20th Anniversary dinner in Troy
Monday, May 8 2023
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
I had a fairly miserable day in the remote workplace as I continued to work on that incredibly complicating mapping application I've been cursed with. While I was making some modest progress on an Azure DevOps build pipeline, Allee the project owner started coming up with problems with my latest deployment of its code. Obscure features I didn't know about were no longer working, and when I went to investigate those features, one of them defied all logic for how it could've ever worked. And the other feature came as an added stressor just before the end of the day, on the eve of a day I'd be taking off from work to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gretchen and me having gotten married. Adding to my stress was a recreational 150 mg dose of pseudoephedrine I'd taken this morning, which hadn't done much to increase my productivity with respect to that acursed mapping application.
After Gretchen returned from her bookstore shift, we loaded up the dogs and drove them down to Ray & Nancy's house in Old Hurley. Nobody was there, not even their dog Jack. But Ray had said we could drop them off there for the night. Gretchen later realized that Nancy and Jack had driven down to Maryland to visit her parents at their seaside vacation place, so Neville and Ramona would only be hanging out with their Uncle Ray, and only after the end of his bartending shift.
Gretchen then drove us up the Thruway and into Troy, where she had a reservation for a pop-up dining experience by Meadowlark Catering. It was beautiful (if slightly chilly) evening in Troy, and pop-up venue was Takk, a high-ceilinged space bathed in pink light that made everyone look like a somewhat-overweight teenager. Gretchen ordered the lambrusco and I ordered the malbec and then Gretchen ordered pretty much everything on the very short menu. This came to four dishes, the first two of which (a dish of smoky brussels sprouts that tasted like hot dogs and focaccia that had been formed in a waffle press) were more like appetizers and appealed more to her and the second two of which (a sort of sushi made from seared cubes of watermelon wrapped in seaweed with peppery kimchi on a bed of rice and zucchini slices on polenta with oyster mushrooms) were closer to entrees and appealed more to me. The food was kind of slow to arrive, and Gretchen's stuff came out first, so I was really hungry by the time the things I wanted came out. I was thinking the portions were all a bit small and fussy, but it ended up being enough food for me, something Gretchen attributed to the fact that I was forced to eat slowly, giving my brain a chance to keep itself apprised of how much food was entering my stomach.
After dinner, I drove us (with Gretchen's navigational assistance) across the Hudson and over to to the Washington Park neighborhood. There we parked behind the Washington Park Inn (where we couldn't find any 120 volt outlets to trickle-charge our car over night). We'd stayed at the Washington Park Inn once before (for an earlier 20th anniversary, actually) and had a great time there. That was back during the height of the covid pandemic, when it was operating entirely under a then-novel self-service check-in model. That turned out to be a system that people liked, and they're still operating that way. A passcode had been emailed to Gretchen, and that got us in to room #5. But then Gretchen found that our bathroom had been cleaned and there was a nest of hair in the drain. That skeeved her out too much to stay in that room. But then she found room #7 was open and clean, although the clean linen hadn't yet been put on the bed. #7 was the room we'd stayed in last time we'd been in this hotel. So we moved into #7, and made the bed. At some point we also went down to the kitchen, where I helped myself to some boxed white wine in the refrigerator (it was pretty mediocre).
All day and into the evening, Gretchen kept saying, "Can you believe it's been 20 years?" And then I'd say something like, "20 years from now, I'm gonna be 75."
Me at dinner tonight.
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