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We just had one of those weekends in which people who are not married or disdain things which are twee would certainly puke. I understand this and sort of feel that way myself, except that it really was a lovely weekend and what kind of diarist would I be if I started untweeing the twee, even though the twee really happened? Not in my world, mister.

So yeah, anyway, I was very much looking forward to leaving work on Friday, after a rather spectacularly bad week (my Norwegian coworker was out with a sick child and the annoying one was out with a watery eye. I shit you not. Oh wait, she also couldn’t breathe out of one nostril) in which I had to cover for everyone and then have my hell day besides. Also, it was very very cold outside, so I threw on my full length ancient college-era coat, only to realize that at some point, the one surviving button has gone missing. Upon further examination, I found that the kick slit in the back is ripped up another five inches and a pocket is hanging open too. When did I start dressing like Pepper from Broadway’s Annie?

Esteban had plans on Friday evening, but wanted to eat dinner with me before he left, because he is very sweet. We drove around the stadium district for awhile, not really able to find a decent place to eat that wasn’t packed because of all the people in town for the playoff game, and also because neither of us was especially hungry. We finally settled on a Noodles & Co, which had more than its fair share of parents with children. But I got some Chinese dumplings and a Thai chopped salad, so I was very happy. After dinner, he went off to his commitments, and I considered shopping for furniture (as my quest to rid ourselves of the Incredible Ass Sucking Sofa goes unfulfilled) but decided that I was sort of filled with weltschmerz and wanted to just go home and sit on the couch. However, the prospect of that bothered me somehow, all that non-productive sitting, so I went to the fabric store and bought new buttons for my coat, to the ridiculous tune of $18. For buttons and special thread. Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

I also went to Starbucks and tried Chantico, which is a new drinking chocolate thing, mostly because I think the tagline is funny as hell. Something about ‘chocolatey chocolateness’, which assures me that the writer of that particular ad campaign is either no older than 35 or has a very good grasp of their target demographic. Cute Barista Boy handed me the most wee cup in all the world and I chuckled to myself because it was barely the size of a urine sample container, and certainly not the Ventis that I have come to love and respect. Figuring that I’d have it gone by the time I got to the store, I took a sip and it was like four million chocolate atoms exploded on my tongue. You know how when you eat warm chocolate chip cookies, and the chocolate chips are little dense pockets of molten goo? That’s what this stuff tasted like. After mocking the wee cup, I found I could only finish half of it, as it was just too sweet and chocolatey. As it was, I was wired for six hours.

Then I went home, sat in the corner of our L-shaped sofa (which is the one section that is comfortable) and pointedly did not mend my coat nor attach the $18 buttons. Apparently, I am comfortable to just sit there and do nothing, as long as I have the option of productivity to ignore. But, I did finish the last disk of The OC, so there was still a feeling of accomplishment, albeit a minor one. Then I mucked around with an HTML designer and produced absolutely nothing, then mucked around with editing the next Bad Bar movie, and produced absolutely nothing there as well. But I did manage to stay up until 1 am doing it.

We had originally planned to go shopping in Chicago for lighting fixtures and a sofa, but then I vacillated back and forth and then finally learned that I would be spending two nights in Chicago on business in a couple of weeks, I can fulfill my need to wander Expo and locate the Crate and Barrel outlet and also get lost in that big mall in Schaumburg until my company sends in a St. Bernard dog with a little barrel on its collar that dispenses Starbucks vanilla mocha. Esteban had told Scotty Boom Boom that he would help him work on his car if we didn’t go to Chicago, so he woke up, put on warm clothes and was out the door almost immediately. I had vague plans to finish putting up the pictures and shelves in the kitchen and the interminable task of (fucking) laundry, but figured my day was pretty flexible, so I decided to run out to the good meat place across the county and pick up some ground round for Esteban’s favorite Swedish meatballs. I had given my mom a gift certificate for the Good Meat Place for Christmas, but I knew that she hadn’t gone out there because in her mind it was impossibly far away (it’s just a mile out of town on the far west side, and hell, we used to live another three miles past this place, but her brain has already begun to make its senior transformation and now things are either Near or Impossible) so I called her and asked if she wanted to tag along. She jumped at the opportunity, but needed half an hour to wake up, so I started the car, ate a bowl of cereal, stopped at the bank and then picked her up. We ran through Starbucks, which tickled her to no end, because she views it as a luxurious treat. Together, we went to the Good Meat Place, along with apparently half of the city, as it was unbelievably packed. Normally, there is something of a wait, but I usually haven’t even figured out what I want by the time they call my number. However, when we walked in the door, I pulled number 73 and they were on number 48. Being her first time, my mother didn’t seem all that shocked by the crazy meat m’lange.

