Last Thursday was our anniversary. We've been married four years.
Our first anniversary was spent in a cabin in Big Bear. Lovely and frosty.
The second was a weekend in Julian. Lovely and filled with apple pie goodness and all the promise of my pregnant belly.
Last year we were just kicking off our house hunt and all moneys were going toward that. Plus, we had an extreme consumer named Madelyn who constantly required a new something-or-other. We had dinner at the restaurant that catered our wedding and went to a movie in Claremont, the town where we were married. We saw Rachel Getting Married. Great movie. Not so much for the romantic evening.
This year, we have a house that has a lengthy list of projects (and we didn't even buy a fixer, this is what I don't get), a son who has his own lengthy list of charges and fees and whatnot, and a commute that had quadrupled our fuel costs until Tom also switched to a hybrid... so now we have a second car payment. We made plans to send the kids away to the grandparents for the weekend and to go out for a nice dinner.
I have to admit that I balked at the nice dinner part and eventually suggested that we just keep Mad home, find some fun recipes and try them out. We've done that for Valentine's Day, and it strikes me as less let's-not-spend-money than going to some strip mall restaurant. It didn't help that the place we'd selected has been named "The Best Sushi Bar in the High Desert." Even one of the most outstanding reviews on Yelp said, "You know that stuff didn't get pulled out of the ocean this morning."
Then along came a card and a check from Tom's parents. They sent us enough money for a lovely weekend and some of the yard work that will need to be done in the spring. Happy anniversary to us!
I was still voting to cook for one another and be at home together because, yes, sometimes I am crazy. Tom, in his best loving way, said we could do that if I wanted, but he had something different in mind. I went along with him because I'm not completely insane.
He made all the plans and arrangements with the caveat that I was not to look at our bank account until after the weekend.
Yesterday morning I made a shopping list of all the food we'll need for Thanksgiving. We were all going to shop together, but Mad opted for an early nap. Tom asked me to pack something for an overnight trip and to plan on wearing something nice that evening.
Here is the first reason I should have just taken 10 minutes and packed right away instead of screwing around: I wouldn't have felt ridiculous when Tom got home from a 90 minute shopping trip and I'd packed clothes for today, a bathrobe and slippers.
Here's the second reason: When it was time to leave, I might not have had to rush around and grab things like deoderant or the grownup shoes I was planning to wear that evening or my purse; and I definitely wouldn't have had to thank my husband for remembering the toothbrushes.
Want another one? As we drove a few blocks from the house, my response to Tom's question would have been, "Yes, I did bring that one thing that Corey absolutely must have. No problem, honey. I've got it covered."
So yesterday afternoon we dropped Mad off with my Dad and Margaret. We had a yummy dinner on a heated patio at Walter's and walked maybe 8 blocks up to the place where we married. We hoped someone else was getting married and joked about crashing the party, but it was empty and dark.
The walk there and back was lovely. We enjoyed checking out all the old architecture of this college town. The only downside was that I did wear grownup shoes last night. With three inch heels. And I didn't use the restroom at Walter's before we left.
When we got back to the car, Tom offered a few choices before heading to our next destination. I had no idea what the next destination was, so I happily opted for the one involving a drive. When we got to Pasadena, I knew we were staying at the hotel where we spent our first married night. It's a gorgeous hotel, and we were treated just as well now as then. Better, even (which is really saying something).
The front desk attendant, Lauren, asked what brought us there. Tom told her it was our fourth anniversary and that we'd spent our wedding night there. She welcomed us back.
After buying what must have been gold-laced water in the "gift and business shop" (seriously... even Disneyland doesn't have those prices!) and dropping off our stuff in the room, we headed out for some more walking. That's when I realized I'd left my comfy shoes in the now valet-parked car.
Suck it up, baby. We walked down to Colorado Boulevard and went in search of dessert. There are a ton of great places for dessert on Colorado. We stopped at a shopping center and looked at the map to see what options were nearby. A security guard came over to help. He suggested Coldstone Creamery.
"No... not ice cream... something that's not cold..." So he called over his security guard pal on a 10-speed.
"What about 21 Flavors?"
"Yeah, no... not ice cream."
We ended up at a surf-themed burger place that I would have sworn did not have dessert. I was wrong. Chocolateily, gooily wrong. Yes, it was so good I have to make up my own words. And we enjoyed it on a heated balcony, so it was even better.
A short hobble back to the hotel and we found that Lauren had sent up chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. We were too full to really enjoy them, so we saved them for today.
Last night we talked about sleeping in as late as we wanted. This morning we both woke up at 5:30, but managed to get back to sleep. We slept late... for a workday. We were wide awake and starting our day at 6:30.
It was a beautiful, warm day.
Want to know something special about the windows in the room? They open. I know!
The strawberries became a pre-breakfast treat that I highly recommend.
Horror of horrors, we've become morning people. Turns out not to be so bad. We had breakfast at Marston's. It's a little house converted to a restaurant. When we arrived, the wait was about 3 minutes. When we left, 20 people or so were outside waiting.
On the way out of town we stopped at the swanky two-storey Target to purchase Christmas cards and Mada-socks (where do her socks go?). At the downstairs entrance is a planter with pink cement and a bunch of handprints. One of the sets belongs to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I have never been accused of having short or stubby fingers, but this picture would suggest otherwise.
As Britney would say, "Ding dang, ya'll!"
Mad was very happy to see us. She kept hugging me and patting my back or arm or leg... whatever was closest.
We stopped at my mom's to drop off Corey's must-haves. He has been with her for two weeks. It feels longer. With any luck, he'll be home Tuesday evening after an appointment with the therapist. In any case, I believe Mad's reaction to seeing him for the first time in two weeks should definitely make it clear that she wouldn't just forget about him. She threw herself into his arms and said, "Co... Co-wee!" Not sure how many times she went back to hug him or have him pick her up.
It was good for all of us.