August 01, 2005

harmony in the home

We left for San Diego on Saturday morning a little after 8 (this is called "sleeping in" in my house). It was nice, actually, not to have to drive out after work. As part of that whole romantic weekend idea, we'd decided to shell out for the beachfront hotel, a pricey proposition in Mission Beach in July. What I didn't realize was that Rudder had also booked an oceanfront room. We were in a small but nice room on the third floor, with a good-sized balcony looking over the beach. After we brought our clothes up to the room, Rudder began making noises about needing a cart to bring up "some extra stuff". He wouldn't normally have needed anything else, so figuring something was up, I invoked the Christmas present rule and avoided asking any awkward questions.

It turned out that he'd brought along an extra cooler (in addition to the one with drinks for the six-hour drive) and a large cardboard box. It is, apparently, very helpful to be able to rely upon your spouse's obliviousness (I wouldn't know). This was also aided by Rudder's own normal overpacking tendencies; if I had noticed the extra cooler, I'd have assumed it was there to hold some boat part or other, since the main reason for our trip was to pick up the boats the local Rowing Club brought back for us from the World Masters Games. I invented some errand involving going downstairs, and when I came back to the room, he'd gotten it all set up.

Given that we were only home for two and a half days between trips, he really outdid himself. There was, as mentioned, an ice cream cake with "#1 Crew Chief" in icing, packed inside our biggest pot (the one we used to brew beer in) in the cooler with some dry ice, to survive the trip. On the table on the other side of the room was a large basket packed with some fancy cheese, crackers, those delicate rolled cookies from Pepperidge Farms, English Breakfast tea (loose), wine, and champagne. Also a candle shaped like a rosebud, and a card.


Padding the basket, as had to be pointed out to me, was blue, red, and yellow tissue paper (our Arizona Outlaws colors), and it was topped with a copper ribbon, to match the star in the middle of the state flag (and our logo). He'd also brought all the necessary plates and utensils, even a cheese knife and a tea infuser.

As it turned out, the basket and wine were things we already owned, and I had bought the tea and forgotten about it a few months ago, but he didn't have a lot of time to work and I don't think the reuse devalues the gesture any.

The card was very sweet, but I will not share its contents except to say that Rudder writes the worst-spelled love notes you can possibly imagine (he's not lazy but dyslexic). For some besotted reason I find it endearing, and always have.

By the time we arrived, checked in and unpacked - and I'd thanked him appropriately - it was nearly 3PM. The traffic on Mission Bay Drive is much worse in July than in spring or fall, when we're normally there. We decided just to spend the afternoon on the beach. Rudder especially was still recuperating from the Canada trip. The water was cold, but I decided that the cold would be less painful than not going in. Rudder, never a fan of full immersion, decided it was too cold for him, so he held my pants and glasses while I made my way into the waves. I finally managed to go deep enough to catch a wave successfully, surprising myself with what may be my only actual body-surfing to date, and ended up getting wet all over, with a bit of the thin Earth-blood taste of the sea in my mouth. I didn't stay in long, because of the cold and because I didn't want to keep Rudder waiting. We walked a bit farther, then he sat by the hotel hot tub while I immersed to warm up. After I showered, we ate dinner at Nick's - I'd picked the name from the hotel guide, but it turned out to be the same place we'd eaten at in January, when we were in town for the rowing camp. We enjoyed it both times.

I really think I did handle this latest pique fairly well; Rudder knew I was mad at him, and maybe a little distant, but wasn't finding me unpleasant to be around. He naturally shows love by doing things for me (which, unfortunately, doesn't work as well on me as verbalizing) so presumably accepts love the same way. I made sure to keep doing things for him, even while talking to him less than I normally would, and to tell him flat out (but calmly) that I was upset and exactly why. (Also, to be fair, I didn't feel unappreciated just by him but by the whole group, but he's the one I have to live with and the one whose actions affect me most.) He implied at one point this weekend that he'd wanted to go out of his way to be nice to me - and did - partly because I "didn't bitch much this time at all".

I think I was also on his schedule. When he'd decided to do the World Masters a while ago, he'd said something at the time about not having much time to focus on me during the training, and having to do it afterward. He said something to a similar effect that reminded me of that this weekend, so I think part of this all was a reaction to Recent Events, but another part was the timing. Apparently I'm a line item on his schedule. I guess that's a good thing - always nice to be a priority - and I can't say I wasn't warned.

He's still deciding whether to race at the Charles this year, especially as I expect to be JournalConning that weekend instead. However, head race training is usually not quite as intense. Meanwhile, I'm having almost a reverse problem, in that he's taking all this week off from training (barring maybe a weight workout or two) but I can't afford to do that. If I'm considering doing the Natchitoches Marathon at all this year, I need to begin building up distance now. (A month ago would have been better, but all that travel interfered.) So paradoxically, now I have to worry about not waking him up. And after this past weekend, I actually don't want to wake him.

Posted by dichroic at August 1, 2005 02:42 PM

See, men aren't all evil cads. There's still some hope for some of them. *weg*

P.S. I was amused by your comment on love by doing versus love through verbalization. It does seem to be definite gender difference on love that gets both men and women in trouble -- men for not talking enough and women for falling in love with the smooth talkers.

Posted by: LenS at August 2, 2005 03:08 PM
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