I’ve been thinking of writing about the weekend getaway that my wife and I had for our 12th anniversary, but I’m hesitant. Part of me, the juvenile part, knows some people will automatically go THERE if I do discuss this topic.
And, trust me, I don’t blame you.
I wanted to get right to the hotel bed, too. Even my wife did.
She hadn’t had 48 hours of non-kid sleep since the latest batch of stretch marks she’s so proud of were merely a twinkle in my eye. That bed was like a mattress from heaven for Heather.
We don’t have a properly functioning TV at home (new blog idea!), so I couldn’t wait to go channel surfing while plopped down with feather pillows, an awesome down comforter, a colorful strip of cloth draped across the lower portion of my legs and a remote control that didn’t have strawberry jelly on it.
Yes, other stuff happened in that hotel bed, like how I drooled on fancy linens while snoozing. Hope the maid changes the pillowcases before the next guest arrives.
Well, out of respect for my wife, I don’t want to embarrass her and tell everyone how my favorite blanket hog swings her right elbow at me when I try to pry part of the covers out from under her so I don’t freeze to death at night. So don’t ask about that.
It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t blogging about my life a dozen years ago when we were on our honeymoon.
If I went THERE with details about our romantic Caribbean cruise, I might be tempted to tell the story about how my wife excused herself from the dinner table to powder her nose. Instead of using the restroom by the dining hall, Heather returned to our cabin where she promptly fell asleep on our bed. Meanwhile, back in the dining hall, I switched back and forth from thinking and asking, “Man, do they know how to cook some mean steak and lobster on this boat!” to “Huh, wonder why my wife is taking so long in the bathroom?” to “More raspberry souffle before I go find out why my new bride deserted me before dessert, please?”
But enough about what happens in our bedroom on these special occasions.
Every once in a while, my wife will jokingly tell me, “We need to go on a date so I can remember why I love you.” I usually respond by reciting French poetry and serenading her with old Chicago songs. After that three-and-a-half-minute diversion doesn’t do the trick, I proceed to ask where we have coupons for and what movie at the dollar theater sounds best.
Even though I’ve been lowering the bar on romantic soirees since our engagement, my wife somehow entrusted me with the planning of this particular anniversary getaway. Well, she took care of the most important part — suckering her parents into watching our four kids, ages 11 months to almost 9 years old. Not that I needed them, but she also occasionally dropped hints to make sure our time together would be perfect. She didn’t want to act completely untrustworthy of my planning skills and zap my self-confidence, so she’d give sweet, subtle reminders like, “WE LEAVE IN THREE HOURS! WILL YOU PLEASE AT LEAST LOOK TO SEE WHAT HOTELS ARE DOWNTOWN!?!”
I shocked my wife a couple of days before we left by texting, “Gonna be a fun weekend!”
Little did she know that I had planned out the entire weekend! Ha! Joke’s on her! I’d even done it before teasing on Facebook and Twitter about how she’d told me I didn’t need to get her an anniversary gift. (Yes, wise people, I was much smarter than to fall for that trap.)
While my wife wondered if she’d just stay at the in-laws with our kids to avoid being disappointed on her anniversary, I was busy making reservations and thoughtfully plotting out a fun outing. I reserved the hotel and managed to get upgraded to a suite and, better, free breakfasts. I decided it’d be fun to drive around in a rental car. I picked an awesome restaurant that we’d always wanted to go to for our anniversary dinner. I even bought tickets to a dance performance I knew she’d loved in the past — Odyssey Dance Theatre’s “Thriller” — despite the fact that the Saturday show took place at the same time as a football game I wanted to watch.
If you think I’m telling you all of this just to get pats on the back for my amazing attentiveness to my wife, to make men envy my Casanova techniques and to cause women to swoon with jealousy, YOU’RE RIGHT!!!
Ah, please stop. All of the compliments are making me blush.
If nothing else, here’s hoping the weekend makes my wife remember why she loves me until I do the next dumb thing that makes her forget, which, truthfully, might’ve happened between the time I posted this and you read it.
Before I brag about highlights, the excursion wasn’t without a few hitches.
• Getting a call from the office on Friday night, our anniversary night: “Hey, did you hear Derrick Favors signed a contract extension?” Funny guys. Teasing about something like that when they knew I was off for a few days. My response: “OF COURSE I HEARD! I’M THE UTAH JAZZ BEAT WRITER AND HEAR ALL THINGS UTAH JAZZ!” Nope, I hadn’t heard. I try to stop hearing things about work every 12 years when I’m on an anniversary getaway that I actually planned out. The good news is that I married an awesome woman, and she didn’t mind (or pretended to not mind) that I interrupted our special night and delayed our anniversary dinner by a couple of hours to chase down and write the story.
