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2003-01-29 - 3:27 p.m.


The trip went well. It's finally gotten a little warmer here (above zero, but still below freezing) and my drive on Sunday was clear and quick. AR had to drive to our work location because the latest draft of her Master's degree thesis was on her work computer so I met her in the office and left my car in the parking lot. We went to Super Target, HyVee (grocery store), and back to her place for dinner. We made a really good tuna recipe for dinner with a snow pea and portabello side dish. Then we watched a terrible movie (on purpose!) and ate apples with homemade caramel sauce for dessert.

By this time it wasn't very late at night, but we were both exhausted so we finalized our dinner plans for Monday night with our friend K., watched some episodes of Trading Spaces, and then took to our respective beds to read and sleep.


Monday was back-to-back meetings at work. Even my lunch hour was spoken for, with a Team Lunch at Timberlodge Steakhouse (that my boss paid for). I needed a nap after we ate (meat and potatoes), but instead had more meetings. For some reason, our offices are kept extremely warm in the winter and extremely cold in the summer. You'd think that the company would want to save money on heating/cooling (it's a huge location with many buildings) but evidently they aren't that concerned about it. It was about 80º F in the office and it just sapped my energy. I don't like my freezing apartment, but I'm used to being cold, not hot, at work. I tried to drink a lot of water, but all that accomplished was extra-frequent trips to the bathroom. We left work just before 5 and got back to AR's in time for an hour of relaxation before leaving for dinner with K.

We both had headaches and were really, really tired so she gave me 2 Excedrin Migraine pills (over the counter, don't worry). She warned me that they contain caffeine but I thought that would be a good thing for me. It turned out to be a mixed blessing. After about 30 minutes my headache was gone and I was no longer tired, but after an hour I had moved from "not tired" to "completely wired" and that lasted most of the night. Before we got to the restaurant (sushi!) I was hyper, shaky, and slightly nauseous. It made sense when it sunk in that I rarely have caffeine. I drink a cup of English Breakfast tea (caffinated) every few days on average, but that's my only source of caffeine and it's a fairly gentle one. No soda, no coffee, no Red Bull, nothing else. I was in desperate need of some food to settle my stomach so we sat down to eat right away (after a quick detour to the kitchen store where I bought some heart-shaped cookie cutters and pink, red, and white decorating sugar for Valentine's Day cookies for The Scientist and a new whisk; AR bought 2 heart-shaped cake pans that I was eyeing as well but after she got hers they only had 1 left in stock and it was too small to be very useful by itself).

We had the best sushi dinner I've eaten in recent memory. Everything was fresh and delicious. I had things I've never eaten before (scallops) and they were amazing. The 9½ roll (an off-menu house specialty) was orgasmic. The toro (fatty tuna) was divine. The sake (salmon) was breathtaking. The best part was that when we got the bill ($150 for the three of us, which included K.'s two martinis and one beer) the entire thing had been comped so it was free. Free! K. did the graphic design for the restaurant last year and received a sushi tab in barter, but he thought it was gone, so we were all expecting a big bill (granted since K. is friends with the owner and the chefs our bill probably would have been discounted from the $150). We left $40 for a tip (AR and I split it since we'd eaten on K.'s tab) and it was the best $20 I ever spent on sushi.

Besides the freeness of the meal, it was wonderful to reconnect with K. The three of us have been friends for a long time, but in recent years I've felt like K. and I were growing apart. A. has felt the same way, but she lives closer and is better about calling and emailing. It's funny because our friendship really does have this three-sided dynamic. AR and I met in class and then worked together in the computer labs as undergraduates (she helped me get the job). K. was a labbie too when AR and I first met and she had introduced me to him once. He graduated, though, and we never hung out together.

For my birthday my last year in college (March, 1997) AR gave me tickets to see the Cardigans at First Ave (a club in Minneapolis). We had plans to go together but at the last minute that night (on my birthday) her hard drive crashed and she lost a paper that she had to turn in the next day. She had to spend all night trying to recover/rewrite her paper so she couldn't go to the show with me. I would have gone by myself but it was my birthday and I didn't want to be alone. My roommates had already gone out since they knew that I had plans (these were the days before we all had cell phones so I couldn't reach any of them).

