Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

June 26, 2008

My Lesbian Boyfriend

I went to a concert last night with Wine Guy and I remembered so many things that I forgot to tell you. The problem is, I don't think I can remember them all. Partially because my mind was clouded (in a slightly illegal way), and also because the show was so amazing that after awhile I stopped thinking about all the blog entries I still needed to write and just enjoyed the experience. So I apologize in advance for not being able to possibly recreate the amazing posts I had written in my head while watching/listening to Ani DiFranco's electrifying musical poetry.

First let's get this taken care of. Yes, we went to see Ani DiFranco. And no, I didn't have to drag him. In fact, he's the one who took me. Which leads me to the first thing I realized I forgot to tell you.

I an proud to say that Wine Guy is my lesbian boyfriend. And I have said this to him on many occasions and not once has he objected. It's not that he's a pushover. He is just that comfortable with who he is.

He is not a "guy's guy." Nor has he been emasculated. He's not a "metrosexual" (three black t-shirts to his name, two of which have holes, pretty much make that case for me), and he could give a crap how I decorate, so it's not that he's effeminate either. Hardly.

He's just a PERSON, not a "guy." And since I have never even come close to meeting a man quite like that before, the only thing I have to compare him to is the fantastic women I've come to know and love (platonically) over the years. Except he has a penis. And we get naked. So, in my book, that makes him my lesbian boyfriend. Get it?

Wine Guy's been an Ani fan for years and has seen her countless times in concert. My first show was last spring, which WG also took me to. I enjoyed it but, since we were in that very early impress each other phase - and it was the first time I met a good female friend of his - I spent more of the night trying to make a good impression than I did enjoying the show.

Last night was an entirely different experience for me. First of all, the audience was 90% women, so the vibe was mellow and respectful. Everyone stayed in their seat and just appreciated her performance with the band, reacting to her powerful lyrics (which have evolved perfectly from the angry lesbian songwriter I fondly remember from college to the angry liberal -- married with a baby - today). I can't tell you how many times I wanted to shout, "That's me! She's talking about me!" Except if I did, I suspect every woman around me would say the same thing.

Besides the audience and the performance, the setting was terrific. It was at Humphrey's, a small outdoor venue on San Diego's Shelter Island. So while the music swells, you are treated to cool ocean breezes and a view of the boats in the harbor (plus a bunch of kayakers tied up just outside enjoying a free show). A beautiful night.

Before the show, WG and I were walking around getting "cloudy" and he started telling me about how he remembers staying right there on Shelter Island as a teenager visiting San Diego with his parents (he is from Denver originally). Then he started talking about all these weird connections he's had over his life to San Diego, before he ever moved here a few years ago. Some pretty amazing, "small world" stories. Which lead him to say, " It's like I was meant to come here or something. I wonder what that's all about?"

I don't know about you, but it seemed pretty wonderfully obvious to me.

I turned to him with a little smile, "Maybe it was for me?"

Here's something else I forgot to tell you. Wine Guy is very unromantic. He hates sentimental statements. Such as one I made when we first moved in together that went something like this, "I'm so excited we are starting our lives together."
He rolled his eyes. Yes, it hurt my feelings. But I also know he hates that kind of cheez. No matter how true it may be.

So I was understandably a little tentative when I said this to him; that perhaps his whole life's purpose from his teenage years to now was to get to San Diego, go through a few girlfriends, and meet me -- the love of his life (my words here, not his).

Of course, I didn't say all of that. Just a couple of words accompanied by a little tap on my chest and a knowing smile. At first he laughed. For once, I didn't say anything overly reactive or insecure in response. I just let the moment, and the thought, sink in. I'm glad I did. After his laugh subsided he kind of slowed and said, "Hmm. Maybe." And grabbed my hand.

If that is as romantic as he gets, I think I'll take it.

So many things I am still forgetting to tell you. But I'm sure they'll come to me eventually, so perhaps another time.


June 19, 2008

Assume the Position

We did it. Our first grown-up, couple purchase. A sofa.

I couldn’t stand the sofa Wine Guy had before. It was very heavy-looking, bulky, velvet (too warm for southern California in my book), and a dark maroon color that, although attractive, just didn’t match my color palette in any way, shape or form (I’m all about the reds). Plus it was technically owned by ex-Wine Gal (I’ve not written much about her but not because she isn’t around. She is, in fact, still quite good friends with Wine Guy and we see her on a very regular basis. Makes for awkwardness at times but overall I like her. Her furniture that used to be “their” furniture? Not so much).

Over the last few weeks, I’ve thrown out comments here and there suggesting it might be time for a new sofa that was “ours,” but he never seemed to bite. That is, until we finally arranged our living room last week and realized that it just wasn’t working.

We originally planned to just browse the furniture district (I use that term loosely. In San Diego the furniture "district" is basically a ghastly road of furniture strip malls) to see what was out there. My priority was comfort and a chaise. His was price and appearance. We both agreed it couldn’t be too overwhelming for the space. In all honesty, I was prepared for battle. He tends to prefer more modern styles and I tend to prefer something you might actually want to sit on after gazing at its beauty.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly we were agreeing on things. In fact, we thought we found the couch pretty early on. A nice, simple microfiber sectional with a chaise. We got a quote, sat on it in a multitude of positions, and almost pulled the trigger. But I took one more sit and finally admitted (out loud thank goodness) that it just felt, well, low–budget. Like it wouldn’t last long, so what was the point? He agreed and we moved on.

Moved on to the most perfect couch in the world.

I am giving myself full credit for spotting it first. It was a tad over our price range but it was everything we wanted. Comfortable, but modern, spacious but didn’t feel huge due to its low profile. It was love at first sight for both of us.

We needed to make sure it fit so we rushed home and were devastated to discover that it was far too large to fit where we had originally intended. But I was not going to roll over that quickly. After some brainstorming, we found an even better furniture arrangement that would accommodate the sofa perfectly and even add to the illusion of having distinct dining and living areas by using the chaise as a sort of room divider.

We called and purchased it over the phone right then and there and spent the next two days saying, “I can’t believe we bought a couch” over and over again.We picked it up on Monday and had it assembled and in place by Monday night. Here's how it looks (if you look closely you will see my cat, AppleButt, making herself quite comfortable):
One big question did loom over this all-too-happy purchase experience. Ex-Wine Gal’s couch. I could tell from the first moment I started hinting that I wanted a different couch that Wine Guy felt a bit touchy about just “dumping” her sofa. Wine Gal is somewhat cash-strapped, so if we sold it, the money should probably go to her. But we didn’t want to go through the time and hassle of selling it for a measly $100, and she certainly couldn’t fit it into her tiny studio apartment. I suggested donating it to Goodwill but that was also met with some reluctance by WG. Finally out of frustration I called him out on it, “So what exactly are we supposed to do with it?! We can’t have two couches here!” That’s when it came out. He feels sad for her. Just like this couch is my first grown-up couple purchase, this couch was hers. And here we are, happy, and unceremoniously dumping it for something newer and better.

I get it in theory. I feel badly for her too – she has become a friend of mine as well. But still. Like I said, this relationship can be awkward at times.

So WG finally picked up the phone to call her and ask if she was OK with us donating it. He went outside to have the conversation, I suspect because he wanted to tell her privately that he was sorry if she felt sad about it. I don’t know exactly what was said, and I alternated between being jealous and compassionate the whole time he was out there. But he soon returned with the news I wanted to hear - we could take it to Goodwill and be done with it. And that was that.

Back to the good part. I feel like a whole new world of comfort has opened up to us. We used to squirm and adjust every five minutes to try to squeeze us both onto the velvet monster. But we never really got comfortable. The cushions slid out, the cat hair stood out like dandruff on a black t-shirt. It just sucked.

But now? Now we can each have our own section to ourselves (though I can see we are already fighting over the chaise) and our own physical space. Or we can snuggle onto one section together if we so choose. The cats even love it because they can have their own territory on either end without feeling threatened. AppleButt has already started to show her love for the couch by scratching it, so it was quickly covered in StickyPaws before she could do much damage. But other than that it’s heaven.

Is this what cohabitation is all about? Being comfortable while sitting together in front of the TV? We’ll see. Right now I’ve only had one night of being able to veg out on it and Wine Guy wasn’t even home. Hopefully this weekend we can really test it out with the ultimate boring couple test – a movie and a few glasses of wine.


June 13, 2008

Moving Images

I know, I know. People are visual for creatures. You need pictures. But I've grown so comfortable being anonymous here that it feels weird to suddenly start posting pictures of my real life. Not that I'm holding back. In fact, I reveal more about myself here than I probably should. But pictures of me, my boyfriend, our home...that seems just a little, well, creepy.

But what the hell. Here are a few pics of my recently blogged about bathroom. I know it doesn't look like much. The space is just too small to allow for a good angle. But trust me, it's yummy.

And the final image is a little "moving tableau" I stumbled upon our first day trying to sort out our mashed-together mess of boxes. I thought it sort of summed up our merging of households: cats, wine paraphernalia and packing tape. I probably should have thrown in my knitting needles or a tennis racket to balance it out with more me stuff, but then it wouldn't have been a truly organic tableau now, would it?

Enjoy, and thank and/or blame Mimi for me posting the pictures. I just can't say no to her!

The chocolate brown and ice blue bathroom with feminine shower curtain and butterfly paintings -- all OK'd by Wine Guy.

Moving tableau - cat cookie jar, wine glasses, bottles,
and other drinking paraphernalia - accented by packing tape.


June 12, 2008

The Hesistant Decorator

A roaring jet engine, the hiss of a neurotic cat, and an ocean breeze carrying in the soothing rush of traffic from the nearby freeway. Ahhhh, the sounds of home. The new home I now share with Wine Guy.

