Monday, June 18, 2012

Small Adventure

Tonight's cocktail is actually from 2 nights ago - it's a cucumber-basil gimlet that I had at the Martini Beach restaurant in Cape May, NJ (the food was also great). Cucumber-infused organic vodka, lime, muddled basil. It tasted like green - very pleasant, refreshing, and light. I'm going to try reverse-engineering the proportions soon, but it was something like 2 parts vodka to 1/2 to 1 part Rose's sweetened lime juice.

McDreamy and I just got back from a beach mini-break. It included 4 days and nights of lounging by the pool, walking by the ocean, eating in restaurants without kids' menus, shopping, and drinking more than might have ordinarily been considered responsible. Readers with kids probably want to kill me now, and I'm sorry, but look, he's moving 3,000 miles away in a few weeks, so suck it.

Why yes, I WOULD like to desecrate one of your major national
historic sites! (Yes, I know this is Teotihuacan, but let's all be
grateful there are no pictures of the next day's giant hurl.)
One of the key gifts of the past few years has been the occasional freedom to relax on my own terms. My ex was a huge traveler and adventurer, and so was I, but over time, it started to wear me down. I'm not afraid to travel to out-of-the-way places. I have ridden buses with goats and chickens in China; I have drunk tea with monks in Nepal; I have seen giant river otters and tapirs in the Amazon basin; and a lovely man in Uganda who ran a hostel where we stayed made me a pineapple birthday cake when I turned 30. These and so many other experiences have been incredible and transformative, and I don't regret them. But (a) I spent a significant portion of these adventures sick as a dog (pneumonia, altitude sickness, many instances of Montezuma's revenge (on one occasion, appropriately enough, on the steps of the Museo del Templo Mayor in Mexico City)); (b) these "vacations" had an insane pace of activity with no built-in break time, so I was more tired when we got home than before we left; and (c) once we had kids, there was no inclination to slow down.

Even the artifacts were embarrassed for me.
For example, my technicolor yawn on the museum steps in Mexico? Tweak was 3 months old. I was nursing him exclusively, and I couldn't keep anything down for 2 days. Dehydration + nursing no es bueno. And while I was sick? My ex went out sightseeing, leaving me with Tweak, because "there's really nothing for me to do here in the hotel room." That was far from an isolated example, and yes, we did discuss it in marriage counseling, and yes, sincere regrets were expressed, and I've forgiven it and all, but I recount the story for illustrative purposes. It wasn't that my ex was malevolent in any way; he just didn't have a clue. This was what energized him and gave him a mental break from a demanding job, and I didn't have the gonads to say that it was killing me.

Don't get me wrong - I did exhibit some rather charming passive-aggression. For example, I composed a catchy Broadway-style tune on the joys of camping in the Alaskan wilderness (worst vacation EVER, I didn't see freaking Russia even once, and there aren't that many words that rhyme with "mosquito") and occasionally had breakdowns that involved highly creative profanity and throwing things, but I completely failed to advocate for myself in any effective way.

He LOVED my song.
Image by: Bryan Harry - NPS Photo
I don't do that anymore. Still, I have to relate the following conversation from the first day of our mini-break:

Me: "So what are we going to do today?"
McDreamy: "Whatever we want."
Me: "So, what if what we want to do is walk on the beach, then sit on our butts by the pool and watch people and drink?"
McDreamy: "That's what we'll do."
Me: "And what if that's all we do today?"
McDreamy: "That would be perfect."
Me: "Really? That would be OK with you?"
McDreamy: "Yes! Can we do that now?"
Me: *Too emotional to speak.*

I haven't given up on seeing the world, not by a long shot. But sometimes, a small adventure is just right.

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