Pizza FOMO

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” -Thomas Haynes Bayly

It’s been two months since I’ve seen the glowing neon “Open” sign that dangles from my favorite New York slice shop in Madison, WI. 

Slices-the-size-of-your-head are hard to come by on Madison’s westside and I’m starting to experience some serious pizza FOMO.  It’s not your normal fear of missing out either; like the kind a teen feels when held up from a Saturday night with friends. My fear feels permanant, more haunting.   

I’m afraid I’ll never get to see my reflection in the greasy sheen of an extra cheese Pizza Di Roma slice ever again.  I’ll forget how the oversized slice flops between my  fingers as I give it a fold.  Where am I going to get a quality BBQ chicken slice?  And will I even be in the radius of any New York style delivery zone?  

As businesses begin to open back up I visit the Pizza Di Roma Facebook page daily; desperately scouring for a glimmer of hope— a new post, a notification or a clue that they could be opening up.  Though, the original downtown location resumes business, all of us loyal westside patrons, have only been offered a bleak post: “Closed until further notice” (I’m disheartened to admit I glimpsed a rumor that there is a “For Sale” sign out front!). 

Now that I can’t have Pizza Di Roma I want it more than ever. 

I look back and kick myself for all the times I could’ve ordered it, but didn’t.  All the times I settled for a single slice instead of a whole pie.  All the 20 inchers I didn’t tilt through my door. 

Moral of the story:  Life is short so eat your favorite local pizza as much as you can.  

What I wish I was eating:  Pizza Di Roma

What I’m reading: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us  –Daniel H. Pink

Graham Patrick’s First 24 Hours of Pizza

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” -Zig Zigler

Spring is the season for new life, so Tess and I popped out a baby.  

It just so happens that our new prince Graham Patrick wiggled his way out of the womb into my favorite 24 hours of the week: Friday. Like when the stumbling fawn Bambi first found out he would one day rule the forest, Graham was about to discover the power and prestige that Pizza Day holds for the Luther family.

First, we had to get our hands on some pizza.

Tess and I had endured a 24 hour induction process that was filled with skin crawling, chest tightening, anxiety spiking complications (Thank god for meditation!).  By the end of it, both of us were emotionally and physically exhausted. So, when Graham met the world and we finally had a chance to settle down in our birth suite we were both long over due for some quality nourishment.

But, confined to a locked-down hospital I wondered how would we score some pizza?

When my first son Ellis was born we had it easy, my parents and brother were able to smuggle in some Salvatore’s Tomato Pies to get us through our hospital stint, but with a pandemic and strict visitation policies we were on our own.

Though hospital food gets a bad rap I wasn’t about to give up, so I scoured the Meriter Hospital room service menu looking for a solution.

Open-face Hot Turkey Sandwich with Gravy? Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breast?  Sliced Pork Loin served with Apple Sauce? No. No. No! (Regretfully I believe I shouted “old people food!”).

Then I saw it, a glistening ray of hope on the back of the menu: Personal Pizza. 

However dingy it looks in my photo (I think it has cheddar on it?) in that moment that mini hand-tossed, extra cheese and pepperoni pizza offered me a sigh of relief that cradled me as I cradled our new little man.  (To the credit of Meriter Hospital all of their food was pretty good.) 

A perk of the whole “birth during a pandemic scenario” was that if Mom and baby are healthy after 24 hours you get to go home early.  We jumped at that opportunity mostly because Tess and I both missed our first born Ellis.

As we packed up and made our way out of the hospital I had a revelation:

Meriter Hospital is a couple blocks from Ians!

Our hospital pizza experience would now be reinforced by one of my Madison favorites. So, as we pulled out of the hospital with baby in tow we spun over to the Frances street Ian’s to pick a 20 inch cheese pizza and a couple slices of Mac n cheese.

Graham’s first day had a delicious and happy ending. Too bad he couldn’t really appreciate all the pizza surrounding him on his first rotation around the sun, but it was nice to find some fun in a rather chaotic and anxiety inducing time.  We can always fondly look back and remember that Graham Patrick was ready to “pizza party” from day one.

What I was eating on Graham’s birthday: Meriter Hospital pepperoni personal pizza and Ian’s 20 inch extra cheese pizza.

What I’m reading: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team –Patrick Lencioni