Measured Extravagance

10 March 2002 - 8:02 p.m.

First and foremost, a happy birthday shout to my gal Dichroic: may being 35 completely kick ass. :-)

So when I wrote that last entry, I was typing on Badsnake's laptop in the chair next to Angel's crate. Bad had taken Angel out for walkies and Deb had just come home from an extremely long day at the wine store, where (in addition to the usual madness) two customers had tried to return opened bottles of wine, claiming they were off. Both bottles were fine, which meant Deb had to deny the requests for credit, which was not pleasant, but it also meant I got to sample a decent Chilean cabernet before we headed out for dinner. (Oh, and have I mentioned that there are upside-down wine bottles planted around the center garden-area of their front yard? The sofa was pretty soggy when we got back from the barber/dress-shop/ice-cream-parlor excursion, though.)

For the excursion to Five Seasons, Sara had put on makeup, which elicited both surprise and appreciation from the girlfriends. As the group's acknowledged fount of information (this, amongst gals who are collectively fearsomely expert on wines, plumbing, digital equipment, etc.), she was also getting affectionately teased for not knowing the term for a water polo net. Bad was lamenting the wilting of her buzz ("I can never make it stand up the way Kidd does") but it still looked right fine. Just as she had the night before (such as making sure that Sara was drinking water), Deb was looking to see that her girls took care of themselves (Bad complained about a dry spot and Deb promptly ordered her to fetch the bottle of Lubriderm). At moments like those, I want me a Deb. (And if the package came with (so to speak) a Bad and a St. Andrew's cross and the big-ass books on Burgundy, and, and, and... why, yes, I am a greedy wench. You should be so shocked.) Oh, and Bad showed me their artistic display of the sage grouse feathers and turd they'd received in correspondence.

As Jake expertly maneuvered the car around SEC traffic, the conversation wended around the carnival in town (which may be one of Deb's options for distracting Bad from nicotine withdrawal), the financing for the deck Jake and Sara are going to build, shopping and farmers' markets, which eventually prompted someone to opine, "We need Mennonites down here." I can't remember all of the attributions but it continued thus:

"I think Masada Bakery - the one where this morning's bagels came from - might be Mennonite."

"Really? I've always thought of Masada as a Jewish name."

Mechaieh: "It's something Old Testamenty, anyway."

Sara: [precise, detailed explanation of the appearance of Masada in the Bible and its relation to the Jewish Diaspora]

[the rest of the car absorbs this in a sort of awestruck silence]

Bad: "Have I told you lately that I love you?"

At Five Seasons, we were blessed by the staff both for making reservations and not being in a hurry. While we waited for Bad's co-worker and her boyfriend to join us, beer was ordered (and a glass of Veuve de Vernay for me) and sampled and comments made on the citrusy nature of some of the brews and the, um, intimately female flavor Bad claimed to detect in one of the others. (Sara: "It tastes like beer to me.") Appetizers: rice cakes, crab cheese potstickers, fried crab fingers, and the shredded purple cabbage that decorated the plates. My entree was black pearl salmon with fregola and wild mushrooms in a port and chive sauce (Deb had lobster ravioli with curried vegetables, Bad had a steak, Sara had sea bass and I think Jake had halibut), and for dessert Deb and Bad perked up at the mention of creme brulee, while Jake ordered champagne sorbet, which I also got along with scoops of blood orange and port plum goodness. In the bathroom, a scrawny, artificially-preserved matron drew me aside after I washed my hands and hoarsely whispered, "I think there's a man in here!" twice to me. I had in fact heard some unfeminine clomping into the washroom while doing my business but had thought little of it (hell, I walk like a pachyderm according to my nearest and dearest), so I shrugged and replied in full voice, "So it goes" and went back to the table - where Bad's place was empty. The boot dropped. "Oh!" The table had a good roar over that (Bad: "I'd thought you were talking about the soap or something..."), which segued into general reminiscences about using men's rooms and Joan Armatrading concerts, which continued on as we squished back comfortably into the car and back to the ranch for a solid night of sleep.

When I poked my head into the living room in the morning, Bad immediately told me I had to read Weetabix's write-up of The Dinner Party (and I feel compelled to point out here that, while it was graciously received, porn does not in any way trump a Sinterklaas sack full of wine, cheese, cinnamon-honey-something-or-other, a chocolate egg the size and weight of an 1812 cannonball, and an ABBA cd. And there was probably other stuff I've forgotten, too, since it wasn't for me. So what if they didn't get to to keep the ABBA cd? Weet, hon, won't you come by Music City with your goodies and be my girlfriend?). I finally figured out how to use the shower without scalding myself (the water that spurts out of the head has been considerably hotter than that which comes out further down. (You know, I've been trying all weekend to conjure up some wicked-vulgar metaphor out of that set-up, but I think I'll just leave it be)).

After showers and packing, we trooped over to Jake and Sara's, where the crew noshed on fresh fruit and banana bread and juice and mochas while reading assorted papers and magazines and listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter. Zeer gezellig (that's Dutch for "very cosy"). After hugs and farewells, I headed to church and then sped on home, where I was greeted by the pets and the Christmas cactus (inexplicably still in bloom) and the pots of sprouting basil and catgrass and a poetry acceptance and an ginormous heap of less elevating mail.

And then, a few hours later, the Beautiful Young Man came through the front door, having survived his nephew's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (as his friend Don commented, "I always said when I retire I'm going to open a vasectomy clinic in the back" of one of those). He has a script to whale through and my gastrointestinal system has decided it doesn't want me to keep food down today (it's exceedingly annoying, my incurably wonky internal plumbing, but as I was half-explaining, half-apologizing to Bad (apparently my all-too frequent trips to the w.c. did attract notice -grrargh), chronic minor inconveniences trump major trauma any day), so the usual celebratory (and amatory) gestures will have to wait. But mmm, he smells good, and I'm laughing again at the comments from the other end of the study ("That asshole! He's listed the Camellia Grill as a bonus for the Hopeless Rally!") and I'm just a few feet away from my own bathtub, and as much fun as I had away, it's good to be back among my own things and to be heading up to my own bed.

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