A quick note

I originally made some quick notes about my three loves, in hopes of later using these notes as I wrote more about it all.  Hugo’s grandparents, Polly and Bob, were the first bullet point on the list and about them I included phrases about being married for 70+ years, Bob always loving and admiring Polly, and ‘you don’t see marriages like theirs’.  I also jotted about Hugo’s mom’s recent frustrations with caring for an aging mother and the short story of putting Polly to bed (the evening I wrote about just last week).

The second of my 3 couples was Mark and Pat – ‘crying about Mark, crying together’, in reference to the two of them telling me during his cancer battle, they would spend long stretches of time sitting together and just crying.  My only other note about Mark was that he doesn’t deserve it because he is one of the good ones.

My third and final couple is titled ‘Me and Him’.  That’s how we have gone through the past 16 years, together and as a team, both of us equals.  My whole reason behind posting these notes was because I stumbled upon them today as I riffled through my binder, in search of real estate study material.  My short note sums up what Hugo and I are so I thought I would share it:

My story is littered with other stories.  Stories that co-mingle with our own and teach us about ourselves.  Everyone always loves our story…it’s one of growing up and intending to grow old together.  A story of the ability to forge lifelong friendships, and, most importantly, a story of fierce and beautiful love.

I will end it on that.  As I reread those words, I still feel the beauty in writing them.  It is the same beauty I have in living it.  And I don’t kid about how everyone thoroughly enjoys our real-life love story when we tell them about it – from meeting by chance in high school, to our cross-country adventure, to all the choices that ultimately led to me sitting on the couch typing tonight, missing Hugo while he works during this light rain on the weekend’s eve in Los Angeles.

One day I will get around to writing my short stories or maybe my book.  I am sixty hours out from taking and passing my state real estate exam so once that is checked off my list, I will have more time after work and in the evenings to pursue yet another passion project.  I know, I know, sounds like a bunch of excuses, but I only have so many hours in the day and so much fight in my heavy eyelids as they close on me nearly every night after a mentally and psychically exhausting work day.  Anyways, I love you Hugo ♥

Can’t breath (and I mean that in the best way possible)

Stuffed doesn’t begin to sum it up.  If there was a more severe word for being stuffed to the gills with insanely excellent food, I would be that…plus a molten lava cake.

Since my hubby and I were sick for this year’s Valentine’s Day, we were forced to cancel our dinner reservations.  Little did I know, this was a major blessing in disguise because, as a result of not going out to dinner and staying in, Hugo planned a ‘multi-course’ dinner for me tonight.  He continually labors in the kitchen for me on a regular basis and I am beyond appreciative of his attention and care towards my nourishment and health.  But this time was different.  Tonight’s ‘multi-course’, which I will explain in a bit, was a ten hour process, experience and endeavor, filled with hard work and a whole lot of love.

When he wrote his handmade card for me, Hugo asked me to join him for a multi-course meal.  I, of course, smiled and happily agreed (I mean, who wouldn’t?!?) and we joked about what the definition of multi-course actually was.  I poked by replying that five, if not nine, courses could be found under the multi-course umbrella.  Hugo enjoyed my little jokes, later divulging that tonight’s culinary quest would be a total of four courses.  And let me tell you, four was more than enough.

It started with king crab legs with garlic butter.  It could also have stopped there because that kind of course alone makes even a vegetarian happy.  What is it about garlic butter that speaks to the soul?  Oh, that’s right, it’s the garlic butter itself. – purely perfect in both the garlic and the butter.

Next, we moved on to a palate-cleanser of watermelon granita with mascarpone cream.  Never had it but it was pretty amazing.  The cool, refreshing watermelon did just as intended as my tongue was cool and refreshed.  The garlic butter was sadly washed away, but that was the point, right?

Next, mushroom carbonara.  And here, dear reader, is where I yet again realize Hugo is my soulmate.  I know it every day but let’s be honest, anything mushroom related truly has the key t my heart.  Rich, creamy and decadent, it hit all the right spots and satisfied my belly.