One weird thing, though, while I was leading her through the mess of people up to the counter, I said something innocuous like ‘Oh, they have some nice round steak’, to which a woman turned and gave me the look of death and said mournfully, ‘That was just terrible’ as though I had just suggested that soylent green was a little more than a tasty snack. I guess it didn’t really connect that she was talking to me or responding to what I had said (about the nice looking round steak, of course, not bludgeoning orphans to death with sacks of hammers) until she backed away as though my particular brand of evil were contagious, turned to her husband and then whispered something, pointing at me, and making that tsch noise that you make when you can’t believe the audacity of some people. So then, I was sort of flustered, and wanted to walk over to her and say ‘What did you think I said exactly?’ but with the hatred coming off of her in waves, the idea of swimming upstream through the silent vitriol gave me pause, so I just shrugged the incident off. However, even though I had been seemingly innocent (unless it has become a grievous misstep in etiquette to appraise the quality of a butcher’s round steak), I began to have free-floating guilt and to feel like a Terrible Person. Over something I didn’t even say! Unless she was vehemently disagreeing with my appraisal of the round steak.

So we did finally get our purchases (including the now-tainted round steak, which I now have this urge to start screaming ‘Dirty pillows! Dirty pillows!’ because of the associated shame), and I took my mom home, went to the post office, got the car washed, dropped off the dry cleaning and then just sort of felt vaguely uneasy all day because I couldn’t shake the incident. I don’t know why, though, it’s not like I could have found that woman and explained to her that obviously she had misunderstood what I had said (although what, I have no idea’ I’ve been trying to figure out what malapropism comes from ’round steak’) and that I am not a bad person. And I think the guilt bugged me more than anything’ not the fact that it was pointless and unearned, but rather the fact that I kept feeling guilty even though there was nothing I could do about it.

After I got home, I did a load of dishes, emptied and loaded the (fucking) washing machine and dryer, then decided to go grocery shopping for powdered milk and dutched cocoa. I have an urge to make chocolate pudding and had looked up Alton’s recipe to find that I had exactly half the things required (sugar, cornstarch, and salt). I do have some dutch cocoa, but probably not enough, so I thought I’d pick up some more. Except that we live in a culinary wasteland and there was no dutch cocoa to be had, only stupid Hershey’s and the generic stuff that is not as good as the dutch. I was on my way home when Esteban called my cell and said, ‘Where are you? When are you coming home?’ and I said ‘Driving down our street. Would you mind putting your shoes on and helping me carry in the groceries?’ and he let out the sigh to end the world and said pitifully ‘All right.’ Haha. That will teach you to be impatient.

I made a double batch of Swedish meatballs and also some jasmine rice with chicken stock, because it is now my favorite food in all the world. I figured that with a double batch of the meatballs, we would have leftovers for at least two nights, but somehow doubling the batch resulted in four times the Swedish meatballs than expected. I’m not exactly sure how that turned out, but my god, we have a ton of Swedish meatballs now. I was a bit concerned, looking at the big dutch oven, filled to the top with meat and sauce, and said to Esteban ‘Ok, so we’ve got a lot of leftovers’ are you going to be able to eat this stuff all week? I’m sort of counting on you.’ And he waved me off and said ‘Are you kidding? I’m a fat guy. I could eat that whole pot right now.’ Which made me laugh and laugh.

Then we laid on the couch, each of us taking up one half of the L, joining at the pivot, and watched one of our new Eddie Izzard DVDs, then went to bed really early. Tada! We are old and boring. The end.



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