Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spilling the Beans (Juicy Mega-post)

My loyal readership (my mom) called me out for pulling a Schaefer (i.e. not posting for a while). The reason I have not posted since Feb. 18 is not due to lack of action in my life, in fact, quite the opposite. In honor of my poker playing brothers Cayne and Doc. Chako, I shall begin with bullet points. Since Feb. 18, I have:

--Started a relationship
--Fallen for someone else
--Hiked to Scenic Hot Springs (with a college friend I have not seen in five years)
--Played hookie and gone powder-day skiing
--Lost 4" of my hair
--Hosted a teaching cohort poker night
--Ended a relationship

All while taking six classes and teaching two days a week. Not much time to blog, and I've got a huge project due Tuesday that I should be starting now.

Let's begin at the top. This post roughly details how Erin and I met. It was spontaneous and magical, in a way. I had no expectations of anything happening when I invited her over to watch Survivor, heck, I was pretty sure she was still in a relationship. She wasn't, and I felt like a gift had just been dropped in my lap, and I went for it. Turns out she had a small crush on me, and fireworks ensued.

Then something weird happened. I've never been in a situation or relationship where when we are together, everything is nearly perfect, but when other people are around I can't stand her, or when we aren't together, I don't spend time thinking about her. She is almost my dream girl when it is just the two of us, but when other people are around, she reminds me way too much of Stacey. The personality traits that I like, are the same ones that I can't stand. Erin is opinionated and wears her heart on her sleeve, but she tends to piss a lot of people off. When we aren't together, I think of reasons why we aren't going to last, and why I should try and break the relationship off.

To spice things up, two days after Erin and I first hook up, I rode my motorcycle down to Georgetown to play pickup ultimate. I run into Wynne and Lora from the Tacoma team, who I haven't seen in months. Wynne is playing on Riot now, and another Riot woman, Surge, is there. We get to talking, and it turns out Surge was one of two people that rode up to Stevens with Michelle the day I first met Michelle skiing with Jeremy and Sam. I invited her to go skiing the next weekend and she turned me down. This was before Erin, and I was pretty sure Michelle wasn't interested. Talking with Surge and Wynne, apparently I was wrong.

Surge says, "Oh! You're the guy that could keep up skiing with Michelle, she was talking all about you on the drive home!"

This, two days after Erin and I hook up. God damn it. Wynne and Surge ask if I'm in a relationship, and I say, "Does two days count?" Wynne and Surge now are on a mission to hook Michelle and I up. Two hours after pickup that Saturday, I get a text from Michelle, wanting to know if I want to go skiing on President's Day. The day of skiing was an unexpectedly good day, and I actually got up to the mountain before Michelle left from Seattle. I found some good snow and let Michelle know that it was worth the drive. As soon as I texted her, I headed in for lunch and hammered out a homework assignment on my laptop, knowing we'd ski hard all afternoon. Productive and fun ski day, who'da thunk it?

So I'm seeing Erin, and loving the time we spend together, but when we're not together I'm thinking about Michelle. Other people in the teaching cohort are starting to gossip about Erin and I, and it is getting a bit weird. I'm not willing to jump into a relationship with Erin 100%, because of where my head is at when we're not together, and my indecision only stirs the rumor mill in the cohort, making things more awkward.

Last weekend, I get a bit of a reprieve from my whorish ways. Jenna and Andy, newlyweds from Beaver, WA, come over to the city. Shannon also comes up from Tacoma, and I have not seen her since graduation day, five years ago. Shannon, Jenna and I were dorm friends from the first semester of college. We went on December trips to Whistler, and a spring break ski trip to Colorado. It was great to see them again, and we played cards (we played a ton of cards in college) Friday night. Saturday, we hiked to Scenic Hot Springs, a hot springs that is private and apparently not open to the public. The hot springs actually has its own blog, and the latest blog entry at the time was that the hot springs are "running cold." That isn't what you want to hear when you've never been to the springs before, and will be spending the majority of your day driving and hiking to the springs.

