Valentine’s Day 2016: Chef Chai

The stars aligned: Lynnette’s parents watched all three of the kids; Valentine’s Day on a Sunday followed by the Presidents’ Day holiday; we had some spending money in our account.


A hot dish and miso Chilean seabass.


Mongolian-style Colorado lamb and a bunch of veggies I can’t believe I ate.


White chocolate truffle with guava puree which was shaped like a heart but since you couldn’t tell, Lynnette made her hands into the shape of a heart, but looking at her hands you can’t tell that, either.


Vanishing coconut cheesecake.

Lynnette’s in the shower, the twins are sleeping, Madison’s rooting around the kitchen looking for snacks, and I am sitting on the computer. At this moment, things are as they almost always are.Still, for a few precious hours this evening, they weren’t. Lynnette and I somehow managed Valentine’s Day dinner.

The birth of the twins did something weird to me this fall and winter. Cole and Avery basically wiped out Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s for me. There was too much attention to be paid to them for me to focus on anything else. Valentine’s Day is the first holiday-ish ( thing I’ve been able to think about because the twins are only half as psychotic as they were two months ago. Progress.

I made reservations at Chef Chai because Lynnette and I both agreed on their special Valentine’s Day menu. The food was great and the conversation was even better. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I told Lynnette that I don’t believe in destiny, but I am absolutely positive that if she and I got together at any point before when we actually did, I would have ruined it. I wouldn’t have been ready.

“Do you know who Bill Belichick is?” I asked her. “Uhh,” she said. “He’s the coach of the Patriots,” I said. “Okay,” she said. “Anyway, he coached the Browns first. It was a disaster,” I continued. “Yeah?” she said. “Yeah, some people think that he’s succeeded in New England because he got to make his mistakes – and learn from them – in Cleveland,” I said. “Okay,” she said, losing interest or not seeing the metaphor. “That’s what had to happen to me first,” I said. “I needed to screw up and figure a bunch of stuff out first,” I said.

When people say “timing is everything,” they’re exaggerating – but only slightly. Timing is not literally everything, but it is the most common and visible culprit we pick out of a lineup when things don’t work out, and even on those rarer occasions when things do. I suggest that this is what people mean when they use the word destiny. Most of us have had enough things ruined by what appears to be bad timing that when timing is fortuitous, it seems like an act of God, or a god, or whatever bigger thing than you you believe in. Time, man.


This picture was taken at the end of our first Valentine’s Day together in 2004.

I bought Lynnette a dress, scheduled a massage for her, drove her to Ala Moana, drove back to Mililani, set up candles and rose pedals all over her room, drove to Aiea to get showered and dressed, drove back to Ala Moana to give Lynnette her dress and take her to dinner at the Chart House directly from the spa. It was perfect.Everything was perfect. And then I ate something that my stomach decided it didn’t like and I spent more time in the bathroom than at the table with Lynnette. It was awful. To this day, Lynnette and I affectionately refer to the Chart House as the “Shart House” because of this Valentine’s Day massacre. But our love endured.

To say that love is unaffected by time is stubborn bullshit. Of course time screws with it. Time screws with everything. What makes love incredible isn’t the fact that it never changes, it’s the fact that it can change. That’s how love survives mortgages and children and beer bellies and snoring and that one thing that your wife does that makes you want to punch yourself in the face just so you would have something else to think about: it evolves.

My love,
Perhaps the form our love has recently taken is unfamiliar. Though it (and we!) may not look like it did so many ages ago, I take comfort in knowing that what rests at its heart remains unchanged.

Happy Valentine’s Day.




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