vasant and i

Vasant has made me a wonderful tuna salad sandwich and we’re about to watch episode three of Torchwood.

Forced to rest this weekend with a back injury. I threw it out yesterday morning when I ran and bent down to catch something. My back wrenched.

Genius that I am, I decided to put up with it and went to Mary’s graduation.

Let me tell you, walking a distance and sitting in bleachers for hours on end isn’t the proper way to heal your back.

By the time we were walking back to our car, I was in tears. I’ve been taking care of it in earnest ever since: ice packs, ibuprofen, rest, gentle stretches, etc.

Vasant is using the opportunity to finally get us to have a Torchwood marathon. We watched the pilot last year, but didn’t continue on. He’s been so amazing taking care of me, cooking and keeping my spirits up. He gets to watch whatever he wants to.

9

Vasant and I took Lilo with us on this weekend’s business trip. We had a lot of stops to make, and one meeting involved her waiting in the car for nearly five hours (with window cracked, water, toys, pillows and blankets though—this wasn’t cruelty.) She was pretty sad about being in the car that long however, so we let her run at the beach, in the middle of a windstorm.

She had lots of fun, but now everything is imbued with the scent of one very wet and happy dog.

Our business trip was great, very productive and it moved the film into its final stage of production, but that’s not really as important as telling you that our dog is happy, is it?

In Which I Get Into Fantasy Football

Vasant, on his computer, mutters to himself.

Me: What’s up?

Vasant: I didn’t get the quarterback I wanted for my fantasy league.

Me: Doesn’t FANTASY football imply that you can have whomever you want in your league?

Vasant: No. You compete against all the other teams in the draft. You might not get the player you want.

Me: Offer him more money with your billions of fantasy dollars.

Vasant: It doesn’t work like that. 

Me: It’s a fantasy. Of course it works like that. You are the emperor of space and you own a football team. They all have guns for arms, and your QB has a chest cannon. Cheerleaders are made of solid gold, which of course, means they’re robots. Solid gold robots. 

Vasant tries to ignore me. 

Me: BUT THEN the robots take over the league. Or at least they try to. Your players can fly, so they have the aerial advantage. 

Vasant gets up to leave. 

Me: WAIT! I have more ideas for your fantasy league!

Afterwards, he made me join his league and now I’m going all Aspergian on player stats. I actually know quite a lot about football, but stayed out of fantasy drafts because I, the Lord of the Rings nerd, think it’s a dumb way to spend your time. I also know I get too competitive and I’m worried about being in a league with people I love. Like worried I might destroy them with my cyborg players.

In other news, everyone in our league has given their teams Lord of the Rings names…

Breakfast Orders.

This morning, we woke up and began moving around the kitchen.

Me: What do you want to do for breakfast?

Vasant: I could make french toast. But you’d have to ask me like Strax.

Me: FILTHY HUMAN I COMMAND YOU TO MAKE THIS CONCOCTION KNOWN AS FRENCHED TOAST AFTER WHICH I LOOK FORWARD TO OBLITERATING YOU FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

Vasant laughed, but Lilo barked and jumped up to tackle me. 

Apparently, Lilo does not appreciate the greatness of the Sontaran Empire.

Ten years ago today, I woke up in an empty room on an empty stomach. I had just suffered through the worst bout of heat stroke I’d ever had the day before after a foolish decision to abstain from salt on a 95F day just for the sake of vanity.

I looked around my bedroom. Everything I owned was at Vasant and I’s place, a small apartment we’d rented a few months earlier that perched above an Irish pub and a parking garage. He was there. I was at my parents’, my last morning to myself. I was lonely, exhausted, and the only fear I felt for the day ahead was of the other people who’d be at the wedding later that afternoon.

Vasant and I had met three years earlier. He was best friends with my best friend, Todd, although he had also lived next door to my other best friend, Ashley, for the previous decade. He ran track with my friend Tiffany in high school, played tennis with my friend Joey, was on the wrestling team with my friend Andy, but we hadn’t met in any of these ways. 

We met through Todd, years after graduating from the same school, and only fell in love because I had decided to pick a fight with him one evening. He and Todd were having a rough patch, and being the loyal and feisty friend that I was, I decided to get on Vasant’s case. That night, instead of defeating him in debate, he and I ended up talking for six hours at a diner. Though I’d known him for years, I’d never talked to him like that. He was deep. He was adventurous. He was funny. He was the most captivating person with whom I’d ever talked. We didn’t stop talking. 

