Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A fight to the death: BBQ Ribs vs. Filet Mignon

The Birthannukah weekend was magnificent. First, we had a slight bump in the road as we attended a rib fest at Sloss Furnace. Why was this a bump in the road? Because we didn’t have any idea about what a rib fest actually is. We thought it would be a well-organized romp in the park like beer fest. Not so. Rib fest is an all-out redneck, tailgaiting extravaganza. Wear your Auburn or Alabama hat and wear your team colors! Drink beer out of a can. Drink beer after beer after beer out of a can! Walk around and talk football—spin your theories about the upcoming season and this coach or that coach.

Yes, clearly, we were out of our element. And the most disturbing news: the ribs were not free! What! Yikes. What did we get ourselves into? Fortunately, we brought along our own football loving, beer-can-drinking Alabama boy who was able to show us the ropes. He got us in the door, so to say, where we mixed with the rib folks. We got some sample ribs, which was nice, but we were completely lost with our conversation about books, NPR, and trains. Turns out, the evening was incredibly fun as we learned how to tailgate and watched our friend expertly discuss the ins and outs of the upcoming Auburn season. It was like watching a very unusual Broadway play with Lynard Skynard playing constantly in the background.

Rib fest turns out to be a Saturday afternoon event—we went on Friday night. Lesson learned. Next year we’ll return with proper baseball caps that declare our love of one team or the other and brush up on who the coaches and quarterbacks are. Sure we will.

Saturday afternoon, I surprised Mr. Husband with a mountain bike. He’s wanted a bike for a while—ever since Brian, our neighbor who is an avid mountain biker, loaned us his bikes for a spin around the neighborhood last fall. Mr. Husband likes the wind in his face. Perhaps he was a dog in a previous life—head out of the passenger side window, tongue flailing in the wind as I drive. Perhaps. Buying bikes when we first discovered we wanted them didn’t fit into the grand financial plan at the time, so we waited. We waited so long that Mr. Husband forgot. But I did not. I surprised him on Saturday with the help of Brian and Sharon. Brian confirmed the bike choice and made sure all was in proper order, and Sharon picked up the bike for us and stowed it safely at their home. When I purchased the bike, I didn’t realize that I had no way to get a bike for a 6’7” man home. Nice. Goodly neighbors to the rescue!

I walked to Brian and Sharon’s and picked up the giant bike. I called Mr. Husband on the way back and told him to get a beer and meet me on the front porch. He was standing there as I walked up the street with gigantic bike in hand. He ran down the street to meet me with childish woops of joy—a bike! He immediately hopped on the bike, exclaimed that the size was perfect, and rode off into the sunset. Ok, not exactly—but he rode around yelling about how much he loved it and how it was the most perfect thing ever and asking how I pulled it off. It was awesome. The excitement and joy that he radiated filled the entire street like a flood of happiness. Mr. Husband said, “That’s what I like—the feel of the wind in my face!” And then I think he barked a little real quietly. That’s the Birthannukah kind of way.

Later that afternoon, I told Mr. Husband I was going to cook him the best steak dinner ever. He was fine with that—but, to me, that’s so old hat. The truth was that we had reservations at Daniel George in Mountain Brook at 6:00. At 4:30, I ironed Mr. Husband’s clothes and woke him from his video game (when he was not riding around on his joy-filled bike, he was playing Shadow Complex on XBox all weekend), and told him to dress for dinner. I informed him that he’d find out where we were going when we got there. Yes! I drove and he rode shotgun (and I’m sure he wanted to put his head out the window). We drove down 280 and exited before hitting Five Points or downtown. We excited at the Zoo and turned right into Mountain Brook Village. Mr. Husband had never heard of Daniel George. Score! A super surprise.

Daniel George is a beautiful little restaurant tucked away on a side street in the little village. Two tables were outside on the sidewalk, one of them waiting just for us. As we feasted on cheese and homemade bread, filet and potatoes, we watched the clouds make Birthannukah pictures in the sky and felt the breeze welcoming us to a fine Birthannukah night. The sun set as we sat there, me telling Mr. Husband all the reasons why I love him right now, and him feeling spoiled and really, really, really loved. He is. We are. So happy.

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