We missed the forest service road our first drive by, and really had no clue how to get to the hot springs. Shannon had the brilliant idea of taking a digital photo of the google map before we left, so if we got lost we could always check the map on the camera. We checked the map a few times and knew a clear-cut for the big power lines were south of us, and that we needed to cross that clear-cut, so we started tromping through the snowy forest. Absolutely no trail to follow. We eventually find the road and footprints in the snow to follow up to the hot springs.

The hike was difficult. It was steep, and the trail was a combination of ice and powder. If you stuck to the footprints, you'd be on ice, but if you didn't use the foot prints, you'd have to hike up in a foot of powder, which makes hiking uphill a grunt. We were rewarded, though:

I snapped this photo on the way out. Jenna, Andy and Shannon are standing next to the hot springs, which is tucked into the snowy hillside. The hillside overlooks the Stevens Pass basin, and is really an incredible spot. When we got to the hot springs, there was a couple already there, who turned out to be two of the hot springs' caretakers. Randi and Matt were incredibly nice people, and they gave us the lowdown on the hot springs rules, and how as long as people are respectful of the hot springs (i.e. follow the rules and pack their garbage out), they are welcome.

We make it back to Seattle and pretty much just crash. I think we went out to the Duchess for dinner, but we ended up hitting the post UW basketball crowd of dooshes. Eventually they left, and we got to play some shuffleboard, which Andy and I dominated. We walked home, Shannon left for Tacoma, and Jenna, Andy and I watched "The World is Not Enough" on whatever station plays Bond movies all the time (TBS?). Andy and Jenna left the next morning after walking up to a cafe for breakfast. It turns out that Shannon is pretty big into rock climbing and mountaineering with her boyfriend, and they have a ton of random gear (including two spear-fishing poles?!), so hopefully I can get up rock climbing with them this spring and summer.

Reprieve from soap-opera life aside, Michelle invited me to go skiing Thursday. The problem with skiing on Thursdays is that I am supposed to teach a class of 4th graders on Thursdays. But... but!! the snow report says a foot of powder. What do you do? What DO you do? I chose to ski. I concocted a ridiculous scheme to get out of school Thursday, which included scratching my back non-stop through our Wednesday teacher after-school meeting. Steve was sitting right beside me, and eventually says, "Chris, you're scratching like crazy, you alright?" Thanks for picking up on the bait, fishy! "Oh yeah, I'm fine, just itches like crazy." At 7pm I give Steve a call on his cell phone and say, "Steve, it turns out that itch is a big rash! I haven't had a rash since I was 12 and had an allergic reaction to penecillin. The rash has spread up the side of my neck and I'm going to see the doctor tomorrow at 10am."

Funny how the little white lies spin completely out of control for me. Then, of course, it snows 2-4 inches in Seattle and school gets put on a two-hours late schedule, and I probably could have just skipped without repercussion, anyways. I feel bad about lying, and while Michelle and I were riding the chairlift, I wonder out loud how long it will take until I tell Steve about my rash story. I think once I've been teaching for a few years I'll have to track him down and let him know.

Skiing Thursday was unbelievable. Michelle and I got to the mountain right as it opened, and there were a dozen cars before us in the B lot. I usually park in the F lot. We had a foot of fresh powder all day long, and I had numerous turns in snow up to my knees. We hit the mountain hard in the morning, starting on Double Diamond, hitting the back side, Schim's Meadows, and the cliffs off 7th Heaven. We popped in for lunch, spent, and drank a beer and ate a slice of pizza. After a leisurely 45 minute lunch, we head back out and decide to do some hiking in the back country.

We take our skis off and start hiking the ridge on the back side. We pass a guy in his 40s on the ridge, who catches back up to us at the ski area boundary. Michelle asks where he is headed, and he says there is a really good section of trees just outside the ski boundary, but warns us that we have to cut over after about 1k vertical feet, or else we'll have a long hike back to the ski lift. After hiking the ridge for five minutes, a long hike at the bottom of the run is not what we're looking to do, so we ask if we can follow him. He obliges and introduces himself, his name is "Wolf."

The glades section is perfect. Untouched powder, trees 10ft apart--I couldn't have asked for a better run. The three of us end up doing the hike and tree run a second time before Wolf and us part ways. Michelle and I do a non-hiking run on the backside, then drop into Tye Bowl from the backside for the second time on the day. I had never dropped in from the backside before, and you have two options: a skinny, steep chute, or an easier tree section out to the right. In the morning, we did the easy way, but for the last run of the day, I decided to try the chute. There are a few rocks sticking up here and there, but it looks doable.

