Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The "big day" approaches

Friday, May 26 = the "big day".

May 26 is my favorite aunt's birthday. She'll be 62 this year, but she has a very 'young' personality.

May 26 is Joe's parents' wedding anniversary. If Joe's father were still alive, his parents would be married 54 years on Friday.

May 26 is mine and Joe's anniversary of when we met/started dating/living together. (We don't waste time.) This Friday it will be 10 years.

TEN YEARS! Ten years for a gay couple seems outstanding. Ten years for any couple is outstanding when you consider that 1/2 of all marriages in the US ends in divorce. My assumption has always been that since gays can not marry (at least in 50 of the 52 United States) many do not invest as much in a relationship that appears to be souring. For married folks, it takes a lot of work to end a relationship. It costs time and money to divorce. But gays can pack their Louis Vuitton luggage and walk out the door whenever they want. Now, I'm not trying to say that's what all or most gay couples do when the going gets tough. I'm simply saying that without the legal connections of marriage, gays seem to be able to 'move on' more easily, and do. That, of course, is just my opinion, based on no factual information what-so-ever. But I digress.

I'm quite proud that Joe & I have been together for 10 years. It was my desire to share this 'accomplishment' of sorts with our friends and family by having an anniversary party. But after several discussions with my other half (NOT my better half) we've decided not to have a party.

But on Friday evening we will do something just as wonderful and 'celebratory'. We're having dinner with Michael and Jamie (aka The Newlyweds, because they actually ARE married in the state of Massachusetts) and then the 4 of us are going to the beach for a 3-day Memorial Day weekend.

You can bet there'll be some celebrating going on!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wonderful weather weekend

The weather this past weekend was wonderful! Joe & I were at the beach and drove around the entire weekend with the top down. Sat it was mostly sunny with a few periods of clouds. It was warm and wonderful. Sun it was sunny all day, and warm again. It was truly beautiful.

Our friends Doug & Jim bought a mobile home at the beach on Fri, so we met up with them Fri evening to see their new place, and to go to dinner. We ate at Fish On and had a great time. The food was great, as it always is, and we also enjoyed a few celebratory cocktails to commemorate their new beach retreat. We got there at 8:30 and didn't leave until 11:15.

I've been wondering why no one comments on my blog anymore. It used to be I'd get a comment or two from friends and the occasional stranger who'd happen upon my blog, either because I was linked on someone else's blog, or because of something in my blogger profile. But I haven't had any comments in a few weeks, which makes me wonder it:
  1. No one is reading my blog anymore
  2. No one finds it interesting enough to leave a comment
  3. No one wants me to know they're reading
  4. No one wants anyone else to know they're reading
  5. No one can figure out how to comment

Just in case #5 is the case, let me tell you that you don't have to be a blogger to leave a comment. You can simply click on 'anonymous' and then after typing your comment, just type in your name. But if the real reason for no comments is #1-4, I'd better come up with some more juicy content! And speaking of linked blogs, I finally figured out (sorta) how to add a blogroll to my blog so you can see the blogs I read. Check 'em out!

Actually, I've got something significant to blog about, something that's been on my mind a lot, but I am not yet at liberty to make it public, so it will have to wait.

This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and we are going to the beach for the 3 days with our friends Michael & Jamie (aka: The Newlyweds). I'm really looking forward to it. Michael & Jamie are the kind of guys that will really dig an old fashioned Memorial Day cookout, with grilled burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, chips and soda! In fact, two summers ago we had just such a cookout on 4th of July, when we still had our vintage trailer. It was super-fun! I am looking forward to just such a cookout again with them. I'm really hoping for excellent weather this coming weekend, like we had last weekend.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Party

A few weeks ago we received an invitation to a party at David & Jeff's. I made a mental note of it and left the invitation out so Joe would see it. When he did I told him I really thought we should go.

We met David a few years ago at church. He is friends with several of our friends who also go to that church, and that is how we first got to know him. Later we saw him at a holiday party and a birthday party hosted by those same friends we have in common.

Then we ran into David in the Las Vegas airport. Turns out we were all scheduled on the same flight back to BWI, and had arrived at the airport early, so we sat and talked a bit. Our plane was due into BWI just before midnight, and when we found that David would have to take a cab or call his new boyfriend to come and pick him up, we offered him a lift home. He only lives a few miles from us so it was absolutely no trouble at all. This gave us more opportunity to talk.

We learned that he and Jeff had been seeing each other for several months, and that Jeff had just recently moved from Seattle to the DC area to be with David. Remembering that we were having our holiday party in about 3 weeks, I verbally invited David and Jeff, then sent them an invitation a few days later. They came to our holiday open house and we met Jeff for the first time.

A few months later, in the Spring, we got an invitation to David & Jeff's for a "last party before the house gets torn apart" party. They were about to add a large addition to their house and wanted to have a party before the place was in shambles. For some reason (I'm not exactly sure what) we weren't able to make it. I think we already had plans.

Then around the holidays we received another invitation from them, inviting us to a holiday cocktail party. We planned to go, so I RSVP'd 'Yes', but with everything so hectic at the holidays, we just plain forgot. There was no calendar conflict or anything; we just forgot to go, and I felt badly.

So, when we got the invitation a few weeks ago, I told Joe that we needed to go to David & Jeff's party. Of course I wanted to go anyway, but I told him we really should go, since we'd been invited before and hadn't gone. It was the same weekend as Mother's Day, so I knew we would be in town and not at the beach.

Sat morning we had a little breakfast and then got started with our painting. We painted the foyer, hallway and vestibule area that leads to the TV room, guest bedroom and bathroom. We decided on a gorgeous, rich shade called Baked Clay. (Most people would call it Terra Cotta.) We painted until 1:30, washed up, had a light lunch (since we're dieting) and then took a ride over to Lowes. Joe wanted some of those fast-growing, cascading petunias called Wave Petunias. We brought them home and planted them in some pots we already had, left over from some fall mums we had a few years ago. Our neighbor Suzanne came over and we talked about the neighborhood, real estate values, the illegal immigration issue, and various other topics until shortly after 5:00. Finally we went inside to get showered and ready for the party.

On the way, we stopped and picked up some cut flowers for our hosts; beautiful, magenta colored Asiatic lilies; they'd make a lovely impression, then drove to David & Jeff's house. I'd forgotten to bring the invitation with me, so I was trying to remember the house number. We'd only been to the house once before, when we dropped David off from the airport, in the dark, two years ago. We parked in front of the house we thought was theirs and carried the lilies as far as the driveway. Something didn't seem right. I was not at all convinced this was the right house. Where were all the other party-goer's cars? Why were all the blinds closed at this house? I told Joe that I didn't think this was the right house, and suggested we quickly get back into the car. He noticed that the house we almost went to didn't have an addition on it, so we were then sure it wasn't the right house.

Fortunately the street was not long, so we turned around and looked carefully as we made a second pass. Then I saw the correct house. I recognized the same car in the driveway I'd noticed the night we'd dropped David off, and this house had an enormous addition on both the back and the side of the house. We parked and once again carried the lilies to the driveway. Once again we noticed there didn't seem to be any vehicles belonging to other party-goers cluttering the street. We rang the doorbell and waited. No one answered. We stood there a few more seconds, then walked back to the car.

"Are you sure the party was this weekend and not next?" Joe asked. "Yes, I'm positive. I remember thinking to myself that the party was Sat and Mother's Day was Sun: a full weekend." We decided to go home and look at the invitation again. The date read 5/12/06. I said out loud "See? Its this weekend, not next weekend. May 12th. Today is May 12th, isn't it?" As I heard myself asking the question, I began to feel a slight sting of guilt. I walked over to the calendar on the fridge and then said out loud "No, today is May 13th. The party was last night."

Thank god no one answered the door at David & Jeff's house (THAT would have been embarrassing), and no wonder there were no other cars in front. They'd all been there the night before. My mood suddenly plummeted. I couldn't believe we'd missed another party at David & Jeff's. Somehow I'd gotten it in my head that the party was on Sat night so I didn't pay attention to the actual date on the invitation. I just knew it was Sat night at 7:00. I felt so badly I didn't know what to do. It took poor Joe a few minutes to understand why I was so disappointed and upset with myself. THREE parties in a row we missed at David & Jeff's.

In a vain attempt to lessen my disappointment we went out to dinner. On the way back home Joe suggested that the night wouldn't be a total loss since I'd now be home to watch one of my favorite shows: Trading Spaces. Trading Spaces always comes on Sat night, sometimes twice in the same night. But, adding insult to my injury, that night was the first Sat night in I don't know how long that Trading Spaces was not on. I couldn't believe it.

Today I sent David & Jeff an email, explaining why we'd RSVP'd 'Yes' and then not shown up. "Actually we DID show up - only it was the wrong night" I joked. I hope they don't think we're crazy guys who get some weird kick out of saying we'll come and then not show up. Maybe we should simply invite them over or out to dinner to prove we want to be friends!


I've been looking forward to "Poseidon" ever since I heard they were making the movie. Based on the 1972 all-star cast hit "The Poseidon Adventure", this remake had me anxious to see if it could be as good as the original.

The original truly was chocked full of stars: Gene Hackman, Earnest Bordenign, Shelly Winters, Roddy McDowell, Pamela Sue Martin. Being one of several 'disaster movies' of its time, I believe it had the most celebrities. 'Towering Inferno' and 'Airport 77' only had a few celebrities in them.

I remember seeing "The Poseidon Adventure" as a kid. I was about 8 when it came out. Since it takes place on New Year's Eve, over the years TV stations have often shown it on New Year's Eve. Any and every time I discover its on TV, I always watch it. I don't know why, but I have a strange, 'cult-classic' attraction to this movie.

In case you've been living in a cultural vacuum and haven't seen the original ("The Poseidon Adventure"), a huge title wave strikes a cruise ship and it capsizes. A small group of people struggle to make their way to the highest point in the ship in order to survive. Eventually some of them make it to the ship's hull where rescuers cut a hole and get them out.

In the remake (simply called "Poseidon") the plot is basically the same, although many of the characters and details are different, including the ending. In the original, much more time is spent developing the characters. As they struggle to survive, we learn about their other, more emotional struggles. We find out their history, and we come to care about them. Although a nice feature in the original, I believe I prefer the 'less personal' and much more fast-paced style of the remake. There's more action and less personal history. I'm surprised to hear myself say this, but in this kind of movie, I really feel like the story is better served without all of the personal baggage. In the original it slows the movie down and gives you a chance to relax. In the remake, without these 'rest periods' we're kept on edge, with adrenaline flowing as fast as the ocean pouring into the upside down ship.

And the special affects! Oh... my... god... The capsizing of the ship and all the chaos and mayhem that go with it are absolutely brilliant! Don't be surprised to see this film nominated for awards for its special affects. I'm a person who does NOT like a lot of computer-generated stuff in my movies. This movie seems so believable that its difficult to perceive where computer-generation is used versus the use of models and distant cameras. I thought it was incredibly real-looking and well done.

I think "Poseidon" certainly did justice to its predecessor "The Poseidon Adventure". Although not a modern 'duplicate', it pays homage to the classic while making use of modern cinemagraphic techniques to produce a new, fresh version.

Don't wait for this to come to DVD - see this one on the BIG SCREEN!

Wednesday's Wonderful Weather Walk

On Wed we had wonderful weather. It was warm, but not hot or humid. There was a light breeze, but it wasn't windy. It was absolutely gorgeous.

