*MY LIFE TURNED INTO A COUNTRY SONG

Being in love is great, and when you’re in love you’ll do anything for that person.

I gave Sonodoro the second set of keys to my SUV. He cried. “No one has done something like this for me before. Thank you.”

The running commentary in my head was: I’m not giving you the car. I’m simply giving you the privilege to drive the car, when I’m not driving it.

After Dad drove his other car into the ground, he used the slightly used SUV for his weekly commute of 350 miles. Then, my parents gave it (Connecticut plates and all) to me. My parents sill had the registration and technically, it wasn’t mine when I gave Sonodoro the privilege to drive the car.

8-9-14 Red Chevy

Now, after after driving it cross-country, the burgundy red SUV as my commuting vehicle. Hours working as a Paramount Page were dictated by tours, tape schedule and temping, Tours ran throughout the day and you needed to be there before 10AM. Tape days for Dr. Phil work began at 7AM, sit-com, 3PM and if we were temping 9AM. Then, there were days there was no work. These were the days Sonodoro used his SUV driving privilege. And, it was on a day like this I got a call from him, crying.

He was in jail.

My precious Guatemalan boyfriend got arrested. Got my car impounded. And, somehow (with all my sheltered-life-experience), I needed to fix if.

Sonodoro instructed me to go to his closet and take $300 form the $1k he had stashed there. (Believe me, more than finding out my boyfriend was arrested, I LOVED finding out he was hiding things from me.) I thought about taking all of it, getting my car and moving out. Instead, I handleded-up and did what I thought I should do in that moment— I stood by my man.

I called his best friend, Shaggy. (Seriously, his friends named him after the cartoon character.) He though I was joking until I kept crying. He came over, took me to the impound lot and then we had to go to visit someone everyone wants to see— a bail bondsman.

8-9-14 Bail Bonds

Yippie. (Sarcasm)

I do not know what is worse:
1. Receiving a call from your boyfriend saying he’s in jail.
2. Receiving a call from your fiancé asking you to put your up car as collateral so he can help his best friend post bond.

Remember, technically I didn’t own my SUV so I couldn’t use it as collateral. Shaggy made that dreaded call to his fiancé. She was less than thrilled and particularly mad at me.

When we bonded Sonodoro out of jail, he went through the events of that morning:

He was carrying his prescription narcotics for the kidney stone attack he had a month earlier. He alleged he was at Citibank (at 5:00am) withdrawing money on his way to his early-morning shift. (He did have a shift that began when it was dark out.) Whatever he did or whatever the cops saw, they tore apart my car when they arrested him. Sonodoro claimed it was racial profiling. Permission slip or not (I had one in the glove box for him), he was a Latino guy driving a car with CT plates in the early morning, down Brand Blvd (in suburban Glendale, CA) and past a bank where the alarm went off. It really didn’t matter what got him in jail. And, I really didn’t care. I needed to fix the problem and hopefully fix my boyfriend.

Between making bond and his trial, Sonodoro had to start taking classes with Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which lead me to believe that he had something more on him than the prescription for his kidney stones. (I’m guessing he was self-medicating with pot since he would later rationalize that it was cheaper than seeing a doctor and asking for a prescription.)

Even though we bonded him out of jail, there was still an upcoming trial where he could face possible incarceration. He didn’t want me going with him to the trial, so we had to make our possible last “good” moments together special. I know we went to see a Bruce Lee movie. I know I made him a nice dinner in case he lost his trial and was hauled off. This was a pivotal time for me. I knew I would never forget the details.

I was wrong. 



The details are murky. I do not know if it is time and frustration that wiped away the details or if he simply hid them from me.

I think it’s a combination of both.

8-9-14 Garbage Picker

 

I do know, he ended doing community service (picking up roadside garbage) while continuing his drug abuse classes. I’m pretty sure I sent him with food, but I could also see myself forcing him to make his own food. I was pretty mad and my perfect little relationship wasn’t so perfect anymore.

*SECOND LIFE CHICKEN POT PIE

I was a very enterprising home chef during my 2.5 year relationship with Sonodoro. During that time, I had three entry-level jobs and figured out how to make the little money I earned work for our best interest.

During our first year together, I was working part-time as a page at Paramount, giving tours and wrangling studio audiences. (People from all over the world visit L.A. and when they do, they often include a taping of a TV show. Sometimes groups from various half-way homes (drugs, jail etc) took excursions off campus to visit see a TV taping.) While I was paging, Paramount had a number of multi-camera sitcoms and one talk show  (Dr. Phil),  all of which had/have a studio audience.

