Monday, August 21, 2006

First of all …

The Rug Doctor is magic. Bordering on witchcraft.

Actually, I should start with pre-first-of-all (or ante-first-of-all for those of you who are so inclined): My carpet had gotten pretty dingy in the five years I’ve lived in Shoebox Manor, and I decided I needed to spruce it up if I wanted to sell my place at a decent price.

So I rented the Rug Doctor on Friday afternoon, and I quickly discovered I had been living in squalor. Gay Gardens squalor, apparently. Even the “clean” sections of my carpet produced appallingly black sludge when I emptied the dirty-water container from the Rug Doctor.

The worst section of my carpet had been by the front door. But not for long! The first Rug Doctor swipe created a stripe of such pristine khaki beauty I almost wept. But then I remembered that weeping is not very manly, so I soldiered on in stoic masculinity until my carpets were as clean and fancy as the day they were installed.

Of course, I picked a rainy day at the dawn of a particularly humid weekend to do this, so the carpet took its sweet time drying. And I rented my Rug Doctor from the most ghetto Dominicks in Chicago, complete with rock-dwelling customers and a defiantly unhelpful store manager. But it’s done, and I’m once again living in oatmeal-colored splendor.

After the rug doctoring, I picked up Romantic Date Guy for a carbo-loading dinner. For our appetizer, we stopped by Fleet Feet so I could upgrade my running shoes by a half size; my 11-wides were starting to pinch, and I had to run 20 miles the next morning. (And yes, running 20 miles in brand-new shoes is the kind of stupid that brought us Mel Gibson and Ann Coulter. But 20 miles in too-tight shoes is also a big kind of stupid—though since they’re broken in, it’s more on the order of Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson. Of course, all four of these mouth-breathers are making more money than I am, so what the hell do I know? Besides the fact that I can sleep at night, I mean.)

So after 5 kinds of bread and pasta followed by cookie-dough ice cream—and then a lovely (albeit short) evening of laughing and talking and show-tuning together—I went to bed at 10 and got up at 5 to run 20 miles. (Look! A whole sentence rendered in multiples of 5!) And those 20 miles were pretty glorious, thanks mostly to the muggy, cool weather we had. And to my new shoes, which performed flawlessly.

The AIDS Marathon organizers asked us all to wear red so we’d create an endless AIDS ribbon up and down the lakefront on Saturday—which was a beautiful mental image, but since people didn’t all remember to wear red and since we aren’t in the habit of skipping hand-in-hand on our training runs, we didn’t really create much of a ribbon. But here’s how some of my team looked in the pre-red-dawn hours:

And here’s how I looked, but I’m showing you this picture mostly because it includes my favorite morning eye candy—the dude in the red shirt with the black circles is quite a physical specimen, albeit a quiet one; I’ve gotten only one smile-hello out of him since we started running in May:

True story:
Fearless Leader Matthew keeps Olay body wipes in his car. Which makes him kinda gay. But after a long run, we’re always very glad he has them so we can freshen up before our post-run brunch. So Saturday morning we were rounding the soccer fields somewhere in mile 9 and we were already feeling kind of ripe. Someone mentioned the Olay wipes, and—almost as though we were a bunch of homos who frequently break into song—we all started singing Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot”: ¡Olé, olé! ¡Olé, olé! So we’re running along—five white people and one Asian person belting out Spanish words to a fake Mexican song—when we come upon a soccer team waiting to start early-morning practice. A Hispanic soccer team waiting to start early-morning practice. They look at us. We look at them, kind of stunned by their sudden presence. We stop singing (again, fabulously on cue—the Moron Tab-and-Apple Choir has nothing on us). They look at us even harder, as though they were deciding if we were trying to get all Jets on them at the dance at the gym. We run harder until they’re safely behind us. We laugh. Trust me: It was funny.

We finished our run with nothing more problematic than a few pee stops, and then we took our traditional post-run picture. Except I thought this pic was a frowny one and everyone else understood it to be a smiley one. So I look like Cap’n AngryPants while everyone else looks like a Wal-Mart greeter:

Then we all piled into Fearless Leader Matthew’s car (which he’ll probably have to sell to the zoo for hauling animals now that we’ve permanently sweated it up) to head to brunch. Here’s what a backseat full of stinky, half-crippled queers looks like (why am I always the pink one?) when all we can think about is eating. And, in a few cases, mugging for the camera:

And here’s what our famed brunches—my favorite part of marathon training!—look like. Outdoor seating + beautiful weather + mountains of diner food + a shared sense of accomplishment with a fun group of people = a pretty spectacular way to eat. Even if the left side of our table looks sort of iffy:

Wow. This post is getting long. Which never happens.

Here’s the rest of my weekend in a handy PowerPoint format:

Plant by front door
• Sad little thing.
• Nobody wants to buy a condo from someone who habitually kills plants.
• Or who at least doesn’t try to hide the bodies.
• Replaced it.
• Looks nice.
• Still alive.
• So far.

Romantic dinner Saturday night
• Commemorated Romantic Date Guy’s last day at his job.
• And the dawn of his jet-setting new career.
• I cooked.
• I also got him a thoughtful gift.
• Didn’t make him cry, though.
• Next time.
• Capped off the night with show tunes and ice cream.
• And appropriately dim lights.

My first showing
• Sunday morning.
• Got an almost immediate offer.
• Too low for my budget.
• Refused their counter to my counter.
• There’s another showing tonight anyway.
• HA!

Air and Water Show
• Sunday afternoon.
• Watched it from a fabulous rooftop deck on Lake Shore Drive.
• Not really into airplanes (or wasting fuel), but parts of it were pretty impressive.
• Endured some frighteningly vapid banter from the radio commentators.
• Especially when they got into warplanes-equals-god-bless-America territory.
• No shit.
• We were usually more fascinated by the LSD gridlock on the ground below us.
• And the bastard cops who ticketed everyone in sight.
• Discovered RDG has a fear of heights.
• And that I can use that to my advantage when I want more hugs and snuggles.
• We didn’t realize it would get so sunny.
• Very lobstery today.
• Or maybe it’s just a happy glow.
• You can commence barfing again.

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