The Captain is going to be out of town next week, a week that contains the 19th year since we stood in front of a bunch of friends and family and agreed to try for a life of wedded bliss.
There's been bliss. Lots of bliss. A few stumbles. But lots of bliss.
We took Friday off last week and pretended that it was the 14th. The day of hooky was kicked off the night before and led into a full weekend of such excess that I don't know that I'll be able to survive our 20th.
I doubt I'll be able to come up with a better gift, either. Ali helped me put together a playlist for Jeff that tracked our first days right up to yesterday.
If you know me, you know I'm early musically illiterate unless we're talking country music. Jeff is a walking musical encyclopedia and Alison is working her way toward a doctorate from the House of Merle.
So, it was unexpected; not just because it was 19 songs to mark each of our years together (plus two for our dating years) but because we'd agreed not to exchange gifts at all this year. Our gift was going to be the day. I mean it was a whole day off of work doing whatever we wanted to do!
Ali and I were both excited to hand over our creation, but on the way to school, our discussion turned to chatter about her ride home the afternoon before. The mom giving her a ride had had a near miss when another motorist pulled out in front of her.
I asked her if she'd accused the mom of bad driving as she does me in similar instances. She addvised me that, "No. She's a good driver mom. Not like you."
Ali and I have an agreement. I don't try to catch her cursing and she pretends she doesn't curse. She told me the near miss wasn't the mom's fault but instead it was the other driver, who she called a "jackmonkey" rather than a "jackass."
I told her that most of the times I am involved in near misses, it's not my fault, either. She rolled her eyes and said, "No Mom. YOU'RE the jackmonkey."
On that happy note, I crept back home and presented the gift in the guise of a CD case. The cover art was one of our favorite wedding pictures. I had to use a Spotify play list to actually play the music as I didn't think far enough ahead of the execution and Jeff would have discovered Ali and me trying to actually make the disc. Ali had great suggested titles and good edits, as well.
It was well-received.
As we walked back from our two-hour French pastry shop brunch, we reminisced a bit. By our calculations, we're still at least in touch with 98 percent of the people who attended our wedding and/or reception and we have only fond feelings for almost all of them.
Two of them, in fact, Eric Yocum and Tracy Wiseman, were even with us for part of the weekend. Two who we met only a few years ago, Duane and Kirstin Jasheway, were with us Thursday night.
We started off at The Nook for Thursday dinner; The Gallery Pastry Shop for brunch, NorthSide Social for dinner, the Deli for breakfast, steaks on the grill and dessert back at The Gallery. And there were a few bottles accompanying the culinary trek.
We walked enough to hit our step goal, but I'm pretty sure a qualified fitness coach wouldn't have approved the ratio of celebration to exertion. I suppose19 years together is a good excuse.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.