One “M” or Two?

My assistant, Paula, usually has an interesting to-do list. You know, “Get doggy ice cream,” “Tow the Jaguar back across the state.” “Take the dog to acupuncture.” Things like that. This week’s list includes:

1. Get Janine’s clothes back from the deranged person.

2. Find the heathen stonecutters.

Let’s start with number two. I’m trying to order a carved stone for a friend’s garden. The catalog company thinks it should say, “Grow, damnit!” I am quite sure the correct spelling is “Grow, dammit!” Isn’t it? (My spellcheck was less than helpful on this issue, suggesting “admit” and “dampish”, among others. Sounds like Bill Clinton’s average week, doesn’t it?)

The plot thickens. We finally convinced the catalog company to go with “dammit.” Then the actual stonecutting company called and refused the order because they are a Christian company and will not use profanity. Even if it’s spelled wrong. Hence the search for the heathen stonecutters. Let me know if you know any. Continue reading

A Very Odd Day

I was having a bad day anyway. I left home without remembering to sign my housekeeper’s check, and she was leaving for two weeks that day. I would have rushed home, but the Jaguar was flat out of gas, so I didn’t have time (if there’s ANY chance of the Jaguar dying on the way, trust me, you don’t take that trip). Jack in the Box was out of napkins, which pretty much guarantees I’ll dump that giant soda in my lap, doesn’t it? And by the way, Jack in the Box announced that they’ll be closed on Thanksgiving–what the hell am I supposed to do NOW???

However, I did not expect to spend my lunch hour at a riot. Now, if you know anything at all about my life, you may find this strange. But I THOUGHT I was having a quiet lunch with LAPD officers Doug Abney and Sergio Guzman to discuss the annual charity airlift. Let me say that it is great going out to lunch with the police in the black & white car. You get to park anywhere you want, even in a red zone. Everybody lets you go first at the stop signs. Nobody cuts you off. Even when every single table at California Chicken Cafe is full, somehow they find a seat for you. Continue reading

All Together Now

All I wanted was a little lunch. Maybe a nice french-dipped lamb sandwich. There’s only one place in LA to go. Got in line at Phillippe. The guy in the line next to me leaned over and offered me a pamphlet about Jesus. I smiled politely and declined. Thought nothing of it–no doubt he hands those things out to everyone.

Except that the rest of the time we all stood in line, he chatted up everyone around him, showed off pictures of his kids, swapped menu tips. Nobody else got offered the Jesus tract. I THOUGHT I was in a good mood. I THOUGHT I was standing there quietly with a pleasant look on my face. Apparently I was the only one in the crowd in visible need of salvation, and didn’t even know it. And little did I know what crisis was looming at home. Continue reading

Packing and Parking

We are just pilgrims, struggling on our paths through this world, seeking knowledge. Sometimes knowledge finds us.

Paula called me to tell me she had learned an important lesson. When taking your car to the car wash on Sepulveda, it is a good idea to remove all your drugs and guns from the trunk before turning it over to the attendant.

The reason she knows this is that the police had someone spread-eagled in the parking lot. No cars were being washed. She and the Basset were hiding in the office. Continue reading

Hot Diggity!

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. It started out simply. I was on my way down Sepulveda Boulevard near Palms, when I first saw Hot Diggity Dogs. Sure, they specialize in hot dogs, and very fine hot dogs they are. But there was more. Much more.

A while back they started serving barbecue. You may remember that I enjoy a little barbecue now and then. So I was anxious to investigate. Let me just say right now that the barbecue beef sandwich is tasty but a little sloppy. In fact, it’s almost impossible to eat while speeding down the freeway driving with one hand and hoping the Jaguar’s steering doesn’t fall out again. If you would rather not arrive at your destination covered with barbecue sauce, and most days I would not, pull over for this one. The beef ribs are good, too. However, the baby back ribs are a life-changing experience.
I started to drop by once a week. Okay, twice. It’s not really near anywhere I usually go, but it didn’t matter. I’d find a reason to be in that part of town. I always ordered the same thing–half slab of ribs, no fries, side of potato salad. (The fries are good, but they put them under the ribs and they get all soggy from the sauce. Never mind, the folks at Hot Diggity Dogs are culinary geniuses, not packaging specialists. Besides, the potato salad is worth a taste anyway.) Since I’m the only one that orders that way, they started to notice.

It started small, an extra friendly greeting and a smile (the folks at Hot Diggity Dogs are extremely professional and gracious by nature). A “hello, nice to see you again.” Then a few extra ribs. Not getting charged for the side. One day I pulled away to discover they had given me a double order without charging for it. Clearly, it was time for a thank you. So I found out the manager’s name (Mr. Cornelius Bailey) and wrote a letter thanking him and his staff for the excellent job they do.

Now things got serious. When I picked up my order, they’d tell me “Mr. Bailey says hello!” Sometimes the kitchen staff would write nice notes on my styrofoam container. One day I came by on my way home from a difficult trip, and I got a double order with “Special Customer” on the styrofoam. So I had to do something.

Miss Hennessy is known in Basset circles for her modeling abilities (Basset Rescue of Southern California has a complete line of her greeting cards for sale–buy a few and support a wonderful cause!). All it took was a paper hat, four plain hot dogs, and my digital camera. And, of course, a celebrity endorsement.

You can see this photo just inside the front door of Hot Diggity Dogs. I get greeted by name now as soon as I start ordering. I still get extra food and personal greetings on the styrofoam now and then. Then I sent them a card and a tin of popcorn for Christmas. The next time I was there, I noticed they forgot to give me a knife–very unusual lapse of detail for HDD. Then I found out it’s because they are now cutting my ribs for me. Either this is a whole new level of service for favored customers, or they are no longer willing to trust me with sharp implements. Too close to call. Run, don’t walk–Hot Diggity Dogs.

Hot Diggity Dogs
3470 Sepulveda Boulevard
West Los Angeles, California 90034
310-572-9372
Call for hours. They’re closed Sunday. They deserve the day off.

Oh, no! R.I,P. Hot Diggity Dogs. One day I went by and…they were gone. It’s now a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Like Los Angeles needs another coffee place. We can only hope Mr. Bailey and his dedicated staff are well and planning to open another wonderful restaurant somewhere near us, very soon.

Copyright 2000-2002 by Janine Smith. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission