Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steak and Kindness

Marriage has many, many benefits. There has been a definite upswing in my happiness factor. That joyous state has had an unintended consequence, which has been reflected in the numbers on the scale. So, as of January 3, I made a firm resolution to Do Something About This and for about a month now, I've been carefully tracking what I eat, what sort of exercise I'm getting (my right ankle remains a tender thing, so that part's been a bit disappointing), and so on. It's been going well - I still have miles to go before I sleep (to rip off Robert Frost) - but my birthday was a few days ago.

Oddly enough, FryDaddy and I share the same birthday (weird, I know), so we decided to have a celebratory dinner once he was home for the weekend. We decided to cook at home, rather than go out to a potentially crowded restaurant, then we decided on a simple menu and divided up the tasks - easy to do, FryDaddywould cook, I'd be "sous chef" and "pot walloper." (An aside - of course he was going to cook! FryDaddy comes from a family who takes cooking seriously. For my first Christmas with the family, I was given a copy of Julia Child's classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking because "every house needs the Bible." Further, FryDaddy doesn't brag about it, but in his pre-academic life, he trained under a chef of some renown. Early in our courtship, he came over to cook me dinner, toting a box of ingredients and yes, his own knives because as he told me gently, "Your knives are crap." And I actually like cleaning up. There's something Zen-like about it for me.) Anyway, off to the grocery with us!

I was amazed at the response of people when we explained that we wanted something special because it was our birthday. The salad and asparagus we picked out ourselves but we strolled right past the pre-wrapped meat to consult with the experts. The butcher took care to select two supremely excellent ribeyes for us (seriously - these babies were two inches thick, well-marbled for flavor and about 20 ounces each - steaks to celebrate with, indeed) and took pains to make sure we knew how to best cook them for full flavor and tenderness. The lady running the bakery took two mega cupcakes and frosted them thickly enough to make them appear to be the Cupcakes That Ate Toledo, even re-doing the petals on my frosted flower when she wasn't quite satisfied. These masterpieces of pastry were then gently packed into their own holder in a box for transport. (We made sure to sing the praises of these helpful folks to the manager before we left - everyone complains, few people compliment, and these people were as helpful as a brownie to us, whom they didn't know from Adam's housecat.)

We rolled out the grill (it was a mild day - finally!), dusted off the good china, put out flowers, lit a few candles and remembered just why this marriage idea was such a good one.

And it being us, we wrapped up the evening in the company of Mike and the 'bots watching a truly awful made-for-television movie starring Raul Julia (who really should have been ashamed of himself) called Overdrawn at the Memory Bank. The movie is very lightweight, not being encumbered with a coherent plot and the commentary from the Satellite of Love is rib-splitting.

It's gonna be a good year!