Over the next few months, we hardly took room to breathe. It became very clear, very soon, that we had found something extraordinary. We were in love. We were in sync. I was a writer; he was a filmmaker, and we were going to tell stories together. We’d go to school together. Start a business together. Make movies and write books together. We saw it; a lifetime stretching out before us, preceded by a clear cut ten year plan that we couldn’t wait to start out on, hand in hand.

Some people saw what we saw. A few family members and friends were very happy for us, remarking that they’d never seen us so focused, so vibrantly ourselves, so ready for what was about to come. They saw our love and devotion to each other. They saw our humor, drive, and depth match up. Those people cheered us on. Sadly, they were outnumbered by a lot of people who thought we were too young or too different. They thought we should wait until we had degrees or a home. They focused on how our marriage would affect them. They asked us to go to stop seeing each other, to move the wedding back a year, to move it a month, to move it a week, to stop it already. We were being selfish, getting married without thinking of how it would affect them, without them being in the ceremony they way they wanted to be, without them getting to tell us enough how wrong we were for each other, for our decisions, for our plans.

The morning of my wedding, I looked around the sparse room and realized that I hadn’t left any clothes for the first half of the day. Early morning light was reflecting off the only piece of fabric in the room, the white pearlescent dress taking up the whole of my closet in the west of the room. I went into one of my sister’s room and found a button down shirt and track shorts to wear to the salon and went to the stairs.

A throng of people were talking, bustling about, setting up. It was still early, but our backyard was about to host 200 people, and so many had already shown up to help my parents carry the load. I was grateful, but retiscent to face anyone so soon. I crept quietly back to my room.

Wedding panic is as common as anything. It headlines cliche plots on TV and film in any story featuring a wedding, and I shouldn’t have been surprised to experience any of it.

I didn’t feel any fear though, when it came to marrying Vasant. I knew who he was to me, how good it’d feel to be united in this way, and I couldn’t wait. But I was scared to see the hundreds who’d be coming out. I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, we had to expressly ask our pastor to leave out the “objections” part of the ceremony.

I crouched in a corner of the room and dialed Vasant’s cell phone. He picked up, his groggy voice crackling into the receiver.

“You ready?” he asked. I smiled.

“Yep. Are you?”

He groaned as he rolled out of bed. “Why didn’t we get married yesterday? I just want to get through today and to the hotel tonight.”

I sighed. Like any newlywed, we were excited for the honeymoon to begin. But the day ahead had begun to look more and more like a gauntlet we had to get through. I put my head onto my knees. Getting across the threshold of the hotel room would feel like crossing a finish line.

“I miss you. When are you getting here?”

“Around noon. I’m not supposed to see you until the ceremony, though. We’ll just have to hide from each other.”

“Really?” I whimpered. The thought of not seeing him until 3pm made me sick. This wedding business was beginning to feel more and more like a joke than something fun for the bride and groom.

Vasant paused. “No. Screw it. I don’t care. It’s not like our luck can get any worse. As soon as I get there, we’ll eat lunch and rest a bit together. I think we’ll need it.”

I wiped at my stinging eyes. I wanted to shrink and crawl inside Vasant’s pocket. On top of the list of things people insisted were wrong about our life decisions, we had both just lost our jobs the week proceeding the wedding. I was let go for asking for time off for my honeymoon. Vasant was downsized. People definitely expected us to postpone then, but we shook our heads. Would we be more employable engaged then married? We already had the apartment and had rent for the next six months. We didn’t see the sense in staying apart. But to others, it was just one more thing that spelled doom for us, and knowing that so many expected us to fail was just one more thing making me feel small the day of our wedding. 

That morning, crouching in a corner of my empty bedroom, wishing it was already August 7th, was the last time I’ve felt truly hopeless. In that moment, an eternity stretched before me where I wouldn’t be teamed up with Vasant, partners in everything. Being without him when I woke up made him feel half a world away. I didn’t care about what people had said to our faces, behind our backs, to the pastor who’d be marrying us, to our parents to try and get us to call it off—all of it was a roaring white noise as I whispered to Vasant, trying to keep it from my family that I had woken up and was ready for the fuss to begin.