Usually Joe has client appointments on Wed nights, but last Wed he didn't, so after dinner we decided to go for a walk. We brought Jordan with us, although we knew she'd only be able to walk with us for a while. With her age and past disc problems, she's only able to go around the block once. But she adores going for a walk so we took her, brought her back home, then set off on another walk of our own.

Walking is so good for you. Unlike running or sports, walking won't damage your body. To the contrary, its excellent for your cardiovascular system, and helps you lose wait, want to eat less, and feel happier, due to the endorphines that are released.

We walked about a mile away from our house, then turned around and walked back home. It wasn't about where we were going; it was the journey.

I like walking too, because it gives us uninterrupted time to talk about things, discuss, plan, debate, organize, joke, and laugh. No TV or radio in the background, and no telephones; just the sounds of nature and suburban life around us.

I hope we'll do this more often.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Last Fri was Cinco de Mayo. I invited a few local friends to meet us at the Taco House, an appropriate location for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Apparently the rest of DC had the same idea. The place was packed, and there was a constantly changing line of people waiting to be seated!

We put our name on the list, but because we were expecting 7, it took a little while to get 4 tables for 2 in a row that could be pushed together. Fortunately this happened on the patio. Although not a sunny day, it was a warm one, so the patio was delightful.

Bugsy & Roger were the first to arrive, then Joe & I showed up with Ron, followed by the Newlyweds. All but Ron had marqueritas; Ron had sangria, an equally festive Cinco de Mayo choice. We talked and laughed until the Newlyweds had to leave - they were expected at a friend's place for dinner, but squeezed us in for margueritas. The rest of us ate until we were ready to burst (damn those delicious home made tostada chips!), then we bid each other goodnight. It was really fun.

This blog

I was looking over the last few months of this blog and realized that I seem to have gotten into this habit of making just one, mammoth entry each week. Truthfully, it can be a little intimidating to think about that one, big entry.

Then I started thinking the reason I've gotten into this habit is because I always think I have to have a pretty significant amount of time to write. I like to reread an entry before publishing it, to check for spelling and grammatical mistakes and to make sure its easy to read. Sometimes I'd spend an hour and a half on a single entry, because I hadn't posted anything in a week. Then the entry would cover half a dozen topics.

So now I'm going to try a different style. Instead of one weekly 'dump', I'm going to try to have multiple smaller entries - each with its own theme. So here goes...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Excitement and uncertainty

For several years, Joe & I have kicked around the idea of living at the beach. Its kind of been a lifelong desire for both of us. We really love being near the beach, all year round. Occasionally we'd talk about how our lives would change if we moved away from the area where we both grew up, and if the changes would all be for the good.

If we moved to the beach we wouldn't be able to see our family as often. Joe couldn't slip down to Alexandria to meet his sister for lunch, and we wouldn't be able to continue our standing Thurs night dinners with Evelyn. We wouldn't be able to call up the Newlyweds with no notice and see if they wanted to go to dinner. We wouldn't be able to accept an unexpected invitation to join Kerry & Hugh for a movie and fried food at the movie cafe. Without a doubt, there would be some cons to moving to the beach, so mostly it has been a lot of talk, without much real thought about doing it.

But then about a year or so ago, I began giving more serious thought to it. Despite the cons, I could think of a whole bunch of pros. First of all, we'd be living at the beach! There is no sales tax or personal property tax in DE, and the real estate taxes are slight. (Over $500. a month of our current mortgage goes to pay the real estate taxes on our house. In DE the real estate taxes for a house of the same value would be about $100. a month. It would be like getting a $400. a month raise!) Also, VA currently has an initiative on the Nov ballot that would render same-sex couples powerless to will their assets to their partner when they die. (There's already a law prohibiting same-sex marriage in VA.) The cost of housing is cheaper in DE, and although the incomes are also less, a job working for the state or another large employer would provide a good salary and benefit/leave package. Not working in Herndon anymore would mean I'd save about $40. a month on tolls. And if I took my job with me and worked from an office in my home, I'd save about 75 minutes a day and $160. a month from not commuting. The pace of life in Sussex county DE is just a little bit slower. When you call Reed's plumbing, the likelihood is that Mr Reed will be the one to fix your faucet. There's not the same 'hurry up and get out of my way' attitude up there, and there is only 1 Starbucks in Dewey, Rehoboth, Lewes, Milton, Georgetown, Ellendale, and Milford - combined. And as often as we go out to the beach for the weekend, we could just as easily go back to DC for the weekend if we lived at the beach. We'd still have lots of opportunities to see our family and friends, but it would need to be planned. All in all, I think we could have a nice life there.

