Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sliver of Spring

The weekend offered a tease at how beauteous spring will be with a taste of warmer weather. The weekend began with a much-needed and deserved “date night”. Elise and I finally hired a babysitter, a luxury we probably can’t afford, but which seems almost a necessity with three children who demand every second of our attention during waking hours. Seriously, I’d probably forgo electricity and running water to pay the babysitter.

We’re living a little further outside of DC than we ever have before. As such, we’ve escaped the District’s gravitational pull to some extent. Also, since it was the babysitter’s first night, we wanted to stay within sprinting distance in case of an unscheduled calamity. We checked out a new place in Merrifield, the Open Road Icehouse. It was just what the doctor ordered. Cold beer. Good bourbon, wings, and burgers. Loud music, good company (natch!) and convo. There was even live music. He wasn’t great, but at that point, I didn’t care.

Fast forward to Sunday and highs in the mid-60s. We—along with everyone else within a fifty mile radius of DC—decided to go to the zoo. On the way to the zoo we stopped at Duck Donuts for made-to-order doughnuts. Gourmet doughnuts as a fad have usurped the trend of gourmet cupcakes which is just fine by me; a doughnut seems less of a caloric commitment than a cupcake and an itch that can be scratched with only a modicum of guilt, the made-to-order doughnuts at Duck Donuts notwithstanding. They were so good and gooey I had to handfeed Clementine hers as though she was a goat and we were already at the petting zoo.

Once we began our final approach to the zoo, we quickly discovered by the long queue of cars in front of us that all the parking lots were already full. We meandered around to the other side of the zoo and finally did find a parking spot about a mile and a half away after momentarily flirting with the idea of throwing in the towel altogether. I’m glad we didn’t. We met old friends, and, as usual, everyone had their favorite animal. Mine is usually the seals. This time, the seals were Peter’s favorite, and several of us liked the cheetah best, not the least of all because it seemed to be actively stalking this bright green beanied boy amongst the onlookers. The enclosure—which at first glance seemed sufficient in containing a large hunting beast—suddenly seemed vulnerable to a cat that could run 60 mph.

We headed home around two, and Elise and I immediately threw ourselves elbows-deep into dinner preparations. Friends from Chennai were coming over for dinner, and so we quickly whipped up a delicious Mediterranean-inspired menu, replete with Sitti’s tabbouleh. To our great fortune, our rental came with a grill built into the back deck and hooked up to the house’s gas. No messing with heavy cylinders. We fired the grill up for its inaugural run, the kids played in the backyard, and I can still remember the exact golden hue that glowed from my IPA-filled mason jar as the afternoon sun shone through it.

The warmth was short-lived. Cold temps, wind, and the promise of snow have returned, and we are battening down the hatches. Or at least, cinching our mufflers a little tighter. Until the next break in winter. 

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