Archive for September, 2012

Last Birthday and some more…

This post is going to be here and there, sort of incoherent. That’s what ends up happening when I don’t record anything for almost a year and suddenly realize that there are all incidents that need to be noted down before my memory fails me, for that happens more often than not. For instance, last week the partner and I were discussing something and the question of what I did for my last birthday came up. I drew a blank. I knew there was something about the day that made it special, but the mind refused to go back in time to try and recall even snippets. And it was the partner who finally aided my brain recollect it all.  So now, I want to go on record and say that my last birthday was wonderful.

The partner and I were driving from Boston to DC that night to attend a conference where my sister was to give a speech the day after. Right around midnight (I noticed the time only later), the partner pulled over at a service area. The dozy version of me asked him a million questions about why we were stopping, reminded him that we were already running late and I was getting grouchier by the second, and finally, gave up and closed my eyes letting him do whatever it was that he wanted to do by taking a break there. Within a few minutes, I heard the door to my side of the car open and there he was with a cake in his hand, wishing me a happy birthday. (Was there a candle? I am guessing there was, but I don’t remember. See, that’s why I should’ve noted it all down within few days.)Oh, that’s what the stop is about, that inner tube light turned on.

With the merriest of heart, I cut the cake. A cake that the partner had baked by himself. There were signs the day before, you know. He had called to ask me for a tiny detail about the recipe. He had mentioned that his roommates were baking something and they wanted to know. And I’d believed that. The thought didn’t even cross my mind that he was planning something so perfect for my birthday. A sweet surprise, it sure was. And there was more of it in store!

Once we resumed our drive, I got a call from a friend who sent big birthday wishes my way. How so very touched I was that she remembered, worked out the time difference and rang me right around midnight! And the fact that this was the first time I was talking to her made it all the more noteworthy (I had conveniently forgotten about it until now, how so unmindful of me.) I was ecstatic for the rest of the journey, needless to say. We reached DC really late and obviously, I fell asleep the first chance I got. Having gone to bed few hours before dawn only gave me an excuse (like I need one) to sleep a little more than usual next morning. The partner, though, I realized woke up way before I was even ready to open my eyes. He was getting ready to step out; I asked him where he was going. He mentioned that he’d forgotten something in the car and had to go get it so he can get ready for the day. Ok, I said and went back to my blissful slumber.

When I woke up a little later, there was a big gift next to me on the bed. Unable to contain my excitement, I sat up and unwrapped it carefully. Inside I found something I’ve wanted for months. A pair of boots! I remember going on and on to the partner and my then roommate S about how I definitely want a pair of boots for the upcoming winter. But I never bought myself one because any pair I liked I turned down because of the price tag. This pair was gorgeous. He shared the tale of when he went shopping, how/why he chose this particular one, and how he was sure I would fall in love with them. A huge grin appeared on my face and a few tears trickled down my cheeks.

There was a sign of this too, you know, only I’d yet again chosen to ignore it. The partner had called me to inquire about my shoe size the evening before. He mentioned that his sister wanted him to buy her shoes (he was to visit India in a few weeks) and he wasn’t sure what size to go for. So he wanted to know my shoe size given that his sister and I share similar stature. And yes, I believed that.

After trying on the boots and falling head over heels in love with them, I got ready to face the day ahead. We went to a café nearby to have some breakfast. And there, the partner pulled out a greeting card from his bag. The Office is one of my favorite shows and in that card, the partner had written out wishes from each of the main characters of the show in their unique style. What a laughter riot it was reading through those thoughtful messages for the birthday girl!

 The day was spent visiting museums, planetarium and just walking around the city. The phone was on silent for most of the day, which meant I missed a few calls from friends. Listening to their voicemails later made the day all the more amazing. The sister joined us in the evening and the three of us went out for a fancy dinner, which was my birthday treat from the sister. She had also sent a bunch of books as gift a week earlier. What more could I ask for! After dinner, I think we went sightseeing, a few monuments here and there. All the walking took a toll, especially since it was windy and cold, so we called it a day and headed back to the hotel.

So there, it’s all on record now and I can come back to it lest I forget it again.

Oh wait, did I say I was going to write about more than one thing? (I am too lazy to go back and edit the beginning of the post or the title. So I’ll just let it be.) I should’ve known better… no matter how hard I try I can’t ever seem put down only a few lines and let things be. It’s almost always going to be a full blown post dedicated to specific happenings. Weirdly, it’s just the opposite when I talk – 0ne can ask me the most open-ended question there is and I can still manage to answer with very limited words. Hmmm. Anyway, I guess this only means there are more posts coming up. Wait and watch…

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What a weekend that was!