• Not getting pictures with Bubbles the Klown after watching “Thriller” at Kingsbury Hall. I personally wanted a photo with him, of course. But I thought it’d be even funnier to get one of Bubbles and my wife, so I could joke about Heather being married to a clown … and, well, she took too long in the bathroom powdering her nose after the show. At least she didn’t return to the cabin on the ship.
• Returning our new rental car, which was so nice even the parking brake seemed fancy, and picking up our 12-year-old Suburban, which is in serious need of some duct-tape work to get that front bumper back into place.
• Seeing the sad look on 4-year-old Aidan’s face when we pulled into the driveway at Meema’s and Papa’s house. The kid who normally yells “DAD! YOU CAME HOME!” when I return from business trips was experiencing the same bummed-out emotions that I was to have a fun weekend end. “Why are you sad?” I asked. Aidan, sob-speaking: “I … wanted … spaghetti.” Hey, I’ve cried for sillier things than that. This particular lowlight had a happy ending: Aidan got spaghetti at Meema’s. He didn’t get to stay with his grandparents any longer, though, which led to him telling me at bedtime, “I wish Papa had picked me at the hospital and not you.” (In his mind, there’s a picking process for getting a baby at the hospital.) I can see why he’d want Papa to be his picker. Aidan came home with an awesome wooden shield and birdhouse, both made by Papa, and two dollars ($1.50 until we find the two lost quarters in the Suburban) for doing chores.
• My wife and I had never eaten at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, but I decided our 12th anniversary would be the time to finally use the gift card we received from her sister, Brooke, seemingly about 12 years ago. Even though work got in the way and a la carte pricing forced us into a third mortgage, our belated dinner was scrumptious — from the garlic-enhanced green beans and sinfully delicious sweet potato casserole to the melt-in-your mouth porterhouse steak drenched in butter and the on-the-house crème brulee.
One of the best parts of our dinner? A stranger who’d celebrated his birthday across the aisle approached us with a smile on his face part way through our enjoyable evening. He wished us “Happy Anniversary” while setting a gift card on our rose-petal-adorned table. We were incredibly touched by his kindness and generosity. I loved what Heather said as he walked away. “I hope we’re in a position where we can do things like that some day.”
• “Thriller!” I bought the tickets thinking that Heather would enjoy the Halloween-themed dance show and be impressed that I actually remembered she used to love going every year with her friends. I quickly found out why she used to love going, and it wasn’t just for the topless dancer dude with ripped abs. I was stunned how much I enjoyed the performance. Bubbles the Klown was hilarious. The dancers were incredibly talented and creative (single guys not writing about their anniversary getaway might be particularly impressed by the Egyptian dancers). The knife-wielding Chucky kids were as cute as knife-wielding Chucky kids can be. Watching the fun way the Odyssey dancers mixed frights and delights with great costumes, sets, lights and music was an entertaining blast. Proof of my enjoyment: I didn’t even look up the football score during the entire show.
• Mommy got a bit misty-eyed once but didn’t cry in her first extended separation from Baby Jack. I told her mom that we’d likely be making at least one unplanned visit to their house, so it was somewhat encouraging that Heather kept it together.
• Hiking up to Ensign Peak and watching Heather play fetch with a friendly-but-ownerless brown labrador on the trail (we named him “Brigham,” of course).
• Discovering Sea Salt restaurant, which has excellent gnocchi and ambiance. It was so (insert Italian word for delicious here) that I’ll even give my wife credit for picking this spot.
• Getting free tickets to a future Megaplex movie after our showing of “Gravity” experienced technical difficulties (Russian satellite fragments probably hit the projector).
• Sleeping in until 10 a.m. Sunday without hearing World War III erupt in the kitchen because Sydney wanted the pink bowl for cereal but Ethan took it and accidentally hit Aidan, who was trying to teach 11-month-old Jackson how to jump off the couch …
• And the absolute best part? Sharing a delightful 48 hours alone with a beautiful, patient, strong and loving woman who’s put up with my crap for 12 crazy years.
What? You thought I was going to go THERE again in the anniversary highlights?
OK, I will.
Having our bed made by someone else was also a thriller.