Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Domestic Bliss (just don't look at the garden...)

(Or the dust...) (Or the kitchen counters...) Oh, hell -- I'll admit it, we're lousy housekeepers. And gardeners. But mowing -- I got that one covered! The front meadow has been mown twice and looks awesome, almost (dare I say it?) lawn-like! And I used the flail mower on the closer bits of the middle meadow, and it is looking good as well.

So, you ask, if I haven't been cleaning, or gardening, or weeding -- and I clearly haven't been blogging! -- what have I been up to? Well, we got married. Does that count? Now, don't get all excited. No matching table linens were involved. Coffee Jones, my person of honor, offered generously to host the ministerial wedding that we needed to have performed before we could file for Starman's green card. And it turned out to be a particularly nice thing for CJ to have done -- they'd only moved into their new home weeks before, and then she got sick! I know she wanted everything to be perfect for us, so she was bummed that it wasn't as she'd envisioned but she doesn't seem to grok the essential fact that it WAS perfect because she was there for me. (I have abandonment issues...) And we have some lovely photos and memories to boot.

Meanwhile, we've started to plan the wedding for next year -- we've booked a large-ish house at Fountains Abbey, outside York, to stay in for the week. England is different from America in that you can't just get married anywhere you like. You have to get married at a spot licensed to have a wedding. Fountains Abbey have three such venues: one small (20 people, max), one large (60 people), and one that is just right (40 people) but closed on the day we want to get married. [I need to sic Al Gore on them: their reason for the garden venue being closed is that it is unheated, so they don't open it until May. Well, this April, I gather it was over 70 every day for three weeks -- the warmest April in recorded memory. But fate's an odd thing: Guaranteed, if I insisted on using it on April 21, 2008, the weather would be gunmetal grey, drizzling, and 43 degrees for the high. We'd all be huddled in overcoats or something.]

As soon as Starman and I got married, we hustled to get all the paperwork ready for his green card application. We had not appreciated that we needed the medical report before we could file, and that it would take over two weeks for the report to get back to us, so everything else is ready but we're still waiting. Tedium defined. While that's going on, I've put weight loss on "project status." (Bad news at the doctor's office, not all my fault. Unexpectedly low thyroid function had a lot to do with the extra ten pounds I put on over the winter. But still ...) So we've bought a high-tech scale, loaded the bikes almost permanently on the car, cut back on portion sizes and amped up the ration of vegetables at lunch and dinner, and made exercise a priority. Between the doctor's scales and our new one arriving, I'd lost four pounds. (Yahoo!) My first goal is to lose 20 pounds in 8 weeks. Second goal is another 5 pounds by the time I next see the doctor. Third goal is to weigh less than I have in almost 20 years. After that, well, we'll have to see what my psyche can accomplish.

Otherwise, we play bridge! I know -- how positively 1950s. The thing is, I grew up with the game, and always loved it. My first husband (new Blog-o-Nym: Hubone) didn't take to it, but Starman has glommed on to the challenge. What amazes me about this is that Starman didn't play cards as a kid. (I can just about wrap my brain around that factoid. I suspect I would have once considered that to be evidence of child abuse, but I've mellowed, and I now recognize that some families have Other Ways of Raising Their Children.) Still, he's a puzzle guy, so I think he's approaching it from that perspective. Oh, and he's using this comprehensive, effort-intensive approach: he's actually reading BOOKS on bridge! This is way too much like hard work to my mind. I've learned a few new tricks since taking the game up again -- I actually used Gerber the other day, although I gather I used it inappropriately but still! -- but reading books is too much like school. I didn't read books when I was in school, so let's keep this in perspective. Plus, I figure if Starman learns a new convention, he'll teach it to me.

We now go to a local bridge studio, to learn and play a little. I love (LOVE!) Mary, the woman who runs it. She's older and has just such a sunny smile and disposition that I keep having tiny little flashbacks to points in my childhood when I wanted desperately for a special person to Like Me and Befriend Me and so on. It's mostly dorky, but a little sweet to feel that way again, at my age.

The other thing we've done is find bridge-based websites that allow us to play for practice. (The better website allows us to practice being partners against reasonably intelligent robot players.) Amazingly, this bridge obsession hasn't abated in the last few months. Both Starman and I tend to be more fickle in our passions, but maybe that's really the Old Magdalen and the Old Starman. Now that we've found each other, maybe we can make lasting commitments to other things, like bridge. And weight loss and exercise. And gardening . . . Okay, okay, let's not go overboard.

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