In celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, Gary and I decided to go away overnight and leave the kids at home--the first time, yes, ever, since we had kids. That is the first time we went off by ourselves overnight in almost 21 years.
I became a bit out of sorts as the time approached. I had said to Gary various times, "You realize it's our 25th anniversary this year, don't you? What are we going to do?" And he'd just sort of say, "Yeah, we ought to do something." And that's where it stood. I finally ended up making arrangements, and by that time, most places worth a darn were already full. We found a place in Bellevue. Not exotic, not extreme, but it was a good out-of-the-ordinary and somewhat posh weekend. And that's saying a lot for this frugal type. Not that I wouldn't be willing to splurge at other times under the right circumstances, given the means and all.
Katie and Tim have an easier time getting along, it seems, when we do go out than when we're at home. We've left them alone together for dinners out about four times. Ever. Two of those involved Gary's work. The others, I think, were other anniversaries. We leave them with movies and fun foods, and it's good. So I loaded them up with all sorts of great food, some healthy, some totally foolish; we made arrangements for our friend Vonna to give them a ride to church, and we left.
We got out at about 2:00 and realized we hadn't had lunch. My first impulse would have been to go through a drive-thru because "we had to get there by" some certain time. But there was no certain time we had to get there by. And after all, it was our 25th anniversary trip, how do you go to Jack-in-the-Box? Kind of ridiculous, no? So we went to the PF Changs at Alderwood Mall and had a really nice lunch there, Almond Cashew Chicken bowls. Gary always seems to order the same things I do, and I always forget and order first, and then I regret it because we end up with the same thing. We talked about my blog entry, about the bucket list, and I told him what was on it and that maybe he should make one too. I think we could find intersections in our list that we could aim for doing--that would be neat. It's not likely that he'll actually do it, but I'll keep on with him and we'll see.
We went down to Seattle; there's a park there by the Arboretum that is called Foster Island. It's one of Gary's favorite places. We walk along the lake where people are paddling rented canoes and kayaks from the University, and then under the end of the 520 bridge (I think), and then to a park-y area where you can see the really big boats come by really close to the shore. It's fun to see them. Quite a lot of sights to see. We sat on a bench and just watched for a long time.
Then we went down to Pike Place Market. I am always struck by the signs that say, "Sanitary Pike Place Market" or something like that. Sanitary? They wish! I always feel immune to about 20 new diseases after I leave there. It looks grimy and the smells overwhelm me. But it's fun, in a way. Lots of interesting sights. I wish I'd had a camera; we remembered after we left but didn't want to go back and get it. I'm never sorry when it's time to go on to something else after the Market, and I always feel like a bad citizen because of it; you're supposed to love the place, aren't you? The rest of the family loves it. I don't.
After all that we headed east to Bellevue. We checked into our room. The front desk was stunning--they had a stone front to it, with lighting behind that accentuated its transparent yellowness and the patterns of different rivers of color that ran through it. No camera, no picture. Sorry.
Then we went to find a place to go for dinner. I had my teeth sort of set for steak. Gary wanted seafood. He thought Ruth's Chris would be too expensive and we went to McCormicks. I was intending to remind myself that this was a 25th wedding anniversary and not to worry about the price. Still, I couldn't bring myself to let go. The steak was too expensive and I chose salmon on a plank with raspberry sauce. Gary ordered the same thing. Darn it! I forgot again to wait until he ordered.
There was a table next to us with six people. Somehow Gary got across to them that it was our 25th, and at one point a few minutes later they all toasted us. All I had by then was an empty water glass and a nearly dry lemonade glass. (We had intended to get some champagne even though we never drink any more, but at $38--whether bottle or glass, I don't know, no difference, it still shocked me--I couldn't do it. I figure it was God's way of stopping us, maybe. I'm a little disappointed, I kind of thought it would be fun to have that heady feeling once again. Someday, maybe.)
By the time we were done we were too full for dessert. We'd pondered the possibility of Cheesecake Factory but didn't. Just as well.
Our room overlooked Wendy's and at 1:30 I was awake, couldn't sleep. It was amazing--throughout their open hours, any time I looked they had about 6 cars lined up there. Who goes to Wendy's in the middle of the night? I guess we're the only ones who don't.
This morning we headed out to go to church. We decided we wanted to check out the University Presbyterian Church. We know of a few people who've gone there and said it was a pretty neat one. We were out maybe an hour early for their last service of the morning. Gary wanted breakfast, and insisted that we stop at Denny's. There was a line up at the door. There was no time for Denny's if we wanted to get to church on time, so we went to Starbucks. Gary said, "But I don't drink coffee." I suggested he get hot chocolate and so he did--hot chocolate and a pastry. I got caramel frappucino. Yum!
The church was overwhelmingly big, but they had a nice service. They baptized about 5 or 6 babies--by sprinkling--and that was the only thing I'd differ with much. The sermon was good, on Colossians 1, and the pastor seemed sweet. It was fun to see something different, but I love our little church all the more.
So in two days we went out to three places for food. What fun! I guess that's not unheard-of when we're on a trip, but usually with the kids along, much of it is fast food. This was overall such a good time.
When we got home, I just about fell over dead. Tim was carrying out the garbage and had a smile on his face. Katie sounded like it was all a good time. They'd watched the Chipmunk movie and some other, and she told her friend Haley later that they'd eaten "trash." It is true, the trash was empty--but I think she meant unhealthy foods...I hope so!