Anniversary in the Real World (a.k.a. Another Series of Unfortunate Events)
We’ll laugh about this later.
When I think of anniversaries I think of a nice dinner, probably one that I didn’t have to cook, candlelight gilding the glasses, maybe soft music, going out to a movie or a play or something.
Disregard the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an anniversary like this, it still persists in my head.
Disregard the fact that one of the most fun anniversaries we’ve had was a trip to the botanical gardens (my idea), dinner at Wendy’s (it was what we could afford and what we had time for), and a live hockey game (his idea, thoroughly enjoyed by both of us. We had nachos and did not get hit by any flying pucks. A lady two rows up was not so lucky.).
Anyway, on to this particular anniversary day.
My aunt invited us to see a simulcast of the Met opera at the movie theater. Only a few theaters do this and we would travel about 40-45 minutes to get there. All well and good, my mom agreed to take the kids. We figured that by the time we got up and got moving that morning we could drop the kids at her place (40 minutes away) and still easily make it to the theater in time at noon…well, 11:30 am which was when my aunt wanted to meet. No problem.
The night before we were to go I found out that we were also expected to pick up my grandparents and drive them to the show. Our car was filled with the usual detritus of crumpled papers, fallen toys, and approximately 40,000 free-range chip crumbs.
So now I would be sitting with my aunt AND my grandparents for my anniversary. Cozy. Through slightly clenched teeth I said we’d see them at 11:00 am.
“Oh NO, dear, we need you here at 10:45 am so that we have time to get into the car.”
15 minutes to get from the house to the car. Neither grandparent needs a walker or anything. I took a deep breath and said ok.
So…in the morning we rushed the kids out of bed and into clothes, jumped into the (still dirty) car, and made the 40 minute trip to mom and dad’s. We had just enough time to admire their tree and scrape all the crap out of the car and into the trunk. No time to vacuum, we just tossed a clean towel over the seat because the clock was running down.
On the way to my grandparents’ I instructed my husband to keep a tight hold of the popcorn bucket when we were at the theater. My grandmother is on a one-woman campaign to keep me from getting fat and would think nothing of confiscating the popcorn if she could get away with it.
Another 15 minutes and we were at my grandparents at 10:45 on the dot. A superhuman feat for us. They looked at us, a bit surprised, and offered us coffee and cookies, having just gotten back from wherever they’d been themselves.
After a long debate, we parked our little car at their house and took their big old Buick, my husband driving. Now we would have to go back for our car…previously the plan was that my aunt would drive them home. Add more travel time later.
So we finally reached our destination at about 11:30 and came around the back of the mall to the theater to see…fire trucks! Lots and lots of fire trucks all lit up like Christmas.
Upon investigation we found the rank scent of smoke and my aunt getting a refund for the show because…are you ready for this?…the popcorn machine had caught fire! Theater closed until 5 pm, so sorry.
Nothing left to do but go to lunch. That sounded okay to me (not being quite as big an opera fan as my husband is) and there was a steakhouse right outside the mall. We could have a sort of anniversary dinner…even if it did include relatives.
My grandmother, after considering taking us to Subway, took us to Johnny Rocket’s instead…it’s a 40’s-themed burger place. Pretty good. Not steak, but good.
Grandparents and aunt decided they would go back together and leave us to hoo-hah around the mall. We could bring their car back later.
After they’d left my husband and I looked at each other with identical thoughts. Finally! Time free from the kids! Damn…trapped in a mall?! Neither of us are mall people. But this mall was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere…nothing else to realistically go do.
And no theater till 5 so no movies.
A little stunned, we went to the discount music store, the pet shop, and the book store. I brought up the idea of getting the Christmas shopping done for the kids which he took as a mildly improper suggestion (husband doesn’t do Christmas shopping without a fight).
So we drifted, eventually had dessert (blizzard for him, smoothie for me) and both got heartily sick of the overcrowded mall at about the same time.
On the way back he suggested that once we got home we could get honey duck from the Chinese place (for us this is in the better-than-average takeout category) if we got back home in time.
We didn’t. Are you surprised?
My grandparents didn’t want to turn us loose when we took the car keys back.
My parents didn’t want to turn us loose when we went for the kids.
My husband’s bronchitis cough and his laryngitis were a lot worse by the end of the evening.
Finally…at about 8 pm…we made it home. Mom had given us a couple of fund-raiser hoagies so I didn’t have to cook supper.
I guess that fits the anniversary-food category. I didn’t have to prepare it, anyway. It tasted great because we were all starving. If I'd had candles they probably would have lit my hair on fire rather than gilding any glasses. The kids were bushed, hubby and I were, too.
So, that’s the story of an anniversary in the real world. Actually, the next day was our official anniversary date. I did laundry all day so my husband could leave again in the truck.
Hey, I know I’m lucky. He was home for this anniversary and we did get out from under the responsibility of the kids for a bit. Sometimes that’s the best you can hope for.
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