Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The West-Coast Lift-Up and Liftoff

The last few days have gone by so quickly it's hard to get everything straight in my mind, let alone here. But there has been lots happening, so I'll do my best to get everything in this better-late-than-never post.

Since I last checked in, my other half and I spent Saturday together doing some basic stuff: sight-seeing, shopping, walking around downtown and relaxing and having fun. Saturday night, we went out with Kaia's parents, who I was meeting for the first time. I can't say for sure, but I think everything went very well. Her mom is very sweet and down to earth, and her father and I have been exchanging e-mails back and forth for the past several months, so when the four of us finally got together at Town Hall, a restaurant south of Market Street in San Francisco, we had a nice time. After a nice, albeit loud, dinner, we shared a couple desserts and upon the bill arriving at our table, I offered to pay our share of dinner, but I was politely rebuffed by both of Kaia's parents. After quietly offering to at least leave the tip, her dad gave me a curt 'no' -- replete with a smile -- and we left together with a circuituous trip through the City.

We stopped prior to arriving at Kaia's apartment so her father could show me a part of the City that we hadn't yet seen. Prior to dropping us off at Kaia's apartment so we could make our way back out, he offered the two of us the opportunity to go to the Yankees-A's game the following day together rather than he & I. Kaia thanked him but declined, so we made brief plans to meet up the following day.

So Sunday, come 1:00PM, we showered and headed to a nearby mall to meet her Dad. He & I headed to Oakland (McAfee Coliseum) and wound up sitting about ten feet or so behind home plate. The first pitch was scheduled for 5:05 and we had some food prior to the game, but by the time the first pitch was thrown, Derek Jeter slammed it into right-center for a home run, and the Yankees led the rest of the way. The game was great, despite the chill in the air, and while the seats were great it was nice spending time with her dad. He's very much like my dad in that he's down to earth, prone to laughing and very easy-going. And while the topic of what my intent was vis-a-vis Kaia never was discussed, I assume that neither he nor I needed to bring it up just yet. After the game we went to their house to meet Kaia and her mother. The four of us hung out for a bit before we left to return to the confines of the City proper.

Monday we got together with Kaia's parents as well as her sister, her sister's husband and their two kids, Sammy (age 4) and Cole (age 1). We did a few brief errands nearby, got some brunch and then headed over to their house mid-afternoon. We had a wonderful time, despite the two of us being the last to arrive. I'll post some pictures of the entire gathering, including Sammy and Cole. Needless to say, it felt like home.

By the time we left, we were both ready to sleep, and we landed in bed and slept late into Tuesday morning, Kaia doing work and me trying to see through hazy eyes. By the time we headed out to do some light shopping and some sight-seeing, we had only part of the day left. We just soaked in what sun there was while quietly counting down the hours we had left together. After we dropped everything off at Kaia's apartment, we headed out for dinner to Izzy's Steaks & Chops on nearby Steiner Street. We had the choice between Izzy's and Bistro Aix, right across the street, and since it was getting late and we wanted to get home and spend some quiet time together, we picked Izzy's over Aix only because we wanted less foofy and just a comfy place to have a nice dinner. We took a semi-private booth which, as per usual, featured a wall of condiments (BBQ sauces aplenty, plus Tabasco -- both red and green -- and a selection of barbecue-friendly vinegar). Kaia ordered the drunken shrimp -- a shrimp stew replete with an herb and beer basting -- and I got a New York sirloin. We each had Izzy's potatoes -- awesome -- and creamed spinach. Neither of us could finish dinner and we slowly made our way back to Kaia's stuffed and in bittersweet acknowledgement it was my final night in San Fran.

Soon after we made it to Kaia's, one of her best friends -- Kevin -- arrived back to town via Chicago and made his way over to her apartment for a quick meet. We were all going to go out prior to his going away for the holiday weekend, but Kaia hadn't been feeling well so it was delayed until Tuesday night. But -- despite him being tired from a load of fun in Chicago and ready to drop -- he made it by, which I thought was really awesome. He's of course a great guy, and the next time I head out West we'll definitely spend time hanging out -- assuming, of course, that he doesn't come to NYC prior.

This morning was a quick run-through -- having packed last night, gotten everything together and organized all my crap, we hurriedly got everything organized and headed out to the airport. Before I knew it, I was watching Kaia's car disappear onto the highway and I headed inside to check in, go through security, and spend the flights (I connected through Dulles) contemplating our relationship, how happy we are and how hard it continues to be to say goodbye.

More later.

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