I got to meet a blog friend! I got to meet de-I (which is short for de-Intimidator.) I also got to meet Mrs. de-I, who, funny enough, actually has a name! It’s hard to tell from de-I’s blog that Mrs. de-I actually has a name because when he writes, he refers to her as Wife.
It all started with an email from de-I containing a subject line stating, Dinner opportunity in the Twin Cities. This was immediately intriguing to me because I just so happen to live in the Twin Cities! de-I went on to explain that he and Mrs. de-I would be in Wisconsin for Mrs. de-I’s family reunion the week of June 6th and that it would be practical for them to stop by my place on June 10th to cook dinner for me and the family if I was interested. (I didn’t realize until much later that this “practical” stopping over meant a four-hour drive!)
You’re probably wondering why one of my blog friends whom I’ve never met in person would offer to drive four hours to cook dinner in my kitchen. Well, there’s a very good reason. de-I cooks. And I don’t mean that he cooks like I cook which mainly consists of the use of a crock-pot (on a good day) or frozen pizza (on a less good day.) de-I cooks really good stuff. Like gourmet stuff. Like really impressive looking stuff with mouth-watering descriptions. This talent for cooking is a staple of the de-I blog and these posts come with pictures of said food. I have a sort of standard comment that I leave whenever I read one of these cooking posts. It goes something like this: I’m hungry now. That looks SO good. If you ever happen to be in the same vicinity as me, you’d best plan on cooking something for me.
How was I to know that de-I would take my comments to heart?
de-I and I share something a little deeper than my envy of his cooking talents though. We’re kidney donor buddies. You see, I “met” de-I when I started writing about the possibility of donating a kidney to my dad a few years ago. de-I had donated a kidney to his sister just a few months prior and he became my pal while the months went by until the kidney donation became a reality for me and my dad. Donating a kidney was one of the most profound events in my life. And de-I was there to encourage and support me. I had much love and support from friends and family during that time, but no one really knew all of the emotions I was feeling. de-I knew what I was going through. He’d been there before me and he understood. We’ve been friends ever since.
So when the proposal to meet came along, I knew immediately that I wanted to make it work. Of course, Mark wasn’t so immediately certain of his willingness to go along with this, but it didn’t take long for him to agree. He saw how important it was to me and so he got on board. de-I and Mrs. de-I later explained that Mrs. de-I felt the same sort of hesitation as Mark, but also agreed to go along with the plan. I am so grateful!
The get-together was planned for last Friday. I had taken the day off to clean house and prepare and as the hours passed, I found myself growing a little nervous. I’d periodically ask Mark, “Are you nervous?”
“I’m a little nervous,” I’d say.
But soon enough, de-I and Mrs. de-I arrived and my case of the nerves melted away! We all hugged hello and soon we were carrying groceries into the kitchen and de-I was explaining what was to transpire. Everyone had a hand in the meal and/or dessert, and believe me, it was all to die for!
I was tasked with making a pound cake ahead of time, in preparation for the dessert. Other than that, all of the food was prepared after the de-Is arrived. (You’ll have to forgive me because I can’t remember the names of most of the dishes, maybe because I was too busy trying to keep from drooling over them.) Mark chopped fresh herbs, and then some bacon. I grated cheese and chopped onion and garlic. Mrs. de-I made a fresh peach topping and home-made whipped cream for dessert. de-I was a maniac at the stove, stirring, sauteing and boiling. He filled us in on the nuances of his cooking, and described various techniques. Brad was fascinated and kept a close eye on the cooking.
We all talked while the preparations were done and while de-I cooked at the stove. My kitchen is small, but we managed to maneuver around one another just fine. My cookware and utensils were lacking a bit, but we made do with what I had. Throughout all of this activity, we talked and got to know one another even better. It was especially fun to get to know Mrs. de-I. She makes cameo appearances on de-I’s blog, but that evening, we got to see the person de-I is in love with. And it’s no wonder. Mrs. de-I is soft-spoken, passionate about her family, and so very sweet!
As the evening progressed, I would periodically catch de-I’s eye and think to myself how incredible it was that we were actually together, in the same place, talking and looking one another in the eye, not just conversing across virtual space. I know there are some who might never agree to meeting an online friend this way. But I am so glad that we did. It was amazing.
Dinner was served in courses, and I have to admit, I’ve never eaten dinner in courses. What a great way to enjoy a meal! It was relaxing and we were able to really appreciate each dish separately. First we were served a shrimp dish with crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Mmmmm! Next came a mushroom stew with home-made croutons. Fabulous! Probably my favorite! Then the main dish – Spaghetti Carbonara. It was all so delicious! There were also two different kinds of wine, both of which I really enjoyed. I barely had room for Mrs. de-I’s dessert, but I’m glad I saved a little bit of room. It was phenomenal!
The evening passed way too quickly and soon it was time for the de-Is to leave. They were tired from a week of family reunioning and too many hours of driving. They needed to get some rest to begin the long journey home the next morning. We all hugged goodbye and the de-Is headed back to their hotel.
After they were gone, Mark, Brad and I talked about how very cool it was to have had the opportunity to spend time with the de-Is. Very cool. What a wonderful experience that was! So if ever you have the chance to meet your blog pals in person, DO IT!