Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ABC Date Nights "G"

Since our last two Date Nights were more like "non-dates" and the reasons justifying why they basically failed, I was excited that we finally were getting back to normal!  And by normal, I mean:
1.  We actually had nice weather.  (no small feat, as the every date night up until "G" was cold and rainy!)
2.  We were both healthy.
3.  We have appliances. (lol--It does make life less stressful to have these handy items!)
4.  We had an easier letter with options aplenty to choose from!

It was also fun because we tried something new which was the premise to begin with but weather, sickness, stress and difficult letters intervened! Somewhere in my foggy brain, I remembered someone talking about "geocaching" and I always thought it sounded interesting.  I did a little research, polled my friends on facebook and decided to go with it.  Not knowing much about it, naturally I googled it and found an entire website dedicated to how to get started.
GEOCACHING is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online..
The first thing we did was register.  That way we would have a screen name which enabled us to log in and find geocaches near us.  After that, we just typed in our zip code and that brought up pages (!) of sites near us to search. There are codes for how easy/difficult, and how small/large the "cache" is.  It doesn't tell you what the cache looks like (it could be in almost any kind of a container, from the size of a film canister to a bucket!)  The site suggested to start with "easy." Since we get lost everywhere we go, we decided to follow their advice and pursue three "easy" caches.  We borrowed a friend's GPS and entered the coordinates of the sites.  Let the treasure hunt begin!  Since it was such a beautiful night, we walked to the first one. The website suggests once you get within twenty feet of the coordinates to turn the GPS off and just start looking around.
So we did.
We looked.
And looked.
For about 20-30 minutes.
Near a very busy intersection where I'm certain every person who drove by us was looking at us quizzically and wondering,
"What on earth are those crazy people doing?"  
After checking and rechecking oh, about a hundred times, we decided either we were either blind or the cache had been removed.  The website log said eighty-nine people had found it---nine had not.  Guess who rounded that total up to ten?

After some deliberation we decided to move on to our second location.  I mean, how many times can you look in the same place for something you can't find???
The coordinates for the second site took us to an empty, grassy area. Since the directions didn't tell us we had to dig for our treasure we were again perplexed.  Still, we looked far and wide, with no luck. The website log said one hundred and sixty-nine people had found it--six did not! At this point we were starting to think either our friend's GPS was faulty<(probably NOT true) or we were the most directionally challenged people EVER! <(probably true)  Our new adventure was starting to get a bit annoying. You don't want to be frustrated on a Date Night but this was starting to resemble many of our road trips where we ended up lost and yes, frustrated!  "The goal is to spend time together" we repeated to each other lovingly with barely disguised exasperation. Ultimately we regained our composure.  This was Date Night! Onward and Forward!

We approached our third and final destination with fierce determination but low expectations.  This time the coordinates pretty much took us exactly to the spot. And let me just add that no one was more surprised than us!  (note the look of exhilaration on my face!)


Eureka!  Did I mention before that the treasure is usually quite small?---It's more about the hunt---and inside each cache there is a log book for you to log your name and the date you found it.  We were so happy to have actually FOUND the cache that it didn't matter what was in it---even if it was only a cottage cheese container filled with assorted odd items!  The important thing was that we FOUND it!  
I can't say that we are hooked on geocaching although I have to admit before going, I thought it might become a fun hobby.  I think we would have to try it a few more times before we decide if it will become our new favorite pastime.....Still, it was fun to try something different and we were extra thankful for the beautiful night spent outdoors and away from our couch!
(We later went back and found the first cache.  It was pretty cleverly hidden and took us at least another twenty minutes.  We haven't tried yet to find the second one again, but for now, our wounded pride has been partially reinstated!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ABC Date Nights "F"

I thought winter had been long. And then came Spring.  Our Cold Gray Wet Rainy Spring gave a whole new meaning to tedious.  The lack of sunshine and the abundance of rain had taken it's toll on both of us.  I'm not a big fan of winter  I pretty much hate winter with every cold arthritic bone in my body (ask anyone who knows me about the incessant whining) but the last few years I've made a concentrated effort to suck it up.  So, when Spring rolls around I'm ready for winter to be OVER as in Enough Already.  By this time we had endured March which if you're asking me felt an awful lot like January and February.  April wasn't much better.  Maybe worse.  This particular Date Night took place in mid-April during which we'd had a record-setting total rainfall for April.  We found it a bit challenging to to come up with any new ideas that took place inside. There were SO many things we could have done if only we lived anywhere but in the Land-of-Winter-is-Never-Going-to-End.

For example, we could have gone Fishing--
Not even close to being one of my
favorite things to do, but doesn't this
look romantic? However, unless I
wanted to go rain and ice fishing I'm thinking
this was not going to happen and
somehow I don't imagine this beautiful
picture when I think of ice fishing.
More like shivering, which I've done
enough of, thank you.  Pass.

Ideas flowed but not as quickly as the clouds multiplied.  On top of that, my hubby was sick with what started out to be a cold, evolved into a sinus infection and for the grand finale---pink eye!  He gets sick about once every three years so I guess he was due.  However, he insisted on persisting.  He claims to have had ideas but he pretty much came up empty.  He had my complete sympathy. It's difficult to be creative when it's been gray for days on end and your nose is alternately stuffy and runny!

