Sunday, June 21, 2009

Flies When You're Having Fun

The girls spent the weekend at my parent's house.  They kept busy by playing in the kiddie pool, going to the library and the farmer's market, going out for ice cream, painting with watercolors, playing with the giant stash of Polly Pockets my mom keeps on hand, and being generally spoiled.  At one point, Jemma apparently announced, "I must see some cows."  So, my parents loaded them up in the car and drove a few miles to fields where they hoped they would see cows.  They did.  Then, they went out for ice cream AGAIN, because cows = milk = ice cream, CLEARLY.

Meanwhile, we had a glorious weekend of our own, doing so many things we normally only dream of doing (eating our own food, drinking alcohol in the middle of the day, having uninterrupted conversations, browsing in stores, driving in the car without listening to a Disney movie . . .).  After we dropped the girls off at my parent's, we ambled around downtown Holland and revisited all the places we spent time ten years ago this weekend, the weekend we were married.  

Back in 1999, I had been living in an old white house on the corner of Lincoln and 14th with some of my best friends; Jason had been living in a windowless room in an apartment above 8th Street.  Before that, we had our first-first kiss in the basement of a Cosmo party house called Treehouse on New Year's Eve.  After we started dating nine months later, we had our second-first kiss outside the door of Gilmore Hall.  We walked past all those places and took pictures, doing a cheesy "This is Your Life" and, yes, kissing outside the same door, just for old-times sake.  

In 1999, we spent the night of our rehearsal dinner with all our out-of-town guests at Butch's and drank our first bottle of raspberry lambic, a gift from the owner of the restaurant when he learned of our upcoming marriage.  So we went to Butch's on Thursday night and had an appetizer and, of course, a bottle of raspberry lambic.

Then we moseyed on down to Douglas and had a very happy dinner at our very favorite restaurant on this side of the state, Everyday People Cafe.  We even took pictures of our food.  Because we liked our food, and we are shameless.

On Friday, we woke up, grabbed coffee and chocolate croissants, and headed for Chicago with a brief stop in Michigan City at the J. Crew outlet.  We scored a last-minute great deal on a room at the Intercontinental right on Michigan Avenue and I found a sketchy-but-cheap overnight parking garage right around the corner (no, thank you, $53-per-night Intercontinental valet).  Once there, we walked to a French-Vietnamese restaurant called Le Colonial that I've always, always wanted to try and had a wonderful lunch.  Again, pictures.  Again, cheesy and shameless.

After that, we wandered for a while, stopping for coffee or popping in a store here or there, until we hit the Art Museum at 5:00 (free on Thursdays and Fridays in the summer from 5 - 9!).  We took (flashless) pictures on our phones to send to Annie, who has been lately obsessed (in a good way) with Vincent Van Gogh.  We saw the current modern art exhibit by Cy Twombley, Jason remarking, "I could totally do that" just like he always does.  It was pouring rain off and on while we were there but just sprinkling by the time we left, around 8:00, to run across the street to The Gage for dinner, a place that was recommended by a friend whose taste in food and beer is much-trusted.  There was an hour wait, time we gladly passed at the bar with some Affligem, Delerium Tremens, and Tripel Karmeleit.  We shared amazing cheese fondue and an equally awesome burger and bistro fries for dinner, then capped the evening off with a walk through Millennium Park and back to the hotel.

The next morning, we ran along the lakeshore in the sunshine with all the other early-risers (couldn't sleep in, even on vacation).  The rain had gone, and with the sun had come the heat and humidity.  As we ran, we decided that, as Michigan has two driving seasons (winter and construction), Chicago has two walking-around-downtown seasons (freezing cold windy and smells like hot poop).  Other than that, Chicago, we loved you!

We came back yesterday after a late breakfast, spent a few child-free hours on the beach before picking up the girls and spending one last night at "the cottage."  Last night, after the girls were tucked into bed, we sat out on our deck and shared a bottle of wine we bought in France exactly six years ago and had been saving for our tenth anniversary.  It was every bit as good as we had hoped.  The time, it truly flies.  Ten years.  Ten years.

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