I jump-turn into the chute, and on my entry I clip the side of the chute with my ski tip and lose a ski. I tumble uncontrollably down the 50ft chute, losing both of my skis. When I come to a stop, one ski is with me, and the other is about half-way up the chute. Looking back up the chute I see that I've just tumbled over rocks and a little 3-5ft cliff. I didn't feel a thing on the way down, all I could think is, "shit! shit! shit! I have no health insurance!" When I came to a stop and still had control over my limbs, I was happy. Stupid and happy. Michelle was able to ski around the easy way and knock my ski down to me from the middle of the chute.

Before heading back to Seattle, we had another beer and some curly fries to complete an amazing day of skiing. We drive back to Seattle and even though she didn't bring a suit, we decide to hot tub at my place to make the ski day perfect. As we're drinking our beers and soaking in the hot tub, she lets me in on a little secret. Her family has owned the Denver Broncos for the past 20 years. !!! The first thing that pops into my head is the Simpsons episode where Hank Scorpio buys the Denver Broncos for Homer, and Homer groans as the players out on his front lawn bumble and stumble around. Apparently Michelle's grandfather founded Regent Oil, one of Canada's biggest oil companies, then bought the Broncos and when he passed away, the shares were split between his sons. Michelle's dad just sold his shares of the franchise to her uncle, who is apparently not the nicest guy in the world (and he's the guy that fired Mike Shannahan on New Years Eve, which was seen as a good, but kinda ruthless move).

An hour after Michelle leaves, Erin comes over and we hop in the hot tub. I've got one dream girl as a friend (Michelle), and I'm with another person who is a dream to be around, but I just don't see us working out long term. I'm confused to high hell. Saturday I head over to Andrew's parents house for my semi-annual hair cut. We talk a bit about the whole situation and Karen's advice is to be as truthful as possible. I agree, especially after the little white lie snowballed into a flesh-eating rash to get me out skiing on Thursday. When the haircut is done, there is enough hair on the floor to create a wig, so we take a picture that will be sent down to my dad in Arizona, who may or may not have a dime-sized bald spot.

Last night, I have a few people from the teaching cohort over for poker, including Erin. We have a really fun time. Erin gets knocked out first, and storms off, hating poker. I get knocked out second when I think I have the nuts with a flush on a paired board... Erin and I play some Wii tennis and baseball. I own her at both, and she is not happy. We go out back on the porch and talk, and she wants me to let her win at games. I tell her I'm not going to, because letting her win by playing down to her seems more insulting to me.

After poker, we play some drinking games, including 21, liar's dice, and asshole. I almost win my poker buy-in back by winning the $1 liar's dice game. Easy money with kindergarten teachers, they don't know math!

Eventually everyone but Erin leaves, and we head to bed. We talk, and completely open up about our relationship. She sheds tears about not being able to open up to me, and I talk about the weird and confusing struggle I'm having. I tell her that I really like the time we spend together, but for some reason when we're not together I think of reasons why we're not going to work out, and that seems weird to me. I feel like I should be head-over-heels for her, but I'm not. I tell her I can't give her 100% of myself, because I honestly don't know what I want. I don't want her to be in limbo, because being in limbo is worse than breaking up.

She likes me and hates me at the same time for being honest. We both think this is a conversation most couples have months or years down the road, and we're having it on our third week together.

And here I am, 12:30pm on Sunday. Still confused, but happy that I have told the truth and gotten things off my chest. Paper time, then another group of friends over for hot tubbing and Catan.


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Blogger The Wife said...

Dude! That was like a whole season of the OC, Seattle-style, wrapped up in one blog. You see more action in hot tubs than anyone I know.

If I didn't like you so much, I'd think you were kind of a dog.

But at least you're an honest one.

Can't wait to see the new 'do.

2:01 AM  
Blogger DrChako said...

Wow. And I thought I did a lot this weekend with all the debauchery in South Carolina.

You win.


2:27 AM  

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