house of chai


-- चार हजार चार सौ तीस तीस --

After we dropped Shobhit's cousin Anubhab off at Abhishek and Vinaya's last Saturday, and then drove home, we discovered he left one of the gloves he'd borrowed from Abhishek in the backseat of our car. As it happens, Vinaya works at 1600 Seventh Avenue (formerly known as Qwest Plaza, formerly known as Pacific Northwest Bell Building, hence the bell shaped logo that remains at the top of the building), which is right on my route home from work, slightly more than halfway. I texted her yesterday to suggest I just hand it off to her on my way home sometime this week, and after an hour or so, she texted back that I should come meet her at 5:00 today.

I know she works on the 24th floor, and I was dying to go up and see the view from her offices -- or maybe even higher; Nordstrom's offices occupy from there to the top, 32nd floor. But, I chickened out on asking her, because even though she was at Shobhit's and my wedding, I didn't feel like I was close or familiar enough with her just yet to ask something like that. How tacky would that be considered, anyway? I have no idea.

I texted her at 4:55 to tell her I was in the lobby, and then waited. And waited . . . and waited. I didn't get irritated or anything, just texted her at 5:30 that she must be busy and I guess we'd try another day. But! Seconds after that text, she texted me back saying she had been stuck in a meeting and had I left yet. I was literally only out the door, so I came back in. About five minutes later she was down to the ground floor, gave me a quick hug, and after we chatted for a minute, she said, "You want to get a coffee?" There's a small coffee shop there in the lobby, and I said, "Sure!" I guess she had a little bit of time before the bus she needed to go catch.

We didn't spend a huge amount of time there, I'd say maybe half an hour. But, it counts! For the first time ever, Vinaya will get more points on the next Social Review than Abhishek does (or Anubhab, for that matter). We both got a small chai, and she sprang for it. "It's my building," she said. "If we ever meet at your building you can buy." I didn't bother telling her that there are no coffee shops at my building (let alone how unlikely it is she will ever be near my building while I'm still there). We sat at a nearby counter with stools, and we chatted for a bit, about the buildings she has worked in, and a few other fairly inconsequential things.

It was very pleasant, and when she said it was time to go catch her bus, she turned back and said, "We should meet up more often." And I said, "Yeah!" That obviously would be easy to do, since she's likely to be working every single time I walk right by that building. And, hey -- maybe after a few more meetups like this, I can more comfortably ask how feasible it is for me to go up and see the view. Maybe next time, even! I mean, what do I have to lose by asking, anyway?

Not that this means much of anything, but I did think about how Abhishek and Shobhit are the cousins (first cousins once removed if you want to get technical, and I always do!), but Vinaya and I are the respective spouses, meeting up more often. It's just a matter of circumstances making it easier, of course.

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-- चार हजार चार सौ तीस तीस --

So it was 5:55 when I texted Shobhit that I was headed the rest of the way home. He had both the leftover cabbage from the previous night and lentils, along with rice, being prepared for dinner when I got home. We spent some time looking over the details of open enrollment for benefits in 2019 -- something I never went over with him before, but now there's an online link so it was easier to look over at home. I'm going to do a Flexible Spending Account for the first time in my life! There's a $2,700 maximum and Shobhit suggested I do just $1000 just to see how well it works for us this time. If nothing else, that will save me a few hundred dollars in taxable income next year, and saving a few hundred bucks is always good.

Shobhit seems slightly skeptical but I feel confident that I'll burn through that thousand bucks easily (one big concern about using an FSA is that if there's any leftover at the end of the year, you don't get it back), I'm guessing about halfway through the year. But, I guess we'll see. I don't think it was this easy in years past, but now apparently I'll get a MasterCard for this account that I can use through the year to pay just like a credit card. I was always intimidated by the idea of this in the past, but I probably should have more seriously considered its use long before now. Oh well; it's never too late to start saving money.

Anyway, so then we ate while watching three episodes of the sixth and final season of House of Cards, which I am very much enjoying. Much of it is pretty implausible, but whatever. The whole series has been, really. Claire Underwood is one of those characters who is evil and ruthless in a way you just can't help but admire.

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[posted 12:24 pm]