March 17, 2012
St. Patrick’s Day is always held dear to my heart not only because I’m Irish but also because it marks my first date with my husband. We had met six months earlier when I was 25 and had first moved to Los Angeles, but I was having far too much fun being single and going on auditions to really pay him much attention. He was just coming off a slew of bad relationships with overly needy/jealous women so it must have been novel for him to be completely ignored by someone.
In that time period I discovered that California men were not really men at all but text book examples of the Peter Pan Syndrome. Coming from the east coast where men dressed for Wall Street, this never ending childhood thing completely threw me off. After six months of this I turned to the universe for help. This was my prayer:
“Universe, oh Universe, please send me a man. I’m so tired of dating boys who are pushing 30 and play more video games than the kids I babysit. Please send me a man who has discovered that sneakers, baseball caps and sport jerseys are not the only clothing options available to men. A man who has a car would be preferable to the guys here who skateboard everywhere. Please send me a man who has a job. The boys I date seem to be incapable of keeping one (even though I have three.) A sense of purpose and direction would be a nice change from the boys here whose favorite catchphrase is ‘whatever.’ Amen.”
No sooner did I finish my prayer when the phone rang. “Hi! Do you know who this is?” “No,” I giggled. “This is Henri. Do you have any plans for today?” “No,” I replied. “Yes you do, you’re going on a date with me.”
Bravado. I like it.
We went to a Mexican restaurant because nothing says “St. Patrick’s Day” like a taco. I was used to dating starving actors, so before I ordered I asked, “The meal I want to order is $14. Is that ok?”He was used to dating gold diggers, so he replied, “I love you.” That was twelve years ago. We’ve been together ever since.
Every year we celebrate our first date anniversary by going to a Mexican restaurant, but this year I can’t because I’m on the Bikini Diet and Daniel will kill me if I go off it again. Even though I totally lie to him about how often I cheat on it, he knows…
Our friends from LA, Patrick and Jane, and their two kids are with us for five days. They are both utterly impressed by my weight loss and commitment to exercise. The last time they saw me I was pregnant with Little Henry. (FYI-Little Henry is really Henry Traugott V, so as a baby we called him “Fiver” because Henry was too big a name for a baby. Patrick has been calling little Henry “Cinco” all day and it’s confusing the hell out of my son.)
Jane just had Brody nine months ago. You would never know she was even pregnant…twice! She is tall and lean and eats McDonalds for breakfast, which makes me jealous beyond belief. By contrast I am short, it is painfully apparent I have birthed some babies, and have to work out twice a day and measure my lettuce to fit into my size 5 jeans.
We head downtown to show them the capital and 6th street. Their son Kyle wears a shirt that says, “Kiss Me, I’m Awesome” and we all don various shades of green. South By Southwest is in full swing and the city is perfectly mobbed. I did not precook and pre-pack my food as Daniel suggested, because who has time for that? But I am at peace with myself because while everyone else was sleeping I was up at 5 a.m. and working out.
But now it’s 2 p.m., the kids are ready to melt down, all the restaurants have hour long waits and I’m starving. Plus Henri is in a bad mood because he and the guy who works for us are in an argument on the phone. These are not the anniversary memories I want.
We finally get into a place called Wholly Cow but they don’t serve salad and I can’t eat burgers so we beg and plead and they throw together some lettuce and shredded chicken in a bowl for me and call it a day. Mission Accomplished. I am eating healthy.
We go home and everyone takes a nap except me. I go to the gym. Daniel is there, working out with a friend. I say hi and he almost bites my head off. I mentally forgive him for this because he’s only a few weeks away from his competition and his coach just cut his daily calories from 4,000 to 1,500, making him unbelievably grumpy.
Besides, I’m not going to let him rain on my parade either. I’m too proud of myself for sticking to my diet and going to the gym twice today. I send Henri a text. “Happy 1st Date Anniversary. I love you.”
I come home and Patrick says, “Uh oh. Here comes Trouble. Look at the Workout Queen.” This strikes me as funny and I’m happy to find someone else in a good mood. We told him about our anniversary date and he and Jane have decided to make us tacos for dinner.
While everyone else eats the real stuff they make a special taco for me. They measure out 3 ounces of chicken, shred it and cook it on the Lean Mean Grilling Machine and then wrap it in a big lettuce leaf for me and I eat the quinoa I’m supposed to from the diet.
Some days are tough. Some days are good. Today was wonderful.
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