In the morning, I took turns sewing and crocheting while sitting in the sunshine on the couch and laughing at Tillamook, who is also so unused to the sun shining that he spent a good part of the day either a) napping in it, b) napping inside the frame of the couch to get away from the brightness of it all, or c) chasing around the sunbeams that had landed on the wood floor, chattering at them as if they were actual prey. After Kip woke up in the afternoon, he stood for a long time, staring out of the window with a dreamy look in his eyes. He smiled, shook his head, and went outside to check the mail. When he came back, he had the same look on his face.
"What?" I asked, knowing full well what was coming next.
"Oh, nothing", he responded, glancing out the window again. "I just wish I had a grill."
If I had a dime for the number of times my husband has told me that a charcoal grill is simultaneously the smell of his childhood and the mark of a true man, I would have my student loans paid off. It's endearing, and luckily this year, I am prepared. His birthday is in two weeks, and while he was at work a few days ago, I went to the Home Depot and bought a small Weber charcoal grill--the type that's only about two feet tall and therefore perfect for apartment renters. I just had to keep it from him for 14 more days and, in the meantime, try to handle the multiple hints (amount to date: 3) of wanting nothing more or less than a charcoal grill for his birthday.
"Well," I responded, trying my best to keep a straight face, "we have some steak in the fridge, you could cook it on the George Foreman grill."
He looked at me as if I'd just suggested having a nice brunch of quiche and mimosas. Apparently the George Foreman is the girl's equivalent to a charcoal grill and my suggestion was the man's version of heresy.
"No, it's just not the same" he said, glancing out the window again.
I couldn't take his puppy eyes anymore. I sighed and walked over to him. "I love you," I said and gave him a kiss, "And you have to ruin every birthday surprise, don't you?"
He cocked his head, "Huh?"
"Hold on a sec" I ran downstairs to our landlords, who had been hiding the grill in question for me, and (after a brief search) came back up the stairs, grill in hand, singing "Happy Two-Weeks-Early Birthday to You".
It was as if Christmas had come early to Juneau. He attacked the box with child-like enthusiasm, putting the grill together in record time (I should have timed it and compared it to how long it will take us to put together our baby crib). We walked to the grocery store to pick up some grill-type foods (corn on the cob that I should have known would be a bit mealy since it was frozen, some fabulous baked beans), and a giant bag of charcoal. After we got back to the apartment, Kip set to work creating a perfectly heated grill while I washed some dishes and made a cheesecake with our Magic Bullet (seriously the best invention ever). Our summer time dinner was delicious, and we ate on the couch while we watched "The Patriot" and the breeze blew through the open windows in the kitchen, making the curtains dance in the air (which tortured/amused Tillamook to no end). It felt like the Fourth of July, just two months early.
And it was magnificent.