The Further We Go, The Closer We Stay
Brad and I celebrated our 10th (TENTH!) wedding anniversary this weekend, a full month and a half early. Why? Because this was the weekend we could secure an overnight babysitter, that’s why.
Babies: Calling the shots around here since April 2009.
This weekend wasn’t originally intended to be our official anniversary celebration, but somewhere along the line it kind of dawned on us that we should be cramming every fucking occasion possible into this small, babyless excursion, because opportunities to sleep without a baby monitor next to your head certainly do not present themselves every day.
You may recall that we took our first babyless weekend way back in October, and it was completely awesome and precisely the break we needed to recharge our marital and parental batteries. Having conquered tropical Erie, PA the last time around, we weren’t really sure where to spend our next adults-only retreat. There really aren’t a whole lot of super-exciting destinations within a two-hour driving radius of Pittsburgh (and driving more than two hours is totally out of the question, considering the assload of hours we regularly drive to trot the child out for the grandparents). Our only other semi-urban option was Cleveland, which — as Steelers fans — is really not an option at all.
I just can’t get down with The Cleve.
We ended up making the decision to cut the drive altogether and spend the weekend right here in Pittsburgh. This may seem boring, yes, but considering our priorities for the weekend included 1) napping, 2) drinking, and 3) fancy restaurantin’, Pittsburgh seemed like our best bet. And BONUS! We only had to drive five minutes to get there.
We actually couldn’t get a start on our weekend-o-fun until late Saturday morning, but we kicked off the festivities with a very grown-up lunch (read: BOOZE WAS CONSUMED) at the very restaurant where we celebrated our anniversary dinner last year, and also where I had my last meal before going into labor.
I got just enough of a buzz from my (delicious and spicy and not watery in the slightest) bloody mary to finally confess my anniversary gift secret to Brad: a few weeks ago, I bought him the banjo he’d always wanted with some of the money I’d earned from the play. Seeing as how I bought it in cash (like a drug dealer! Or an old person!), I’d left no paper trail, and he had no idea that there was a banjo chilling behind my winter coats in our shared closet.
After lunch, we headed downtown to check into our fancy hotel and visit the arts festival. Well, we intended to go to the arts festival. But it was all stormy and ominous out, and we had full bellies and WOW this king size bed sure is nice and ZZZZZZZZ.
Parenting lesson #1: NAPS COME AT A HANDSOME PRICE.
You know what side effect of having a baby I totally didn’t anticipate? My evolution into the world’s shittiest napper. For real, Internet. Before the baby, I could take marathon naps. I’m talking three hour affairs with an early bedtime chaser. Now? I’m lucky if I get 30 minutes in before bolting awake and shouting “Where’s the baby?!” And once I realize I am decidedly child-free and available to nap my afternoon away swaddled in the down comforter of luxury, I am wide awake and relegated to watching Lethal Weapon on the hotel TV.
But still: I spent the afternoon in bed. Without pants. If that ain’t vacation, I don’t know what is.
Later that evening, we enjoyed Brad’s anniversary gift to me: a fancy-pants “chef’s table” at a fancy-pants restaurant, complete with champagne and wine pairings and tableside visits from the chef himself. We were presented with a glass of chardonnay the manager described as “buttery,” and MY FRIENDS. If I die tomorrow, I will do so having sampled the marriage of the two best things in life: WINE AND BUTTER. It might sound weird or gross, but trust me, it was neither. I made the comment that the only thing better would be if they could make a wine with bacon undertones, and NO SHIT, the manager heard my joke and gave us two glasses of a pinot noir WITH FUCKING BACON UNDERTONES.
I gotta be honest — I couldn’t taste any kind of bacon, but I was still kind of reeling from the butter wine.
The meal was perfect: slow and leisurely and featuring the freshest, most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. Oh, and let’s not forget the copious amounts of wine. So much wine. I was always a glass or two behind, which meant that at any given time, I had about three half-full glasses surrounding my plate. How did Brad know that was just what I wanted?
We followed up our epic meal with a stroll around town, a massively long night’s sleep, and room service breakfast in bed. Perfection.
(And yeah, I totally stole the miniature jar of jam that came with Brad’s toast, WHAT OF IT?!)
I don’t mean to make it sound as if the high points of my weekend were merely food-, drink-, and sleep-related. The high point of my weekend — and the high point of all my days, nap-rich or otherwise — was this guy.
Or — more specifically — THESE guys.
And that’s actually a nice segue into our Sadie portion of the post, in which I realize that the older she gets, the more she notices our absence. We sneakily left the house during her nap on Saturday, meaning she didn’t have to actually witness our departure, but made me feel guilty that she’d wake up being all “Who the fuck are you and where’s that lady who used to have the boobs?”
She handled things just fine, of course, like she always does. But when we got home and her aunt & uncle left? She UNLEASHED. She had approximately four tantrums in two hours. Everything we did was WRONG. It was as though she’d been holding it together for the past 24 hours and finally realized that hey, it was high time for some hysterics around here! Anyone up for a flurry of toddler kicks to the groin?
I ain’t playin’.
It seemed like she was just kind of tired and out-of-sorts in general (and we are suspicious that she has some molars forthcoming), but I have a gut feeling the culprit is having her routine upset by the lack of us in it. And wow, that sure makes me feel guilty for enjoying the shit out of an afternoon nap and a fancy dinner. But trust me, Sadie: you want your parents to have these occasional weekends together. It reminds us of all the wonderful reasons we decided to embark on this life together in the first place. It reminds us of why we desperately wanted you. It reminds us that yes, there are other TV channels besides Nick Jr., and that maybe I spend a little too much of my time imagining violent death scenarios for Max & Ruby.
Perhaps the most important reminder of them all.
(OMG, I hate you little rabbit bastards.)