June 18, 2017: Ten Years

 

Happy Father’s Day to all who are celebrating it! Our Father’s Day has been quite mellow. Grandma Kathy and Papa babysat the boys overnight so we could go to the Genentech Gives Back concert—our favorite event of the year, which just happened to be on our ten-year anniversary! So we arrived home from our overnight around 11am, and about all we’ve done is go out for ice cream, and Chris took a solo trip to the grocery store. (For those who don’t know, Chris loves grocery stores. And he rarely gets to go without at least one of the two kids, so this was a treat for him—even if it sounds rather dull to most of us!)

We had a great time on our anniversary. We were joking that it was much more relaxing than our actual wedding day! Grandma Kathy and Papa arrived mid-morning to watch the boys so we could go take the train into San Francisco in time for the concert. Parking at the hotel where we were staying (and really, most places in San Francisco) is about $50/night, so it was much cheaper to just take BART. As it turned out, it was a good thing we did—the eastbound Bay Bridge was shut down this morning, so if we had driven, we would’ve had to go way out of our way to get home (probably doubling our travel time back).

We walked to the hotel (the historic St. Francis on Union Square—one of our favorites!), dropped our bags at the bell desk, and immediately set off walking to AT&T Park (where the SF Giants play). It’s about a 30-minute walk from the hotel, but again—much easier than driving!

View from our hotel room:

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San Francisco was unusually hot on Saturday (though far cooler than where we live—today is 106 degrees!), and we were lucky to find a seat in the shade. Once we found it, we didn’t give it up! We took turns going to get food, taking bathroom breaks, etc.

Seat in the shade!

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Us!

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I knew the concert event wouldn’t top last year for me, because last year they had Pink, who I absolutely love! And indeed, it didn’t top last year, but it was still a really fun day! (Also, last year was their 40th anniversary, so they went all out with some HUGE stars!) The opening act this year was Aloe Blacc, who neither of us have ever heard of. He’s an R&B singer who seems to be more famous in Europe than here, though he was nominated for a Grammy, so he is somewhat known here in that genre, I guess. I’m not an R&B fan, but his performance was good—just not really my taste.

The second performer was Weezer—a rock band that was popular right around the time I graduated from high school. I knew the name but didn’t think I knew their songs—but then I realized I did know some of their songs. They were really good! I love a good rock band, so I enjoyed them much more than Aloe Blacc.

The third performer was Kelly Clarkson. I can usually take or leave her—I like her fine, and I own a couple of her songs, but she’s not a favorite of mine. But I have to say, her performance was pretty outstanding. Girl can sing! Her voice is amazingly strong live—I found myself thinking her album producers must not have to do much to “fix” her vocals in post-production, because she sounds pretty terrific live!

She was also really friendly and funny and having a good time with the crowd, which I think makes a huge difference. When the performer seems like they’re actually enjoying themselves, it makes the show a lot more fun for the audience. I’d say she’s probably in my top four favorite performers I’ve seen at these Genentech concerts. Pink, of course, was my #1—not only do I love her music, but she is awesome live! Foo Fighters was another I loved—I actually didn’t know any of their songs when we saw them, but they were a super fun band to see live. I also really liked One Republic—another band for whom I barely knew any songs, but their performance was so good that I ended up becoming a fan. And we shall add Kelly Clarkson onto the list of people who were just really good in concert! (My least favorite, by the way, was Katy Perry. I actually like a lot of her songs, but I didn’t care for her live. She just seemed kind of annoyed and lackluster.)

After the concert, we walked back to the hotel, relaxed for a short time, and then got ready for dinner. Chris survived his first Uber ride! Actually, he ended up liking it much better than his last cab ride in SF—apparently the cab driver drove like a nut last time.

I had made us a reservation at The Waterfront Restaurant at Pier 7. I’d been told by many people that the food was excellent and that the views of the Bay Bridge with the lights on weren’t to be missed. So, when I made the reservation online, I added a note that it was our tenth anniversary, and I’d love to be seated where we would have a view of the bridge lights. I was secretly hoping they might add another extra touch or two for the occasion—a glass of champagne, a special dessert, or something. No dice—but we did have a nice view of the bridge, and the lights were really cool. The bridge has lights set up on it to simulate the waves in the Bay, so if you watch the bridge after dark, it almost looks like the towers and the suspension cables are rippling like water. It’s really cool!

Our view at dusk:

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And our view after dark:

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The rest of dinner…well, it was a bit of a comedy of errors, but part of it was really funny, and I kind of thought it was a good microcosm of our life together: It didn’t go according to plan, but it was still fun!

When we got there, the maître d said something that neither of us could understand and then ended with “…will show you to your table.” We both nodded and smiled because we couldn’t hear the guy and didn’t want to ask him to repeat himself. So we sat down where indicated, ordered a glass of water (for me) and a Coke (for Chris), and settled down to look at the menu.