For the last 4-5 months, I've been checking the DE state jobs website. (Since the state is so small, instead of there being County jobs as there are here, there are state jobs.) In early April I found a job for Joe. He liked the sound of it, the pay scale was good, and he was qualified for it, so he put in an application. About 2 weeks later he got a letter in the mail indicating his qualifications had been reviewed and that he met the requirements for the position. Then last Fri he received a call requesting an interview. It will be this coming Thurs. My job is rather portable, so I'm pretty sure my boss will allow me to take my job with me. We started getting excited about the possibilities!

By coincidence we'd planned to go to the beach Fri night. So, with the potential that he might like the job and be selected for it, we ended up driving around Rehoboth and Lewes looking at the different neighborhoods, picking up real estate fliers/info sheets, getting ideas of prices, and starting to figure out what/where we liked. On Sat we went into an open house (they do them on Sat instead of Sun up there) and had an informative conversation with a realtor. He directed us to some neighborhoods we didn't know existed and we got to go into 3 more open houses. But mostly it was fun to see the wide variation in home sizes, prices, neighborhoods, construction types, and locations. I couldn't believe how quickly the day passed by. We went back out on Sun for more of the same, and by the time we went back to pack up, we'd driven 125 miles! From Fri night when we filled up the Civic's tank until we got home on Sun, we'd driven 390 miles, and the tank was empty again. (You'd never guess by all that driving that gas is $3. a gallon.)

On Sat evening we met up with some new friends in Lewes, Robert & John. We'd never met them before, but we were given their names and number by Kerry, from her friend Maura. We met Maura at Kerry's house quite a while back, and after talking about going to Lewes so frequently, Maura suggested we meet her friends Robert & John who live there. Later she gave their info to Kerry who gave it to me, but we didn't try to contact them for quite a while. Lots of times when we come up there during the season we have friends with us. When we go off-season its to relax, so Joe never wants to feel like he has to get dressed and go meet someone new. His shyness makes that idea unappealing even if he's already dressed and ready to walk out the door! But with the potential of moving to the area, Joe finally agreed to meet them. They were nice, and a great resource for information about the area. They moved to Lewes 6 years ago, but never really seemed to establish a close network of friends, so they say. (Not exactly encouraging, but I think that had more to do with their personalities and less to do with the area.) They return to DC and also travel to NY to be with friends and get a dose of city life when they want it.

After returning home yesterday evening, we looked on realtor.com at all of the inventory in Lewes and Rehoboth. There's a ton of homes for sale, both new and previously owned. Then we went to the Taco House for dinner. It was a little chilly so I was surprised Joe wanted to eat on the patio, but we did and it was great. Then we came home and watched the Sopranos and Big Love. Joe went to bed and I returned to realtor.com. There's so much to look at; it can get addictive.

This evening while Joe was at his 6 & 7 pm appointments, I was looking at realtor.com, comparing features, looking at the additional photos and the virtual tours. I made fish and pasta for dinner. Tomorrow Joe has just one appointment, and then on Wed he has 3 back-to-back appointments. (Finally...) Thurs he'll drive to Dover for his interview, then back home. Fri is Cinco de Mayo so I'm thinking of inviting friends to join us at the Taco House. We'll see...