It's been like two whole weeks since I've updated this, and now you get three updates in one night. I haven't really had too much to report-- I've been posting the occasional mundane things and silly website pointers to my Livejournal instead of updating it here. I'm not sure what in my mind makes something LJ-worthy and not llij.net worthy, though in my mind there is some criteria. Dunno what they are-- it's just a feeling, I think.
I have a whole bunch of miscellany to document, so I can't guarantee this will be stimulating reading.
First off, my dad is going for this rockin' minimally-invasive hip replacement surgery tomorrow morning. I called him tonight and we were joking about how he will now have a few extra holes in his arse. I suggested he might sound like an ocarina now when he toots - he can cover certain scar-holes and get various tones and play folk songs. And just think- now that he'll have a new hip, he'll be able to jig a bit too! Wheee! Won't he be fun at holidays! (You know you're a grownup when you can have these conversations with your folks.) Anyway, I know he's gonna do great, and I'm really excited that he's chosen to do this, and to do it this non-traditional kooky-cutting-edge way. My dad's a gadget freak, so only the latest and greatest for him, dude.
On Tuesday, Ben and Missy came down to visit from their home in the Catskills. We met over at Jerm's place because my apartment was still ripped apart due to the whole bed delivery debauchle. Their car broke down about three houses away from Jerm's place, so we tried to jumpstart it a few times to no avail. We figured we'd just go to dinner and deal with it when we came back. We had a great dinner at The Corner Bistro where we enjoyed their fare as always and talked about anything and everything. I love them so much-- you know you have an amazing friendship when you can pick right up where you left off 3 years ago as if a moment hadn't elapsed. I finally gave them their, what, 3rd anniversary gift (they just celebrated their 10th anniversary in September... I don't procrastinate, why do you ask?) and it felt nice to cross that off the global checklist of Stuff I Will Keep Forgetting To Do. They consoled me by telling me that Ben's parents have been married like 38 years or something, and recently a friend of Ben's parents passed away and when relatives were digging through the attic of the departed, they found a wedding gift intended for Ben's folks... still wrapped and addressed. Ha! I believe they finally got the gift; the best news is, it's now an antique. :-D
I hung out with Sam on Friday night at the Tom Jones Diner in Media. Sam rules, and he and his friends give me faith in humanity, specifically the next generation of humans. He's so got his stuff together. We got steaks that were strangely tasty considering they were only like 8 bucks for a new york strip. We then went to Border's for the briefest of moments to say hi to his friend Sam (yes, two Sams) until I got itchy to get home so I could talk to John and go to sleep. I'm such an old fart.
I got the best letter in the mail the other day from my cousin Doris. Doris rules-- she is simply the kindest, gentlest soul ever... simple, wonderful, warm. She doesn't have a computer and we don't talk very often on the phone, so she's a letter writer. I LOVE THIS. Nothing beats getting letters or cards... I mean, I'm an email junkie by necessity of course, but knowing how precious time is, getting a letter or postcard in the mail is the ultimate kindness-- you KNOW you were thought about enough to actually have time taken out of someone's day to sit down, relax, assemble thoughts, dig out the stationery and write something for you. Anyhoo, she wrote me this lovely letter about how excited she was that I was "seizing the day" and moving to San Francisco. She spoke about how she regrets not having the chance to do things like that; she's now in her 60s and she never really had nutty adventures like I've had in my 33 years. She wished me and John the best of luck, and she told me to just go for it and not look back. It was inspirational and written from the heart. So beautiful!
Of course, she wrote and sent that letter without knowing that I changed my mind and wasn't going. D'oh! She and my mom were talking and my mom told her that I wasn't leaving, and Doris said she felt like such a goofball. For a moment she was worried I'd be angry or hurt. What a sweetheart-- she just rocks so hard!
John asked me the other day how I was feeling about my decision not to move out to SF, and I told him "I feel as good as I can feel about it." I told him about Doris' letter and we gave it a "yeaaaaah..." plus a giggle at the irony and a warm smile to the sentiment and support. I told him I think I'll have a better sense of how I'll feel once I get my first full paycheck, which happens this Friday [cue choir of angels]. Of course there is a huge part of me that would love to be out there, close to him, living an adventure. But I think with maturity comes the ability to delay gratification and to think of the bigger picture. I have to.
Last weekend was the first "official" step in the John/Jill LDR thang. I flew out on Wednesday night and arrived around midnight SF-time, so crashing was imminent upon our arrival to Chez Edwards. He had off from work on Thursday for Veteran's Day, so we did domestic stuff and got his apartment a few more steps closer to totally unpacked and comfy. We then went to play some tandem Addams Family pinball in The Haight-- we had good games and some pathetic ones, but it was fun anyway. That night we went to Jardiniere for an impossibly wonderful dinner with Soren and Kathryn-- we opted for the tasting menu, which is a bazillion-course meal of teeny servings so you can try a little of everything while giving the chef a workout. We went for the wine pairing as well, where the chef gives you a half-glass of the perfect wine for the course. The meal and wine were paced perfectly so you never felt tipsy or full; it was just perfect. As each course was brought out, the waiter explained what the dish was and also described the wine-- where it was from, why it was picked, etc. These folks are pros, man. And hanging with S&K is always a treat; they're popular folks, so I'm always excited when I get to hang out with them since they're in high demand. After dinner we went to Citizen Cake for dessert (you know, as if we hadn't eaten enough) and we drowned in decadence. I also learned from earlier mistakes and got two lemon cookies to save for later-- one is simply not enough!
