5th Week: Wednesday (dinner and alone time)

It’s a rare occasion that my special lady friend would be up in my neck of the woods during the week. But since this is the week her children were on spring break, she decided to hang out in Portland. 

In our planning, she informed, “I’ve never eaten Vietnamese food.” Well I knew exactly where to take her. I said, “I know the perfect place. There’s usually a line out the door but the food is well worth the wait.” She was game…

 Since she would be dropping off her kids at her ex’s house, we decided our rendezvous point would be at a school down the street from where he lives. It was a little weird to meet up there but it beats the alternative of both of us driving into town during rush hour and each finding parking. Besides it gives us more time to spend with each other. 

She was already waiting in the school parking lot when I pulled up along side her parked car. She transferred herself, we gave each other hello kisses and I maneuvered my car into the direction of the restaurant. As normal we talked the whole way there. 

We found street parking a block away and hoofed it to the Vietnamese restaurant where there were already a line out the door that ended near the edge of the building . The last time I was here was with my son and his girlfriend the line wrapped around the building. We were lucky it hadn’t gone passed the corner of the building yet.

About 20 minutes later we were finally inside the the door which was good as the weather started to drizzle again.  

The way the restaurant worked was orders were placed and paid for in advance, unless you did what I did and opened a tab. Once our order was taken we again waited to be seated. Also to note, when ordering, you order both your bar beverage and your food. It took another 15 minutes to get to the cashier who took our order.  

Once we ordered, we waited again to be seated. Luckily we got our bar drinks order delivered while waiting for our table. We sat, sipped our drinks, and waited for another 15 minutes before our table became available. 

As I mentioned earlier, the food was worth the wait.  

And like we typically have done in our past dates, we shared our food. The main attraction was and is their beef pho. So of course we ordered a big bowl. We also ordered several of the small plates. By the end of our meal we were both satisfied, not stuffed but filled. 

So if you’re ever find yourself in Portland Oregon, try Luc Lac. It’s one of my favorite places to eat downtown and it stays open late. 

It was getting close to 8:30 and she had to pick up her kids. I closed my tab and walked out the door. By this time, the line to get in was wrapped around the corner. I drove her back to her car and we kissed passionately and said our good nights. 

It was another great evening spent with my special lady friend…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

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5th Week: Monday (missing you coffee)

It was spring break week I didn’t expect work to be its typical crazy busyness with the majority of the business folks out of the office. So other than the routine reports that had to be generated and distributed my work load was lighter than usual for a Monday. 

I was missing my lady since the past weekend was her girls weekend and therefore we didn’t spend time together as we’ve done on prior weekends. Although she were on her girls weekend at the coast she still made time to text me throughout each day. I guess that meant she missed me too. 

During lunch I received an unexpected text from her that she was back in town and wanted to know if I had time for coffee. I texted back and said, “I do after 2pm, but will need to return by 4pm for a meeting.” She replied, “Great! I’m dropping off one of the ladies and will head your way.” 

Since I don’t typically go to a coffee house that was not a chain, I asked Lois if she knew of a good local quaint coffee house to take her.  

Lois excitedly said, “Take her to the that coffee place on Murray.” The place was not too far away. I had heard of the place and even drove by the coffee house several times but I had never stopped in myself. 

Lois continued with her recommendation, “You should have the Mayan mocha with the whipped chocolate. This coffee house makes their own whipped chocolate and it’s a little spicy but it’s the best I’ve had.” 

So the venue and beverage were settled…

Shelly picked me up and I navigated her to our coffee break location. We both ordered Lois’s recommended beverage and settled into a quaint table near the rear of the coffee house. 

 One would think two hours is a long time and would have some silent moments, but not us. 

Instead we both felt the two hours went by quickly and before we knew, it was time for me to return to the office. Our dates have averaged in excess of five hours. But it’s not like the unbearable long date with someone. Time appeared to pass quickly when we’re together. 

We thanked the owner and she drove me back to my office. I typically don’t kiss publicly especially in a car in front of my work place, but we did. We kissed each other passionately like a couple that had been together a while but were still crazy for each other. I told her I had to go and stole one more kiss before exiting her vehicle. I watched as she drove off. 

I really like spending time with my lady friend…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

Hike #5: Angels Rest Trail

Angels Rest Trail is rated as easy trail but should be rated as moderate as there are rocks you’ll need to scramble over to reach the breathtaking views. 

 There is ample parking on a designated lot for the trail as well as an overflow lot a few hundred feet away. There is also plenty of street parking. One thing to note is there are no bathroom facilities. The nearest is 0.8 miles west at the Bridal Veil trailhead. 

The Angel Rest trailhead starts at the street level across the designated parking lot. The trail climbs steadily up and rises 1384 feet in about two miles. So be prepared and bring lots of water. 

Although my AllTrails ap indicated the trail to be open from June to November, it was open when I went in March. There were signage to instruct hikers to remain on the trail. So perhaps parts of the spur trails were closed until June. 

The trail steadily climbs for 0.5 miles before the first switchback. At the end of this first section, you’ll be rewarded with a view of a waterfall. I’m not sure of the official name for the waterfall but you’ll actually hear the water before you see it. 

 The next section before encountering another switchback is also about 0.5 miles long. At the end of this leg you’ll cross over the stream on a wooden bridge. This stream feeds the waterfall from the first section. Before crossing the bridge there are a few spurs off the trail that allows you to access the water. It’s a great spot to cool during the hotter summer months.  

The next 0.5 mile section is lined with trees and the climb continues. This is where the trail became a little slippery.  

I would recommend to have proper hiking shoes and not where tennis shoes. Some hikers had tennis shoes and had little to no traction. During the summer months this trail would be dry but during this time of year it’s best to wear hiking boots. 

The next section of the trail switches back to the direction of the Columbia River and curves around the base of the rock outcropping of angels rest. Since it was still winter and the trees were not fully clothed in their summer foliage, views of the snow covered mountain range in Washington state could be seen. 

 The trail here is a mix of muddy patches and as well as rocky terrain. Where this section curves, be sure to take in the breathtaking views. 

The next section was again lined with trees and the path became more slushy. At least that’s the terrain during this time of the season. After traversing through the sludge, the next section has a few short switchbacks then opens out onto a rock cropping.  

If you hadn’t removed your top layer this would be a great spot as your gear would not get soiled from the muddy trail. This is also a great place to rest and take pictures. 

The trail resumed at the end of the rock outcropping and after taking the next switchback, it continues to climb to the second rock outcropping. This one is a much smaller outcropping than the lower section. Passed the second outcropping are several lookout points that require some rock climbing onto a few mini rock towers. Take care climbing these structures as once on top there is a good 500 foot drop to the canyon below. 

Going passed the mini rock towers is the main viewing section of the Angels Rest Trail. Luckily the weatherman was right and the early morning rain gave way to clear skies. On windy days, remain a safe distance from the edge as there are no handrails to help protect you from falling over. 

Today, there was only a slight breeze and clear skies. It was a spectacular view!!

Hike #5 summary:

  • place: Angel Rest Trail in the Columbia River Gorge
  • miles: 4.2
  • trail type: in and back
  • elevation change: 1384′
  • weather: sunny with a slight breeze
  • temp: low 50s 
  • completion time: 3 hours

#hiking #trails #outdoors #living #angelresttrail #pacificnorthwest #menshealth #portland

DIY: Staircase project (where are my supplies)

One of the items on my list to begin for the weekend that Shelly were out with her girlfriends were my stair project. The goal was to complete the project before my April pre summer party. Unfortunately, I’m not going to complete that before my party thanks to Home Depot and UPS.

As I’ve shown in several posts my stairs have three steps with different carpeting. One of my wing women (Jackie) was and still is adamant about me getting my stairs fixed.  

About a month or two ago, I went shopping at Home Depot for stair threads. I found stair thread all right but it turned out they only carry oak stair threads. I asked a sales rep if one of their other stores would have them. He said they only carry the stair threads in oak. 

Rhetorical question: “Why would a big box store like Home Depot only carry one type of stair thread in their physical stores?” It’s the dumbest thing if you ask me. 

