Certifiable

Every time Andrew and I go to a tropical destination we go snorkeling. Except for that time in Hawaii where we went to snorkel but the rain dumped on us so we didn’t get in the water and instead went to brunch and that is not technically a snorkel, it’s more of just a snorkel-brunch or a snunch.

Every time we go snorkeling I think, “I want to SCUBA (which is actually okay to just be scuba these days as we have adopted the acronym as a word, so I will no longer scream at you as I write the word – also, bonus Words With Friends trivia) dive”. But then the follow-up thoughts are along the lines of, “Andrew doesn’t dive and if we go to a dive place he wouldn’t dive with me and I like my boyfriend and want to keep him so no sense looking for a new one just based off of one water sport … probably … so I’ll just keep snorkeling”

The weirdest part of all of that is that Andrew loves the water. When planning trips they are usually water adjacent destinations. He loves hearing the water. He loves showering in it (there are sometimes 5 showers in his day). He even likes to drink it – in fact it’s the most common drinking fluid for him as a contrast to red wine for me. But, if you ask him to swim in it or put his face in it, or god forbid be completely immersed, his polite response would be, “FUCK NO BITCHES I AM OUTTA HERE”- with the exception of snorkeling, but even that takes a bit of warming up to the head-in-water bit, to include several measured tests of the life jacket’s actual flotation capabilities.

Then it dawned on me. Andrew is an introvert. I don’t need to plan on doing things that he can do too. I just do my thing and he’ll do his and we’ll meet up at the end of the day and talk about how fun it was to see an octopus in its natural habitat or how many life vests were gone through before the perfect floating dynamic was acheived.

So I signed up for open water scuba certification with Adventure Sports**** in Portland.

Leading up to last weekend, I spent the week doing an e-Learning module that went over the basics of scuba. Then last weekend was spent mixing class time reviewing the material, getting fitted with gear for the water and 8 hours of time in a high school gym pool. Mostly the practice was what to do in case of emergency so that you don’t die. In fact instead of calling it scuba certification they should call it “How not to die in the water when panic alarms go off in your head because you are not a fish and why are you swimming so deep anyway, can’t you leave aquatic life to itself? I mean you chose to evolve out of the water* a gajillion years ago, maybe just leave it”. I think that has a nice ring to it.

At the end of last week I called all my already certified scuba friends and told them we were going to start making diving dates. Then I called all my non-scuba friends that should do scuba and told them how much they would love scuba and that they should take it. Then I called Andrew and told him how much he would hate being under water and being scared to death by all the “don’t die” activities that we learned.

Then I spent the week looking at scuba gear porn**.

Mind you, I did not purchase any gear, which is terribly unlike me. Just ask all of my tennis gear and bouldering gear and roller derby gear stashed away in the downstairs “Hadas once tried this sport and liked it for a minute” room in our house. I did buy goggles though. But this was so that I could have corrective lenses and actually see the octopus I would be hunting.

This weekend I drove up to Hoodsport, Washington, home of highway 101. I checked into Sunrise Motel around 8 pm on Friday night and got myself settled in. I had some work to catch up on so I linked into the wifi and immediately found out that the wifi was sketchy. As was the T-Mobile reception. I hadn’t thought to bring a book with me – because, 2016 and wifi. After about an hour of being squirrely and getting some non-Internet work done, I settled onto the bed and tried to turn on the TV. The remote didn’t work. I got up and turned the TV on, at the TV, like an animal. I tested out the remote control – volume worked, nothing else did. Well, whatever, I don’t care what’s on, it’s just noise. And that’s when I watched The Big Bang Theory for the first time in my life.

My thoughts on this show are as follows:

  • It’s fairly funny – which was somewhat surprising actually
  • It’s super-misogynistic, to an uncomfortable level at times. I actually, out loud, said, “gross” multiple times, I guess I Grossed Out Loud – GOL.
  • I am not sure if it is autism empowering or cruel…
  • Five episodes in a row is about 3 episodes too many – I wish I didn’t have to turn the TV off like an animal.

I awoke the next morning and got to our pre-designated meeting-hotel-room location at 8AM on the dot. I was the last one there. We went over rules and an overview of what we were going to do to not die in the water that day. Then we did a tour of the hotel and started prepping and donning our gear.

I want to tell about every dive, but mostly I think it’s a thing you have to experience to really get. The water visibility was shitty (at best 7ft at worst 3ft) and that made things pretty scary at times. I did two dives the first day and two dives the second day. I saw sea anemone and baby wolf eels and tires and a sea whip and crab and shrimp and starfish and some pipe looking equipment and sunfish – which look like too-many-armed starfish only lazier. Mostly, though, I learned that I could be under water for an extended amount of time, feeling somewhat panicky at times, and not die. I can remain calm enough in stressful situations to not die. And I can have very limited visibility, lose my instructor for a minute, do hand signals, share breathing apparatuses, take my mask off and put it back on and clear it all underwater, hunt for octopus with no luck, ascend and descend, and not die.

