1. My assignment: Pumpkin cheesecake bars. My mission: To make even the pumpkin avoiders at our Thanksgiving festivities say, “Yum!”
How did I win them over? I made two deviations from the traditional cheesecake. I used flour for the crust instead of graham crackers, which held up better in bar form, and I made topping of pecans mixed with maple syrup and brown sugar.
I got two thumbs up from the kid contingent – even the ardent chocoholics. One even asked for seconds. High praise from an 8 year old.
2. The one where I get crazy at the doctor’s office. I went to my doctor for my annual check-up. Everything went smoothly. The doctor was even sort of on time. I made my insurance co-payment and left the office. Later, in talking with a co-worker, I discovered that the co-payment was an error. Through my insurance plan, this visit should have been free of charge. The doctor’s office is a few blocks from work, so I figured I’d go iron it out in person.
The billing clerk told me that she charges everyone that amount and then credits the accounts. That might be fine and dandy except for one important point:
“Let me see if I understand. You take co-payments that you’re not supposed to take and then don’t tell people that they have this so-called credit? So what happened to the hundreds of dollars of co-payments I’ve made over the years I’ve been a patient at this office?
“If you ever have a charge your insurance company won’t cover, we have this little credit building here and we’ll just use that. It’s a win-win situation.” She blew a bubble with her gum.
Um…does anyone else see this as dishonest? Isn’t honesty in the, say, top three character traits you want your doctor to have? I smiled as patiently and politely as possible. I asked for a refund which she patently refused.
Have you ever had a similar situation?
3. Getting something they are sure to love. Finding gifts for my parents is like finding cellulite on Gisele Bundchen. The days of wrapping up my macaroni artwork are long gone. Every time an idea pops into my head, it’s something they either already have or something I’ve already given them. How many times can I give my stepdad a tie? (No. Really. I’m asking.)
But this Christmas is different. This Christmas I’ve thought of a great gift they will enjoy, something they can use and won’t stuff in the closet only to bring out when I’m in town. When I was visiting over the summer, I noticed that their coffee maker was on its last legs. So I bought a model with a grinder, a frother and a timer. This thing does everything except make your bed in the morning, and it might even do that. (I never read the manuals.)
Then I was talking to my mom last week, and she was excited. She’d thought of a great gift for my stepdad, something he’d enjoy, something he won’t stuff into the back of the closet. Yep – a Keurig coffeemaker. Back to the drawing board.
4. While we’re on the subject of the holidays, here is one of my favorite holiday photos. I took this a few years ago when I was working at Rockefeller Center.
5. Nothing gets me in a good mood like The Muppets. Check out this video with The Muppets taking on the classic Ringing of the Bells. It’s silly and fun. Even if you’ve already seen it, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.