date night at an inn in Woodstock
Sunday, February 7 2021
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Since I haven't been drinking alcoholic beverages for the past two weeks, I have greatly cut back on the amount of recycling I generate. But I still had a big trash can full of empty beer cans (mostly Hazy Little Things) dating to earlier times, and I've been wanting to get rid of it. I forgot to take it with me on yesterday's errand, so early this afternoon I drove to the Uptown Hannaford ("Ghettoford") and recycled them all in the bar-code-scanning machine that automatically tallies deposit refunds and gives you a receipt at the end that can be used for cash. Of all my cans, only the those that had contained Sierra Nevada Torpedo weren't accepted (does Hannaford not sell that brand?), and I received a coupon worth $3.20, meaning I'd returned 64 cans. While there, I bought a simple overhead bare lightbulb fixture (with pullstring) for possible use in the area around my laboratory's main computer workstations, which are now noticeably darker in the shade of the new shelving. I also went to the Just a Dollar Store (over near J&K Liquor) to buy cheap plastic containers for use as storage solutions. The best of these was a square plastic basket. (When it comes to storage solutions, square is always better than round.)
Meanwhile Gretchen had arranged a "date night" for us in Woodstock. She'd rented us a room at the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream (where, maybe 15 years ago, I once helped set up WiFi), and I would be meeting at the bookstore after her shift there.
There was still a customer with her kid back in the children's section when I got to the bookstore at 5:01pm, but it had been a cold, snowy day, and Gretchen was able to shut the store down within minutes of my arrival. While Gretchen left her car (the Prius) parked on Tinker Street, I drove us to the inn, since my Subaru has an expired inspection sticker and I didn't want to leave it parked on the street. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the inn had a completely no-contact sign-in process. Gretchen had booked and paid for our room online, and when we arrived, we found a key in the door. The rooms at the inn are motel-style, with their own entrances and no sharing of air between them, so it felt as safe as our bedroom back in Hurley.
For dinner, we walked to Mountain Gate in Woodstock to see if we the dining room was empty. It was a slow night in Woodstock, so of course it was, and our teenage waiter said it was okay for us to eat there. Gretchen was so excited about the mulligatawny soup that after finishing hers, she ordered a second one. Had she not, she would've had trouble having enough to eat tonight, because both the vegetable vindaloo and the chana shaag proved a bit too spicy for her. Since we were the only people in the dining room, it seemed appropriate to answer my brother Don when he called Gretchen's phone. He didn't have much new to report, though he wanted to tell Gretchen all about that book Breath that he'd wielded like a conversation cudgel in a call with me a week ago.
It was noticeably colder when we went back into the outdoors, and we decided not to walk through Woodstock's downtown, as Gretchen had initially proposed.
Back in our room, we played a rousing game of Bananagrams. Gretchen was the winner, of course.
Normally on a night like this, I would've brought some sort of alcohol to enjoy, but not tonight. To help me get to sleep, though, I did swallow a single 10 mg xanax. While waiting for that to kick in, I took a shower and watched Shark Tank with Gretchen on our room's teevee.
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