“Hurry up, okay?” I begged him. “I don’t want to go downstairs until you get here.”

He laughed. “Don’t you have to get your hair done?”

I wrinkled my nose in disgust. Another wedding sandtrap. “Like I want a shellacing. Just promise me you’ll be here when I get back.”

“I will. I promise.”

I barely remember the ceremony, but I remember that. It was when he promised me I wouldn’t be alone on any fight I’d have to face ever again, and he’s kept that promise for the last ten years.

____

After we got married, criticisms continued. We went back to school, and our detractors said, well, they should have done that before we got married. Who gets their bachelors in their late twenties? We moved onto my parents’ property so we could afford our education and to start making movies; well, they should have a house. Married people own houses. They should have had kids right away. They were too focused on school. Too focused on the film. Too focused on each other. It continued. People almost delighted in telling us that we were looked down upon, that we wouldn’t make it until ten.

We listened less and less. We tried to love the people that judged us. Some people came around. Some people stopped speaking to us, telling us they just couldn’t get on board with our life choices. 

With those who came around, or who were there from the very start, we moved forward and focused on what brought us together: our love for each other, and what we wanted to do with that love.

The degrees came, as did the businesses we run, the film we’re producing, even a few awards the film has won. The house will come one day, and maybe kids with it, but not anytime soon. We still do things at our own pace. We’re still told every now and then it’s not good enough, but that’s met with laughter now rather than the weary tears of ten years ago.

This last week we were talking, marveling at how we accomplished everything we’d set out to accomplish in the last ten years, remembering what so many had pronounced against us at the outset of our marriage.

“What do we want from the next ten?” I asked Vasant as we were cooking the other night. “We should make a list. I think we should add being telepathic to the list.” I winked at him.

“We’re close already,” Vasant replied, laughing. “I like that idea, though. Giving each other lists of what we want together for the next decade.”

We started talking about all the things we could add to the list, but kept talking about how much we wish we’d had someone ten years older to tell us it would be okay. To stand our ground better. To take care of our hearts more. We wish we’d had someone tell us they’d been there: doubted, maligned, and triumphant. We still made it through. We are those people now, but we could have sustained less damage in the process, and we hope we can help other young people make bold choices with their lives, and wise and kind choices for their hearts while they walk in their own adventures.

This morning, ten years later, I woke up next to Vasant. We got up, went out to breakfast, and started our ten year anniversary. We’re saving the bulk of the celebrations until late September when we’re done with the film. Today’s just a small moment to commemorate the day, and even then, we had to duck into a cafe to do a bit of work that couldn’t wait. Even that, however, wasn’t a burden. I woke up with him this morning and I rolled over, looked him straight in the eyes and I felt that same connection that I did ten years ago. His eyes feel like home. They’re full of strength and bravery, dark and bright at the same time. It doesn’t matter if we have to work a bit on our ten year, or what phone calls and emails awaited once we got to our desks. He was there this morning when I woke up telling me that, like we do every day, we were going to get up and conquer our day together.

We cleared our biggest hurdle on our film project today. I’ll be sharing the details of the film that we’re currently working on in a couple of weeks, but for right now, I’m just giddy to have crossed this big thing off my list and I’m even more excited about the people who are coming together to help us tell this story. 

And yeah, the above gif doesn’t just accurately describe the emotions I’m feeling, but my hand motions as I’m flailing. And the face. I’m definitely making that face.

I am hungry...

Conversations with Vasant as he heads home from work:

Me: Ugh. I’ve got such a headache.

Vasant: Have you eaten today?

Me: (pause) …

Vasant: Sarah, did you eat anything?

Me: Yes.

Vasant: (pause) What?

Me: What do you mean ‘what’?

Vasant: What did you have to eat?

Me: (pause) …

Vasant: Sarah…

Me: (sighs) Fine. A cracker.

Vasant: (cracks up laughing) Go get real food! A cracker. Geez.

Me: (narrows eyes and crosses arms) I love that you knew to give me a follow-up question.

Also… I’m writing this instead of getting up to eat, much to Vasant’s disappointment. 

8

We blew off the last meeting of the day to go traipsing todat. Lilo loved it, was really into drinking from mud puddles, and kind of hated the screaming children who inevitably get dragged to these things.

