Socially, there were, mercifully, a couple of redeeming moments. I had dinner with Meg at Louise's (which I hadn't been to in a year and a half, since sending off cousin Becca Sweeney to her freshman year at UW Madison) and that was a great opportunity to catch up. We hadn't actually hung out since she and Julie came over one night at the end of September, thought that still seems like only a few weeks ago. Meg was positively aglow with excitement between a fabulous new job in a support company for local and regional theatre production – just her thing – and with having been involved in a serious relationship since pretty much when she last saw me. This has been big for her as it's with an older fellow, by about 14 years, but that's a difference that she's enjoying thoroughly because "he's actually a grown-up" compared to college guys or recent college grads.
Friday night featured a really interesting time with Dan and Amy, who plotted to put the kids to sleep and then have their regular babysitter come over so that we could go out. (The Harrises were absent from our regular Friday Night Get-Together because Donna had a cold.) My arrival at the house for dinner was kind of hysterical. Deanna, their next-door neighbour and regular sitter, who I'd never really met, was already there, helping out for some of the afternoon while Dan and Amy worked in the office space upstairs. I didn't know this was going to be the case, and she seemed a little unsure of whether I should be let in when she answered the door. I simply said, "I think this will prove my bona-fides" as the kids pushed past her and came rushing up: Anna yelled and held out her hands to be picked up, narrowly beating out Owen, who started trying to climb up my leg. Anna, who has the biggest crush I've ever seen in a three year-old, then kissed me on the cheek and announced "I love you!" just in time for Amy to come downstairs and start choking with laughter. I then had to go in and draw with the kids for about half an hour in order to pacify them enough to get time with their folks, who were clearly a sort of social after-thought in the minds of the kids at first.
After a great pasta and brussel sprout dinner of Amy's concoction, they got the kids down and we began to plot where we were going to go out. We scouted out a location Amy had heard of in the Third Ward called something I now forget, but she dismissed it when it seemed a bit too loud and college-y, and asked instead if I'd show them the Metro. The Metro was packed, it being a Friday night, but we were quickly seated in the restaurant section when I said we were there for dessert rather than drinks, which saved us a 45 minute wait. As I said, this became fascinating because the two of them were giving me much more of the backstory of their dating than I had ever heard before. This included the high drama of their breaking up in March, halfway through their engagement, and then getting back together in May to finally be wed in June, followed immediately after their Malta and Sicily honeymoon with their move to Milwaukee for Dan's entry into the doctoral program. Three months later, they also became pregnant with Anna. I couldn't believe what a head-spinning set of weeks those must have been, but it sounded like once they had gotten over their period of second-guessing during the engagement that they never looked back, and fully threw themselves into their new lives.
Amid much other conversation, I simply had to note the calendar distinctiveness of us spending this rare February 29th together. I said that it would be an interesting idea to make this the first meeting of a February 29th Club – that we should pledge to spend our future February 29ths together in the years to come. They thought that was a cool idea, as far as ways of staying in touch in the future went, and it certainly would be one of those interesting traditions, should it come to pass....