae.

order it with Black Raspberry (purple!) ice cream

When I was a kid, the Cone Head was the thing. And, it needs to be said, Friendly’s leadership! If you ever stumble on this:


There used to be bonus Reese’s Pieces in the bottom of the sundae and the menu description even said “with a surprise at the bottom” but they stealthily removed that about 15 years ago and I will NEVER forget. Hope you’re enjoying all those Reese’s Pieces savings, corporate fat cats. Actually, the company has been struggling in recent years despite improvements made over the last decade, but I digress…

Friendly’s has been a weirdly big part of my life, starting with my childhood. Here’s a preview of my to-be-self-published memoir, titled…

Ice Cream Cone Dreams: My Life in Terms of Friendly’s

When I was a kid, there was a Friendly’s right by our house,which Amy and I used to walk to with our parents. Now that I’m living there again, I’m sad it’s no longer around, and sometimes fantasize about buying the building from Aboff’s and convincing Friendly’s to reopen because the building is still vaguely Friendly’s-shaped.


view larger map

My friends and I also used to spend a lot of time at Friendly’s in high school. You know, just eating fatty foods, annoying waiters, writing songs and plays, typical trouble-making teenage stuff. The cool kids hanging out at Mill Dam probably had nothing on us.

Many years later, Tom and I bonded over how we both still love Friendly’s and ended up going there on our third date. (Hot!)

I’m guessing the future includes our taking our kids to Friendly’s, and my begging the server to hide some Reese’s Pieces at the bottom of my hypothetical daughter’s sundae until she gets old enough to demand one of their new-fangled sundaes like the Monster Mash or Vol-Cone-O or whatever.

And after that? A Black Raspberry ice cream IV drip in my nursing home? All I know is that my love affair with Friendly’s won’t die until one of us (the restaurant or I) does.

*Disclaimer: I’m fully aware that I should be ashamed of my love for Friendly’s.

Ms. PC’s Baggage

By now, you know I’m a sitcom fan, but when it comes to the game show genre, nothing can compete with Baggage.

First introduced to my eyes and ears on The Soup, Baggage (hosted by Jerry Springer so you know it’s good) seems like your typical dating show on the surface: sleezy, prematurely balding men get to be picky about which way-too-hot-for-them plastic Barbie they feel like going out with.
(I don’t mean to oversimplify. The picking goes both ways and I’m sure the guys are too hot for the girls sometimes, but you get the gist.)

Regardless, relative looks don’t matter much on the show because it all comes down to their weird, creepy baggage.

(email readers, click on the link to the blog to see the video)

My sister and I have often tried to think of what our baggage would be. These people are so crazy that it’s tough to think of anything that would remotely be considered for the show.
But in light of my last post, I thought I would do all my worst cleanliness-related baggage.

Ms. PC’s Baggage
(In order of embarrassment-level)

Round 1 (the personal item): I sometimes stare at dust for days or weeks before I get around to actually cleaning it. I only vacuumed up the dust bunnies at our old apartment after I saw little tiny bugs (don’t worry, I checked, not bedbugs).

Round 2 (the carry on): I am afraid to clean a lot of my dad’s house, including the drawers and cabinet under the bathroom sink. I opened one of the drawers, saw a dead moth in there, and just closed it back up again.

Round 3 (the checked luggage): I don’t like to shower. This will come as a shock to none of my close friends. I shower, of course, because society demands it, but I don’t like it. I could explain this further but, for now, I’ll just say… I have my reasons.

So there you have it. Don’t leave me hanging, lovers and friends. Feel free to confess your best (worst) baggage in the comments.

Daddy’s Restaurant Rules

Happy post-Thanksgiving! Enough with the home cooked food; time to get back to eating out. As I draft this, I’m on my way to meet Daddy for dinner. Started me thinking about all his restaurant rules.

Each of these could be an individual Daddyism, as these are all verbatim phrases that have been repeated to Amy and me for countless years.

Daddy’s Restaurant Rules

1. (Re: valet) They want me to pay them to park my car five feet away. You know there’s a free lot right across the street, right?

2. (Optional) It’s too loud in here. Let’s go somewhere else.

3. Close the menu so the waitress knows we’re ready. Close it! She’s looking over here.

4. The waitress is coming. Get ready! Don’t let her walk away; it’ll be 20 minutes before we see her again.

Note: I was 21 when I found out you could actually say, “We need a few more minutes.” and not be sentenced to starvation.

5. Don’t fill up on bread (or chips), girls. 
-or- Don’t forget, you have a whole meal coming. 
-or- Save room for dinner.

6. You get one soda, so save it until your meal comes.

6a. (Upon waiter refilling drink) Wait! Are those free refills?

7. (Added circa 2009) Do you have cash? (I usually say no.) What a surprise. I’ll give you cash and you can put it on your credit card. Sigh, adulthood.

I will say, in Daddy’s defense, that he had 8 brothers and sisters so they never got to go to restaurants as kids. Therefore he couldn’t have known his rules would eventually drive me insane.

I’m not without my own quirks. Maybe tomorrow I’ll give you Ms. PC’s restaurant rules.

The Cast

In case you don’t think like me for some reason (weird), you should know that I think of my life as a sitcom. Before I get any further into the story arc of this season, allow me to present the characters.

Main Characters

Jill (me) - Typical 20-something professional. I lost my burning desire to climb the corporate ladder a couple years ago but I work in a semi-important job to pay the bills. Like most people of my generation, I spend most of my time at work fantasizing about going back to college.

Tom (my husband) - A disillusioned chiropractor that actually is going back to college. But not in the fun way. Before he goes to PA school, he has to retake some of his prereqs from college because his credits expired (already? seriously?) so he’s the “old” freshman on campus. He goes to school 4 days a week and works 3 days so I should just stop complaining right now. But I won’t.

Daddy (my dad) - There is no need to give my dad a name other than Daddy because that is what he calls himself. Confused? You know the way a young father might talk to his two year old? “Daddy doesn’t like it when you bite me.” That’s how my dad still talks to me. “You know Daddy’s not big on birthdays.” But you gotta love a guy that loves his little girls that much. 

His house is a mess but he’s working on getting it cleaned up for us (at the last minute – wonder where I get it from).

Secondary Characters

Amy (my sister) - Amy has lived with us for the last 2 years in the city. She’s renting a room from a girl in Queens for the time being. I’m going to miss having her around but Tom will not miss her cat Frosty and her constant shedding.

How could anyone be mad at this face?
credit: Rae
Gail (my mom) - Pretty awesome mom. Retired, lives about one mile from my dad. It’s no secret that I wish we could live with her, but her house is smaller and fuller than my dad’s.
Cutie (my stepdad-to-be) - Ok, his real name is Ron but my mom calls him Cutie and then my sister and I started calling him Cutie too because, I don’t know, it’s cute. He and my dad kind of have an Ashton-Bruce-8-years-ago thing going on, in that they get along and both cook (occasionally together) for family dinners. As a divorced kid, this is the most one can hope for.

Recurring Characters

I don’t really know yet… my sister’s boyfriend Ben? My mom’s friend Aunt Kath that lives with her half the time? Maybe.

My friend Alice, who is also stuck living with her dad in Huntington? Definitely.

My in-laws, various Long Island friends of both Tom and me, my desperate alter-ego that attempts to manipulate a move back into the city? Probably.