Anyway since I couldn’t find maple stair threads the salesman told me to shop online. So I did just that later that day. Per my online order confirmation my maple stair threads were to arrive at my house within 2 to 3 weeks. I had also ordered another small part for my kitchen sink, which also were not available in the physical store locations but only online. Again dumb if you ask me. 

Fast forward…three weeks I received a call from my local USPS branch that they’re trying to deliver a package but the address didn’t make sense. After a few minutes conversing with the USPS agent I realized it was my kitchen part I ordered from Home Depot. The USPS agent corrected the address and I received it the next day. However my maple stair threads still hadn’t arrived. 

A couple of days later I called Home Depot inquiring about my order. The customer service rep told me, “It looks like the maple threads were delivered to your address a few days ago on March 1st.”

I replied, “I hadn’t received those stair threads but that I had received the kitchen part.” Then I told the rep about my odd phone call from the USPS agent where he had to correct the address on the package. I asked the Home Depot rep, “Could you tell me the address my stair threads were delivered to?” She rattled off the address and came to realize the city and zip were incorrect. I informed her, “That’s not my address.” She looked at my account and confirmed the address my stair order was delivered to was not the same as the ship to address on my account. 

She apologized and reordered the stair threads and gave me a 20% discount for my troubles. She also informed those would arrive in about two weeks. Lastly she informed that she’ll kick off an investigation on why their carrier delivered it to that address. 

You think the mishaps would have ended there…

Two weeks passed and the order the Home Depot rep placed on my behalf was delivered to my house. But it was the wrong product. Instead of actual stair threads, I received stair thread caps, which fit over the existing stairs. 

 Strike two Home Depot…

#houseupdates #homeupgrades #diy #weekendwarrier #homeprojects

4th Week: Seafood boil (1st test run of old recipe)

Friday night was back to my normal pre dating life of take out, moving watching while doing laundry and cleaning. Yes you’re right in thinking “WTF man! Go out and have fun!” 

So let me lay out my past decade or so…

I moved to the PacificNorthwest as a married man and was a consultant which required me to travel during the week. Weekends were down time and relaxing at home with my wife at the time, or we would, on occasion, hang out with our married friends. So one, I have no single male or women friends for hanging out purposes. 

Two, I’m not into the bar or strip club scene like some men are. I could take full advantage of the buffet of men’s clubs as apparently Portland is one of the nations leaders in the number of men’s club for a city of its size. But again not my scene. 

I could fly solo and sit at a bar and watch a ballgame. But again I’m not into the bar scene and I could watch a ballgame at home. 

 And three, well I don’t have a number three. So yes I chose to stay home for Friday night…

Earlier in the day, it was turning out we could possibly squeeze in a couple of hours of together time but that too was squashed. We did however  exchange texts throughout the day as that has now become part of our daily form of communication. 

Since it was her girls’ weekend, I had already planned to do a test run of an old recipe on Saturday for my upcoming party in April. The last time I made this recipe was back when I lived in Texas with my first wife. Hmm it just dawned on me that I last made this recipe about a month before my first wife’s passing, which would be about 25 years ago. 

I wondered, “Could I even find all the ingredients?”  After shopping at five stores, it turned out I had to improvise as some of the ingredients were not available in the local supermarkets or at least not the ones I shopped. Also I’m glad I tested out the recipe as the ratio of ingredients and flavor needed to be adjusted.  

Overall it wasn’t as bad as it could have been but definitely it’s not up to my standards.

So definitely, second and third test runs will be required before the big party…

#singleasianmale #dating #buddingromance #relationship

4th Week: Friday (to sleep over or not)

So the weekend had been scheduled to be her annual girls’ weekend at the beach. This weekend were also her kids free zone. To take full advantage of the no kids zone, we had planned for our next sleep over for Friday night. 

 But we had to play it by ear on which one of our houses the sleep over were to occur as there were a couple of factors that had to play out first. Although the coming weekend were her ex husband’s weekend with her kids, if her oldest were working, he would be at her house.

