Marriage An Epic Adventure

Find us it did! Good news for the entire clan, you may have heard our collective sigh of relief, when we found out our mom does not have an incurable disease, but conversely is on the mend. There were ghoulish rumors, moments of despair, and lots of internal prodding, but all evidence seems to point to a curable malady for our beautiful matriarch. That’s all the encouragement I needed to pop a bottle of good wine, “Here’s to our First Lady Ann, Glory be to God.” 

Larry and I have been under a monstrous amount of pressure lately, for reasons all our own, so I wasn’t surprised when he walked in the room this morning, with two cups of steaming coffee, and said, “Let’s pack a bag, get out of town, spend a night on the coast?” Larry and I grew up in California, we have always made our way to the coast when life seemed unmanageable, casting our worries to the saline waters, allowing the gentle motion of the waves to carry them away, leaving behind a foam of redemption. Our anniversary is in a few days, we have absolutely no plans, and I assume he’s trying to redeem this situation with an impromptu get-a-way, but I’m not going to make it easy for him. No. Crazy as it sounds, Larry is the spontaneous one in our relationship, but that could be because he controls the finances, and likes to do things his way. 

I’m pretty good but not great before my first cup, “Now?”
“What, do you have other plans?”
“I plan on finishing this coffee (and having a second cup but I keep that to myself).”

He tries to tempt me out of bed, “We’ll stop for a glass of wine and chowder at Phil’s, check out a few antique shops, hike along the beach.” (All my favorites things and he knows it.) Does he remind you of anyone? Tail, horns, red…

He gives me an hour to savor a blessed second cup, shower, and pack a bag before the orders start coming, “pack a bathing suit in case we come across a hot tub.” I am so not packing a swimming suit but I say, “okay.” “You’ll need a hat we’re taking the convertible,” just after I put the finishing touches on my freshly washed hair, “Okay.” “Oh, and no computers, I don’t want to be the topic of next weeks blog.” “Okay.” He should know by now I live by the words of Nora Ephron, “Everything it copy.” He throws my hastily packed bag in the trunk, starts pacing while I debate lipstick options, so I linger just to be vexatious. 

The drive to the coast is divine. I keep thinking about our beautiful world and how lucky I am to rest my eyes on coastal redwoods, the redemptive ocean, and endless crop fields. Amazing how different the world looks after a stipend of good news or maybe it’s the coffee. We don’t talk much during the drive, both of us lost in our own thoughts, me envisioning a new future, he mentally preparing for a trip to China. He leaves tomorrow but that seems a lifetime away.

The whales are migrating, it’s crab season, and there are no parking spots at Phil’s, so we create our own space behind a six foot stack of crab nets. The line is spilling into the parking lot as I weave my way into the restaurant and check out the bar space. As you would expect, it is packed, and no one appears to be leaving soon. I order beer and wine to sip while we stand in line anticipating our cup of chowder. The line moves faster then you think and before long we’re devouring fresh calamari, hot soup, and buttered bread. The stomach has it’s limits but we refuse to stop, very thankful for my stretch pants, eat on.
Moss Landing has gone totally upscale, galleries and martini bars have replaced my charming junk shops. What the hell? Larry says, “not interested in modern art. You?” “Nope.” We hop back into big red and head towards Monterey. 

When we arrive at the hotel we’re surprised to find our room is ready early. I’m beginning to wonder when my fountain of good news will run dry? After unloading the bags we head outside to check out our swanky accommodations. We’re staying at a chic adobe lodge located smack in the middle of downtown Monterey. There is a courtyard, with rustic fountains, benches, and lush foliage. Now this is when my luck starts to change, Larry spots a hot tub nestled behind some shrubs, he says, “Hey a hot tub, you packed a suit, right?” “Not a chance, I prefer nudity, you?” He gives me the Larry look, “We’ll buy you a new one in town.” It’s winter, I’ve started to insulate, not a chance, but I smile and nod. 

It’s early, so we head downtown for a little adventure, and let me just say it was epic. There is a big race tomorrow and the streets are jam packed with lanky, sweaty, zoned out, lycra encrusted masses, intent on arriving somewhere quickly. They’re like locusts, covering the streets, sidewalks, and benches. They all have matching t-shirts, numbers, and seem overly attached to their water bottles, makes me thirsty. After browsing through a kitchen, garden, and bike shop Larry completely loses his mind. 

He points with a fair amount of enthusiasm, to this obscure sign with an arrow, aimed at a rather shady looking door, “Check this out, what do you think, you up for it?” 

“Are you crazy, I’m not going in there, that’s a brothel.” 

“It is not, come on, it’ll be great.”

“Ladies do not frequent such establishments.”

“It’s a couples massage. You’ll love it.”

“We’ll catch a disease.”

Desperate situations require desperate measures, “The game is on, right, let’s grab a cold beer, I’ll think about it (not a chance in hell).” The nice thing about a town full of runners the day before a race is the beer garden is totally empty. We slip in for a cold one, accompanied by greasy garlic fries, and roasted brussel sprouts. (A couples massage, really?)

This particular bar is known for cold beer and extravagant martinis. Me and martinis are never a good idea, but we’re celebrating mom’s newfound health and thirty-three years of wedded bliss, so I throw caution to the wind. (I hear you, “remember what happened last time, it required bail,” but I’m not listening.) We sip our monstrosities for the better part of an hour before heading out to the streets with an altered vision and newfound bravado.

I will never fully comprehend how I ended up naked, face down, on a narrow bed, with a tiny sheet covering my chilled derriere. Larry is in a similar position not two feet away from me. And no, we are not holding hands. A women I do not know is massaging my arms, legs, and back. I’m covered with oil. It’s pure bliss. As my field of awareness diminishes, I believe I am moaning, it’s only me and magic fingers in the room, until I’m jolted from a pleasant dream, when she asks me to turn over. I oblige like a well trained dog.

I’m pretty sure I need to go to confession.

After our couples massage we head underground to a quaint British pub. It was dark, warm, and ever so inviting, a complete throw back in time. The people are part of the props, along with an assortment of British flags, aged wood, and lots of red. I’m a little worried about the oil coating my entire body, including my hat hair, and flabby neck. My makeup is a disaster but I decide to ignore the apprehensive looks coming from the wannabe Brits. We start chatting it up with a couple seated at the bar, they become our new best friends, and somehow their contact info ended up in my phone?

We continue to eat our way across town, landing at an Italian restaurant, for more carbs, and wine. Just what I need. This restaurant is packed with the lycra crowd, perfect, everyone is a beanpole. I only eat half my dinner because I suffer from lycra body envy. On the way back to our adobe lodge Larry hands off my leftovers to a homeless lady sitting on a bench. She scoffs at him because she wanted money, I consider retrieving my gnocchi which she tosses aside, but I restrain myself.

It is late when we arrive back at the hotel. Larry’s fight leaves in less than ten hours. He says, “Dip in the hot tub before bed?” “I’ve been naked enough tonight, next time.” The alarm goes off at 5:00 am. Ouch. It is dark and cold on the drive home. I hear the pounding waves against the distant shore, I’m dealing with a redemptive hangover, but feel gloriously absolved. 

If you are the British couple we met in the bar, we won’t be able to make it for Thanksgiving dinner after all, but thanks for the invite. 


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True Grit

You Can’t Have Her Just Yet

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