Not Put Asunder, 12 Years and Counting

Midlife Crisis Crossover!

The writer with his primary collaborator, his #1 fan, and his most vocal fact-checker.

Usually we’re out of town on one of our road trips when our anniversary passes, but today was the first time in years that we were in-state for the occasion. We appreciate the inventors of the calendar finally working out the timing in our favor. It was nice to mark the occasion with a nice meal and greeting cards exchanged on our own turf for a change.

We returned home Friday afternoon from New York City with several hundred photos, a handful of souvenirs, slightly less debt than I expected, lots of new stories to tell in future entries, and temporary hearing loss for me and my son from the flight. I’ve spent the weekend waiting for all decibel levels to return while letting my other senses readjust from the incessant stimulation of everyday Manhattan to the comparatively humdrum vibe of Indiana living. As of this evening the chores are nearly caught up, my son has been taken back to his place, and we’re doing our best to prepare ourselves psychologically for work tomorrow with minimal wistful despair.

But first we celebrated. Maybe it’s best not to brag too proudly, but twelve years is no easy feat in a world of increasingly disposable relationships that’s maybe two or three steps away from inventing drive-thru divorces and frequent-philanderer reward programs.

Ted's Montana Grill!

The writer’s favorite showcase model.

This year’s anniversary dinner was at Ted’s Montana Grill, a somewhat upscale steakhouse chain of modest size that we’d never tried before. After NYC we needed a break from pizza and rice-based dishes.

Ted's Montana Grill!

The menu cover boasts their credentials. And every table has its own topographical topper.

Ted’s is proud of their meaty menu, headlined by steaks in general and bison in particular. I rarely have plain steaks anymore and tend to be on the lookout for the odder dishes whenever we take relatives to their favorite franchises. This time I decided to indulge because special occasion. No regrets.

Ted's Montana Grill!

No, that’s not a Trump steak. They’re just proud of their country. Not actually a sin.

Pictured above: their bison Delmonico Ribeye, fresh corn-off-the-cob mixed with jalapeno and other spices, and kale salad. The latter was bland and I excised a few ounces of fat from the steak, but the meatier parts and the better side dish were worth the admission price. Anne had the beef Delmonico Ribeye, squash casserole (I had a bite and was a bit jealous), and parmesan-topped broccoli that mostly came home as leftovers. And the party didn’t stop there.

Giant Cookie!

The writer’s beloved muse and our free bowl of sugar.

Our waitress brought us a complimentary dessert for our event — giant cookie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a pair of candles. Suffice it to say they got it right, and I’m glad the staff didn’t gather ’round and sing to us.

The food wasn’t the best part, though. It was nice to unwind, just the two of us, chatting merrily away about the highs and lows of our vacation, comparing notes on Wicked, setting aside politics and world news as much as possible inside our own little cone of silence, invaded only by our waitress and by a stray Caterpie that escaped when the stupid app froze. In my defense, I waited till the conversation had paused naturally before taking out my phone and scouting for prey. I then kept it pocketed for the rest of the meal because obviously I wasn’t there to harvest imaginary pets from the invisible fantasy gym across the street. I was there for her. And steak. In that order.

After dinner we capped off the night by walking two doors down and buying a package of bacon. Thus ended the date.

No, it wasn’t my bizarre idea of a creative romantic gesture. We forgot to buy bacon at the grocery and Anne needed it for this week’s dinner plans. We’re at the stage in our relationship where we can multitask fun and errands, love and frivolity, secure in the knowledge that neither of us lost brownie points with the other over it.

Here’s to another dozen blessed years just like the last dozen, maybe even better, and, Lord willing, a couple more dozens after that. If we’re really lucky, one of those years might contain a kale salad worth eating.

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