I was lucky to leave work early, and saw Brian, just leaving for work, when I stopped at home on my way downtown. Seeing him for a few minutes was better than nothing. Then I was only home long enough to make the bad decision of changing into more attractive, less comfortable shoes before running to catch the bus.
Downtown was still teeming, the festive consumerism of Black Friday turned to the last desperate pre-Xmas push -- fewer Sales Associates, longer lines, more wearied faces. Fortunately, I only needed a couple specific things: hip little zebra-stripe arm warmers for Caitie and an apron for her cooking-enthusist roommate who'll spend Christmas with us. Unfortunately, the heels started to hurt a few feet from the front door.
I'd also forgotten this week's tunnel-closure bus trouble, and waited half an hour for a 70-something bus to take me to dinner at Pomodoro with friends. To add to the excitement, some teenager was singing along to his iPod R&B next to me. At the peak of my frustration, Andrea called from a bus stop a few blocks away. While strategizing (it was now dinner-reservation time and we were still far from the table), I spotted a 71.
Pomodoro was noisey but nicely lit, and a bottle of wine already on the table. They neglected to tell us until Andrea asked about our food (an hour after we ordered) that they were short a chef. Nonetheless, everything was delicious. Paella was maybe a bit too much shellfish for me, but I would've regretted not trying. Portions and presentation were inconsistant -- Austin and Sarah's gorgonzola chicken was an outdated abstraction with bite-sized balls of mashed potato lined neatly next to a strip of chicken and then a slice of squash topped with two asparagus and a zigzag of some sauce. Lysondra had a huge pile of linguini, and Kirsten and Andrea had easily half as much tortellini -- the latter very upset they'd charged a dollar to replace her shrimp with mushy squash. At some point there was a heated argument over whether pomodoro meant apple of the earth, resolved via iPhone.
A bar seemed appropriate, but not everyone had ID, so someone (not me) invited everyone to my place for Rock Band. I hurried to clean, Buster stole the spotlight, and we played till shortly after Brian came home. It's great when guests stay exactly till you're tired of them. (Once I sctually fell asleep on the couch while Sarah and Erin watched seemingly-endless episodes of Seinfeld.)
Today at 2:30 we venture into the holiday family marathon. An afternoon in Issaquah with Brian's people -- he warned there may be singing, and from the very-surprising mention of a keg in the invitation, I imagine it's inevitable. Then Sunday a trip to grandparents' on Vashon, from where I'll go straight to Darrington — a day sooner than planned, meaning instead of a long weekend I get a three days with mom and Tony, most of them confined to a log house in the snowy almost-mountains. It's only picturesque from a distance. Inside, I predict What-Not-To-Wear marathons, loads of knitting, and explaining again what my job is and that it is actually a paid position to my step-dad. But there will be at least one Christmas sweater.