On the way home, we found a produce stand and Vasant bought ice cream, we got Lilo homemade dog treats, and I almost bought pickles.

Vasant convinced me I wouldn’t eat more than one. He’s right, but I would’ve enjoyed getting my family to eat the rest.

Today was really productive. We got a lot done, and prioritized us in the process. That’s been really hard to get the hang of since we both went full-time. It’s so easy to discuss budgets as you fall asleep if your office is ten feet away. It’s really easy never to give yourself time off if you’ve convinced yourself that every hour you’re not out there working puts you in jeopardy of losing everything.

But today was glorious, needed, and maybe means we’re getting better at this whole work/life balance.

We still have to work most of tomorrow, but hey, that’s not the point. We’re getting better. It’s a process.

5

Found some photo shoots on a drive that had gone missing today!

Shots from a roadtrip Vasant and I took, Lilo’s first bath (that one time when she was tiny enough to fit in a sink), a trip we took to a farm with Dani and the kids, Claire’s music video shoot… I’m so happy to have these back. It broke my heart when I lost the jumpdrive.

Also… isn’t Claire pretty? I still find it hard to believe that I’m related to Luthien Undomiel.

5

Today is our seventh anniversary. When the clock struck midnight and we officially entered our eighth year of marriage, we were in the middle of an all-nighter for a marketing video we’re doing for Richard Hugo House. We had about two hours of sleep before we got up, continued working and then drove to the House for a review session with the staff. 

As we drove to Hugo House, we held hands and I thought, “This is perfect. We’re celebrating our seventh anniversary by working together on a project we’re passionate about.” As I thought this, Vasant spoke and said the same thing, almost word for word. As we approached a stoplight, he turned to me, squeezed my hand and asked, “We’re really doing this, aren’t we?”

What little babies we are in those photos above. I remember that hike that we took the week leading up to our wedding. We hiked to the base of Snoqualmie Falls, bounding over boulders until we reached the cold, dark waters at the bottom of the Falls. We didn’t dare mention the wedding, or the myriad of troubles that were encircling us during our engagement. Instead, we talked about years down the road, where we’d be once the dust settled. We talked about the stories we wanted to tell. We talked about working and traveling together. We swam in water and climbed rocks and slid under fallen trees and talked about dreams.

When I look at these pictures, I can’t help but think about all that we went through that year. We went through a lot to get to the altar. Everything that could go wrong, did. But that day, we were able to shake it all off. We’ve always been able to do that. We work hard at creating a shelter within each other. I look at these pictures and I shake my head thinking, how did we have that good of a day, with all that was going on? And then I remember that we still do that. Once the dreaming refreshes us, our next move has always been to figure out how to accomplish it in real life. 

Now here we are, seven years later. Every year, we get closer to the original dream and grow the dream along with our marriage and talents. Things aren’t perfect and at times have been tragic, but our dream has a narrative. It’s not just about what we want to do together, but it’s also about how we get there. There is nothing more intimate and romantic than finding refuge in the person you love. 

Happy Anniversary, Vasant. Thank you for dreaming with me, pursuing that dream and for always being, above all things, my best friend. I love you. 

The Last Week

Travel. Come home. Write. Plan. Research. Fill out grant requests. Grandma has a stroke. Grocery shop. Take dog to park. Travel. Come home. Meeting with client. Meeting with client. Meeting with client. Spend rest of day in hospital. Write. Plan. Sleep. Location scout. Errands. Chores. Play with dog. Photo shoot. Edit photos. Edit video. Write. Sleep. Travel. Ferry. One afternoon off at the beach, first time in a month. Travel. Home. Work. Plan. Write. Client. Client. Chores. Client. Sleep? No. Revision. Submission. Write. Mission statement. Grant forms. Plan.

Today. Wake. Write. Ignore dog and feel miserable about it. Client. Meet with important person about important film stuff. Reading tonight. Filming tonight. Beginning to feel stressed. Beginning to feel spread thin, like butter scraped over too much bread…

Vasant.

Says stop.

Stops me.

Cancels afternoon. We see The Way, Way Back. We have cheap sushi and expensive coffees. It’s wonderful. He’s wonderful. We are.

