We had a plan for today, it was go to the dry cleaner, head up to Bridgewater Commons to get the iPod fixed, pick up a new black cashmere cardigan at Bloomingdales (since I've worn my last one so much I have actually worn through the elbows...) check out the new Maggiano's, go to PC Richard and look at dishwashers. Not too exciting, but a full day.
As we're about to leave the husband gets an email from a client-- "need you to call immediately." Client then emails me, asking for Robert to call him, "immediately". We quickly regroup-- I say I'll go to the DC (have to get some pants hemmed anyway) and I'll pick up lunch at the Fil-A (thanks for a gift card from Mom and Dad). We figure after lunch we'll start our day and go to Maggiano's for dinner.
First issue-- seamstress isn't at the Drycleaner today. Okay, no biggie. Pick up my clothes and head over to the Fil-A. Shocked when Fil-A cashier actually knows about the gift card protocol and seems excited to see one! Two chicken sandwiches and extra large waffle fries later I'm at home. We've had our lunch and are ready to go. Husband gets another email, this time from Boss-type person saying, "thanks for telling me you spoke to client, call me immediately."
Eventually, approximately 3 hours later, we're back on the road. While riding through Rocky Hill we see a sign for a book sale and pull off. Books Sales are one of my many weaknesses. We head into the library and ask where the book sale is (there is a little white clapboard house right next to the library, but at first we couldn't pin point the sale location). Inside the library they say, sheepishly, that they're not the sale referenced in the sign, though across from the ladies room there is a shelf which always has books for sale. There were about 10 books, right next to 60 years worth of old phone books and yellow pages. We quickly head over to the little house. The little house (which I have driven by for almost 3 years now) is neat but also kind of creepy on the inside-- it was a good thing that it was manned by a little old lady with a British accent (that is, unless you've seen Arsenic and Old Lace). I managed to come away with a very, very old leather bound two volume set of Ben Hur, a first UK edition of In Cold Blood and a couple of other pretty neat finds. Things kind of went downhill from there.
We got up to Bridgewater and the first thing was Bloomingdales had no black cardigans. Okay, fine. Then we head to the iPod store where I was greeted by an employee who looked far too much like Jake Busey. In fact, given Jake Busey's past career moves, it may have been Jake. He asks if he can help me and I indicate that I'm carring two broken iPods and I want to talk to someone about getting them fixed or at least getting some sort of a credit. He asks, "Do you have an appointment?" Am I at the dentist? Have I dropped in on my dermatologist? It's the iPod store for christ sake and it's not even a very big one at that. I guess this should be a sign that they have enough products with problems that they actually have to take reservations for people to come in and deal with them. I find out that the next available appointment is 2 hours away and I have to make 2 appointments, one for each damaged pod. Okay. Now we're at a mall, we can kill two hours, right? Not so much. Bridgewater Commons is a really lame mall. No JCrew, no Banana, no Saks. I had to make a return at Williams-Sonoma, it was a miracle they had one of those. Though it was a small enough store that they didn't even have the full line of Emile Henry products (just some lousy mugs and a lone bowl).
At this point I'm thinking its highly unlikely that I'm sticking around to come back for my iPod appointment and I'm pretty well liquored up and pissed off about having to make an appointment in the first place. I've given up and lucky for the store employee I managed to do so without hurling some sort of cloud of obscenities about both their product line and their approach to customer service.
Instead, we head over to the new "Village at Bridgewater Commons" an outdoor sub-mall that's just gone in with a Crate and Barrel and the Maggiano's as previously mentioned. Now I've been to centers like this in Atlanta-- and it's a bit of a nice throw back to the old style outdoor mall. However, much like Orchard Park in Illinois mystified me, so does the Village. Who the hell is going to want to walk around this joint in New Jersey when it is winter time? Hell, today was October 14th and it was too damn cold and windy to walk around outside. Tried again for the Banana-- it is opening in "Fall 2006" which when they say Fall they must mean something akin to January 2007 because they looked far from done. We did however manage to confuse the other shoppers since we were carring a Banana Republic shopping bag (yet another failed mission-- those unflattering wool pants will just have to wait another week to be returned). At this point we're disappointed but we figure we'll give Maggiano's a try. We thought we'd put our name down and then head over to Best Buy.
Maggiano's-- 2 hour wait. 2 hours? I mean we found a really great parking space, but still, 2 hours? In 2 hours we could have driven from Bridgwater in to New York City and gone to a real restaurant, with time left over to spare.
Upside, we headed to Best Buy and after about an hour of working with a former computer programmer who was trying his damnedest to bring Dilbert to life we walked out with a new HP Laptop, a new iPod and a "rewards zone" membership. Now our only remaining goal was dinner (PC Richard and the quest for a new dishwasher had quickly falled by the wayside).
This is where things get interesting. We harrass our dear friends at the BMW Concierge service and try and get ourselves dinner reservations. Needless to say the BMW "Concierge" was totally humilated to have to be calling the Olive Garden in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The Olive Garden one-uped them, of course, by not accepting reservations. P.F. Changs? No reservations remaining for the evening and an undeterminate wait-- call back when you get closer we're told.
We then proceed to go back to town. We figure we'll try a drop in on the Garden. When we get there--- 40-50 minute wait and the entire place reeked of fried food...!?! PF Chang's. 2 hour wait, and considering that by now it was 9pm and they close at 11pm would suggest that those people at the end of the list might not actually be fed.
Romanos? 45 minutes. Random Mexican Chain Restaurant. 1 hour, and by the way, the kitchen is closed (does that mean all I'll get is some chips and dip?) Now to be fair we didn't try Hooters or the new establishment "Cheeburger Cheeburger", but we were generally discouraged and headed back into Princeton proper. Mediterra? 45 minutes. Main Street Bistro, you can walk in, but it will take you ten minutes to drive here and our kitchen closes in 20 minutes. Sure, you could say, well if you had just waited at the Olive Garden you would theoretically be seated in 10 minutes. True, but by this time it was the principal of the thing. Used to be a time where we'd be in Manhattan and you could always find a restaurant with no wait. Here all of the food is for the most part crap and they want you to wait anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get it. In New York you can (a) wait for 2 hours for a great meal, (b) walk right in to some place else with no wait and have a great meal, (c) wait for 2 hours and have crap or (d) walk right in and have crap, the choice, at least, is yours.
Moral of the story, we came home and made frozen manicotti.