Just for kicks, here's a few of the other ideas that we could have used.  Sigh. The Land-of-Winter-is-Never-Going-to-End is getting quite boring.

How about a festival?  It didn't have to be anything fancy.  Like this Tulip Festival, three hours away....and doesn't take place until May.

Or, it could be spectacular.....as in flying to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Or.....this looks like fun
ahem....I threw this one in to see if anyone was still paying attention!


Ferris Wheel Ride?

However, we have tweaked the rules a bit for future Date Nights. 
Date Night is allowed to be postponed to a nicer day (assuming there IS one in the forecast.) 

If necessary, Date Night is allowed take place in a tropical location.  
Whatever it takes.

(Ironically, as I post this, we are enjoying a record breaking temperature of 93! in MAY?!)  Wow, it is so true--"If you don't like the weather here, just wait about 5 minutes. It'll change."---Mark Twain

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ABC Date Nights/"E"

Well, you would think we would be getting the hang of this by now.  I knew that "E" might be a bit difficult. I intermittently threw myself into it racking my brain for something exciting and different.  I was sure I would come up with something.  In my defense, we were in the middle of a simple ridiculously expensive and unbelievably "if anything can go wrong it will" kitchen remodeling project.  Oh-so-charming-son had offered to build us a window seat and that project wasn't so bad---just messy---and like all projects, took longer than we thought it would.  It was the decision to buy new appliances that went almost demonically awry from the beginning.  I had been struggling with buying new ones for two years.  My old appliances (and by old I mean eighteen years+ old) were ugly.  They worked just fine.  But they were ugly!  And, inspired by the idea of having a new-over-the-range microwave in order to free up some much needed counter space, I finally gave in and decided to buy new. Yes, I still have some unresolved guilt.  
Choosing the appliances was a breeze compared to what followed.  Forty-eight hours after the decision, (paid for and delivery set up) our salesman called to inform us the refrigerator we chose was discontinued.  Sigh.  Small setback.  We just had to choose a different model.  
A few days later, our new fridge, stove and microwave were delivered.  The delivery guys were from the start a bit disinterested and somewhat rude.  The stove arrived dented. Our woodwork was scratched. The fridge also arrived scratched and it was TOO big! Apparently, a "standard" fridge in America is now approximately the size of a small vacation cottage in Vermont.  Appliances sent back to store.  New fridge has to be "counter-depth."  Oh, the terms I am learning!  Our salesman informs us over the phone that counter-depth refrigerators cost between $500-$1000 MORE than "standard."  Aforementioned guilt revs up.  And.....to add to the mayhem, I had already posted and SOLD my old appliances on Craigslist.  Had I not, I would have stopped the madness that moment and loved my ugly, old appliances until the day they died.  However, I did not have that option anymore. In fact, I didn't even have a stove anymore.  Craigslist guy had already picked it up.  Somehow, I DID have the presence of mind to ask him to wait on picking up the fridge until we had our new one. 
Third trip back to Appliance Store.  Choose third refrigerator.  Price quoted=$300 more than original fridge.  Not too bad we decide, and think we have narrowly escaped financial disaster.  The day of my hopefully new, undented, unscratched appliances delivery arrives and I see that my invoice is highlighted, "customer owes difference of $1400!"  WHAT????  Call the appliance store.  "Must have been some kind of mix-up, but sorry, that's the price."  What else can possibly go wrong? I simply cannot justify spending this much money on a fridge.  Appliances sent back. Again.  
Enter oh-so-charming-son to the rescue who works at Best Buy. (I didn't want to go there in the first place b/c of the whole "big box" label and wanted to give a smaller business our order, buy American, etc...)  Choosing a new refrigerator, stove and microwave was no problem.  But, the counter-depth fridge is on back order because the "Made in America" Fridge I wanted is waiting for the parts to come from JAPAN so it can be assembled here.  
At this juncture I thought, well at least nothing can go wrong with the window seat since my sweet husband was completing that project.  Wrong. The fabric we chose? Discontinued!
So date night, which in hindsight, probably should have been postponed, sadly consisted of enchiladas and after that, errands.  

 We were exhausted. adjective
depleted in strength, energy, or freshness <the exhausted homeowners grew weary of choosing new refrigerators and just collapsed>

 In the end, we're happy we didn't blow it off and give into frustration.  It gave us the chance to slow down and enjoy an evening out of the house even if we had to spend some of that time stragetizing how (if ever) we were going to complete our kitchen project.  By the time we were done with our errands, we had a more positive outlook on things. After all, it is only a small kitchen remodel.  And what is so sweet is how my kids have gotten into the the spirit of Date Nights.  Later that night we were talking and laughing about our appliance nightmare before going to sleep.  The ever-so-charming-son from the next bedroom over texted me this:
Eliminate your voices over there so I can 
Experience a good
Evening of 
Enticing sleep.
HA!  It's good to have a sense of humor about these things.  In the end, my new window seat looks beautiful and I LOVE my new stove, microwave and extra counter space!  Someday the fridge will come, right?  Blessings Abound.     

I will add that three days later I still felt so guilty about my lack of planning that I surprised my hubby at work with an Elephant Trunks milkshake from Whiteys.  (That pesky guilt emotion really needs to be addressed!)