Thirteen Year Old Girls Cannot be Trusted


Jane will turn thirteen in just a few days. She’s having all the girls from school sleep over Saturday night (expect to see a lot of me on Twitter and G+ Saturday night, not much else I can do) and she’s having three non school friends sleep at a hotel with her next week.

Oh, to be clear, that’s three friends, Jane and me in connecting rooms.

I loved the idea of a hotel sleepover, can you say, “no cleanup”? Jane really wanted to be close to Santa Monica Place so that we could take an evening walk to the food court. If you’re not in Los Angeles you don’t understand that the food court includes an incredible cheese bar and more than one sushi restaurant. It’s a food court that doesn’t suck. Most of all Jane wanted a hotel with an indoor pool. The only hotel with an indoor pool in Los Angeles is the Biltmore downtown, and the Biltmore is neither new nor in a safe neighborhood.

So I started calling Santa Monica hotels but there were no rooms available. The Viceroy had ONE room free and at $1,600 a night I took a pass on it. Apparently there’s a film festival that weekend so Santa Monica was either booked or price gouging, either way it didn’t work for us.

Jane agreed to try Beverly Hills as a sleepover destination. Of course since she is thirteen and has the palate of a billy goat she wanted to stay on Wilshire so we could walk to California Pizza Kitchen. I smiled and agreed that it would, all the while thinking that I could have a crappy salad and a glass of wine there and then order room service from the Beverly Wilshire. See, I’d gotten a fabulous deal from the folks at Four Seasons and Jane was going to have a perfect sleepover while I had a perfect night of pampering.

I think we all know that man plans and god laughs. Well this plan of mine had god guffawing, and maybe peeing his robes a little.

Jane found out that the Marriott in Woodland Hills has an indoor pool and is located next to TGI Friday’s and a mall. If you’re 13 this is the equivalent of the Four Seasons and an afternoon of shopping at Barneys. If you are 41 this is hell on earth. Whomever told her about this hotel should make sure their affairs are in order.

I get my friend Shana to prove that she loves me and agree to dinner with the girls. We’re not actually allowed to sit with them or next to them but we are allowed to pay for dinner. Yay? Shana, in a stroke of brilliance, reminds me that there’s a Kate Mantalini next to the Marriot and we can go there. I tell Jane that this is an option and she agrees to it.

Mr. G. unwinds that plan. He says, “It sounds like Kate Mantalini is to make you happy and it’s not your birthday. That’s a place that yentas have lunch.”

Umm… does he not realize that I’m trying to raise Los Angeles’ next fabulous yenta?

So I’ll be staying at a $125 a night Marriott and dining with Shana at TGIF. Hopefully I don’t get bedbugs and hopefully Shana doesn’t come to her senses and find something better to do.

I Spent $85 for Dinner at CPK and All I Got Was a Grumpy Husband


I just got home from CPK, and since my friend Marsha Collier is writing the book on Customer Service I thought I’d amuse y’all with a bit of corporate policy that ensures no one will ever be happy at California Pizza Kitchen.

It’s Sunday night and I’m beat, so we decide to take the kids to dinner. CPK is a good bet for all, because there’s something for everyone on the menu. We have grown accustomed to their abominable customer service, so we were delighted to find the store half empty and our server to be attentive.

Again, our expectations were low.

We sat in a booth where Mr G could watch the Colts and the Chargers, and we had a pretty good dinner. Nothing exciting, but the kids were happy and so were we.

Until they changed the game to basketball.

We asked our server to please put the football game back on, and she said the following. “We have this weird corporate policy that puts us in a TV limbo. Whenever a guest asks us to change the channel we have to change it to whatever they ask for. Someone just asked us to change it to the basketball game so we have to do that.”

Mr. G smiled and said, “Well, now I’m asking you to change it to Football.”

And our server walked away uncomfortably.

And then we were stuck watching the halftime game (which is a whole lot of nothing worth watching), when the manager (who appeared to be 19) came to the table and said, “I’m really sorry but the man at the bar asked us to put it on the Lakers game and you’ve been watching football for a really long time, and it’s only fair if you get it half of your meal and he gets it for half of his.”

This makes NO SENSE. Half a football game is fair? Who gives a flying fuck about fair?

Mr. G thanked her for her explanation and assured her that we all understood that she valued his patronage more than ours.

And then the bill came. $73 for the four of us. Which I assume is a whole lot more than the single guy at the bar spent, so if we’re worried about fair, then CPK failed that test.

We tipped heartily because the server was excellent. We are mindful that CPK is a great place for our kids, but they really don’t understand customer service at all.