Last week my husband, Food-C (I told him I couldn’t handle his former name, honey buns), took me on a SURPRISE trip to celebrate our anniversary, the big 03. (No, I’m not dyslexic, we’ve only been married 3 years, but when you have divorced parents, you tend to celebrate the smaller marriage victories…especially if you had your first kid since the big 02…and were pregnant on your last anniversary so you couldn’t even celebrate properly with champagne…I digress.) No, ladies, this was not Food-C’s independent idea. I hinted pretty hard (beginning last October) that I wanted HIM to plan a trip that I took NO part in. Usually, I’m the one that plans our family vacations (unless my step-sister, “Julie McCoy the cruise director” is joining, then she does everything…it’s awesome) and I wanted Food-C to plan an entire vacation as my birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift.
I guess the not-so-subtle hinting paid off because he planned the most fantastic trip! He spent about three weeks in February researching the location, deciding where we should eat and what we should do. He tells me he had 7 or 8 different versions of the itinerary before he finally settled on our perfect trip.
Things weren’t always so organized in Food-C’s trip planning. When we were in law school, we spent a summer in Oxford as part of an exchange program offered through our college. One weekend, Food-C planned a trip to Marrakech, Morocco. Actually, I booked the tickets. Food-C just arranged the lodging. In Marrakech, most people stay in a bed and breakfast/hostel hybrid called a Riad. Chris booked us a room at the Riad Messin, and even sprung for the airport transfer since the Riads are notoriously difficult to find and the cab drivers typically speak only French and Arabic, the native languages of Morocco. We were greeted in Marrakech on a steamy June morning by the Marrakech militia, armed with what appeared to be very well used machine guns.
As we exited the airport, I asked Food-C, “How will we know where to meet the driver for Riad Messin?” “Easy” said Food-C, “he will be holding a blue Moroccan view”. You might be wondering (as I was) what exactly does a blue Morroccan view look like? Good effing question! I wish I could answer that, but we never saw anything in the transport area besides pieces of paper with other people’s names on them. No blue. No Moroccan views. Only well used artillery and tears. Okay, I’m exaggerating now, but I WAS more than a little freaked out at the airport. Everything turned out just fine: I called my mom (at 3am Oklahoma time) and she found us a hotel with a name we could pronounce (The Golden Tulip!) But needless to say, Food-C’s trip planning privileges were suspended for the next 5 years. And I tell that story any time I am afforded the opportunity as additional punishment. Luckily, Food-C is a very good sport.
Food-C told me I could ask exactly one question about the trip, on or after May 1. After careful consideration, I asked, “will the weather be nice?” and received “yes” as an answer. When I pressed, Food-C lawyered me, telling me I should have asked a more specific question if I wanted a more specific answer. A few weeks later, he told me I needed a puffy jacket and a bathing suit which sent me into a fit of hysterics trying to figure out what ELSE I needed to pack. The night before we left, Food-C read me the entire itinerary which he typed and printed at work, along with confirmation codes, contact names, departure/arrival times and “free time activity options”! He did such a great job; I may never plan a vacation again!
We spent 4 days in Seattle and 3 days in San Francisco, just the two of us! Foodie Baby stayed with his grandparents, and we were alone and childless for eight entire days! Was it difficult? YES! Especially after the first few days, we missed our little dude a lot! But we also enjoyed the hell out of getting to reconnect with each other, drink an ENTIRE cup of coffee while it was still warm, and reading the paper cover to cover. So many people act shocked when I tell them we left for 8 days, but I have to tell you, everything I read about child development says the absolute BEST thing you can do to raise a happy, curious, intelligent child is have a healthy marriage. And sometimes to have a happy marriage, you have to spend time ALONE. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid, it just means that you are also making your marriage a priority. Take that, haters!
I’m going to post about each of our adventures so stay tuned…Until then, if you’re a woman, start dropping not-so-subtle hints to your man! (Maybe direct him to this blog!) If you’re a man, plan a trip for your lady. I guarantee it will be worth your while!