AR felt really bad and she told me to call her friend K. and ask him to go with me (remember, I had met him only once). I was uncertain (and shy) about doing it, but she called him and told him the situation and then I called after she had prepped him. He wasn't doing anything and said yes. He picked me up (he lived farther away then I did and by this time we were already late for the show) and we went out. It ended up being really fun - K.'s birthday is the week before mine and his brother's birthday is on the same day as mine so we immediately had funny trivial things in common, plus AR and the computer labs, which broke the ice.

We started hanging out a lot more, most of the time as a threesome (no, not in that way). AR had attemped to date K. a while before but it didn't work out and they stayed friends. I was in and out of relationships and spending time with the two of them was a departure from my usual crowd (one that revolved around my roommates). At one point K. expressed an interest in going beyond friendship with me, but I didn't want that. He's a very passive person in a lot of ways and I knew that my personality (decidedly not passive) would take over. Plus, I just wasn't attracted to him in That Way. We rode out the awkwardness (mostly thanks to K.'s grace and my denial) and survived as friends. Sometimes K. and I would do things alone, but usually AR was there. It became a no-drama haven for all of us, a place where we could relax and enjoy uncomplicated fun with three very different individuals. Sometimes significant others would come along, but it's always fundamentally been about the three of us spending time together apart from the rest of our friends.

K. designed The Scientist's and my wedding invitations, reply cards, maps, and thank you notes, but was out of town for our wedding. The Scientist has always liked K. and they get along well but after we got married I just didn't see as much of K. as I had when I was single. AR has been with her boyfriend for 7 years, I'm married, and K. is still single. I'd like to think that this doesn't matter, and in some ways it doesn't, but I think it does affect the dynamics of a friendship. Besides that, it's a different lifestyle to be single in the city than it is to be married/partnered and living away from most friends (as both AR and I do).

The last time the three of us had dinner it wasn't so good. The conversation was uncomfortably stilted, K. seemed like he was in a bad mood but didn't talk to either AR or me about it and he drank through the entire meal (beer after beer after beer). AR and I both left feeling like it might be the last time we really spent any time with K. He didn't call or email either of us for a long time after that and in fact didn't respond to AR when she emailed him. All three of us were busy and it became less of a priority to reconnect with someone who seemed like he was pulling away. K. moved into a house over Thanksgiving weekend and spent Christmas with his family and brand new nephew. Then all of a sudden in January he became more available and started responding back to us. I'm sure that some of the problem had been simple business, but I have to think that maybe he decided he wanted to make the effort necessary to maintain the friendship. Our dinner on Monday night felt like old times again--we talked about everything from family to local music and the conversation flowed easily and naturally the entire time. It was great.

I was still wired from the caffeine when AR and I left but the long drive back in the dark (almost an hour because the roads weren't that great) made me tired. I'm like a small child - get me in the car for more than 20 minutes and I fall asleep (or want to). We got home and again took to our beds to read and sleep.


Tuesday morning we woke up to snow. Quite a bit of snow (an inch or two already at 7am). We left relatively on time but 10 or 15 minutes into our drive I started looking for my keys and couldn't find them. We ended up turning around and going back to AR's apartment to look for them. I finally found them at the bottom of a shopping bag. I have absolutely no memory of putting them there, but I must have done it when I packed up my stuff. We were late for our morning meeting, but it turned out to be cancelled so it didn't matter.

I had back-to-back meetings again on Tuesday, including a lunch meeting with a woman in my area who I'd like some sort of mentoring relationship with. That went well, so I'm hopeful I might start finding some additional support outside of my current contacts. I cancelled my last meeting of the day because one person was gone and because it was still snowing (and hadn't quit all day). I really wanted to get on the road so I could do most of my drive in daylight.

I left work at 2:50 in the afternoon and didn't get back home until 5:30. The drive usually takes just under 3 hours and it took me over 3½. It was very tense the whole way. Visibility wasn't a problem but the roads were spotty. Some places were fine, but wet, but other places were icy and wet and I couldn't ever tell which was going to be which. It alternated with clear skies, snow, and sleet the entire time and my windshield was obscured with slushy saltiness more often than not. I used up all my windshield fluid at one point and had to suffer through until the next major town where I stopped to refill it.

When I finally got home I was exhausted. I had been so tense during the drive that my back muscles were screaming. I had eaten some M&Ms for a snack and I think my blood sugar was out of whack. All of those meetings had given me a two-day headache. Luckily The Scientist had made dinner reservations at our favorite place, so I dumped my stuff, washed my face, changed into comfortable clothes and we went out to eat. Good food as usual, but I just wanted to get home and into my pajamas. And I did.

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