Sunday, September 07, 2008

Decade

Yesterday was our 10th anniversary. Not wedding anniversary--anniversary of meeting. It was actually a big day when we met, because it would henceforth be my sister Avery's actual anniversary--David and I met at her wedding. Avery has always been quite the matchmaker, and, having met David at a work event for her fiance's company, decided quite purposely to seat him at the bridesmaids' table. He attended dateless, all the better for my sister Lindsey to vet him for the first half of the evening, then lob him over to me for the second half, including a conga line through the hotel kitchen and an afterparty at my friend Bryan's parents' house (Bryan was my date.) By the end of the evening, I had learned that David hailed from Perth and practically lived in my neighborhood, but it wasn't until we were saying goodbye that I learned he liked me. "Well, we live so close!" I sang. "Maybe we'll run into each other!" "Yes," he said seriously. "And towards that end, could I give you my number?" I mean, how could I resist that?

And the rest is history. We've hardly been apart since that night. We got married seven years ago, which a lot of you know, since you were there. But it really blows my mind that I've been dating someone for 10 years. Neither of us had made it longer than two years before meeting each other.

Now my husband, as you know if you've followed this blog, is a dear, dear man with many wonderful qualities. But conventional and material commemoration of dates is not on that very long list. (He did secure many, many years of goodwill with his proposal, which was genuinely a surprise to me.) Because I know this, I decided to plan a special evening, and surprise him. I had a few options in mind, but in the end I chose the cheesiest, because we'd never done it before and because the buzz word of the summer has been "staycation"--get away without going far. So I booked a dinner cruise.

And I did it up, baby. I paid extra for the "celebration package," which included a reserved window table and a bottle of champagne. It also included solid gold plates and a dedicated butler. Just kidding. We both dressed in "smart casual," a description we'd used on the invitations for our pre-wedding party that caused much consternation among our guests.

We almost didn't get on the cruise, since there was no parking at the marina and we drove around and around before finding a spot about eight miles from where we needed to be. And I was in high heels. We trudged along, noticing that even near the water, the humidity had us shiny in a few minutes. The perfect weather for a cruise!

David was puzzled by the black leather booklet they gave us at the embarkation window; I was less so, since I gathered (correctly) that it would hold a tally of our booze and stuffed animal purchases throughout the evening. I hadn't told David that we were traveling first class, so I think he was pretty impressed when a phalanx of Captain Stuebing wannabes ushered us to the top deck, where our private window awaited. I was a little surprised when someone handed us two flutes of departure champagne, since we're not the most accomplished drinkers in the world and I had a feeling one glass was going to do us in (the free one!)

We climbed up to the top deck for departure, and that's when it really started to feel fabulous. I realized that we'd never been on a harbor cruise at night, only the one-hour day tours when they natter incessantly about the military sights and you're crushed against the railing by a bunch of six-year-olds. Now the upper deck was almost empty, and the evening light was twinkling off the buildings of downtown as we sipped our champagne. Why haven't we done this before??? We watched the city recede as we rolled out of the dock, and then descended for the salad course, a crisp and satisfying Caesar, paired with rolls the size of our heads.

Everything was divine until the main course arrived--I'd ordered steak, figuring it was harder to ruin than chicken, but I guess eating on a boat is similar to eating on a plane. As our vaguely surly waitress was placing my plate, I got a whiff of the bilious brown gravy encasing the meat and it put me off my dinner completely. I just kept picturing it boiling and bubbling in a huge cauldron below decks, stoked with coal and sweat. David ate his and said it was fine, but I stuck to the slightly gluey but tasty mashed potatoes, and the single mushroom in a sea of banana squash--not so much a fan of the squash unless it's in soup.

Somewhere between the mashed potatoes and my second roll, I started to feel a bit oogly. It might have been the champagne, it might have been all the carbs, or it might have been the boat, although David noticed that we hardly moved during the dinner service, which was a nice gesture on the part of the cruise people. You know something was not quite right when I took one bite of my chocolate layer cake-thingo and pushed it away. We strolled back upstairs to get some air and soon I was feeling ship-shape again.

And so it went. We strolled, we gazed at the moon, we discussed whether a star was Venus or not. We peeked in at the DJ dancing on the main deck, and beat a hasty retreat when folks of many generations started to shake their groove thangs to "Old Time Rock n' Roll." At one point, we stood relatively unmolested on the top deck and looked up just as the ship slid under the Coronado Bridge. "Someone could fall on our heads right now," I marveled.

Readers, maybe it was a cheesy way to spend an anniversary. But as I scrutinized the water by the light of the moon for dolphins and sea lions, it did occur to me that people all over this great land might wish they had access to this particular form of cheesiness. It's a gesture of gratitude for the many charms of San Diego to make this trip at least once. And now that we've fulfilled that obligation, we might just have to do it again.

Disembarking, we discovered that the ATM was locked and we had precisely five dollars between us. Which for a moment seemed to dash the plans for my grand finale: a ride back to our car in a bicycle surrey built for two. A young man approached, and we candidly explained that we'd love a ride but there would be no perks--we had five dollars, take it or leave it. He took it. And before I could finish saying, "Hey, theirs has a stereo!" we were flying down the Embarcadero with the warm summer evening caressing our faces. Sound over the top? That's how it felt, weaving through the crowds and zipping past cruise liners and pirate ships. When we mentioned we were parked across the highway, our intrepid driver sailed into the traffic without blinking, and, while I think we almost died spectacularly in a wave of oncoming traffic, I was screaming "Wheeeee!" as we arrived at our car.

Which is exactly what I hope to be doing, in one form or another, for the next ten years.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Someone could fall on our heads right now," I marveled.

Love this! Such romantics, the two of you!

You look lovely and I think your life will always be filled with "Wheee!", how could it not?

xoxo
s

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

The evening sounds like it was magical!

oxox,

Mary

Caroline said...

What a great entry. :) I love it all, from David's way of giving you his number to what sounds like a lovely, decidedly not cheesy anniversary date.

Jen said...

Heartiest Congrats to you both!

xo
Miss J

Mamasphere said...

You look great together! And still happy. Which is great after ten years, lol.

The Wades said...

You guys are adorable!!! That picture is such a framer! I am still in awe of your writing! Do you like all my !!!!! ?

"only the one-hour day tours when they natter incessantly" love natter!

"I just kept picturing it boiling and bubbling in a huge cauldron below decks, stoked with coal and sweat." so great!

Happy Anniversary to you, David, your sister and her spouse. :)

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

Happy anniversary!

Olga said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Happy, HAPPY Anniversary!

Sorry to be late. I was sick. *coughs for effect, which in turn triggers a real jag*