Life is an adventure with the partner is by my side. Take for example the long weekend that was. To kick it off in delight both of us took the Friday off and made it an even longer weekend. Our initial plan was to escape to the mountains Thursday evening and spend four days in quiet and peace. But as it’s usually with our plans, it didn’t quite pan out the way it was intended. Work and other miscellaneous tasks interfered; hence we ended up spending Thursday evening and Friday at home. I won’t complain though…this gave me enough time to muster some confidence to host a dinner at our place Friday night. I cooked for six—yes, six—and it turned out pretty well. It had to happen someday and I’m glad it happened sooner rather than later; I can’t keep running away from inviting people when everyone is generous enough to have us over time and again, right? Anyway, back to the point. The dinner that I cooked was well received and much appreciated. Oh wait, that’s not really the point, but can we make it the point? here we go back to the real point…

So, off went Friday and on came Saturday. Only three more days before we had to dive into the routine again, and we had already spent half of the first day in bed. Way to go. But what’s more important than sleep? Nothing, if you were to ask me. No harm, no foul, then. We spent a good part of Saturday morning discussing where we wanted to go—the mountains or the beach? After long deliberation we decided we would head east to the shore. And I could already feel the oceans calling out to me.

We set out around noon with everything for the sojourn in place. Few hours into the drive the car made a beep and signaled to us that it was time to fill the gas tank soon. To give you some background, this is one thing that the partner and I argue about every time it happens. Our definitions of soon varies. While I am the kind who gets tense and pulls over at the next gas station on the way, the partner is someone who keeps giving assurances about how many gallons of gas there is in reserve and how far the car can go on that. Now, we had just crossed a small town and we were in no mood to turn back to the last gas station we’d passed. So, the partner, as usual, reassured that there was enough gas to take us into the next town for fill up and I, as always, became a little anxious and kept hoping to spot a gas station quickly to calm my nerves. And as luck would have it we traveled the next 30 miles with no gas station in sight.

And after those 30 miles, just like that, with no more gas to fuel it, the car started showing signs of giving up. No amount of pushing hard on the accelerator was any help. The lovely car that it is, it coughed up to the last drop in the effort to take us just a little bit further. We looked at each other in disbelief. You told me it would go at least 50 miles, I questioned. It does; it did when I drove from work to home back in Boston. I think it’s your driving that burned extra gas this time around, he retorted. All this while, the car kept moving, slowly but steadily. It even climbed up a bridge with much effort. And then went downhill seemingly easily, thanks to the slope. And the two of us, surprisingly, kept our cool and were actually laughing about the situation we found ourselves in. Right after the descent there was a parking lot and the partner asked me to pull in there. And so I did. I steered and the car took it upon itself to move with the little energy that it had left; that energy was just enough to pull into the parking spot at the far end and after that, the car wouldn’t move any further, not even an inch, and its whole system shut down…about 1.5 miles after the initial warning.

So, yes, we found ourselves gas-less in the middle of who-knows-where. The parking lot we pulled into turned out to be of the town’s visitor center. HA! We got out, ran in (as it was closing time) and inquired about the nearest gas station. We learned that it was just half a mile down the road. What a relief it was that we didn’t have to walk under the scorching sun for long. After freshening up, we set out to get fuel for our vehicle. And during that mile’s walk there were more smiles and more talks about how funny we found the whole thing and how it all had played out well enough to keep us amused but not make us agitated.

Like I said, life is an adventure when the partner is around. Had I found myself in the same situation alone, I am sure I would have lost it. I don’t think I would’ve been as calm to be able to think on my feet about what needed to be done next once the car started showing signs of shut down. But, all credit to the partner, I thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience instead of letting it get to me. The partner has a way of putting a positive spin to things that happens around him. He has a way of brimming with optimism even at the worst of conditions. He has a way of making me smile and teaching me how to take it all, the circumstances that I would otherwise find stressful, lightly. So, as I stood there filling gas in the car and saw him clicking photos of our savior gas station, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that he was around to share this memory with me.

The rest of the vacation? Well, that was fun too, with some exceptions.

We spent a little time Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday at the beach. I enjoyed soaking under the sun and then finding solace in the droplets of rain that trickled down from the marshmallow clouds, reading, writing and napping by the ocean, playing in the water, trying to but not really helping with the sand castle that the partner built, and so much more.

And Monday, we visited a lighthouse nearby—spotted from the top of the lighthouse the colliding of two ocean currents; noticed a bunch of dolphins playing in the sea, pretty close to the shore; and, stopped by at the museum there to learn about the lighthouse’s history, before heading back.

Now the exceptions: it was so extremely humid on Saturday that it became impossible for us to sleep in the tent. We tried for hours before we called it quits, drove the car up to the parking lot and slept in the car. While the humidity went down Sunday night, we had something else that kept us awake on and off—Chigger bites, as we learned later—kept us busy scratching all night long. There were so many bite marks on my body as I woke Monday, and the itching didn’t stop for days after. I still have the marks to show (hoping hard that they’ll fade with time), but thankfully, the need to itch has worn-out. I wouldn’t have been so glad to return home had it not been for the burning bites.

Because really, what’s not to love about ocean side breeze? Or about the sound of the waves singing you lullaby as you slept? Or the endless views of the horizon?

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