It's been almost two weeks since moving day and I'm still staring at a long row of fully packed boxes along the stairwell. And more downstairs in the office. But with my trusty laptop Cherry finally hooked up to the web and my cat sitting beside my head, it feels enough like home to me.

I probably could blog an entire book based upon the relationship lessons and ups and downs we've already encountered over these bumpy few weeks. Lack of sleep, moving heavy furniture around tight corners, aching backs, procrastination (his, not mine - hey, it's my blog so I get to point the fingers) -- these are but a few of the factors that have contributed to our getting to know each other better - whether we like it or not.

To be honest, it all went better than I would have thought. Airplane and traffic noise aside (and it's not nearly as bad as I'd feared, considering this townhome - lovely and close to the coast as it is- is right under the flight path of San Diego's smack-in-the-middle-of-the-city airport), the place is really nice.

Truthfully, I guess I had already made up my mind about what was going to be the "big issue" -- I was absolutely convinced that I would have little to no say in how the place ended up looking. I realize now that I neglected to consider two things:

1) That worry was based entirely upon my one previous cohabitation experience (with Only Child), when I lived in his house and had not a dime to contribute to living expenses (he was being very generous while I worked my way through grad school). Now I know better. There was no way OC and I could move past the fact that it was his place and, without the complete marital commitment, I had no real ownership. Not that OC ever said or even implied that. But I knew it, and that's all that mattered. So all I kept thinking about this move was that I would be merely a passenger on this ride.

It also doesn't help that WG is rather bossy and a total know-it-all (all things he knows about himself) and sometimes I just say "whatever" because it's easier and I don't care all that much about most things anyway. So I was prepared to pick my battles, which is the compromise I came up with many months ago when I decided that I wanted to be with WG - faults and all. But that commitment was going to face some challenges if I didn't get to pick the colors for the bathroom. And I was pissed about it before I even found out if he would let me run with it.

Pay attention because here comes the most important thing I overlooked.

2) He's lazy. And a man. When it comes to picking out colors in the bathroom, he doesn't really give a crap. WG can have every opinion in the world (and trust me, he does) but it's a hell of a lot easier to point at something and say you like it or you don't than to actually think of that thing in the first place.

But as I said, I had forgotten all that. Instead my mind was clouded with baggage from co-habitations past. So while we're settling in and unpacking, I start doing my pre-planned decorator dance. Holding up paintings saying, "Look, isn't this beautiful? Don't you think the color would look terrific in the bathroom?" He barely notices and says, "Yeah, sure."

Hmm. That was too easy, he must've just been humoring me for the moment. I try again. "What do you think of this for the bathroom color scheme? Chocolate brown with an accent of ice blue. It's masculine enough, with just a feminine touch, don't you think?" I eagerly await his verdict. A moment, then, "Sounds nice," followed by a mostly ambivalent shrug.

Still waiting for the other shoe to drop, I set aside an afternoon to hit the home stores in search of chocolate brown/ice blue bathroom accessories. After two trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond and one to Target (just so you know, I hate shopping, especially stores like these, so clearly I am motivated here), I come home, ready to put it all together. While he does "man" things that involve wires, cables and all things electric, I begin hanging shower curtains, butterfly paintings and freshly washed towels.

When it's all done, I can hardly believe how perfect it looks. Exactly like I envisioned. I call WG down to see it. My heart skips, convinced he's now going to put his foot down and say the shower curtain is way too feminine (it is very girly, and I even called to describe it to him before I bought it to make sure he was OK with it. My warning was explicit, "It's really feminine. Are you sure you're OK with that?" His response, a very easy, "Sure.").

I was dead wrong, as usual. After he gave it the once-over he turned to me and said, "It looks really good. Like a professional did it." I almost floated out of my shoes I was so happy. Not just because he liked it or I was proud of the design, but that all of the anger and resentment I had been anticipating just vaporized. This was our place. I had just as much of a right to it as he did. And apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's, well, a guy and could give a crap about what color a room "feels like." And God knows I'm not going to be enthusiastic about wiring cables.

I guess Wine Guy's not as gay-straight as I thought he was.


June 5, 2008

Hissing and Growling

I know it's been forever since I've posted, but this move has pretty much taken over my life. I still don't even have Internet at home yet so I'm sneaking in a quick entry here at work to let you all know that Wine Guy and I are now successfully cohabitating. The cats.....not so much. But I trust in time they will stop hissing and growling and learn to tolerate each other. (Thankfully, there has been minimal hissing and growling from the humans in the house.)

I promise more to come once we settle in. Right now we are swimming in boxes and I can barely find my toothbrush let alone time to write. But trust me, I'm living enough blog entries to last me a lifetime!

On a quick note, I went to see Sex and the City last night with Gouda and was I ever surprised with how much I liked it. Yes, the movie marketers played me like the 35-year-old female target demographic that I am. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

More soon. Dismissed.