“Oh, no! Oh, shit!” I wailed. “I can’t believe I did this.”
The feedback option of the UW-Madison’s online course software doesn’t allow for saving your work as you go along, so I had to start from scratch.
As a result, the jingling announcement of an incoming phone call was not a welcome interruption. I was about to let it advance to voice mail until I glanced at the name on the screen. Eddie.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Are you busy right now?” he asked, getting right down to business.
“Right now? Yeah,” I replied, “but not in another five minutes or so.”
“I was wondering if I could get a haircut and then we’d go out to lunch.”
I hesitated briefly only because I’d prepared a huge pan – huge for 2 people – of stuffed shells and Romaine’s meatballs for Wednesday's supper. (Whenever I make meatballs, I use Romaine Stanton’s recipe from the 1975 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church cookbook, page 177. Best recipe ever, as far as I’m concerned.)
We have so much leftover food, I thought. When are we going to eat it all?
Not just the shells and meatballs but also , from Monday’s supper, ‘crockpot’ chicken thighs cooked in a tomato-ey barbecue sauce.
“That works,” I agreed, “but I have to give Ron a call to make sure he has an opening.”
Before he purchased his now-inoperable electric clippers, Eddie always went to Great Clips or Cost Cutters. The idea of making a reservation for a haircut was foreign to him.
“I’ll get right back to you,” I added.
In the meantime, I realized that Ron’s shop is fairly close to Liliana’s, a New Orleans-style restaurant in the suburb of Fitchburg (small blue arrow on map) that JoAnna and I placed on our “must-visit” list when it first opened a few years ago. Since it’s off the beaten path for us – i.e., not anywhere near our usual University Avenue route between Middleton and Madison (the longer blue arrow) – it’s still on our list.
Checking the restaurant’s website, I learned it has limited serving hours for lunch – 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. And with a 1:30 appointment at Ron’s, it’s possible we’d be greeted with some lack of enthusiasm at Liliana’s. And then there was the issue of its “semi-formal dining” experience.
What’s that mean? I wondered.
Probably not the best place to go wearing jeans, I concluded.
“So what are our other options?” Eddie asked as we drove south on Midvale Boulevard, hitting every red light along the way.
“There are plenty of restaurants along that stretch,” I assured him. “We should be able to find something to our liking.”
McKee Road, “that stretch”, is an area of Fitchburg that’s experienced an explosion of retail and food service development, a Target superstore in the former case and both chain and locally owned restaurants in the latter, most of it during the past ten years. Fitchburg residents, who now number 23,000, previously needed to drive elsewhere to do most of their shopping.
Later this year, they’ll finally be able to visit their very own public library after more than a decade of trying to convince city officials of the worthiness of the project.
Screenshot from the library’s live webcam.
The verdict on Eddie’s $19 haircut, which is about $2 more than what he paid for the clippers?
Well, I’ll let him speak for himself.
“I wish you could just stop your hair from growing,” he offered. “Too bad my hair just can’t stay this length.”
I’d consider that high praise.
As for the restaurant search, we didn’t find anything to our liking along McKee Road. With so much clustered development, and what appears to be a very restrictive local sign ordinance, it was hard to get a sense of what was available. Or which one of a confusing number of a parking lot entrances to choose. Fitchburg’s Planning and Zoning Department seems to have a looser approach to development than its Sign Commission.
“What about Pasqual’s?” Eddie suggested, continuing the restaurant discussion.
A long-time family favorite, even though, as Eddie reminisced after we placed our order, he would always order a hot dog back when Pasqual’s used to have a Middleton location within easy walking distance of our house. Easily more than 10 years ago.
“I was a pretty fussy eater,” he noted.
Andy, too, as I recall.
But not so much now.