Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Shoe Fit

Yesterday in my comments Pezmama told of an instance where her husband actually made one of her dream getaways come true. How cool is that?! Everyone needs to have some dreams completely fulfilled sometimes.

As it happens, I do have a memory to share about surprises.

Three years ago Mr. Right wanted to do something really spectacular for my birthday. He decided that since we hadn’t had a trip alone in some time, he would whisk me away for a four day getaway to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Plus, he knew that I loved surprises.

Now some strategic planning was involved because at the time I worked at Barnes & Noble as a Lead. What this meant was that I worked all sorts of hours on any day of a given week. Usually weekends off were a rarity. But he did not let that daunt him.

He called one of the managers to explain his plight. He wanted to get some of my days off and use some of my vacation days to pull it off, but he wanted them to leave me on the work calendar so that I wouldn’t have a clue as to what was happening. God had something to do with the scheduling because not only did they grant his request, they gave me the weekend off so that most of my vacation days would stay intact. And no one said a word about it to me.

Next he called his parents to request their babysitting skills. The babysitting at our place (4 hours away from them) meant that they would have to take time off too. From what I gather, they didn’t even bat an eye at it. They cleared their schedule to make room for us. Now that’s love, I tell you.

He scrimped and saved so that we could have a fun time on our trip. He set money from our tax return aside to help pay for the trip too. If he could go without something, he did and then put the savings into the mad money fund. This was a great case of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing, really remarkable when I was the one doing the bills and in charge of our finances.

On the Thursday before my birthday (which was on a Monday), he pulled out a suitcase and started packing things. Of course this piqued my curiosity. He then told me that I would not be going to work for the next several days and that I needed to pack for a place that was expected to be beautiful. His only instructions were that I needed to pack shorts, at two dress-up dresses and accessories and a bathing suit. He didn’t have to ask twice!

His parents arrived the next day at noon and shooed us out the door. We kissed the kids and took off. When we were on our way, Mr. Right pulled out some crossword/acrostics/logic puzzle books that he had purchased for the drive. We worked some of them together, some separately. We talked and talked over the 5 hour drive, filling many of the moments with laughter and singing and stories.

When we arrived, I discovered that he had booked us into a beautiful, serene and quite charming bed and breakfast. He had talked with the owners several times, so it felt like we were being welcomed into some old friends’ house. He had reserved the “honeymoon” suite, complete with jacuzzi tub, huge bay windows and the most gorgeous furniture and spread. It was so pretty, I was afraid to mess it up (but I got over that quickly!)

For dinner that night we went to the most stunningly-situated restaurant, a place nestled into the cliffs over the lake. When the sun set, the sky was full of an array of colors straight from God’s paint palate. Pinks, blues, oranges, purples
and grays were spread across the sky, making the open view to the lake breath-taking.

Everything we did was my choice. What shops we visited, where we ate for lunch, where we went for an evening dessert, what sights we saw. And to top it off, Mr. Right had some little present for each day, something to remind us why we were there and how dearly he loved me. Sigh, what did I ever do to deserve such a loving, divine man?

One of the unexpected gifts from God occurred on the second night of our trip. I decided that we should eat at a small, but well-known Italian restaurant that came highly recommended. It was so popular that we had an hour wait, but that was nothing since we didn’t have the kids in tow. Plus, the restaurant was set on the first floor in an old Victorian house, with the entire upstairs as a waiting room/bar.

We had settled in when three couples came into the waiting area. One of the ladies looked very familiar, but I could not place where. They sat near us and eventually we all began talking. “Have you tried this restaurant before?” “How long are you here?” “Where are you from?”

It turned out that we were all from Kansas City. (Sing with me now... It’s a small world after all.) I asked what they all did. When it was my turn, I said that I worked at Barnes & Noble. The girl that looked familiar pointed at me and exclaimed to her two friends, “This is the lady I was telling you about on the way down here! I knew I recognized you!”

What? She was talking about me? “Ummm, is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked. If it was bad, I was out of there.

With a very animated gestures and a smiling face, she proceeded to tell me and her friends how she came into B&N looking for a gift for her mother. I had shown her several choice selections that I personally loved and she wound up buying three of them. Her mother loved every single book; she had gone back in to thank me personally for my kindness, attention, deep knowledge about so many genres and personal recommendations, but I wasn’t there at that time and she couldn’t remember my name. Then she turned to me and asked that I give them several more names of great books. Being a book lover and voracious reader who usually wanted to seek a willing audience, I was only too happy to oblige. For 40 minutes – until we were seated, I had the opportunity to talk books, to give recommendations and to hear bits of praise around my name.

Mr. Right specifically stated that he had nothing to do with that gift…

On the day before we left, my sweet husband set up massages for us. I had a wonderfully relaxing hour and a half. Basically the lady had to use a spatula to get me off the table. After I figured out that my legs still worked, we walked back to the B &B and the afternoon remained lazy and carefree.

Everything about that trip was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed a single moment.

The ride back was just as interesting and lively as the one down. I came home to a kept house and squeaky clean kids who had many utterances of “Happy Birthday Mommy!” They made cards for me and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. Feeling loved is the best gift of all.

So I did have my Cinderella moment, without all the mice and the devil of a cat. I never minded that the ball ended. I know that there may be others in my future with my Prince Charming.

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