Finally, molten lava cake.  From scratch.  And it was perfect.  To think, my husband was nervous that it wouldn’t come out correctly or was even mildly overcooked, which it wasn’t.  When I tell you this cake was perfect, just imagine the ideal dusting of powdered sugar covering a slightly warm, freshly baked, personally-sized bittersweet cake.  Oh, with oozing chocolate ganache on the inside.  It was a great meal but that damn cake, complete with a large cold glass of milk, just made the night.

I have said many times how cooking for someone is truly the ultimate expression of love.  I believe that because of the way I was raised and the man I was raised by, as my father grew his own food and slaved away in the kitchen to feed my mother and I.  I believe it even more when I am greeted after a twelve hour day at work by a beautiful multi-course meal that my husband knows I will enjoy so much.  He knows this because he knows me, he listens to me, and, above all else, he aims to make me happy in life, as I do him.  This man must love me and I certainly love him, probably more than he knows and I deserve.  Happy Valentine’s Day ♥♥♥

PS – Josh Weissman gave Hugo his date night meal cheater for this special occasion.  He subbed king crab legs for steak, and a few other small alterations occurred along the way, but otherwise, bravo Josh and Hugo for a tummy full of goodness and a job well done.

Coming out the other side

What an awful last ten days my body has just experienced.  While Hugo and I still believe we have some form of Coronavirus, due to the fact we got insanely sick right as this worldwide pandemic began, in reality the two of us have been infected with a brutally aggressive viral infection similar to this year’s flu.  I was tested for the flu so I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I don’t have it, although my symptoms at times mirrored what I have come to know of the flu almost to a ‘T’.  Hugo is about five days behind me with his sick status, as I was Patient Zero, making him Patient One…?  Long story short, our household has been down and out for the greater part of two weeks and we are both ready for this nonsense to be over.

That is about all of the energy for a post I can muster together for now.  As a final thought, I will provide a quick update in regards to the other 99% of my life as of recent:  My real estate exam is eight days away so I am in crunch mode now.  Gunner is getting neutered tomorrow so no more food or water for him until he is post-op tomorrow night.  We have an upcoming trip to Hawaii in March, in celebration of our 11th anniversary, but I am a bit nervous since COVID-19 is slowly scorching our globe like wildfire, including one new recent case on the island we intend to call home for the whole of our vacation.

I realized as I wrote those update points that all of them involve nerves in some sense or another.  A lot to look forward to and a lot to be serious and focus about.  We will nurse little Gunner back to full strength after his surgery, I will study hard and succeed at my state exam, and we will have a love-filled and healthy trip together.  The power of positive thinking, people! ♥

Three loves yet it’s all the same

Love is love is love.  It all develops with similar circumstances, out of fondness and friendship.  It ends one of two ways:  falling out of love and moving on or when we take our last breath and depart this world.  I pray the deep relationship Hugo and I have will afford us the opportunity to part ways after decades of love and life shared, holding hands as we snuggle in bed, both of us simultaneously falling asleep never to wake again.  I want us to go out as we have lived together, as a team.

Well, that was somber.  Not my initial intention when I began writing this.  Despite how dark I just got, I meant it all with the fullest intent of love.  My love realized in life, through having Hugo, is probably the biggest unexpected aspect of my life.  You dream of finding a Prince Charming as a young girl but when it actually happens, you can’t help but question if your reality is, well, for real.

Then you realize it is and as you marinate in the perfectness of that perfect moment you also realize nothing else really matters.  As I always say – easier said than done – but seriously folks, what other nonsensical, annoying, ‘not worth my time or energy’ BULLSHIT matters in the least, or even stands up to something so magnificently beautiful?  Not that hard to answer.  Nothing.

