Actually it all started on my Skeggs ride. While waiting around for everyone to get ready, Charlie threw an unexpected question at me, "What did you get Erik for Christmas?" Huh? It was only 8:30 on a late December morning and I started sweating. To describe how I felt at the moment, I would use the English idiom "caught with pants down" or a Chinese saying "哪壶不开提哪壶." (The two expressions are completely unrelated.) The memory of the Christmas Eve came back to me. We were sitting in our living room and decided to open the wrapped gifts Erik's folks had sent to us. After that, Erik brought out a gift bag full of goodies for me, among which was a pair of pink bicycling socks with "Bad Kitty" printed on the ankle. I panicked because I did not prepare any Christmas gift for him — I don't do Christmas! In the end, I pulled out the three chalk blocks (for climbing, $1.39 each) he asked me to buy for him from REI. "Merry Christmas, honey!" Erik did not mind, but it would be a little embarrassing to tell this story to anybody else. Erh… what should I say to Charlie? But before I got a chance to come up with an answer, he continued, "What did you get Erik for Christmas that he posted on MTBR that Santa brought him 'a wonderful wife'?"
I had not seen that thread and obviously, my surprised look amused everyone. I was relieved that Charlie did not really expect an answer from me, but in the mean time, I felt a little pressure. "Am I really a wonderful wife?" "What should I do to earn it?" Okay, it's quite simple:
Whenever Erik wants to go to Pinnacles, I should be fully supportive; if he needs a partner, I should not only go with him but also go with my heart filled with joy no matter how far the hike is, how heinous the approach is, and how chossy and loose the climb is!
I did not have to ask to know where he wants to be on New Year's Eve of 2008. It was a very beautiful day at Pinnacles. The hike to Neglected Valley was actually quite enjoyable. There were only two climbs, Chimney Sweep (5.10a) and Flue Fire (Brad insists it's a 5.11), on his agenda and after those, he would only have one more 5.11 left at Pinnacles to climb. No problem, honey. Even if you don't climb, the trip would be totally worth it. When we arrived at the base of the climb, I realized that I'd only brought one shoe. No problem, honey. Would you like a belay slave?
By the end of the day, he got the climbs without hanging or any taints. I felt happy too strangely despite not having climbed. It was a perfect way to conclude our year of 2008.
A few pics: