August 8th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note; yesterday report...

Yesterday's trip to Fayetteville to celebrate George's birthday was a bit more exciting than we'd planned, because the drive to Fayetteville had with it an absolutely whopping thunderstorm in the oldfashioned southern style. [That is, lots of spectacular thunder and lightning -- all sorts of Sky Commotion -- and rain enough to drown a person, but not enough wind to notice, and no tornados.]

We knew we were heading into something unusual, because there was a cloud of a kind I've never seen before in my life, going on mile after mile after mile; it looked just like a wall cloud, but it was white. George is ordinarily a fount of weather information [a hard-to-turn-off fount, I might add] and can tell you everything you could conceivably want to know about any cloud in the sky, but this one had him stumped. We've been married forty-four years, and this was a first; it wasn't reassuring. And then we caught up with the storm... which was dramatic beyond description. The streets were small creeks, and all you could do was drive into them and spray water everywhere and hope for the best.

We made it to Barnes & Noble, where George chivalrously dropped me right at the door and went on to park the car and do the attract-the-lightning-with-your-umbrella routine himself, even though it was his birthday, not mine. He spent an hour finding his birthday presents, while I did some Christmas shopping, and then -- with the storm having diminished to only a downpour -- we drove to the Red Lobster for his birthday dinner. Grilled tilapaia and rice and steamed broccoli and salad with balsamic vinegar viniagrette for me; a rock lobster tail with melted lemon butter, baked potato with butter and sour cream, and a salad with ranch dressing for him. And iced tea and cheddar biscuits for us both.

Every year I wait for the moment when George takes his first bite of his birthday lobster and a look of utter bliss spreads over his face, and every year it happens. He tells me that he forgets, in between birthdays, how exquisite lobster dunked in melted lemon butter is, so that it always comes as a surprise. I can't share the experience, because I loathe lobster, but I can bask in the bliss-reflection.

Ordinarily we would have gone on to at least one more place after lunch -- Hobby Lobby, for example, or the used book store on Dixon Street [which, to my pleasure, made it into the current issue of the Oxford American] -- but not this time. I am so exhausted and puny right now from dealing with the convergence of the three newsletters and the Gentle Art book revision and the Huge Emergency-Rush Project that I couldn't even muster up the energy to think about going anywhere else, much less follow through on the thought, and we just headed, happily, for home.

[Where our Internet was down, which could have meant that I didn't have to do any work for the rest of the day, but our ISP person called and he and George got it fixed, which meant that I had a big batch of e-mails to answer that couldn't be postponed. Our ISP person is a marvel; skilled, and dedicated, and prompt, and courteous, and effective. I appreciate him, even when his list of good qualities deprives me of a valid excuse not to work.]

We had had to take Sheba to daycare at the vet again, and she was outraged. Again? Already? But we were back to pick her up by a few minutes after one p.m., courtesy of my aforementioned exhaustion and puniness. And that pleased her, since there are times when the whole day goes by before she gets to go home.

It was a wholly satisfactory birthday celebration day, storm and crazy cloud and all.