Now, all of these thoughts and feelings come on the heels of yet another couple nights of frustration and angst, as I sit alone while Hugo works, letting my mind run circles around the things that cause me grief.  I am stressed and Hugo knows it all too well, because I continue to pester him about it every chance I get.  He is my best and most trusted outlet for over-analyzing all the things that make KK (yup, that’s me), KK.  It felt like the right time to speak in the third person – it adds effect, ya know?  Anyways, I bug Hugo until I can’t bug him anymore and I bug myself too.  I wish I could turn my feelings off when it gets too heavy and I have had enough.  I wish I didn’t care about most of the things that I do but then again, if that was the case and I didn’t care so strongly, I wouldn’t be me.  I am sensitive to the words that are spoken to me, in front of me and about me.  I am hyper-critical of myself in every way and when I perceive a misstep on my part, I circle back to the moment, the decision, the very word I stupidly said, until I can’t bear to think of it one more time.  I am sure there are others out there who engage in this behavior, right?  I presume I am not alone in this and, quite frankly, I think we all do it on some level, whether we’d like to admit it or not.  Personally, being my own strongest critic is also a strength and I only care as much as I do because I seek to improve and develop as a partner and friend.

As I have said way too many times, just writing this down makes me realize how asinine the excessive, critical behavior really is.  None of the recent moments I have been upset about are even noteworthy, if you can call it that.  The girl drama at work has mildly improved but still persists.  Today I received an update from an old co-worker about a scandalous, problematic, and damn-near criminal employee who we both used to work with – this stellar individual, who is still causing problems, is voicing his dislike of me.  I have said many times how I not only call it like I see it but I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that others are blind to his ludicrous ways.  I am stressed and nervous about submitting my transfer to another unit of assignment.  While I know these things should just roll off my shoulders, they don’t and I am here.  Getting better at being strong, keeping my priorities straight and focusing on the things that truly matter, but I am still me and me hurts a little.

Transitioning to bigger and better news – I am on the two week countdown until my real estate exam date!  Studying like hell and surprising myself with my retention level (I got a 92 on my progress exam today), I am cautiously optimistic about taking the test that will plunge me into my new second career.  Hugo has been so wonderful about the whole thing – encouraging me along the way, listening to me blab about the things I am learning and the things I still don’t know, but want to, and helping with everything in between as I forge tirelessly through vocab review and video lessons.  I can really feel his love when he spends hours cooking a vegetarian meal of my choosing, so he can take care of me by nourishing my mind and body, all while I sit on the couch studying for my passionate pursuit.  To be honest, one of the most exciting aspects of pursuing this new career is the excitement of sharing my success with him.  In the end, if not for sharing it with those we love, what is it all for?

I started this post off by speaking of similar loves, three of them to be exact.  My beautiful neighbors and my grandparents-in-laws (is that even right?) are both half of the couple they used to be for many years.  The male portion of both equations has since passed away, while their widowed wives finish out their earthly time alone.  Of the three relationships I strive to document further, I am the only woman alive and that makes me sad.  I think about the love I have for Hugo and I presume my neighbors and Polly & Bob had such a similar bond, which makes me hurt for their loss that much more.  One day soon, if I can finally get around to carving out some serious time, I fully intend on writing these three love stories for you to enjoy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them unfold, celebrating in their existence, and cherishing the fact that they even happened, so I know you will feel the same.  You already know a little bit about Hugo and I so now it will be time to learn about the splendid people who came before him, making my love bug even possible.

 

Full circle

I remember her laying in bed, being tucked in by several members of her family as if she was a child exhausted from the day.  She was just as vulnerable as a young girl but her ninety-year-old body was weathered and experienced, yet she needed to be minded nonetheless.  During one of our last trips back east about two summers ago, Hugo’s extended family rented a home in the country, large enough for all of them to sleep and roomy enough for everyone to gather in the evenings.  The purpose of the trip was the overdue celebration of life for Hugo’s grandfather Bob, who had passed away a couple months prior.  That event was a beautiful release for everyone, providing a loving gathering filled with many moments of happy reflection on the full life Bob lived during his 94 years.

