Last night, my husband and I went out to dinner with our dear friends Diana and Jason to a relatively new restaurant located in Harbor East in Baltimore called Chazz: A Bronx Original. (Coincidentally, the restaurant is owned by actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri, who is married to my husband’s cousin, Gianna. You may know Chazz from “The Usual Suspects,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Analyze This,” and his recent guest appearance on “Modern Family.”)
Our night out at Chazz was a success; we enjoyed a delicious dinner and raucous conversation in the very hip, stylish restaurant that feels like a subway station when you enter, replete with subway signs, subway tiles, and diner-like, etched glass doors to welcome you. It’s got a great vibe, and if you happen to stop by, make sure you sample the veal meatballs on the appetizer menu (and for those of you vegetarians out there, the pizza was delisio and takes exactly 90 seconds to make in the coal fire ovens). The homemade pasta was outstanding, and the sauce was light and scrumptious.
There was no hamster on the menu, but now I’m living with the prospect of owning one ever since last night when we took our kid-sitter home.
You see, our dear sitter, Lauren, has a pet hamster. She brought her over for the kids to play with for the evening. Her name is Meep and she’s pretty darn cute. My nine-year-old daughter has fallen in love with her. My eleven-year-old son couldn’t care less.
My daughter did the same thing with my mother-in-law’s birds two years ago and asked for her own birds for Christmas, knowing she would never have a dog. (I’m allergic, and just the idea of a doggie in our house makes me sneeze.)
“Mommy, what can I do to get a pet hamster?” she asks me this morning, her big, blue eyes staring down at me as I’m waking up in bed.
“Oh, no,” I mumble.
“Seriously, Mommy, did you just say ‘Oh no’?”
She’s getting older, so I’m not the skilled liar I once was.
“Uh-huh,” I say. I’m instantly having nightmares about this thing in its clear, plastic exercise ball rolling all over my hardwoods.
“Do you think I could ever have a hamster? They need very little—they’re so easy to take care of!”
“Do you take care of the two birds we have downstairs?” I ask her.
Now who is the liar? I think.
“Please, Mommy! We’re never going to have a dog…can’t I have a hamster?”
It is too early for this kind of talk. I’m still thinking about the wine and Nutella pizza dessert I had at Chazz.
“Do you know what it might take to get that hamster?” I say, hoping in time she’ll forget about the hairy rodent. “Personal responsibility. If you can show responsibility toward Holly and Poe (birds), then we might have a conversation about a hamster.”
Later in the day, she makes her own chore chart. It’s got boxes that she can check off. And, it’s color-coded. She’s off to a good start. She is making her list and checking it twice.
Suddenly, I’m becoming concerned that there may be a fur ball under our tree this season.
And to think, it all could have been prevented had we not gone out for a tasty Bronx Original.