For the second time this NaBloPoMo month, I missed a post, and again it was while we were staying overnight at my parents’. Last night, I was so tired that I went to bed early (10:30), before my parents even, and totally forgot about posted. Didn’t even cross my mind, once we got home from our date afternoon/evening.
Yesterday, thanks to my parents’ watching the girls, la dra. and I got to enjoy a kid-free date night (that didn’t involve a larger organized event) in I don’t know how long. We got to be spontaneous (where we usually plan things out), and we got to go back to our old neighbhorhood, where we lived 9 years ago, before Bakersfield, before kids. It was, in a word, nice. Very nice.
We knew that, after meeting our dear friends from Bakersfield at Elite for a dim sum brunch in Monterey Park and stopping at our friend’s family’s landscape statuary business, Rosemead Gardens, for something for our relatively recently redone backyard, we needed to go to the optical department at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center for la dra. to order a new pair of glasses. My parents were already watching the girls—why not extend our outing?
La dra. did her her residency in family medicine at Kaiser Sunset (where also, coincidentally, I was born), and we spent those three years between Providence and Bakersfield living in a small one-bedroom apartment a mid-century fourplex in the nearby Los Feliz neighborhood. We loved exploring our neighborhood, and those on its borders—East Hollywood, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village—its odd little shops and galleries, its coffeeshops and restaurants both upscale and lowbrow, walking its hilly, winding residential streets past very expensive Spanish Revival mansions and mid-century architectural masterpieces and middle- and working-class hodgepodges of Spanish/Mediterranean/Tudor/Craftsman duplexes and cottages. We dreamed of buying a home there, of returning after la dra. finished her med school scholarship repayment service.
Obviously, that never happened. But for an afternoon, we got to stroll, sans children, hand-in-hand through our old neighborhood, walking up and down blocks of charming, small old homes and multiplexes, looking in the windows of shop we’re too unhip to shop in, reliving, in a way, those old days. We walked from the new, gleaming Kaiser Hospital, started while la dra. was finishing her residency, to the vintage Egyptian-themed Vista Theatre to watch The Descendants at a very full holiday Friday afternoon matinee. After, we walked to the Los Feliz branch of Umami Burger, a chain started after we’d moved away, for a nice dinner of gourmet burgers in a space we once frequented often when it was home to the quirky and much-missed Hillmont steak house. We then drove closer to our old apartment, just blocks away, actually, to have too much cake and an artisanal cocktail for a nightcap on the heatlamp-strewn patio of Alcove Cafe and Bakery, which we would’ve been regulars at if it had opened before we moved. [It amuses me that Alcove, in a building which had been occupied by a real estate agent’s office when we lived there, is across the street from a Scientology center that had been another real estate agency and next to that is a Chabad center in what had been an upscale restaurant.]
We were still home around nine, the girls already bathed and put to bed by my parents, and we went to be at 10:30. Party animals and night owls we are not, but then again, we never were. But for one afternoon and evening, we got to relive a little bit of our past, and it was nice. We always mean to have regular date nights, as “everybody” always says how important they are for a good marriage and a good relationship. Life, of course, gets in the way of the best intentions. But after last night, I know that I’m going to make a better effort to make more time for us to be us, together.