It’s A Wonderful Life

I just got back from a little walkabout.

On Thanksgiving.

In pouring rain.

In virtually deserted and flooded streets.

I guess my motives were to grab a snack if my local RiteAid was open.  I suspected it was, but I would enjoy the I Am Legend feeling of being out in this weather, regardless.  I had watched Love Actually this morning for the second time in 18 hours and still had some time to kill before dinner with the family.  I didn’t want to kill that time on the couch.  I thought it would be a good time to do a little writing.  My Monday Night Supper Club triptych has been worming its way back into my fingertips, but I just can’t find the right note to start on.   Maybe some fresh air would help jump start that.  The holidays play a big part in why I wanted this to be a three part post series.  If that didn’t work out for me, then I could always write about my one year cativersary with Myrtle.

But something else happened, didn’t it?

Let me tell you, walking in the rain is cathartic.  I think my figurative veins are filled with rainwater and diet coke.

So, I hauled my ass off the couch and got showered up, doing a little naked laundry folding as I dressed out of the dryer.

Ah, single life.

I had made the observation while making my naked way around the house – studiously avoiding the mirror, like ya do – that my silhouette was looking trimmer.  I had noticed my pants feeling less snug, which I attribute to the frantically paced 8-ish miles I walk at work each day and maybe to the potential reality that my trousers were just permanently stretched out of shape…I girded my loins and stopped in front of the mirror for a closer inspection.  It certainly looked to be the case.  Still plenty of visible fat, but definitely a downgrade to more of a fluff situation versus a Marlon Brando situation – as I toss back another handful of Cheez-its.

So, I’ve got my (such as it is) health.

I open my door to head out into the rain and am greeted with a “Gobble-gobble” from an unseen neighbor.  It’s a rare occasion, seeing someone in my building.  There are only four units per floor and one of the units on my floor is owned by my impossibly hot, all American immediate neighbor, another by a gay couple from Olympia and they only come down on occasion to enjoy the city and then there’s my equal and opposite shut in old lady neighbor.

I’ve seen each of these people less than a half dozen times each in the 14 months I have lived here.

It was my impossibly hot neighbor, Andy.

“You’re not going to the gym, are you?!?” I asked incredulously.

splooshHe was, claiming to need to do some damage control for what he was going to do to his body later today.  I’ve seen him shirtless.

Chesticles for Days.

We chatted about his plans to have dinner at his mom’s house, just the two of them.  Such a good man.  I told him that my parents, brother and I were going to Der Rheinlander for a last hurrah before they close next month.  Mom’s all nostalgic for that joint, so it’s gonna be a real feel good meal.  There may even be a special guest appearance by my original grumpy old man role model.

So, I’ve got (most of) my family.

As we were leaving the building, my impossibly hot neighbor declared that he was gonna drive to the gym and offered me a ride.  I declined, telling him my reason for leaving was truly to just get outside…not that I wouldn’t love to go for a drive with him.  I took off walking a minute or so later he drove by me in a Prius.

No one is perfect.

I wander around the Park Blocks for a half hour or so and then start meandering up and down the streets of the Alphabet District, not surprising myself when I end up sneaking up on the RiteAid…which is open.  I grab a couple of Monsters and the box of Cheez-its that has since disappeared and make for the rain again.

I end up at the Post Office.  I haven’t checked my box since I returned from Atlanta, when there was surprisingly little mail.  A week and a half later, I’m surprised again.  And then yet again when I discover not one, but two package drop keys mixed in with the three pieces of mail.

img_1586Underwear Club, I think to myself even throwing out a little mental “Yay!” as I try to fathom what the other package could possibly be.

Look at those cute little black trunks that Underwear Club sent me…never a bad thing to have back up drawers after a run in with my impossibly hot neighbor.  Hehe.

The other package ended up being the latest Patricia Cornwell novel in the Scarpetta series.  Another mental squee.  I’m traveling to Boise next week, so this can keep me company.  As long as I can keep my hands off of it until then.  If not, you can barely make out the screenplay for the latest J.K. Rowling in the background that will be my back up.

Rounding out my mail – and by far the absolute best thing that I received today – is that post card sporting a 1980s Jean Claude Van Damme.

tim-cookI like to say that I went to school with this guy.  It just cracks me up.  Kinda like when I tell people that I went to college in Manhattan, leaving the “Kansas” hanging.  But, there is a kernel of truth in that statement, as Apple’s CEO shares a name with one of my middle school chums.

And he’s absolutely a great guy.  He’s a quiet inspiration to me.  He’s motivated, achieving his New Year’s Resolution a few years back to run every day, on his way to his goal of running a marathon in each of our 50 states.  He has achieved professional success and he has an absolutely beautiful family.

When I ran into him on the booze cruise during our 30 year high school reunion, I was actually a little tongue tied.


He had Instant Messaged me on the Facebook a while back, asking for my address.  He had asked me a few years back while I was living in Seattle, actually, he had set a goal for himself to correspond more often with friends and crowd sourced recipients on his Facebook page, I signed right up for that!  I’ve – obviously – moved since then and I figured I had made the Christmas card list.  But the reality was infinitely better, he had dropped a post card in the mail, just a short note expressing his appreciation of me being so classically me.

He appreciated me.


Let me tell you, that blew right through my grumpiness and showed it for the amplified teensy portion of my personality as a whole that it is.  I enjoy that aspect of my personality, and keeping it front and center is both humorous and insulative.  But reading his hand written note let the mellower part of grumpy old Xtopher out.  The part that likes a good chick flick.  I admit, I was touched deeply by this man’s kind gesture.

Choked up, even.


It made me pause to really appreciate the family that I have in this world – the biological family and the logical family.  Did you just have an “aaawwww” moment?  Yeah, I’m talking about you folks reading this, since most of my readers are Facebook driven.

And if that’s not the best example of what today is all about – taking a day to appreciate the things that really matter, your health, your family, your friends – well, I think my heart would actually explode from a gratitude overload if I was confronted with a better life than the one I have going for me right now.

You’re all amazing threads in this tapestry of a life that we have created.

I had to take a lil break for dinner, which was at Gustav’s not Der Rheinlander but they are/were both Horst Mager restaurants so cut me a little slack.  I just got back and have to say, I didn’t even re-read what I typed before leaving…just sat down and started typing.  I was pretty well buttoned up before my family arrived – probably could have finished before leaving if they hadn’t been six minutes early.  Hehe.  But then I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how much I enjoyed sitting next to my grandfather at dinner – if you clicked the link above, you know that my relationship with him has been kinda strained for the last 20 years, so this meal was a treat.

My favorite part was when he tapped my shoulder and told me to grab the check for him when it came.  My childhood is filled with similar type memories as my dad and grandfather and eventually my uncle wrestled for the check whenever we went out.  I learned just to say thank you when someone offers to pick up a tab.  But dad grabbed the check out of my hand while I was brandishing it, offering to trade it to either of them for a $20.  Grandpa was a little cross when I lost it to sneaky dad.  Dad thought he was pretty clever, tucking it and the case they delivered it in under his box of leftovers.  The top of the receipt was sticking out from that lil wallet, so while dad was distracted trying to help my mom email a picture of us to the Texas branch of our clan, I slid the bill out of the wallet and handed it to grandpa.

Of course, then dad was miffed.  But it was all in good fun.  Plus, I got to be in cahoots with my grandpa.  That’s not really something that I’ve gotten to experience since coming out to him back before the turn of the century, so I was touched by the moment.

Plus, my Christmas Cactus has been blooming all week.img_1587

It’s A Wonderful Life

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