Now that I’ve had some time to digest…

The last couple weeks of December were, to put it mildly, pretty busy. This post will be the Good Parts Version, because there were some.

* Rin, you can tell Mom and Dad that everybody’s packages arrived. If mine haven’t, they should be there soon. Yes, I’m a slacker and didn’t get anything sent until after Christmas. You can yell at me at your leisure. Will send thank you notes out of the gigantic pile of stationary Mom sent at the soonest available opportunity.

* Also: fundoshi, Rin. Really? Really? Admittedly, I probably brought that on myself but…really? Where do you even buy those things anymore? And if you’re planning say ‘from a vending machine!’ I don’t actually want to know that badly.

So…Christmas with McDreamy.

It was nice. Really, really nice. Yes, Rin, ‘just nice.’

McDreamy lives in one of those big, three-story red brick condos up on Green — the sort of huge place you wouldn’t guess a single guy would be living alone in unless he’d converted the entire third story into an immaculately soundproofed BDSM dungeon/yoga room and the entire second story into a single walk-in closet. And I’m saying this as a single guy who lives in a one bedroom flat, who still feels I’ve got too much space and not enough stuff to put in it. Still…it’s a very nice place. Hardwood and slate floors, a kitchen that can legitimately be described as gourmet in its accouterments, an actual back yard with a patio and plants and a nice trellis/fountain/standing firepit thing. It was too cold to sit outside for any length of time, but I could see how it would be nice in the summer. An actual live Christmas tree with antique glass ornaments and an actual, functioning fireplace in the sitting room, all polished dark hardwood furniture and tastefully elegant leather and upholstery where appropriate. McDreamy, or whoever decorated for him, really does have a great eye for that sort of thing — he said to come casual, I work khakis and a niceish shirt, and I still felt severely under dressed for my surroundings. I’m pretty sure that the quality of the sheen on some of those walls was the result of linseed oil paint. Okay, yeah, I’m digressing.

Dinner was supposed to be around threeish, with people arriving more or less whenever, so I went over a little after noon with the appetizer I’d made — balsamic shallot-and-goat-cheese minitarts — to help get things ready. McDreamy was, according to himself, expecting four to five people to wander in either singly or together, and had cooked for at least a dozen. Guess how many people actually showed up?

If you said three, you’d be correct — McDreamy, myself, and a friend of his from the hospital dropped by briefly, but for the majority of the day it was pretty much just us. If it weren’t for the mountain of leftovers I’ve been eating for the last week, I’d say I think he planned it that way but, actually, I’m not entirely certain he didn’t plan it that way, since he seems to think I need to eat a sandwich. And also to work out more. He got me a guest pass for his private health club — a little bird apparently whispered in his ear that I had mentioned in passing that I missed swimming and had fallen out of my ordinary exercise regimen since I’d moved to Pennsylvania, and that the change might be aggravating my migraine symptoms. Mostly, we ate and talked. Or, rather, I talked — he’s really easy to talk to which is, I suppose, only to be expected given his profession — and he listened and interjected the occasional question/observation. Things I learned about him: he’s the middle brother of the three Brothers McDreamy, all of whom were apparently lovingly crafted from the perfect combination of Scot and Swede, poured into a lickable hunk mold, and then baked to international men’s underwear model temperature. (He had pictures of them all on his mantel, that’s how I know.) Eldest McDreamy and his lovely wife are both scientists, residing most of the time at a marine research station in Scotland — though they just recently had their first child, which is why Mother McDreamy and Father McDreamy are visiting with them this year. Younger McDreamy is, like Father McDreamy, career Air Force, currently stationed at Misawa Air Base in Japan. I found this rather disproportionately amusing, I’ll admit. McDreamy freely confessed to being a military brat who’d moved all over the place with his family as a kid — he’s only been living in Philly himself for a little over five years himself.

He was particularly curious as to why, with the forensic pathologist shortage in this country, why I’d decided to leave California, where I basically could have held on for a couple years and then named my own price in nearly any major city you’d care to pick. I gave my boilerplate “needed a change of scenery” answer, which I’m not entirely sure he bought, but I didn’t want to get into the topic just then. It was too nice of a day. Instead I talked about Granny Hanako and Grandpa Toshiaki and moving back and forth between California during the school year and Oregon during the summer, and living part of the time in Japan when I was too young to remember. Basically if we’d been in any decent romance narrative, at some point the scene would have gone into soft focus and the music would have changed tempo and there’d be a “and now these two lonely people fall in love in the midst of the cold northeastern winter” montage except instead of a montage I got one of those phone calls that nobody wants to get on Christmas Day and had to leave for a crime scene.

More on that later.

On 12/30, McDreamy called late in the evening, and asked if I’d like to meet him for brunch on Saturday and New Years activities the day after. I worked Christmas weekend so I was off New Years and, since I didn’t actually have any plans, I said “sure, why not.” I needed to be distracted and, well, McDreamy is admirably distracting at multiple levels. We met up at the King’s Oak, where the brunch spread is, I will confess, justly famed and then spent most of the day until the early part of the evening wandering around the shops and galleries in the vicinity. I wasn’t in a particularly cheerful mood when I’d arrived — the week I had didn’t allow for it — and McDreamy must have twigged to that because he did everything in his power to make me laugh. Including taking me into a place called Delicious and, uhm, making me try on clothes. Scary, scary, horrifically expensive clothes. In which I looked damned good, dammit. They knew him there, which made me think that my deranged fantasy about third floor  kitted-out BDSM dungeons might not be completely insane. He’s certainly got a wilder wild streak than you’d initially suspect. I actually spent way more money there than I’d intended to. On the other hand, I now have some items in my wardrobe that aren’t scrubs, khakis, or jeans.

Once it started to get dark, we headed down towards Penn’s Landing, where the actual New Year’s Eve party was taking place, on the piers along the Delaware River waterfront. It was, as they say in these parts, colder than a witch’s left pectoral glandular tissue down by the water but there was also an ice skating rink and music and the opportunity to huddle together with other people for body heat and hot chocolate. And then there were fireworks. Outstanding fireworks, at that. It was so late and I was so tired by the time we left that I didn’t really put up much of an argument when McDreamy suggested I spend the night at his place.

Shut up, Rin.

So I spent the night in one of his guest rooms and the next morning I made us both breakfast and we went to watch the Mummer’s Parade. My thoughts: more marcasite feathers and sequins than any six major Pride parades put together. On the other hand: lots and lots of Gaga and snarkass remarks about politics by men dressed in more marcasite feathers and sequins than any six major Pride parades. The Fancy division at the Civic Center afterwards left my ears ringing but was still a lot of fun. Altogether a fine way to bring in the New Year.

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~ by Dr. Nate Harada on January 4, 2012.

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