Not the Best of Hosts

Dearest Rachel –

Well, the girls came over last night. It’ll be the last time for the better part of a month, as Ellen will be out of town visiting her mom next week, and then I’ll be in Colorado on this men’s retreat the next. So, three weeks until next time.

Clever me, I thought I had a plan; since Erin habitually runs late (and that’s about as literal as it gets, what with her training. It’s quite understandable, too – who wants to run in the middle of a hot, muggy August day? Best to wait for whatever cool the evening might bring – although admittedly, that might not be much at all, when it all comes down), and at any rate, would never allow me to obtain her meal in the first place, Ellen and I would pick up something for the three of us somewhere. I’d actually convinced her to check out this Asian place that specialized in teriyaki-based dishes that Jan and I had discovered – Jan had pointed out that virtually everything on the menu was gluten-free, a plus for Ellen and her diet.

The first slight hitch in the plan was when, upon arriving home from the ‘office’ – Dad had driven me home, as we both agreed with Erin that the middle of the day was no time to be out running, or even walking – I discovered that Daniel’s friend Logan was over, and they were watching Danganrompa together. Not a big problem – in fact, not really a problem at all, per se – just a small, unforeseen item. Eh, you take life as it comes.

I want to say that I tried to nap while I stayed out of the boys’ way and waited for Ellen to arrive. I don’t think I really succeeded, and that’s going to be important later on.

Ellen showed up at around seven o’clock, And she made a point to give Chompers some loving. It’s not something I’m good at, nor do I enjoy, but it’s probably something that he needs a lot more often than I ever bother to try and give it to him. She would scratch his neck, and he would just lie there, painting, tongue just ever so slightly out in what she refers to as his “happy face.” I actually found myself wondering whether we would be able to get out at any point in the near future, since the old boy was enjoying it so much. She actually agreed about that, but kept scratching a little more as I checked with the boys as to what they would want.

Turns out, not everybody was enthusiastic about the idea of Teriyaki Madness, so I wound up building up something of an itinerary with regard to picking up food: this place for Logan, that place for beverages, and then to the place I thought we’d originally decided on (but of course, hadn’t consulted the boys on yesterday, so that’s pretty much on me). Still, given the fact that all of these places were located within what we would refer to as ‘the triangle,’ it wasn’t as if any of the stops were inconvenient.

Gotta love running errands in the suburbs.

While we were on our way, Ellen was telling me about her weekends at the Renaissance fair, including your plans for upcoming weekends. I got so engrossed in her story that I missed our first stop. Oh well, it was only for a beverage; I figured I just pick it up at our next stop.

The parking lot in the center of the triangle where Golf, Algonquin and Wilke intersect is somewhat large and convoluted. I’m not sure Ellen actually knew where we were at one point, but as long as she wasn’t driving, she wasn’t terribly concerned. She has the same kind of faith in my navigational ability as you did – it’s kind of nice.

So, after getting Logan’s meal and Daniel’s drink, we got the the original place we’d agreed upon trying. Now, I could have sworn that the time Jan and I had been there, the teriyaki sauce came on the side, to be poured on when the bowl was ready to be eaten. But the guy behind the counter told Ellen that all the meat was marinated in teriyaki sauce as well. I had forgotten that neither Erin nor Ellen or particularly fond of teriyaki sauce (Erin goes so far as to refer to it as ‘teri-yucky.’ But then, we left her to her own devices, so if she went to the same place we did, that would kind of be on her), but Ellen decided she could live with it, and placed her order regardless.

Anyway, we made it through all the stops (after missing the first one, of course), and brought home everything we needed. Strangely enough – or perhaps not – Erin still hadn’t arrived. But we had been prepared for it, and distributed and dug into our meals. We were nearly finished when my phone rang. Since I had my mouth full, I put it on speaker; Ellen took it as a cue:

“Erin! Erin! Erin!”

And in response from the phone, “Ellen! Ellen! Ellen!”

Some running jokes never stop running.

Yes, it was Erin, apologizing for the delay. She was, at least while she was speaking to us, finally on her way… and seemed determined to talk to us throughout her entire drive, despite having the windows all down and it being difficult for either of us to hear the other. I kept telling her we could talk once she got here, but well… she hates hanging up – or even saying goodbye – and I couldn’t quite bring myself to simply cut her off. Although I think I may have despite myself, after having reminded her yet again that the connection wasn’t ideal and we could better understand each other once she arrived. There’s no polite way to end such a conversation, it seems.

It’s not long afterward that she arrived at the house. And despite the fact that she’d brought her own food, without me paying for it or anything, she was all apologetic about having to use the microwave to heat what she brought. As if she had to ask; what, am I about to tell her no, she’s not allowed to use it? What kind of host would I be if I did that?

Then again, once she got situated at the table, I retreated to my rocking recliner while she and Ellen chatted – with occasional interjections from the boys – and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Yes, I fell asleep while everyone was here and talking with each other. Not the best of hosts, at all.

In my defense, I would argue that:

  • I’ve gotten too used to sleeping at this relatively early hour because of Chompers’ own circadian rhythm; I’m simply crashing when I usually do.
  • And as it so happened, the old boy did wake me up at about three this morning; it’s just as well that I’d gotten the sleep I had when I had.

It’s just that, it’s wrecking havoc with what social life I’m trying to have.

Gonna make it difficult dealing with new people going forward, I think. Well, as always, honey, wish me luck.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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