On Friday, her daughter had another tennis game. So when her daughter’s game were over she would drop her twins to their father’s house. 

In our minds, we thought she would pack her stuff for her trip, drop her kids off, drive to my place and spend the night. She would then leave on Saturday to the coast from my house. 

It would have been a great plan, but…

As the weekend approached, we learned her girl gang were departing from her town and she became the chauffeur for one of the vehicles in their caravan. 

 As we’ve learned from our past outings, the best laid plans would most always have some wrinkle that causes some deviation. So in order to have more time together, we decided on plan B which called for me to spend the night at her house. Yep I had to mentally prepare my mind to deal with the clutter. But still worth it as we get our time together. 

The plan continued to spiral and it turned out her oldest son had to work the weekend and would not join his siblings at his father’s house. This means that she would be back to spending the night at my house on Friday then driving back to her town on Saturday morning. 

Well not so fast…

It also turned out that her oldest son wanted to go with her to drop his siblings at his father’s house. It gave her the opportunity to hang out with him and spend quality time together. 

 Yep that means no sleep over this Friday  and more than that, no time with her at all…

I fully get it. When I was a single parent, my kids were #1 priority. Everything else was second and third places, which included me time. Wait what’s me time when you’re a single parent and no love interest – rest and quiet. 

So if we decide to keep building this relationship, I would have to consider the fact that planning for outings would be subjected to possible complete wipe outs as her children are and should be her first priority. Unlike me where my children are adults, her children were still in high school. Her twins are freshmen and her oldest is a junior, which means a minimum of three more years before there would be a more consistent schedule. 

For now, I think she’s worth the effort, and yes to clarify every relationship requires effort. That goes for a business as well as personal. Something my (soon to be) ex wife failed to realize. More about that later.

 For now, my weekend has just opened up and I’ll come up with plan C…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

4th Week: St. Patrick’s Day (burgers and beer)

Per our prior conversations in planning tonight’s dinner with her kids, nothing was working in our favor to accomplish those predetermined plans. 

Her daughter’s tennis game lasted longer than planned and her daughter made other plans to hang with her friends afterwards. Her oldest son also made other plans with his buddies. That left her younger son. 

 After dropping off her daughter, we met back at her house. 

Apparently she and her younger son had a conversation via phone while she was dropping off her daughter to which her younger son decided he was not going to dinner with us. 

It was still early when we met back up at her house (around 7:30pm). So we decided we would go to a roadhouse type restaurant in her town where burgers and homemade fries were their main food items. Prior to is leaving for the restaurant, she asked her younger son again, “Do you want to join us?” To which he replied as a teenager would, “Since it’s just the three of us that would be awkward, Mom!” 

She told him where we were dining and we left for dinner. I was a little concerned we were leaving her youngest home.She said reassuringly,  “He’s fine. He’s just upset with his brother and sister on bailing tonight. He thought it would be strange for only the three of us to go out.” 

“Oh, okay,” I replied. “Another time then.”  So at least his younger boy seemed to want to hang out with us but not as a solo party. 

It only took a few minutes to get to the restaurant. The place had a rugged decor and reminded me of some of the BBQ houses in Texas. The only thing different were the missing antique porcelain signs on the wall. After perusing the menu,we  each ordered a burger and fries plate. 

Typical of the PacificNorthwest, this restaurant was also a microbrewery where they only sold what they brewed. It would be a sin to not try out their brews. The waitress asked, “Would you like to try a sampling of each?” 

“What a silly question!” I thought. With enthusiasm I replied, “That would be great!” She brought out a sampling of their brews. After tasting each, she selected a double red variety and I selected one of there medium dark beers. 

 Again we had a great time talking and getting to know each other more. And just like our typical fashion, we were again the last couple to leave the restaurant, which was about 10pm. 

During our discussion, I conveyed, “We shouldn’t push your kids to do things with us but we should let them organically accept us and join us in our outings when they were ready.” She smiled and responded, “Funny, I was thinking just the same thing.”

The drive back to her house wasn’t far so it didn’t take long before we were parked in her driveway and I was walking her to her door. We exchanged hugs and kisses then said our good nights. 

