This morning found me puttering around the kitchen a few minutes past 5:00, eyes still bleary with sleep while I sliced mushrooms, grated cheese, cracked eggs and fried bacon. This is not a part of my normal routine; even on a workday I don’t usually get up any earlier than 6:20, but Tara’s alarm had sounded at 4:45 and she was upstairs showering before hitting the road for Nevada today. I was cooking at such an ungodly hour because I wanted to surprise her with a nice breakfast before she left. She certainly was caught off guard, and might have had a few tears in her eyes as she dug into the omelet I’d prepared for her. It was a simple gesture on my part – I doubt I would have been able to just roll over and go back to sleep knowing that she was leaving for five days anyway – and besides, she made sure I had a hot breakfast on my first day of work. It was the least I could do for her!
An hour later we kissed goodbye, and I had to watch her drive away for what feels like an eternity. It reminded me of the airport goodbyes we came to dread so much while dating long distance; there was the familiar ache in my heart, the longing to just hold her as she dwindled out of sight. I know five days isn’t much in the overall scheme of things, and she’ll be back before I know it, but that doesn’t mean I automatically stop missing her when she’s gone. I wanted very badly to go back to Ely with her, and of course she wished I could have come along, but my new job prevented that. My one-month anniversary is a couple of days away still, and I haven’t accrued that kind of vacation time yet. After so many trips together, or back and forth visits to see one another, having her go without me felt strange. But it is what it is, and I’ll be fine. Barring any more backwards underwear incidents, of course.
I do sometimes wonder how I survived on my own for five years…
The kids are here this week anyway, so I’m not really on my own. Except for the fact that they’re both teenagers (or close enough) and don’t spend as much time hangin’ out with dear old dad as they used to. Rusty’s got his own car now, and Audrey is wearing makeup. Neither of these things is making me feel any younger!
But Tara isn’t any younger, either. In fact, Friday was her birthday. I promised to make her whatever she wanted for dinner, but what she wanted was her lasagna. Which meant she had to make it herself. I’m of the opinion that birthdays are special and one shouldn’t overly exert oneself on one’s big day, but she feels that the anniversary of one’s birth is just another day and should be treated as such. So we compromised: she cooked dinner, but I had my mom bake a cake and I insisted on washing all the dishes afterwards. The real fun came later in the evening, after the obligatory family dinner – she and I went to the local bowling-alley-slash-sports-bar (hello, Big Al’s!) for a night of drinks and entertainment. We arrived about 8:45 and settled into a booth, where we relaxed and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics on a television roughly the size of a cruise ship, and made fun of the old people dancing to the live band that was playing disco and dance hits from the past three and a half decades. We make quite the snarky pair, Tara and I! We partook of our usual libations (gin and tonic for me, vodka and 7 Up for her) and added a couple of chocolate cake shots to the mix because it was, after all, her birthday. We ended up playing pool for awhile (I lost all three games because, well, I suck) and then some electronic trivia games before finally leaving at 1 AM. This was wise as our bar tab had grown quite large by then. Oops. We headed to Shari’s next, one of those open-24-hours-and-serving-breakfast-all-day-long restaurants slash pie shops. Think Denny’s or Perkins. For some reason, nothing beats chicken fried steak at 2:00 in the morning. Gotta fuel up in order to save off any potential hangovers, I suppose.
Saturday we had planned on driving up to Mount St. Helens for a picnic lunch and hike, but eighty-sixed that idea because of our late-night debauchery. A lazy day that included watching movies and drinking Bloody Marys sounded much more appealing, and was just what the doctor ordered. We don’t always have to be on the go (even though we usually are). Sunday we ran a few errands, including a trip to the farmer’s market, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company. Kind of bittersweet, knowing she was leaving the next morning, but it turned out to be a nice day together. Tara went to bed early, but I stayed up later than I should have given my early morning breakfast plans. I couldn’t help myself, and I’ll tell you why in two words: bad, and breaking.
Or to be more precise, Breaking Bad.
I absolutely love the show, and consider it the best drama on television hands down. Possibly ever. It is gripping and suspenseful, tense and action packed, and the acting is phenomenal. There’s a reason why Bryan Cranston keeps piling up Emmys – he long ago shed his nice-guy Malcolm In The Middle persona and has morphed completely and believably into the brilliantly twisted and deviously cunning – and I daresay, downright evil – criminal mastermind, Walter White. If you have never seen this show you absolutely should (but please, start from Season 1, episode 1 – you can’t come in now and expect to know what is going on). In brief, it’s the story of a previously mild mannered high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer and decides to cook meth in order to amass money to leave for his family once he expires. He teams up with a former student and gradually finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the seedy underbelly of the narcotics trade. Complicating matters is the fact that his brother-in-law just happens to be a DEA agent. We have watched Mr. White evolve over the first four seasons into a person who is truly unlikable – and yet, for some reason, you still root for him. Breaking Bad is pulse-poundingly irresistible, so of course I had to stay up late to watch it!
Now, talk to me for a second. What show do you consider Must-See TV? Is there anything you put off bedtime for, even when you have an early morning looming? What’s your drink of choice? And have you ever eaten a meal when the rest of your city/county/state is fast asleep? Feel free to answer anything or everything (or nothing, if you must). I could use some entertaining since my girlfriend is so far away!