Whoa, baby, what a night!
Last night Rachael, Jamie and I spent a very enjoyable evening getting toasted at some of Wicker Park’s finer drinking establishments. We started out rather early (about 7ish) at Adobo Grill with some fresh guacamole prepared tableside, and delicious margaritas made with fresh lime juice. Rachael and I also had a precautionary meal, too, but that wasn’t a stand out. Then we headed off to The Violet Hour.
I’d never been to The Violet Hour before and found the experience really enjoyable. Swanky for sure, with moody lighting and decorating, eclectic music, and real cocktails. I mean classic cocktails as they were meant to be made: high quality liquor, fresh fruit juices and garnishes, and dashing presentation.
Now, I love The Matchbox for similar reasons, but the atmospheres are totally different. Matchbox is a small, gritty sort of place where you rub elbows with the person next to you, and start unexpected conversations. The Violet Hour is the type of place to dress up for, and to sit back, sip your drink and feel like one of the “beautiful people.” Prices at The Violet Hour are more than at The Matchbox, but part of what you’re paying for is that groovy atmosphere.
We found a great deal, though: Parsippany Punch. This potent combination of applejack, a couple of other obscure liquors, some simple syrup, and a dash of bitters came to our table served in a small punchbowl with an ice block floating atop. As I raised the first glass to my lips, I took a sniff and it felt like my nostrils were being singed. Yikes!!! Two sips into it, I felt my face glowing. The flavor was intense and not something I can easily explain. The three of us got several mugs of this stuff out of the punchbowl and it cost us only $30 total. A pretty good deal!
Afterwards, we squeezed through the full vestibule of people waiting for tables and out into the snow. It may have only been a bit after 10 PM, but we were snookered (2 Margaritas and 3 glasses of strong hooch will do that to you) so we parted ways and headed home. I was lucky with the CTA, not having to wait too long for an el train, and catching a bus at the station only minutes before it left.
The reason we had headed out so spontaneously into the snowy night was to blow off some stress. Rachael had had a pretty tough week, and is on tenterhooks awaiting next week’s scheduled announcement of more layoffs at her employer. And I had a really rocky Friday.
I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night, awaking after about 4 hours of sleep. Lots of tossing and turning ensued until I finally gave up, got out of bed and grabbed something to do. I listened to a podcast, I knit a bit, and then I played around with stuff in my closet.
I leisurely got ready for work, putting on the nice suit and blouse I had selected earlier (part of my newly liberated wardrobe that I hadn’t been able to wear several months ago!), and going the extra mile with the full make-up routine, including mascara. (I really don’t like mascara and avoid wearing it as much as possible.) I headed out into the snowy day to catch the train downtown, which happened without incident.
The morning was good. I attended a special event with our CEO and got to sit right up front and interact with him and the office managing partner. It’s good for the career to meet these higher up folks, and my attendance at this thing was the reason I made up my face so carefully. I worked through the stuff in my email that had to be done, set up some meetings, checked in with my team, etc. It was a productive day, until late in the afternoon.
By 4 PM I was drooping. Operating on 4 hours of sleep and being up for so long already was starting to affect me and I was pretty much just focusing on the more mindless stuff. And then my lawyer called.
I know that one of the reasons I had trouble sleeping was due to my anticipation of the meeting she was reporting back to me on. Becuse of continued rescheduling by Mark’s lawyer, it was the first meeting they had held, too. I was…well…disappointed, to say the least about this meeting.
As she talked about the particulars of how the assets could be divided, it was obvious that some of the details of what Mark and I had discussed ourselves months ago had been lost in time. I had reported the conversations to her shortly after they took place, but hadn’t brought them up to her before this meeting to refresh her memory. And, of course, Mark hadn’t really been in touch with his lawyer, either. So, I was getting pretty disturbed by what sounded like hours more of billable work to figure out EXACTLY how much my pension was worth, and what portion of Mark’s retirement investments were pre-marital, etc.
The worse part was her response to my request for clarification on what “this can be finished up soon” meant. “Please help me understand exactly what that means,” I asked. And the response was devastating to me: agreements drafted over the next few weeks, court date around mid-February, and then Mark would get 30 days to vacate the premises. I started to cry. Right there, sitting at my desk in my “deluxe cubicle” (as a senior manager, my cube is larger and next the windows, of course!) I started sobbing as I realized that I most likely must continue to co-habitate with Mark for another two months. !!
After we ended the call, I wiped the dreaded runny mascara off my face, packed up, and headed for the train station. I got on the train and sat there fighting off more tears and sobs which I just let flow after I left the train and began the walk home through the steadily falling snow. (The nice thing about snow is that it muffles sound, so not too many other commuters would hear me sobbing and gasping as I walked.) I made it through the one major intersection without getting killed in my total lack of concentration and confusion about the lights.
My stop at home was going to be as brief as possible: just enough time to change my clothes, lock up the chickens, feed the dogs, and then let the dogs out to do a bit of “business.” I had one more call with my lawyer, who phoned me after digilently running through some more figures that she had emailed to me, too. I promised to review them and get back to her on Monday, then left the house again.
As I approached the intersection to catch the Foster bus (still snowing with the totals approaching 3 inches by this time) I again wrestled with my confusion with the timing of the lights as I tried vainly to reach a rapidly approaching bus before it got to the official bus stop. I missed it. I stood there in the street and screamed. I just couldn’t help it, I was that much at the end of my rope. The bus magically pulled to a stop on the other side of the intersection. I dodged traffic to run up to it and nearly started sobbing my gratitude to the bus driver as I boarded. I managed to get out a coherent “Thank you, thank you!” without blubbering at the same time, found a seat, and then gulped in air as I pushed back the “I’m going to lose it” feeling again.
By the time I got off the el near Rachael’s place about 30 minutes later, I was calmer and more than ready for some alcohol. We had our wonderful evening and I returned home to find Mark there.
Of course I knew this really wasn’t the time to talk about the lawyer’s meeting, but he broached the topic and seemed eager to do so. It wasn’t a great conversation as I was still pretty tightly wound. I recall at one point saying to him, “You have to understand that no matter what you do, you are going to be the “bad guy” to me.” Nonetheless, I think we may have a reasonable compromise worked out.
Now, if I could just get him out of the house at the end of the month…I foresee many, many days and nights ahead where I spend time away from my home, avoiding him…
Oh, and it’s still snowing.