7-25-14 Paramount

Each tape day, the personality of the audience was unpredictable, but when there was a favorite guest star, the audience would go into “Toddler Mode” (unruly, winey, rambunctious). Most notably, this would happen when Smokey Robinson was a guest star on “One on One.” As soon as his scene was done, women ALWAYS requested to use the restroom. And me standing at 4 11.5 was usually the wall that would stop them and their nefarious plans.

No, you can’t use the rest room.
Yes, I know the scene is over and Mr. Robinson left.
No, I won’t give him a message.
Yes, I think he is a very handsome man too.

7-25-14 Smokey Robinson

Besides the abundance of unpredictability, on many tape days there was also an abundance of food. Besides the meal we got to eat with the crew, sometimes we were permitted a snack from Craft Service. While the audience may have been difficult for One on One, that show had some of the best food. Their on set caterer always warned us before he threw out the leftovers and invited us to help ourselves. Sometimes this proved difficult since he did not provide to-go containers, but with a little planning, I could build several meals around these “scraps.”

During the second year of dating, I was working two jobs: A part time job working in customer service at The Museum of Television and Radio (now known as the Payley Center for Media) and a full time job as a Carrier in the Paramount Mail Room. Working as a carrier my hourly rate was $0.50 less than what I made as a page, BUT it was full time with benefits. In addition to health insurance, a benefit I often received was an extra copy or two of the New York Times, which meant, DOUBLE COUPONS! (All of the carriers were on a tight budget, so we would divvy up the papers so we each had at least one edition.)

I am too prideful to ask for help. During these times of entry-level jobs, I was also too impressed at my creativity and awesomeness that I was able to still be a good home chef and girlfriend by taking care of my man.

I’m making it work, by golly: I get leftovers from the shows I work on, special events I staff and stolen double coupons.

When Sonodoro’s mom insisted on using her food stamps to buy us food I was conflicted….

  1. I didn’t like it because she was insinuating I wasn’t able to take care of my man.
  2. I was worried that she was spending money she didn’t have.
  3. Mostly, this magnanimous act of generosity was often leveraged against Sonodoro to encourage him to do something for her (which usually involved spending more money than the charity she bestowed upon us).

I knew that she didn’t like that Sonodoro lost weight because of my cooking. (Standing at 5’7”, he went from 250 to 228 during our relationship.

Clearly my cooking that minimized fat, sodium and sugar was not good for him. And, clearly Sonodoro’s weight loss was a problem for her.

I had the reverse problem with her food choices. When she took Sonodro shopping, she would choose her favorite foods, which were laden with salt, sugar and/or fat.

Knowing my discomfort at accepting help, the food stamp shenanigans of Sonodoro and his mom only happened when I was at work. I asked Sonodro repeatidly, to stop his mother’s generosity. He insisted asking her to stop would offend her. Eventually, I gave up and settled for a compromise

She can buy some of what she thinks we need and I sent him with a grocery list.

Stews or casseroles were easiest to combine vittles purchased through food stamps and table scraps from caterers. The meal I most often cobbled together from the throw-away food days was Chicken Pot Pie. Ratios and types of ingredients were contingent on the leftovers, what I had coupons for and what Sonodro’s mom purchased for us.

Insider’s tip:
Frozen piecrusts that come in their own tin.
When baking the pie or casserole, put the dish on a baking sheet.
As an alternate to pot pie, top the casserole with pull and peel biscuit dough.

INGREDIENTS:
2 carrots
2 celery
1 potato
1/4 onion
1/2 cup green beans
2 pre-made pie crusts in their own tins
1 cup cubed Chicken (I like my pie with a greater ratio of veggies)

 

Chicken Pot Pie - Ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

Sauté onion
Add cubed potato
Toss potato w onion
Cool gently for two mi
Add 1/4 cup water
Cover
Cook 10 min
Add other veggies
Cook another 5 minutes

 

Chicken Pot Pie - Sautéed Potatoes

While sautéing and lightly cooking onion and potatoes bake one pie crust for 10 minutes on 350* (middle rack).

 

Chicken Pot Pie - Gravy/Stock

In a large pot, make a roux using chicken broth.  When your roux is complete, add the rest of your veggies and lightly cook for 10-15 minutes until they’re slightly more cooked than raw.

Then add your chicken and cook a little longer.

Chicken Pot Pie - Innards Cooking

 

When your pie crust is sun kissed, take it out of the oven and fill it with your veggie and chicken concoction.
Chicken Pot Pie - Innards

Gently peel another pie crust out of its tin and top invert it onto the bottom pie and filling. Carefully press top and bottom the two crusts together. (Remember one just came from a hot oven.)

Cut ventilation slits in your top shell. (You do not want the pie building up pressure and exploding in your oven.)

Bake your pie on 350 for 45 min – 1 hour.

Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie - Baked

Chicken Pot Pie - Sliced