My husband will turn 40 this September.
Forty. The Big 4-0. Middle age.
I recently asked him how he wanted to celebrate this inexplicably important milestone. Did he want to have a party? Go skydiving? Make merry in some other cliche way that I hadn’t yet considered?
Nah, he replied. He’d had a party for his 30th birthday. And skydiving? Been there, done that.
Let’s keep it low-key, he said. Maybe do a weekend getaway – somewhere fun, but where we wouldn’t have to drive once we got there. The no driving part was very important. Hubs hates to drive. Especially in unfamiliar cities.
“How about Annapolis?” I suggested. We generally stop in Annapolis on our way home from St. Michaels, whereupon we spend the afternoon sitting on the patio at Pussers sipping Painkillers, watching boats putter in and out of the harbor, and talking about how we really need to come here one weekend.
But we never have.
Hubs agreed that Annapolis could be fun. So, Annapolis it was.
The first step in planning this seemingly simple one-night getaway was to arrange childcare, of course – my parents being the most logical choice to look after Lil’ Bit while we were gone. Before I could make such a request, however, it was paramount that I determine where Hubs’ birthday weekend fell on the 2012 Virginia Tech football schedule. Because football season would be well underway in September. And when it comes to the likelihood of missing a home game, my father’s priorities rank as follows:
And lest this be misconstrued as hyperbole, I should note that he actually did brave the outer bands of Hurricane Isabel to watch the Hokies beat Texas A&M in 2003, as well as threaten to boycott my wedding in 2006 had I dared to schedule it on a football weekend. So if I had to guess, babysitting the grandkids would fall somewhere between the two.
Editor’s Note: I’ve been asked to clarify my infographic. According to my dad himself, “Anyone else’s death would fall below the Hokies playing at home. Only my own death would be at the top, and then that would depend on whether or not I could get someone to carry my ashes to the game.” But I already knew that, which is why the death mentioned was indeed meant to be interpreted as his own.
Fortunately for us, the Hokies were on the road that weekend. And so my parents agreed to watch Lil’ Bit while Hubs and I slipped away – with my mom feeling the need to add for good measure, “We’re always happy to spend time with our granddaughter without you guys around!” Because that so needed to be said.
Apparently, you lose your internal filter when you get old. I wonder if Hubs knows this?
With the childcare situation squared away, the next step was to book our hotel room. I called the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront, home of our favorite watering hole, Pussers, and also located right smack dab in the heart of downtown Annapolis. I figured if Hubs’ only birthday wish was no driving, then no driving he shall have. Even if I could think of far more exciting birthday wishes.
Except that in addition to being laughably expensive, the Marriott was booked solid. In May. Four full months prior to our trip. That’s odd, I thought.
At this point, rather than research more overpriced hotels, I switched gears and began looking into my preferred source of getaway lodging – the bed and breakfast inn. One that would preferably be 1.) affordable, 2.) willing to waive a two-night minimum reservation requirement, 3.) conveniently located within downtown Annapolis in order to oblige all the no driving that would be going on, and 4.) able to accommodate my general hotel snobbery.
It was kind of a tall order. And yet I happened upon one that seemed to fit the bill. Except that it was also booked solid for our preferred getaway weekend. What the frack?
I asked the innkeeper as much and was informed that weekend was Homecoming at the Naval Academy. Ohhhhhhhh… it all made sense now.
But wait! He still had availability two weekends prior to that!
And so I started the whole process all over again:
Did the Hokies have a home game on that Saturday? No! They were at Pittsburgh!
Could Mom and Dad watch Lil’ Bit that weekend instead? Yes! But our cable provider had better carry that VT-Pitt game!
And last but not least: Was Hubs willing to celebrate his official entrance into middle age 10 days early? Yes… yes, he was.
So, it was settled. I booked the room and breathed a sigh of relief.
Later that night, I recalled a Saturday several years ago when we’d been invited to join one of Hubs’ colleagues and her husband in Annapolis for a day of sailing. Deciding on the spur of the moment one lovely late Spring morning to take their boat out, they called to invite us because aside from being fun (I’d like to think, anyway), we were the only couple they knew who didn’t have kids and could afford to be equally spontaneous.
But we hadn’t gone. And for the life of me, I could not figure out why not.
“Remember that time Kim and Doug invited us to go sailing?” I asked Hubs.
“Remind me again why we didn’t go.”
Hubs, who’d been training for a marathon at the time, shrugged. “I dunno. I remember I ran 20 miles that morning and was pretty tired.”
I considered this. Then I thought about how many hoops I’d had to jump through presently in order to plan just one night away. Most of which revolved around securing childcare. And football!
“So… we had no kids,” I began slowly. “No schedule to keep, no other obligations. It was a gorgeous day. And yet we turned down the chance to go sailing around Annapolis because you were… tired?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” he consented.
“We were so stupid,” I said.
He shrugged again, though whether in agreement or resignation I couldn’t tell.
And then we went to bed. Where we did not have sex because that also seems to require meticulous planning and scheduling these days.
If we’d only known then what we know now…
Having a baby changes everything.
Is there anything you regret not doing before starting a family?