Back to work. Elliot Bay Cafe. Writing. Planning. Packing up. Busy night tonight. Will sleep soon. It doesn’t matter.

I’m compressing time by compressing words.

Earlier Than I Usually View a Late Night.

The lovely Erin has been visiting since Saturday! Tomorrow is her last full day. We’ve had a lot of fun so far, and tomorrow will be the best of all the days because it will be WARM and SUNNY. For that to happen while Erin is here, well, it’s unusual. I think it’s safe to say that Seattle is showing off for her.

She and Claire are over at Claire’s house talking about Jules and Tom Hardy’s beard right now. I’m at my house, in bed with my laptop, being jumped on by Lilo, while Vasant works at his desk a few feet away. He has an amazing video to do for work on a top-secret product and it’s due tonight. He’ll be working until it’s done, which usually translates to 4-5 a.m. 

I am going to be up for a while to keep him company. I’m writing, working on Hugo House annual report stuff and working on a couple of personal essays I’m drafting up. 

But I wish I were tap dancing. I’ve had too much caffeine today, for someone who was supposed to have given caffeine up. I wish I was making up a song, going over and serenading Erin and Claire, but I’m being responsible and working instead. Then going to sleep, because tomorrow will be a great day with Erin and Claire in the city!

However, we are supposed to get auroras tonight and tomorrow. If I see them tonight, I’m going to run over to Claire’s house, run upstairs and wake everyone up. Auroras are worth being that annoying over. 

Wedged between work on our documentary and all our bill-paying Samudre Media work, we managed to submit our first feature screenplay to a fellowship tonight. I cried when I hit submit. Maybe it’s because the story that’ll be our first feature is four years old already, but this felt like the biggest thing we’ve done all year. 

When we were dating we said we were going to make narrative features together and we’ve been working towards that for a decade now. We love the documentary we’re working on, and it’s a story we were privileged to find and tell. But getting our screenplay for our first feature sent off to a fellowship is the first thing we’ve done that isn’t under the “working toward it” phase and is in the actual “we’re doing it” phase. So this might be the biggest thing we’ve done in a decade.

It’s why I drew this recently

It’s almost 3 a.m. and we’re running around the house crying because as tired as we are (we just finished a couple months worth of Samudre Media work last week, and a ton of grant-writing and producing on the documentary this week, and put together our application and finalized our script in two days of no sleeping to make the deadline,) we are high on adrenaline.

And about ten pots of coffee. 

So, I learned a new lesson this week:

When working on my memoir, don’t leave the file open or my computer unlocked. If I do leave my work so casually open and available, Vasant will log on and write the memoir for me.

The above is his version of what happened when I came face to face with a bear when I was eighteen and living out of a van in Lake Tahoe (which did happen- just not in the hilarious way he tells it). Click on the picture to read the amazing gibberish he inserted into my memoir.

Reason #48792928-1 why I married him.

In other news, I finished the first chapter of my memoir today. “The Bear” is about my A.D.D. misdiagnosis, stint on Adderall, being kicked out my parents’ house, living in a van in Lake Tahoe and squaring off with the eponymous bear. This personal essay was the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever worked on. I am still, twelve years later, sore over those experiences. But it’s done and I’m shocked at how happy I am with it.

Oh, and also….

Happy Saturday! Eat pancakes and be merry!

Kitchen lesson:

The duck I’m preparing for Vasant’s birthday dinner was improperly plucked. The Internet advise suggests boiling the duck, waxing it or blow torching its skin to remove the pin feathers. The prevailing method in all the blogs I checked was brûlée/blow torch.

Vasant volunteered to do the honors.

EAGERLY.

I’m saying it was a part of the birthday plans the whole time…

Spending today running errands, taking meetings, getting coffee with a friend, and visiting Vasant and I’s favorite comic book shop. Pair that with moody blue-gray clouds, warm rain and an adequate amount of caffeine and it’s one of the best days I’ve had since getting back from vacation. We’ve gotten rid of post-AWP conference exhaustion and we’re ready to return to our regular schedule. We have an out of town film shoot this weekend, so when I say regular schedule, you know I’m being extremely relative with the term.

Also, if you’re not into the All-New X-Men series and you’re looking for a new comic run to get into, hop on into the comic shop and get into that storyline. I am eating it up.