My wife and I celebrated 25 years of marriage on February 14th, you know, Valentine's Day. I'll have to take credit for that one. She said no twice before she said yes once. I thought that I was going to save money by getting married on Valentine's Day, just like the guy who gets married on Christmas, or their wife's birthday. Two events, one gift.
Bad logic. Especially on Valentine's Day. Not only do you have to provide a gift for both Valentine's Day and your anniversary, but a double helping of flowers is expected. Everything is expensive on Valentine's Day. It does not save you money, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. It's the best pickup line ever.
January was difficult. I was distracted by a stressful situation at work and a family medical emergency for one of my nieces. During the family situation I learned that I have the patience for my grandchildren but not necessarily my grand-nieces. But all, despite a medical airlift to the University of Washington Medical Center, turned out for the good. We thought we were preparing for a funeral, we ended up getting a medical miracle turnaround.
And then I remembered that my anniversary was just a couple of weeks away, my 25TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
So I had been a little distracted. And that excuse wouldn't fly with my little buttercup. What to do? I do some of my best work under pressure, or, should I say, I do good work under pressure.
I live in the Northwest and the economy sucks. How hard could it be to create a romantic, never to be forgotten, celebration, at the last minute. And I have to say that I have known for months what I wanted to do, I just forgot a few things.
It was our 25th so stopping by the roadside and buying a dozen roses for $5 wasn't going to cut it.
Hotels and Bed & Breakfast establishments should be reserved months in advance.
Valentine's Day in 2010 falls on a Sunday.
Valentine's Day in 2010 falls on a Sunday.
No, I don't stutter. It seems like there are plenty of open hotel rooms on February 14th, 2010, just not February 13th, 2010, which is the better day to get the hotel room if you want to have a great Valentine's Day or get lucky. Everybody in the State of Washington had reservations for February 13th. It got so bad that when I would click on the "Check Availability" button on the websites for the B&B's that I wanted to take my sugar pie/honey bun to, and the link took me to a site that just laughed at me.
Nothing in Port Townsend, think "An Officer and a Gentlemen". Nothing in Friday Harbor, think "Free Willy". Something in Victoria, Canada, but it turns out their money is worth something these days. Nothing in the little town of Seaside, Oregon, there was, but mostly at one-star locations. And the Town of Leavenworth, Washington, that little German themed town nestled in the Cascade Mountains, 2 hours east of our house? Well, it had no vacancies, was two mountain passes away, and she hates going over one pass to get to the grandkids, two passes is pushing it.
Five days to go, I had nothing. Our (her) plans were to evict the two remaining children from the house between noon and 5pm on Valentine's Day and celebrate 25 years in the comfort of our own home. Yeah, I'm a romantic guy. And then it happened. I made a phone call, in desperation, to the Samuel Beecher House B&B just outside of Leavenworth. Howard Hughes stayed there once, the Queen of Romania stayed here in the 1920's, it looked good on the website. I took a chance, dialed the phone, asked that silly question, you know, the one where you start the conversation by asking the person on the other end of the phone to not laugh when you ask your question. So I did.
Me: "What's the chance that you have an opening February 13th despite the fact that your website says that nothing is available"
Them: "YOU"RE IN LUCK, WE JUST HAD A CANCELLATION FOR FEBRUARY 13TH."
Half an hour later I had the reservation. One hour later I was looking at the 5-day weather forecast, 2 hours later I was weaving my deception, I was moving forward.
She knew we were going somewhere, but didn't know where. Dress warm was what I told her, but not too warm.
On the way North on the freeway I was humming the theme for the Olympics. I'm pretty sure that she thought we were going to Canada. Then we turned East, Highway 2 and Stevens Pass. Now she is suspecting Leavenworth, but I assure her that we are not going to stay in Leavenworth, which was true, we were going to Peshastin.
We stopped in Leavenworth, shopped, the first of my sacrifices, we had an old time photo taken, we had bratwurst for lunch. We then moved on to Peshastin.
And I couldn't find the place. I had memorized the location from an aerial photo. What a maroon!
And then she said, pointing in the distance… "That's a cool house." And I recognized the B&B from the web photos.
What happened for the next 18 hours is really none of your business. What I can tell you is that I provided flowers, chocolates, cookies, a nice dinner in Leavenworth, movies, and romance. I actually put that line in to show up the other men that might read this blog.
And she gave me something that showed me that she really is the only woman that knows me….
In part two.