Friday was the day John was expecting to hear whether or not he passed his hellacious radiology oral boards. He called me from work and sounded very cautious (bordering on bummed), like he was bracing for the impact of being told he conditioned again, or worse. He asked me if I would get the mail and bring it upstairs so it would be waiting when he got home, so I gladly obliged. Lo and behold, the letter from the Board of Radiology was indeed there tucked in among the catalogs. The envelope paper was thin, and from the way the letter was folded I could make out the first line of the letter which said, "We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the..." When I saw that, I almost wet my pants from excitement. I wanted to call John and tell him he passed, but I really wanted to see the look on his face when he opened the letter and discovered it for himself. But I had to tell someone!! So I called my mom and we were bouncing around in excitement. When he came home from work, I was bursting at the seams but trying not to let on that I knew. He opened the letter with a "here goes nothing" sort of look-- which quickly turned into WOOHOOOOOO! We jumped around and laughed and it was the best thing ever. I remembered back to the early summer when I was there with John when he opened the same letter which told him he had conditioned... and I was so happy that I could be there for the grand finale of this important chapter.
From that point, the weekend took on a more celebratory feel-- we ordered in Thai from my favorite place and then we took the MUNI/BART to see Laurie Anderson in Berkeley (eating lemon cookies on the way), and afterwards we went owl and mojito scouting downtown. I loves me the public transportation, man. On Saturday we bummed around Valencia to get more piano hammers from the Pirate Store, checked out furniture for no good reason, got the magic coffee from Phil's (oh my god, I need more more more of that), hung out with Kathryn and looked at her beautiful photos from when she lived in Italy. That night John and I went to this place in the middle of nowhere where some guy has about 20 1970s pinball machines-- all clunkies and in great shape. I reminisced about the clunkies of my youth: the Hit The Deck pinball machine we had in our basement through high school, the Bucking Bronco (I think?) game at Mitch Goldman's house (loved that game!) and even the Fonzie pinball machine my godfather bought for me and Jeff when we were in the single-digits age.
On Sunday, I had to be at the airport around 12:30pm, which gave us just enough time to meet Hearnwife (who happened to be in SF that weekend) and her rock-opera friend for brunch at The Beach Chalet. A tasty brunch indeed, accented by mojitos, repartée and a magnificient view of the Pacific. John and I had a moment or three to kill after breakfast before my flight, so we went back to Casa Juan and took a disco nap and then I was up up and away, with two big containers of frozen magic chicken tom kha gai hermetically sealed in my backpack. (I ate it in 3 days. Need more. Much more. Next visit, I'm bringing a cooler.)
On my flight home, I thought about what we had accomplished that weekend, and I realized that every visit accomplishes some practical but satisfying thing which leaves his place in a better state than it was in before the visit... like putting up some shelves, setting the stereo up, unpacking the penultimate wave of boxes. After a stressful day of whatever, coming home to a home instead of chaotic boxes everywhere is welcoming; I'm glad to have been part of a process that will afford him even the teeniest amount of extra peace.
I know how much it sucks to have your home in total disarray. Before Halloween, I decided that my poor back couldn't stand the torture any longer so I plunged myself one more level into debt and bought a new bed. Mattress, boxspring, bedframe. The whole schmegege. Because my apartment has two floors, it has a banister/railing thing so you don't fall down the stairs. Unfortunately, this banister also prevents anything large (like, say, a queen size boxspring) from being schlepped up the stairs. So, my maintenance guys came over and kung-fu-kicked the banister down and promised to replace it with a new one once the bed was delivered successfully. So, picture my place with splintered wood everywhere, banister bits, paint chips all over everything, and the contents of my living room all in my kitchen. My place was hell. I hated coming home because it would stress me out to no end. In fact, while I was out of town, Jeremy swung by my place for something and he called me in a panic... he said, "Uh, do you know what your place looks like right now?" because it looked that uninhabitable.
Anyhoo, the nice furniture mover guys arrived and brought the mattress upstairs, but then discovered that the box spring couldn't fit through the doorway to my bedroom. Because I'm short-ish, I never realized that the doorway isn't a full 7-feet (or whatever a standard doorframe is). The mover guys tried every kind of Tetris move and still couldn't get it through the door, so they suggested they swap out the boxspring for either a low-profile boxspring or a split boxspring. I opted for the low-profile one because the split one would have cost me $120 more, which I didn't feel like spending. Anyway, to make a long story short, I had to call Levitz about 8632876 times to coordinate the swapping of the boxspring (that sounds like a euphemism for something doesn't it? I saw Matt Hearn swapping the boxspring, if you know what I mean), and it was finally delivered on Wednesday night-- Sweet Wounded Jesus, it took long enough. But ohhhhhhhhh, how worth the wait it was... I have never known that such magical comfort existed-- it's like sleeping on a cloud. Some things really are worth the investment of buying a well-researched name brand instead of going cheapie. Good lordy, I dream about being in my bed. Or dream about dreaming in my bed. It's so decadently comfortable... all it needs now are the 1200-thread-count sheets I saw in the Sky Mall catalog for $762876286 to make it the most perfect thing ever.
Anyway, I'll leave you with this thing I overheard today by a woman who was on the phone: "What is there to answer if you're not answering me a question? I mean, what the hell?"
And my other question of life, since I'm at work: Are the symbols in Visio internationally/industry recognized as standard symbols for the things they represent?