Seventeen years plus a day of marriage

Today marks the first day of Fall. Elise and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary last night. We stayed up too late and we ate things that our 40-something-year-old bodies just don’t agree with these days. Namely fried pickles and buffalo wings. We went to bed after midnight. We can barely pull that off on New Year’s Eve. We slept in until almost 9 a.m.

A slow start to the morning. We had scrambled eggs with spinach and toast. I wanted to go for a run so I could hit 30+ miles this week. Around 11 a.m. I felt human enough to go for a run. I asked Elise if she wanted to go for a 5-mile bike ride. She thought I was inviting her to go ride bikes. I cleared the confusion by telling her I was going to run. She could ride a bike. She agreed.

So we set out and we talked and ran and rode. It was a lot of fun. We headed east on Slaughter, north on Beckett, right on Convict Hill and checked out the progress on the Will Hampton Library. Not much progress there other than the early stages of gutting it. Then we hit the trails behind the library that connect to Dick Nichol’s park. Then we crossed Beckett again to go onto the Latta Branch greenbelt.

We meandered through puddles and the suburban streets. Just Elise and me. Talking about everything and nothing. It was a lot of fun. I love running with my wife. Even if she’s on a bike. Makes the miles just go by.

Labor Day weekend

It started on Friday while I was at work. The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) started at 11 a.m. CST. I started watching the livestream coverage from my computer at 10 a.m. I did some work, then a bunch of us from the office walked to Super Burrito for tacos. We came back to the office, ate lunch together, and then I wrapped things up and headed home at 12:30. When I got home, Elise and I hung out, and I continued my livestream watching of UTMB.

The girls got home from school and then we drove out to Don and Gigi’s place off 1826 to hang out with the Kaisers. I ate my weight in pizza and barbecue and we just hung out with friends. Maly and all of her friends ducked into Don’s “studio” house and sang karaoke at the tops of their lungs.

On Saturday I went for a 5-miler with some of the guys from the Circle C Run Club. I rode my bike to the community center and back, thinking that might negate all the crap I’d eaten the night before.

When I got home, I watered the lawn and Elise came home from bootcamp. She had an appointment to get the Acura’s oil changed later that morning, so we loaded up the whole family and were off to the Acura dealership. We hung out there for an hour, watched the first day of college football (mostly UT and Texas Tech). It was lunchtime when the car was done, so we decided to try the Rusty Cannon Pub. I got a burger, Maly had nachos, Mara had waffles and Elise had migas. Elise and I shared a “build your own” blood mary. The pub was pretty cool. The food was good. They had football games on all of the TVs.

After lunch we hopped over to Fiesta because Elise was on the hunt for some Mexican vanilla. We couldn’t find “real” Mexican vanilla (surprise), so we bought some fruit and veggies instead. We went home afterward and watched football and UTMB highlights. I took the veggies we’d procured and made ~36 ounces of some pretty amazing (and hot) salsa.

We were all still stuffed from lunch, so Elise and I didn’t really eat dinner. I had a small brisket taco with my salsa on it that was really good. Elise had chips and salsa. I steamed an artichoke for Mara and then we pretty much called it a night. Maly spent the night at the Heisterman’s for Susan Margaret’s 12th birthday party.

On Sunday I woke up at 5 a.m. and drove out to Lakeway for a fat-burning 6-mile run with John out in the hills. We ran really slow, but it was a really good workout. I came home and I think I might’ve taken a nap at some point. Elise had something pop in her foot at last Sunday’s soccer game, so she’s out for a month. We went to Soccer Zone to watch her team play at 3 p.m. I think they won 5-1. We then went to HEB to get some whole chickens and other sundries.

We got home in time for the girls to load up and go to church. While they were gone I fired up the kamado and prepped the chicken for my first (I think) beer can chicken. The girls got home we had the smoked beer can chicken with some roasted broccoli.

Monday was a lazy day. I didn’t get out of bed until 9 a.m. Mara and I walked up the street and played with a few beetles. She got bored with beetles so we went back to the house. Elise was cleaning house, prepping for Kari’s arrival on Tuesday. I knew that we were supposed to be getting some much-needed rain, so I decided to go for a 7-mile run. My hope was that it would rain on me while running the trails. It didn’t rain. It was hot as Hades and I was soaked from head to toe when I got back.

Maly went over to Eve’s house for a few hours. I took a shower and then a 30 minute nap on the couch. Elise and Mara went through old school papers and started throwing things away. I ran up to HEB to get tortillas and avocados.

I got back to the house right before it started raining at about 4 p.m. I didn’t have the doors or windows on the Jeep, so I got home in the nick of time. I sat out in the garage and wrote a birthday card for Terri since I (unintentionally) neglected to text her on Saturday.

Then, for whatever reasons, Mara and I decided to polish rocks. The girls had been cleaning house and we had some random rocks sitting on the counter. I told Mara about polishing rocks, and she liked the idea. We picked a handful of rocks from the counter, and then we went to the backyard and picked out another handful of rocks of varying color and pattern. We needed sand, so she and I hopped in the Jeep and drove over to Gorzycki to get a cup of sand from the long jump pit by the track.

We drove back home just in time before it started raining lightly again. Mara and I put our rocks in the tumbler with our newly-acquired sand, some water, and then started the tumbler on its month-long rock tumbling job.

While our rocks were rolling around, and the sky was getting dark and the rain continued to drizzle down, Mara and I decided to try to send a sky lantern up into the air as a gift to the rain gods. Unfortunately the two remaining sky lanterns are probably a decade old. The orange one that Mara selected had a bunch of holes in it. I tried to repair as many as I could with tape, but we didn’t have much luck. I lit the paraffin wax and the balloon inflated, but I think we still had some air leakage, and the drizzling rain also weighted the balloon down. It got airborne enough to make it above our house, and then it floated back down and landed in the grass between our house and the neighbors’.

Mara and I still had fun though. It was kind of nice to have those moments with her at the end of a long weekend. I guess I needed that.