I thought about her a lot while driving home…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

4th Week: St. Patrick’s Day (surprise my parents are here)

I remember when my boys were younger and I was a raising them as a single parent. I contemplated getting back into the dating scene several times before I actually jumped in. I played out scenarios in my head of when and how the person I would be dating get introduced to my kids and I would imagine how my kids would interact with a new person. 

With my current budding relationship, I’m placed on the receiving end and need to think the opposite of when and how I would interact with her kids. Although her kids are older, they’re still children and I’m sure they still have residual wishes that they’re parents would get reunited. Although their father has remarried, I’m sure those wishes remained in the back of their consciousness.  

Earlier in the week we had planned for me to join her and her kids for dinner. We picked Thursday night – Saint Patrick’s Day. Per our plan, we would all eat at their home or go out for dinner after her daughter’s tennis game. 

I left work at 4:30pm and texted her I was on my way. She texted back that she was at her daughter’s tennis match and to meet her there. I arrived about an hour later and I texted her that I was at the tennis park. 

She greeted me at my car with a hug and kiss. In between her kisses she informed, “Joy was still waiting to play her match.” 

“Oh the good old days.” I thought to myself reminiscing about my high school days where I was also on the tennis courts after school and on weekends. 

As we were walking back to where she had parked, she mentioned her parents were parked behind her and were waiting to watch their granddaughter play. Unlike Shelly, my response rate to unexpected news is immediate. No delayed reaction on my part. 

Up until her announcement that I was about to meet her parents, we were walking our normal casual stride. But as soon as she mentioned her parents were here and the closer we approached their car, I slowed my pace and she noticed. 

 She turned to me with a smile and asked, “Are you nervous?” I said sheepishly, “I didn’t expect to meet your parents tonight! So yes, I am a bit nervous!”

We stopped on the sidewalk by her parents’ car and waved to them. They climbed out of their car and joined us on the sidewalk. We exchanged our “nice to meet you” pleasantries then chatted for awhile about their granddaughter’s upcoming match.  They seemed pleasant but I could definitely feel her father had some reservations. Although her father is in his 70s and his daughter is in her early 50s, she’ll  always be daddy’s little girl and would look at the man she’s dating with skepticism. 

Her mom was pleasant and wasn’t as reserved as she looked me in the eye as we were talking. We chatted a little longer until their granddaughter was ready to play. The sun was setting and the coolness of the night was quickly bringing a chill to the air around us. I excused myself to grab another layer of clothing out of my car. 

 I rejoined Shelly on the bleachers and we wrapped ourselves in her blanket.

Just sitting on the cold bleachers wrapped in a blanket took me back again to my high school days. This time it was at the moment where I’d sit watching one of our football games with my high school sweetheart. It’s funny how memories from your life that were buried deep inside resurfaces unexpectedly as you live similar moments in your current life. 

As I sat huddled under that blanket with Shelly, my feelings for her were growing the same as what I had felt back in high school. 

Could it be? Was I that lucky….

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

3rd Week: Saturday (adult time)

Back at her house, her oldest son had returned with his two buddies and were working on their plan B for getting to the slam ball arena. 

It turns out they could provide a parental consent form without having a chaperone in attendance. 

While her oldest and his friends were getting the consent form completed, she and I began cooking our dinner. The kids had eaten earlier by the way but her oldest started hovering in the kitchen as the smell of steak wafted into the living room space. 

As the steak neared its perfection, we noticed the house became silent as if the boys had left. But apparently not, we heard some rumbling upstairs and one of her oldest son’s friends bounded downstairs and asked to use the bathroom. 

 As I plated our steaks, she cleared a spot on the overcrowded dining table for us to sit. Obviously I’m used to her cluttered decor and placed our plates in the spots she cleared for us. She opened a bottle of red wine prior to us dropping her twins at their party and now she was pouring it into our glasses to go with our meal. 

As we were close to finishing our steaks, we noticed the house had become real quiet. She called out to her son and no response. We completed our meal and started cleaning up her kitchen. She called out to her oldest and still no response. After the dishes were put in the dishwasher and the pan used for cooking our steaks were washed, she checked his room and found it empty. She called out for him again. No response. So she texted him and one of his friends. 

