Now that I'm distanced a bit from last Friday, I'm recording it here for posterity, in all its glory and infuriatingness.
First the good bits:
Monkeyrotica and I had a lovely evening out. Our sitter arrived on time and was received with a seamless transition—Rosie and Dash adore him (B., our babysitter is a 17-year-old boy who lives two doors over; he's geeky, brilliant, slightly awkward, and great with the kids. We [heart] B.) While Monkey waited for me to appear, the kids were already engaged and not concerned about their parents.
We had last-minute reservations for dinner at The Majestic. Our table wasn't ready when we arrived, so we found seats at the bar and ordered drinks. Somehow, the cocktails that we ordered were the most fantastically perfect mixes of their types — they were über-cocktails!! I had a Pimm's Cup (a cocktail I have blogged about before), a lovely and simple concoction of Pimm's No. 1 (a gin-based beverage), ginger ale, and a long cucumber strip over ice cubes. Its delicious, intoxicating, and refreshing flavors turned the corner on my evening and I started warming up to the idea of just enjoying a night out with my husband.
Monkey ordered The Majestic's Mint Julep. Oh my, that drink was excellent! Perfectly prepared, muddled, mixed with freshly crushed ice, and served in a pewter cup, THIS was a damn good drink. I liked my Pimm's, but his Julep was stunning. [A moment of reverence here, in the memory of all beautiful and long-consumed cocktails...]
We had fried green tomatoes and fried oysters for appetizers, Monkey ordered the calves' liver (very good even in my judgment, and I don't ordinarily appreciate organ meats), and I went out of my comfort zone, ordering a whole (yes, whole!) grilled orata (a whitefish). My fish was served over a salad of fennel, olives, orange wedges and toasted almonds. Our waitress must have thought we were high, unbalanced, or eccentric, because Monkey kept telling her our food was fu¢&ing awesome! And it was. It was a great, glowing, triumph of a dinner out with my man.
Now for the bad:
Leading up to this was three hours of crossed signals, missed connections, poor assumptions, obstacles, and calamity — all mine. I left my office around 4:30, with plans to meet friends at a happy hours later Friday evening. We typically meet for mid-week drinks around 8, because there are children and parenting issues involved, and it didn't occur to me that this meet-up would have a different schedule. I replied to a Google invite, but really didn't look at it. I was on the on-ramp for the Beltway 20 minutes later (! — it's only one mile!) when the 10-minute calendar alarm went off. The happy hour was for 5 PM! Crap! I called friends to let them know I'd be late, maybe arriving by 6. Then, I checked traffic on my Google maps app — the Beltway was RED (code for slow as heck) on much of my route and I was already on the highway. I quickly exited and circled back to where I started, in order to take a different route that showed green (code for moving at speed) on the map. Despite the green, it crawled. Stop-and-go, stop-and-go, never getting above 35MPH for the twenty-five miles to home. My 45-minute commute dragged into an hour, then an hour and a half, and kept ticking away.
By the time I got home to pick up Monkey, the sitter had been there for 20 minutes, I had to pee! and it was well past 6. The roads looked better, so I promised my friends that we'd arrive by 6:45, in time to catch them before they left to make their dinner reservations. With Monkey behind the wheel, in familiar territory, we sped into town. At 6:45, we were just a block from the bar! I rejoyced! We made it, the goal was in sight! But, calamity: our right turn lane, without any signs or warnings, turned into an on-ramp for the Southeast Freeway. WTF? Typical DC.
On the G.D. fracking freeway now, we merged into traffic and took the very next exit, to circle back. The off-ramp fed into streets surrounding the Marine Barracks, where there was some sort of ceremony in the works. Graduation? Whatever. Young Marines in full-dress uniform were marching here and there, crossing-guards were directing absolutely unmoving traffic, and we were stuck, STUCK.
After a short discussion on whether we'd attempt to meet our friends just to hug goodbye, or just turn around and do our own thing, we bailed. So, at exactly three hours after I left my office, I was sitting down at The Majestic, ordering my Pimm's Cup, determined to purge the stress and just enjoy an evening out. I sincerely hope my friends had just as wonderful (eventually) a time without us.