And waited. And waited. And waited. For thirty minutes.

Finally, after thirty minutes, the waiter came up and said, “Are you still doing okay here?” I replied, “We’re kind of confused. We sat down thirty minutes ago, and no one has come over to ask us for our order or anything.” He looked at me and said, “But you’re waiting for two more guests, right?” Um, no. Just us! (I checked my reservation confirmation on my phone, and the email did indeed say two guests, so I’m not sure where they got the idea that we’d be a party of four. But whatever.)

So at that point he took our order and signaled that we could be brought some bread. (I guess if the rest of your party hasn’t sat down yet, they don’t give you bread? Or even stop by to see how you’re doing??) I thought they might comp something on the bill for the mistake and the fact that it resulted in us sitting there waiting for thirty minutes, but nope—when the bill came, it had everything charged on it. Ah well…

Anyway, I ordered oysters on the half shell and cioppino, and Chris ordered clam chowder and seafood linguine. Unfortunately, my very finicky gut decided to go haywire during that thirty minutes when we were sitting and waiting, so I couldn’t really eat much of the food. (It does this thing where it feels like my intestines have twisted up in knots. It’s incredibly painful, and I can’t even stand up straight when it happens—and it generally lasts for a couple of hours.) I did manage to eat my oysters, and they were the best I’ve ever had! And I managed to pick at my cioppino, though I admit I left at least half of it untouched. What a shame, because it was a really nice meal (and not cheap—and I hate to waste!), but I was just in too much pain to eat the whole thing. Sigh… Chris really enjoyed his, though!

Mmmm!

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I really wish I could’ve eaten more of this—it was really good!

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The other weird part of the meal was that the restaurant was, as I said, not cheap—we splurged because it was our ten-year anniversary, and we hadn’t booked the trip to Hawaii that we had long planned for, so we figured the least we could do was splurge on a really nice dinner and hotel night. But when they brought my oyster fork, it was bent! Chris took one look at it and said, “Is that supposed to be bent?” Nope, don’t think so—I think they just gave me a bent fork.

I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be like this:

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Now, I don’t particularly care about a bent fork—I ate my oysters just fine with it. But I thought it was kind of funny that at this fancy, pricey place, they gave me a fork that looked like someone had put it through the garbage disposal—and after making us sit for thirty minutes and never refilling our water throughout the meal.

So I guess my review of The Waterfront would be: Very good food, amazing view…but the service probably could’ve been a little better. Still, we had fun—especially once we realized that people seated after us were getting served and no one had even spoken to us, so we sort of made a game of seeing how long it would take them to notice us! Chris and I both have a history of being Very Easily Forgotten People, so this was kind of par for the course for us.

After dinner, we headed straight back to the hotel, since I couldn’t really stand up straight. We had planned to do an informal vow renewal at the restaurant or on the waterfront, but we decided we’d just do it in our hotel room so I could lie down. Sheesh—feel the romance: The “bride” was lying flat on her back with nasty gut pain. I suppose it’s proof that he loves me, right? Chris didn’t mind a bit and just settled in next to me for our “ceremony.”

Chris had offered to be the one to plan this informal “vow renewal,” so he decided that we should write new vows to each other and then also each write down a Top Ten Moments of Our Relationship list. So we did that, and it ended up being really fun and meaningful to relive those moments together. I must say, most of them were ridiculously funny—apparently to both of us, the best moments are the ones where we laughed so hard we nearly cried!

We also exchanged gifts—we don’t usually do them, but ten years seemed like a big deal, so… I made Chris a mix CD because he tells me that he first realized he was in love with me while listening to a mix CD I had made him when we were first dating. So for our anniversary, I picked out a bunch of songs that remind me of him and put them together on a CD for him.

For his part, Chris got me a ring. This is actually the first ring he has ever picked out for me himself, which made it super special to me! I love my wedding set (the only other ring he’s ever bought me), but he didn’t pick it out—he told a family friend basically what he wanted, and the friend (who worked with a diamond wholesaler or something) picked it out. I love it, and it’s perfect for me—but I was really curious to see what Chris himself would pick. (I knew it was coming because he texted me to ask my ring size…and then informed me that he was only asking so he could buy a ring for his mistress—ha!)

Turns out Chris has terrific taste—this was my anniversary gift:

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It’s a band with black diamonds and white diamonds. I didn’t even know black diamonds existed! I love that it’s a little different but also very traditional. That seems just about perfectly me!

So I guess you could say that despite my gut deciding it ought to act up, we had an awesome anniversary. It was quirky and mellow and fun and very much us!