After a few minutes she received a text from her son’s friend that they were on their way to the slam ball arena. 

She locked the front door, grabbed my hand, kissed me passionately, and whispered in my ear, “It’s our time now.”

 With a smile on her face and with my hand in hers, she led me upstairs to her bedroom. 

Surprisingly as we entered her bedroom, her bed was made and the piles of clutter were not so disorganized. I said shockingly as I walked closer to her bed and past the piles of neatly arranged clutter, “You cleaned up!” To which she replied, “Just for you”. 

Being unfamiliar with her kids schedules I double checked and asked, “Are you sure your oldest won’t come home earlier than expected?” She walked back to her bedroom door we entered through, closed it, locked it and said, “Just in case”…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship

3rd Week: Saturday (kids and their friends)

Rhetorical question: have you ever seen the tv show called Dexter? In the show there’s a dog that is portrayed in human form but does what dogs do. There was one episode where the man leaves the house where Dexter the dog was sitting on the sofa and everything was neat and tidy. In the next seen, the man returned to the house to find the whole room was in disarray and papers were chewed and spewed about. The man says, “I’ve only been gone less than five minutes!” And the dog Dexter replies, “What? I can’t tell time and didn’t know how long you’d be gone!” 

Walking into her house reminded me of that episode and nearly busted out laughing… 

Before we left, the house was relatively quiet. However, grand central station came to life. Her oldest child had his friends over and was preparing to go out with his two buddies. Her fraternal twins were upstairs getting ready for their friends’ party, and her chocolate lab dog became more excited as we walked through the door. 

It felt like a tv drama unfolded in front of me as the noise levels rose dramatically after the twins had bounded down the stairs. I stood in awe and forget how intense living with teenage kids could be. In the kitchen, Shelly and her daughter were having the typical passionate discussion about the lack of clothing being worn to the party. After a few semi yelling exchanges (maybe a slight exaggeration on my part), hesitantly her teenage daughter stomped upstairs to add more clothing. 

After a few more moments the twins, Shelly and I were all in the 7 family passenger vehicle. We did a milk run and collected three additional children before dropping the entire teenage gang at their party destination. 

During the picking up of the twins friends, we started hearing a squeaky sound. At first I didn’t recognize the sound but super mom Shelly knew what it was. She called to the back seat, “Justin, it that noise one of your ducklings?” Her twin boy refuted, “I want to show my friends!” Joy joined in, “Mom, he can’t take that to the party!” Before his sister could utter the last word, Justin exclaimed, “I’m not! Mom and Sam will take it back home! I was just showing it off to our friends!” 

So I guess I was the official “baptized” in the chaos of my special lady’s life. I now held the precious duckling package while we traveled back to her house. 

 I thought the drama was over but then her phone rang…

It was her oldest son. I could only make out her side of the conversation: “You want me to what?…No I didn’t plan for that…No I’m not going to do that either…Austin you’ll need to figure out a different plan…Sorry honey, I can’t do that tonight…” 

Her and her oldest son’s conversation appeared to be a little heated. However, after a few moments their conversations lowered to normal levels. She hung up and turned to me and filled in the holes…

She explained, “Apparently my oldest son thought it would be cool for us to chaperone him and his buddies as they play in the trampoline Game Center. This is the sporting arena where basketball and trampoline are combined to create a unique athletic experience.” 

I sat quietly and allowed her to vent more…

It would appear her oldest always asks for things the last minute and expects his mom to drop everything and cater to his needs. As she continued to vent, I thought in my head and recalled the countless times my oldest and I had these similar conversations. My mind then thought about my nieces and nephews and how they treat their parents and it’s universal and typical of the millennial children. 
After she vented a little more, she turned to me and asked, “Are you going to say the safe word?” Smilingly, I replied with a thoughtful pause, “No, not yet.” 

“Good!” She smiled back…

#singleasianmale #onlinedating #textdating #loveletters #speeddating #buddingromance #relationship