One particular evening at the country rental house during that trip, Hugo and I stopped by to enjoy a couple extra minutes with his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and Polly, who is Bob’s widow and the subject of our short tale.  Exhausted from this day and the thousands of days she had lived through thus far, Polly was ready for bed around 8pm.  With love, we all escorted her to her first floor pull-out couch, where she found privacy in the rear den and comfort in the presence of her extended family all under one roof.  With one table lamp lit and the aged comforter tucked into the flimsy couch mattress, Polly sat down on her temporary bed as we all funneled into the room.  Everyone wanted to enjoy this moment of tucking their mother and grandmother into bed, just as she had done for the majority of them at one point in their lives.  I may have been the only one present who hadn’t been mothered by Polly at one point, although the love she had shown me during the time I have known her felt as if I was a member of that group.

A couple of the young kids continued playing in the other room, uninterested in a seemingly mundane task at their age.  A couple others, who sounded moderately inebriated, stayed outside on the patio – their loud stories and guttural laughs bellowed inside but it didn’t bother us because all of these sounds made the songs we have all come to know as summer nights.  We held her frail, bruised arms as she sat and fully reclined onto her back, relieved that the tasks of the day were done.  Her skin was paper thin and translucent, dark purple in certain places due to easy bruising from recent falls at her age.  Her eyes were always watery and sometimes she looked lost within her own gaze, as if she was looking off into the distance or right past you.  This was probably from battling cataracts and glaucoma over the past two decades – she was a warrior in her own right, going through laser eye surgeries, among other procedures, to right her senses and continue improving, never accepting a declining body or weakening capabilities.  She gripped my hand really hard, finding a sense of safety and security in my youthful strength and presence.  Polly knew she could rely on all of us to get her into her restful position and off to sleep, something that didn’t come easy to her when she was alone, as she often found herself since Bob’s passing.

For some reason, I really enjoyed this short moment in the rear den with my husband’s grandmother that night.  Something about the magic of the summer evening, with the windows open and warm air lofting in.  Knowing she was safe in the back room gave me peace and feeling as if I contributed to that safety made it a little bit better.  My own eyes teared up as they often do when I am around our elders or any old people for that matter.  I never try to think about any of them dying but just watching them maneuver through life in slow motion and with constant struggles always breaks my heart, particularly when I reflect on the magnificent lives some of them have lived as they are now fully engulfed in their final chapters.  I get so sad but somewhere inside of that sadness is a real happiness and love for who they are and what they have created.  With Polly and Bob came Hugo’s mother and siblings.  Later, Hugo and his brother were born.  Polly’s life and seven decade long love story with Bob gave me my soulmate so despite only knowing her as an old woman, a true grandmother, I have loved her completely and deeply and I owe her a thank you.

That summer night had an impact on all of us, not just me.  I know Hugo enjoyed a special moment like that, something he doesn’t get the chance to do often since we live so far away from them all.  I know Hugo’s mom and her sister felt the heavy love of it all too.  They had just recently lost their father, the patriarch of the family and Polly’s better half, so they were still moving through their grief as they tried to maintain their strength for their mother.  As we said goodnight to Polly and slowly shuffled out of the room as a group, she said goodnight to Bob out loud, as she said she always had since he passed.

Polly is still alive today, as she lives alone in an assisted living community near our hometown in the northeast.  Hugo’s mom visit regularly and we should be going more often, but life and distance gets in the way.  I pulled out a cute card with giraffes on it tonight, thinking how Polly would enjoy receiving it in the mail with a short note from her west coast grandson and family.  We always make an effort to think of her, not just because she is alone but because we truly love her.  I personally like sending her a short note from time to time so she has something loving to experience before bed, similar to when she had her Bob, tucking her in and holding her hand tightly as they both fell asleep side by side for all of those years.