Meanwhile, the boys had a good time with Grandma Kathy and Papa. Theo and Papa went swimming (it’s horribly hot here right now) and baked cookies (thank heavens for an induction oven that doesn’t heat up the house!), and Theo also made coasters as a Father’s Day gift, with Grandma Kathy and Papa’s help. Meanwhile, Sam treated them to an epic blowout and generally did his Sam thing—though I’m told he was a bit of a stinker at the restaurant for dinner. See—even Sam isn’t always happy!

 

Speaking of Sam and the potty…what a week. I attempted to potty train him, and it was a colossal failure. Although he is going on the potty for anyone who isn’t me. Not consistently and not exclusively—he’s still in a stage where if he’s on the potty and needs to go, he’ll go (as long as it’s not for me), but if he has to go when he’s not on the potty, he goes then, too. I don’t think he yet clues into the idea of holding your pee until you get to the potty. So let’s just say this week involved my living room furniture being entirely drenched with pee. And me eventually throwing in the towel, putting him back in diapers, and steam-cleaning the furniture.

Don’t ask me why he’s so resistant for me, by the way. He will sit on the potty for me, but he immediately says “Done!” and climbs off. For everyone else, he’ll actually try to pee. Let me tell you, it makes me feel like an utter failure as a mother. But then, I spend a lot of time feeling that way lately.

I may stink at parenting, but at least I’m a decent worker. I had to wait tables at a restaurant on Monday for a charity event, and I think I did it pretty decently. It was fun, too. All the patrons were there to support Down Syndrome Connection, so they were a forgiving audience. I don’t think I ought to switch careers to serving, but I wasn’t too bad at it! And I also got contracted to write twelve books in the next six weeks, so I guess I’m okay at that, too. Don’t ask me how I’m going to write that many with just three hours a day to work, but we’ll figure something out, because we can certainly use the paychecks. I’ll spare you the long rant I had typed up and instead just sum it up like this: If the looming Medicaid cuts go through when the AHCA makes it through the Senate, we are screwed. So I’m stockpiling paychecks where I can. (My hands are kind of tied in a blue state—our senators are already vehemently opposed to the Medicaid cuts, so I’m preaching to the choir with them. But there are certain red states where it’s thought the senators might be on the fence about the Medicaid cuts and caps. If you live in one of those and want to know how you can help, contact me. There are some really easy ways you can advocate for Medicaid to remain intact.)

In other doctor-ish news, Sam had a dentist appointment this week! It, too, was a failure…but with a tiny success. He did actually open his mouth this time for a brief second. Not long enough for the dentist to “count his teeth,” much less clean them, but at least he didn’t keep it firmly clamped shut the entire time. And he only screamed for a couple of minutes, so there’s that.

Sam also had swim lessons this week, and that was a success! (Thank god something was!) Last year he hated them, but this year he enjoys them—except when his teacher has him put his head underwater. That did not go well, so we’re back to just putting his nose, eyes, and mouth in the water, which he’ll generally do without complaint. He loves picking up the toys from the step, which is how the teacher gets him to put his nose, eyes, and mouth in.

Learning to kick:

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Happily splashing his teacher (they splash each other so he gets used to getting water in his face—he loves the splashing!):

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Water “raining” on his head!

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More kicking:

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Putting his face in the water by choice:

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Sam starts CRP tomorrow, which I’m excited about. I know he’ll do great at that—he loves it! So that’ll be another success for us (hopefully!).

As for Theo, he started his camp this week, and he loves it! He’s doing really well so far—earning a lot of points for positive behavior. He loves the pool they go swimming at, and he really enjoyed the carnival they had on Friday. He also loves the “quests” that they do twice a week—one day he chose to do an art quest and built a fossil, and the other day he chose to do a science quest and work with other kids to build marble runs using only pool noodles and toothpicks. He said he had a great time!

The fossil he created:

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He dressed up as a “classy 1920s man” for the carnival:

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So that’s been our week! Some really good…and some really not good. I guess that’s life! See y’all next week!

I found this tiny baby bird (a quail, I think) in our garage. And then I think I accidentally killed it, which pretty much devastated me. It hopped out of my hand and landed on the concrete. 🙁 It didn’t die right then, but I have a feeling it was probably not long for the world. I put it in a shady bush where I hoped its mama would find it, and it was gone when I returned from swimming—but had its mother found it, or had it gotten eaten by one of the neighborhood cats? Ugh, I hope the former!

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This week’s meals started with Korean rice cakes with asparagus—SO good!

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Carmelized onion and fontina grilled cheese sandwiches with summer squash, celery, and caper salad. Super yummy too:

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Flatbread pizzas with white beans, leeks, tomatoes, and mushrooms (also yummy!):

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Oooh, this was my favorite of the week! It was a smoked trout, potato, asparagus, arugula, and garlic-crouton salad. SO good!

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White bean and potato tostadas with avocado crema and pickled carrots and onions. Yum!

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