In the end, I passed all the certification stuff. I also learned that if you can dive in the Pacific Northwest, you can pretty much dive anywhere.

Now I am going to go eat all of the food and sleep all of the sleeps because diving is exhausting.

Then, on our next vacation near water, I will take a trip into it and Andrew will swim above me, and we will likely both not die***.

*probably not true

**what I mean by this is just looking at and ogling scuba gear. I don’t know if there is actual scuba gear porn. But, I would not Google it if I were you. Unless you were into that sort of thing… then Google away.

***past performance is no guarantee of future results.

****I highly recommend this company. They were really nice and patient and thorough. Go to them for all of your scuba diving needs. They will keep you alive (and entertained while they do so).

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I’d Date Me

Sometimes even an extrovert needs alone time.

(Stop laughing, Andrew).

An extrovert’s alone time consists of being alone, but around people. This past Thursday was the perfect night for me to do this. I got all gussied up and took an interesting and funny lady on a date – yes, I mean me.

For my date I took myself to Ox, a restaurant in Portland I have been meaning to go to. Ox does not accept reservations so I figured I could sneak in at an early 5:00 dinner hour. I headed there after work and thought I might not make it due to some major backups. But, I parked at 5:15 at the nearest cross street.

The main window of the restaurant faces out to MLK. As I approached I peeked in to make sure that there was seating available. The restaurant was mostly empty. I spied a door next to the street facing windows and tried the handle before realizing it was locked. It was the door leading into the lofts upstairs. I turned the corner around the building and ran into a dick.

A real dick.

It was attached to a man.

He was peeing on the corner of the building.

He was angry at me – like anyone would be if you accidentally walked in on them while they were in the bathroom. So, that would be understandable, but for him peeing on the building. At the corner of a busy street. In public. Street-side.

I found the restaurant door and entered.

“How can I help you?”

“Um. You have a gentleman peeing on the corner of your building. Also, I would like to be seated for dinner.”

“Excuse me?”

“There is a gentleman, well actually, he’s probably not a real gentleman as he is peeing on the corner of your building. Also, can I get a table for one.”

“Oh, um, sure. OK. I can seat you and I will take care of the other thing in a moment.”

“OK. Though, he’s probably done by now.”

“Do you mind the bar? I can seat you right by the window.”

“Sure. As long as it’s not a view to the corner of your building.”

She seated me at the bar and I ordered a bourbon. My meal came out slowly but never at a pace where I was trying to figure out where it was. The bartender was pleasantly chatty without being a part of my date. The food was good.

It started with a light cauliflower bisque with smoked peppercorns “sent by the kitchen”. I always like this in a restaurant. I feel like it probably means they like me more than the other patrons.

Then came my appetizer which was octopus and tripe (stop gagging, Andrew) with mint aioli. I had not been expecting a stew, probably because I had not read the menu properly, but that is what came out. The octopus and tripe were each cooked beautifully without being rubbery. But in the tomato based spicy stew the flavor of each got lost. Also can we please stop calling it aioli and just call it mayo? That’s what it is. And in a heavy stew, the mayo just added a slightly greasy extra-heaviness. This was not my favorite dish.

Next came my main course, lamb shoulder chop. This was my favorite dish. When I ordered, I had been having trouble deciding between it and a steak when the bartender explained to me the lamb was pretty fatty. That sold it. It was cooked perfectly and had some charred rosemary on it.

I also ordered the kale and radicchio salad. It had toasted chick peas and blue cheese. It was supposed to come with a dressing, but I don’t really like dressing.

This salad needed dressing.

The kale was not rubbed so it was dry and chewy. The whole salad was dry. And chewy. It was not good. The chick peas were tasty though.

Then came dessert. There are very few gluten free options for dessert at many of the good restaurants of Portland. Ox is no exception. I ended up with a scoop each of peach bourbon ice cream and honey chamomile ice cream. The peach bourbon tasted more like “peach, hold the bourbon.” But, that was likely due to the overwhelming flavor of bourbon the bourbon I was drinking had. The honey chamomile was divine and felt like a nice cup of tea after a tasty meal.

All in all the food at Ox was pretty good. The staff was excellent. The atmosphere was mostly blue-hairs because it was so early in the evening. One particular table near me, who apparently had never been to a restaurant before, was superb people watching fodder. They would ask the waiter daunting questions about how they could reduce the price of their meal, “What if we just want a half portion, would that be OK?” “Well, how many shrimp are actually in the dish, because we probably don’t want all of them.”

But the company was the best of all.

Sometimes, a girl just has to date herself.