Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day

Adjusting to the life of being a working man again hasn't been as easy as one might think.  For almost five full months, I went about the daily routine of looking for jobs, then doing whatever I needed to do at WGCH, and so on.  I had time for being a father and a boyfriend and everything else.

A job - this new one - changes things.  This isn't simply a matter of driving up and down New York route 22 all day, visiting stores, putting ice cream on shelves and having the flexibility.  Leaving my last stop on that route to go home or to Lisa's was no big deal  Oh no.  This is different.

It's been an adjustment, perhaps more for Lisa than me.  We see each other a lot less now as a result.  But it beat the stress of not having a job at all, except for those precious hours at WGCH.

I work in Ridgefield, and Wilton, and Greenwich.  I live in the 'Pac.  Getting to the Poughkeepsie area isn't a piece of cake these days.  My hours can stretch from nine in the morning to ten at night, especially if I have to go cover a meeting.
Nobody's complaining though.  Yet it highlights why Valentine's Day was important.

We've tried to meet up on some work nights.  It seems inevitable though that for one reason or another, we call it off.  But our moods stay positive.

Please don't interpret this as a chase for pity.  Hardly that.


It started at Marshall's.  Yes, the discount clothing/home/etc store.

I was looking around at the men's stuff, letting Lisa do her thing.  There's a pattern to Marshall's, or TJ Maxx, or HomeGoods.  She does it her way.  Generally I leave her alone.  Usually I can be spotted within 10 or 15 minutes, sitting on some piece of furniture that these stores are looking to sell.  Chances are, my phone is in my hand.  I'm in the middle of some idiotic Facebook debate, about if Yogi Berra belongs to the Mets or Yankees, or if I can watch the Oscars and still be considered a sports fan.

Yes, it's idiocy at its best.  A lot of wisecracking and obnoxiousness.  Some of it gets taken too seriously.  Some of it sends my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  Most of it is just bull.  It's much needed in these situations.  It's a diversion and a lot of laughter.

On one of these Marshall's trips, I spotted a green sweater.  Made of sweatshirt material, it was a cardigan cut.  Kelly green, it would be great for St. Patrick's Day.  On the left breast, in raised fuzziness, was the most famous of all sports logos.  Yes, the interlocking NY that screams "Twenty-seven championships."  I laughed at it.  I showed it to Lisa.  We both laughed.  She thought it was nicer than I did.  I still suffer from the notion that the Yankees are navy blue.  Still there was something about this.  Could I wear it around the house?  Maybe - possibly? - wear it on St. Pat's?  I still kind of privately struggle with March 17* anyway, as the anniversary of the death of my father.  So I'm always looking for a laugh; a relief.

*Last March 17, the person whom I was spending a lot of time with decided to spend that day with a another friend.  Then she met a new man.  Apparently they're still together.  I couldn't quite figure out why my text messages weren't being returned that night, but I'm not dumb either.  Our trip to Las Vegas a few days later was...just...weird.  So, yeah, St. Patrick's Day.  Sure.  Great.  In this case, it was probably serendipity.  Lisa and I came together a little over a month later.  It all worked out just fine.

I took the picture above of the sweater that night, in part so that friends like Tim Parry could have a good laugh at it.  As I look back at the comments from Facebook, they are swift.

"Yogi Berra would wear that."
"George Costanza would wear that."
"FRANK Costanza would wear that."
And, simply, "Yuk."

So the votes were in.  Regardless of what I, or Lisa, thought, $24.99 was too steep.  We would continue to go back to Lisa's little slice of heaven hard by US route 9 in Poughkeepsie.  The price would continue to drop too as the sweater was sent to clearance.  Nobody, it seemed, wanted it.  Fifteen bucks?  Still, no.  Ten?  Nope.

I would see it, marvel at it still being there, then laugh.  Again.  And again.  And so on.

Lisa is very practical.  She doesn't get hung up in what a teams colors are.  She knows which interlocking NY is the right one, and which one will get her a look of disdain from me.  She saw this sweater as a wise buy.  Good around the house.  Use it to throw on like a sweatshirt or jacket.  But still, it was never purchased.  Certainly somebody was going to buy it, or the price was just going to stay too high.

I should also mention that Lisa appreciates the value of a dollar.  That is not to say cheap or frugal, but smart.  Then again, if she wants something, then she just might get it.  However, it isn't usual for her to pay full price for anything.

But she also knows I still have a soft spot for sports clothing.  I still love jerseys, for instance, and I don't give a damn about those who say a grown 44-year-old man shouldn't be wearing one.  When Chris Erway decided to buy us all jerseys for Christmas, I was pleased.
Mark Bavaro, Terrell Davis, Terry Bradshaw, and Justin Tuck - Jan, 2013 at WGCH.


I was psyched for Valentine's Day.  That's unusual for me.  I have nothing against it, except the "Hallmark-ization" of it.  The awful stress that it puts on people both taken and not.  But I felt ready, and I hadn't seen Lisa in close to a week.  I drove up the Taconic Parkway with a smile on my face.

The flowers were ordered (against her wishes).  No red roses.  A yellow paint can filled with daisies and spring-like flowers.  I wore a muted red shirt with stripes.  Jeans.  A cool blazer that I get complimented on.

I arrived to see some snow on her driveway.  I scraped some of it off (hardly a heroic effort).  Then I made my way to the door.

She seemed down or something.  But no, she was OK.  Maybe just tired, and not interested in going out to dinner.  "Too crowded," she told me.  The flowers were nowhere to be found.  I gave her a card with something I wrote inside.  We stayed in.  We had some wine, and watched some TV.  In the end, a very low-key evening.

Which was more than just fine.

Neither of us slept well that night.  I was awake around 2:45, and Lisa joined me around 3:30.  We talked some, and tried to sleep at other times.  She eventually stepped to the living room to let her cat, Ginger, in.

"The flowers arrived," she laughed.

I was relieved and annoyed all at once.  But I was happy she had them.

Soon, the dawn of the new day was upon us and it was time for me to head home, to meet Sean and go off to work.  That's when Lisa brought a bag to me.  White, with pink tissue paper.

"Open it now?" I asked.

"No," she said.

I got to the car, and glanced inside.  I could see the green.  I could see just enough of the interlocking NY.  It's not that the sweater is a fashion statement.  It's not that it's good or bad.  It's was about a bond - something we've both talked about for months.  You may also see it as a commitment in a sense, and that's not unfair.  There's certainly symbolism, but also practicality.  It will be nice to wear at her house.  In the yard.  Plus, at that point, it was also about the price.

Seven dollars.

So goes a story of love, devotion, laughter, and longing.  Most of all, a girls' heart for shopping.

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