Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Brain-dump draft

It’s a Valentine’s prep day. I’m baking a double batch of snickerdoodles for Blaine and working on his card. I didn't find a card I liked so I bought a blank one. I thought it would be nicer to write something myself. It isn't a large card and so far I have two handwritten pages. No need to panic, I'm telling myself. This is a brain-dump draft. I have time to cut and refine it.

This morning I helped Paul make arrangements with Eve’s boss so she can leave early on Thursday. He made dinner reservations at a swanky restaurant that’s an hour away, but the only time available was rather early birdish. They’ll have to leave by 5:00, and Eve will need time to go home and change. He's trying to keep this a surprise. His plan involves calling her at the last minute to tell her he can't make it home at noon to let Izzy out so she'll have to go home early. I'm not sure making her mad is the best way to go into a nice surprise but he knows her best. My job is to make sure she leaves early like she's supposed to.

He let it be known that this is Blaine’s fault. “He made trouble for all of us when he came up with that thing you’re doing,” Paul groused but with good humor.

This is the first time Valentine's Day has been fun. Who knew it was possible?

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Monday, February 11, 2019


Mica went out to dinner with her brother, sister-in-law and Greg.

“Ooh, is it serious? Is this the one? What’s next?” I fired at her when she told me and asked if I’d come by and walk and feed the little white dog.

“Shut up,” she laughed.

“Are you in love? When do you think you’ll take the next step?”

“They will not ask any of that,” she said as if willing it to be true.

“I’m going to text them so they do.” It’s time she gets a taste of the uncomfortable drilling that comes with dating someone.

This isn’t a meet-the-family dinner. It just worked out that all three asked her to dinner at about the same time, and her solution was to go out as a group. Silly girl.

The little white dog and I took a long walk and I fed him. He’s on a special diet that is only available in canned food so his meal times are more restricted than they were when he could graze his dry food at will all day. After a romp outside, he curled up against me. I know it's because he was cold but I pretended it was because he liked being near me like in the old days when it was OK that he was attached to me.
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Saturday, February 9, 2019

High praise

Allison goes to the gym early on Saturdays. She invited me to meet her for coffee after. As much as I hated to leave the warm bed before 7:00, it was good for me to get going.

A friend of Allison's stopped by the table to say hello. Allison asked her to sit and tell me about an issue she’s having with her dog. “Oh, no,” her friend said, eyes going big. “That isn’t…” she shook her head.

Allison knew what she was getting at and waved her hand in the air. “It’s OK, Marcia’s as inappropriate as the rest of us.”

I took it as high praise.

It’s easy to hang out with Allison. I’m still finding my footing, though.

My brother told me the other day that Blaine was welcome to have dinner with us tonight. I don’t remember if I ever wrote about Blaine going with me to Olivia’s birthday party a few weeks ago. It was a smaller than usual gathering, and Blaine, my brother and Cody ended up alone in the dining room talking for a long time. I was there for a bit but not all of it. By all reports, they had a good conversation.

So tonight the three of us went to dinner and back to my brother’s for the gifts and cake portion. The only unfortunate part of the evening was when I asked my brother if he had found a photo I’ve been looking for of Mom and Aunt Liv laughing. I’d like to print it but can’t locate the file. I only meant it to be a reminder, but it turned into  let’s-show-Blaine-family-pictures. He’s a good sport. I watched the clock and cut it off after a reasonable amount of time.
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Friday, February 8, 2019

That'll do

It was a beautiful, balmy afternoon to be about and about, no?

Lunch with Susannah went well. It has been so long since the three of us have talked, we had a lot to catch up on. Susannah took control to ensure we covered as much ground as possible in an hour. Once she and Eve reported on developments in their lives, Susannah gave me one of her sidelong stink eyes. “Should I even bother asking you about Blaine?”

I had prepared for this. I gave a full report, everything she has always wanted me to cover, most of which I’ve never said out loud to anyone but Mica (and Blaine). Even Eve has never heard it from me.

Susannah set her fork down rather dramatically, placed one hand over her heart and extended the other to high five Eve across the table. “Finally,” she said to Eve.

After lunch I went to the antique mall. I found an old roadmap that I thought my brother would like. After a few more stops, I added a book of historical photographs and a gift card to what I had already gotten for him. Not my best effort, but I felt better about it.

I drove across town to meet Eve, Paul and Blaine for after-work drinks.

“Well, hello.” Blaine greeted me when I found them at a hightop in our usual corner of our usual place. He stood and helped me out of my coat.

Eve gave Paul a light slap on the arm with the back of her hand. “I remember when you used to do that sort of thing for me.”

“I still do,” he said patiently.

“You do, that’s true.” She patted the spot she had just swiped. “Doesn’t count as much if no one is around to notice,” she added.

He rolled his eyes, then smiled.

Blaine said to me, “I hardly saw you this week.”

“I noticed that. We’re going to have to do better.”

“You know what you can do to fix that for good, Blaine,” Eve said in the tone she uses when she’s ribbing him.

“And what is that, Eve?” He leveled one of his patient stares at her.

Her mouth turned up ever so slightly at the corners. Then his did too.

I drew in a breath and caught Paul’s eye. “This is going to be one of those nights, isn't it.” He laughed. Under the table, Eve grabbed my knee and give it a tight squeeze.

“That’ll do, Pauline,” I said softly to her.

Pauline is our shorthand for a guardian angel. If I ever get around to writing about our trip to New York, I’ll tell the story.

Paul crossed his arms. “Well, we’re nearly finished paying off coaches and athletic directors,” he stated, starting a more comfortable thread of conversation.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

With reluctance

Something is going on with Susannah. She barely speaks to me or Eve these days. She did agree to let us take her out to lunch tomorrow to celebrate her birthday but it was with reluctance. The three of us have always been a team so I hate this. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Henry called this afternoon and talked for an hour. His reason for calling was to tell me the Spanish translation is still stalled. Later in the call he told me I'd gotten him in trouble with Julia because of the Valentine's Day package Blaine booked for us. She told Henry she thought that's the sort of thing that wouldn't be too complicated for him to accomplish. I laughed. While we talked, I looked up the website and emailed the link to him. "Oh, thanks," he said insincerely when he saw it.

Before I left work I called my friend and former coworker, Peggy, to arrange a time to get together this weekend and exchange Christmas gifts. Between illnesses, bad weather and pre-existing plans, we haven't gotten together. We're going to go out to dinner Sunday night.

I went to Mica's tonight to see the little white dog. She's taking care of Chloe overnight so I got to play with her too. I stayed until Greg came by with supper for the two of them.

On the way home, I called Blaine. Filled him in on everything. We discovered we had made overlapping plans. Steve and Jan invited us out Sunday night, and he said sure. It would have worked fine any other weekend. I cannot cancel my plans with Peggy, so he's going to reschedule with Steve and Jan. We're going to have to get better and this sort of thing.

As for the daily weather report: Still bitter cold but other than inconsequential freezing rain this morning, it was a decent enough day. It's much better to have cold than slick streets.

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