Last week, on Wednesday, I got a pretty bad head cold. This made me nervous because I had so much planned for the coming weekend, but I took off work and slept it off and by the weekend, as long as I took my pseudoephedrine regularly, I was okay.
Saturday I had nothing planned until picking up Ratha at the airport, and I sort of knew that I would be spending a lot of the day waiting. Nonetheless I managed to be at least somewhat productive, sorting a ton of files that have sat around, in some cases for years, in disarray waiting to be dealt with. When I did go to the airport, I was about 20 minutes early, which I spent counting and pacing.
I picked Ratha up and we drove home. This was a little weird because I still hadn't really got used to her physical presence, and because between driving and maintaining a conversation my mental bandwidth was pretty much spent, giving me little to use for this adaptation.
On the way up Murray, we drove by Jameel and someone else, who had not been aware Ratha would be in town, and had an extremely brief chat while going by. Then I dropped Ratha off at the restaurant where she would meet Nick (change of plans—originally Nick was going to cook, but he was too busy) and I drove home and waited again. Finally Ratha called and I picked her up, then brought her back here.
Early in the evening, I suggested that we set an agenda—some sort of activity, like a movie, around which to organize the evening. Ratha felt bad when I said this because it seemed to her that having been apart for as long as we had, we should have no trouble filling the evening without any kind of plan. I had to admit that I kind of agreed with her, and that I had proposed setting an agenda mostly because it seemed like the kind of thing one does, and because I was trying not to stubbornly get us into an awkward situation.
We were sitting on my bed (our bed, really) at this point, and Ratha commented that she had also expected a certain level of physical contact, but I had seemed reluctant. At this, I pounced on her. We talked for another hour or so. After that we got ready for bed.
I woke up at 7:40 due to my alarm, which I had set for 8 minutes before my birth time so I'd be able to put on the Final Fantasy Theme. I was still pretty sleepy, but I managed to drag myself to enough alertness to create a 1-song playlist of the piano version in iTunes on Eris, and it was pretty. A bit after that, we drifted back to sleep. At about 11 we actually got up. Ratha tried to make an enormous omelette with mushrooms, onions and pepper jack cheese, but she wasn't used to using milk in it and it wouldn't stay together. (Apparently, milk is good in scrambled eggs (at least, if you like them soft—I don't) but not so much in omelettes.) So it was converted into scrambled eggs, which we ate with toast and coffee of almost tea-like strength (which, I've discovered, is quite good). Having finished breakfast, it was time to go see Shawn's house.
I was a little fuzzy at Shawn's house, due to my decreasing blood sugar from having taken a little too much insulin at breakfast, though I didn't realize it until late in the visit. I was glad to see that Shawn had finally accomplished such a major goal of his, owning a house, yet at the same time it left me slightly underwhelmed—I guess in much the same sense as my gun ownership and carrying have. That is, these are goals that, once achieved, move into more of a maintenance mode that, while it becomes an integral aspect of who one is, isn't nearly so flashy as the initial quest. Anyway, Shawn offered me some juice, but it wasn't enough and I let Ratha take the wheel as we headed to the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club while I drank a soda I'd had in the car and let it take effect.
It was Game Day at the GPGC, so there were a ton of people there, but we still didn't have much trouble getting a range. My 15-round Glock magazines had arrived, also. I think I've become an okay shot—I managed to get almost all of a 15-round run inside the first square at 15 yards. Ratha wasn't quite as good as me, but her performance reminded me a lot of how I shot about 4 or 5 months ago, when I first started to do it on a regular basis. I felt a little weird about “showing off”, and said as much afterwards, but really I think this just confirms what Ratha had said all along—that shooting decently should be just a matter of practice—so she should be able to claim the moral victory, if not the one in marksmanship.
As I was walking back to the clubhouse, my sister called to wish me a happy birthday, and I mentioned to her that we were going out to sushi later. One of the GPGC owners overheard this and sort of wrinkled his nose. Then, when we were inside returning the ear muffs and tape we had borrowed, Ratha mentioned this to Tex as a way to excuse us from participating in the Game Dinner (honestly, I really would have liked to try some of the dishes just to humor them, but for the fact that the meat probably would make me throw up) and Tex seemed mildly hurt. On the drive back we discussed this little bit of culture clash—I'm not really into gun culture at all, just guns (and, as Ratha later pointed out, if I ever went hunting, I wouldn't even have the excuse of eating what I hunted). I'm actually kind of nervous about this—I hope it hasn't lowered Tex's opinion of me. I really wish there had been some gesture of goodwill I could have made.
We drove to Sushi Too South Side only for me to find that Ed was stranded (car problems) and have to go back and pick him up. Nevertheless, everyone (Ed, Ratha, me, Ben, James, Milo, Doug, Josiah, Steph (Stef?), Will, Mitch) got there in good time. Dinner, started off with hot sake as has become traditional for me, was extremely good, although I found myself unable to finish all of it. It seemed a little odd to me at first that Ed and Ratha spoke far more to each other than to anyone else, but I spoke to the others around me and to them when it seemed appropriate, and any déja vu to the triangle of jealousy I had experienced over a year ago with Ed and Ratha was harmlessly nerfed when I thought back to the events that had already transpired this weekend.
When we got back home, we didn't waste long before passing out. When we woke up, we took some pictures, showered together, and drove directly to the airport since we were a little worried about time. This worry turned out to be needless, and we got breakfast at Au Bon Pain—they had everything set out in retail fashion, sort of unusual for a restaurant, but very enticing. Finally we said goodbye.
It was a pretty intense weekend. In certain respects it was very similar to my birthday last year. I kind of hope those respects can be replicated on future birthdays. :-)