It’s a bright sunday morning, and I’ve got that bleary, head-on-backwards feeling that comes from having been up most of the night. Some work which needed to be done during a maintenance window came up earlier in the week, and I scheduled it for last night at midnight. I’ve had relatively few of these kinds of late-nights since transitioning into security/audits; this particular work needed me to do it, so I did the setting up for it on Wednesday and then utterly forgot to take my earplugs out last night when Kate and I went to sleep.
We both fell into our bed as exhausted as corpses. Friday night we’d gone to dinner in Boston with my aunt and uncle at Excelsior . The dinners I’ve had in the past with them have usually lasted 3 hours at a minimum, and involve staggering amounts of bombastic conversation, attention to the both the finicky minutiae of each dish along with just how unbelievably sexy it is, and of course, bottles and bottles of wine (Terry befriends every sommelier everywhere, invariably finding the gems in their cellar) which magically don’t make us drunk, since we’re inevitably talking and eating away some good part of the alcohol.
I started with pan-seared scallops over a little arugula drizzled with red-pepper puree and what the restaurant called “liquid corn on the cob.” Pepper on the scallops, peppery arugula, a small amount of heat with the sweet, flame-red pepper puree… it was hands down the highlight of the meal for me. Kate’s caesar salad with duck prosciutto and green-peppercorn anchovy dressing came in a snowdrift of microplaned parmesan, and married crunchy with creamy, vegetal with salt – utterly delicious. Both Karen and Terry had bacon-wrapped softshell crabs, with a little corn flan next to them; I tried the flan, which had just the right texture, smack in the middle between creamy and firm. Then some little demitasse cups of truffled asparagus vichyssoise while Terry tucked into lobster schnitzel. (Gruner Veltliner to go with the asparagus, some gorgeous straw-colored riesling to go with the starters – I didn’t take notes on the wines. In hindsight, dumb.)
For mains, I had wild chinook salmon with broccolini, crab raviolis, and an awesome seafood broth called “nage ", which was a new term to me. Salmon was tasty but nothing radical; the raviolis and broth, though, were rich and excellent. Kate had NZ lamb and pearl barley risotto with one of the prettiest platings I’ve seen in quite a while: a half-circle of syrah reduction completed with a brilliant green pepper sauce and a verticla ring of light, almost-crepe-like flatbread. The plate was full of circles.
Then desserts (german chocolate cake and a trio of pot de cremes: brown sugar, grainy chocolate, and silky lemon) and hugs by the car, and … the drive home. Kate and I left the restaurant at 9:30, talked our way up to the intersection of 93/95, and then Kate dropped her seat back and tried to sleep, since she knew she had to get up at 5:30 the next morning. I sat, my belly full of food, wine, and coffee, and mused on the week in Boston, the week in the world, the silence and stillness of the highway at 75 mph, how long it’d be until we got home… and then, out of nowhere, BEEEP. My car has a squealing warning for when one is running low on either of two critical fluids: gas, about which I understand some urgency, and windshield washer fluid, which I don’t. Guess which one I was low on! Kate stirs, mumbles, and I hope that the hill I’m on will be the last one which will move the windshield washer fluid this much. No such luck. 10 minutes later, BEEEEP. So I stop in Contoocook to slosh some blue fluid into my car and some yellow fluid out of me, and then proceed home without incident.
Saturday morning, though, was hard. Kate had to get up to go to work, and I mostly got up with her, both of us still feeling full, me feeling the aftereffects of the caffeinated drive home, and Kate feeling the aftereffects of having drunk a lot more wine than usual. I didn’t feel at all like eating until close to dinner time; late sushi Thursday night and late dinner Friday night makes Jack’s stomach decide to go on strike and raise picket signs.
Went to bed at 10:30 last night and completely forgot that I had work to do at midnight. Thankfully Regis called the house and Kate, who doesn’t sleep with earplugs, woke up enough to wake me up enough to stumble downstairs and do it. Except then I couldn’t get back to sleep, and had weird half-dozing dreams about Red-Dawn scenarios where the North Koreans and Russians were invading my home town, and I was a high school student who had to get out before the invaders did. Bizarre.
Now I’ve showered, eaten, done my morning pages, and am considering what to do with the day. Pick blueberries? Go for a long bike ride? Put on socks, since my toes are cold? Continue learning Photoshop by tuning up the awesomest picture of Kate ? The world is my oyster, today. I just wish the first idea which kept coming to mind wasn’t “Nap.”