Chapter 48.

After and before. Or me and my evil twin.

In which I learn, over breakfast, that I am (briefly) married to a woman half my age.

Okay, it’s not what it sounds like. You remember Michelle, from earlier in the blog? We figured out way back when that we both had Jan 23 birthdays. While sitting together at Christmas dinner, we were both swooning over the awesome, awesome, awesome marscapone cheesecake that John-the-Baker had made for dessert (yes, by the way, that’s really what everyone calls him – it does drive home where English surnames come from). Searching for an occasion to talk John into a repeat performance, we got him to promise to make more for the 23rd as a stand in birthday cake for us. I’d be turning 48, M would be turning 25.

So. People don’t usually make a big deal about birthdays here – but this morning the galley scroll announced in big letters:

“Happy Birthday to Pablo and Michelle Springer!”

Endearing, but it took me a while to understand the smirk in peoples’ faces when they congratulated me.

By the time dinner rolled around, the text had been changed to offer birthday wishes to “Michelle Springer and Pablo”.

Jesse: “Man, that was quick – sorry to hear it didn’t work out for the two of you.”

Me: (recovering quicky) “Yeah, things happen quickly here at the Pole. But we’ve got cheesecake at our table to celebrate the split.”

Jesse: (suddenly looks very hungry)

Anyhow. It’s been a fine birthday. Opened presents that Devon had sent down with me, and cards Jo, Martin and Alex had sent me in a care package last month. Did some treadmill running, a bit of yoga, my Sunday shower, brunch and a nice long nap.

Oh yeah, and shaved. I’d started the beard in December, out of ennui, and promised myself I’d get rid of it on New Years. Didn’t get around to that, and kept rationalizing that – hey, it’s cold here! Maybe I’d get it professionally shorn in CHC – that seemed like a fine ritual. But over the past few days, a couple of the more prominent beards have disappeared around station, and I figured that getting rid of mine was as good a way to commemorate my birthday as any. Certainly better than getting drunk and waking up with a questionable tattoo. Or a new spouse.

At dinner, Aaron lent me his lighter, I stuck a few contraband birthday candles in the spare cheesecake John-the-Baker had tucked away for us, and as I brought it out to where Michelle and Linda (Jan 30th) sat, everyone in the galley started singing their own, disparate versions of the Happy Birthday song. Endearing – really. Except for the part where Linda insisted that we all wear hats.

I indulge Linda and wear the hat
(pic by Sarah Wolfe)

The noise and motion mostly managed to keep away the weekend blues that seem to settle in whenever I find myself with uncharted time staring me in the face. I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that I don’t do well down here with idle time; it’s one of the reasons I’ve been enjoying the moonlight cargo work, I guess – it keeps me busy, makes me feel useful, and doesn’t give me the opportunity to slide into that quiet lonely spot. Ah well. It’s all good, as they say.

So that’s the news from the Pole today, looking out and back from the other side of 48. More later…

[Later :)

Was getting ready to head back to Summer Camp for bed when I heard guitar coming from down the hall near Destination Alpha and strolled over to investigate. Mark was in the alcove, trying to pick out The Miner’s Ballad. I grabbed a guitar and sat down to join him. We worked our way through a couple of his songs and a couple of mine. Then Bill stopped by, and Bruce. And Sarah, Heather, James, Cody, and… for over two hours we were sitting there on the floor in the alcove by DA singing our heads off: two guitars, a banjo, couple of fiddles, bodhran and various percussion bits. A dozen Polies singing Nancy Griffith, Paul Simon, Beatles – everything. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Finally broke off some time coming up on 11:00. I am soooo tired this morning. But cheesecake, music and floor time? Yeah, that’s how I want to celebrate every birthday.]

Pics by Sarah Wolfe and Heather Fiebing
Alex heard us from down the hall and captured some video of wandering down the hall to join us. I think it captures the feel of the evening pretty well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_JPkEDq-8I:

4 responses to “Chapter 48.

  1. Happy Birthday, Pablo! I didn't realize that we're the same age (well, I'm a few months younger ;)Any chance you can snag and post the recipe for the mascarpone cheesecake? It sounds yummy!

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  2. As soon as John gets back from his CHCH R&R, I'll get it from him. In the meantime, Christina also made "raspberry marscapone french toast", frying marscapone and defrosted raspberries between two thin slabs of french toast. Wowyum.

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