Tuesday, June 1, 2021

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times...

When I think of 25th wedding anniversaries, both the Mr and I always thought of the ones from our youth and were excited to have that ourselves.  I very vividly remember the pic of my dad's parents on their 25th at a big party at the church reception hall where my parents had their reception.  (Technically I was there but not out of the womb so no cake and mints for me.)  The 25th was always a big deal with a blowout party and all of your family, friends, co-workers, the cashier from the grocery store, etc were all invited.  Our plan was always to renew our vows at the church from Blue Hawaii at Coco Palms on Kauai.  They've been in redevelopment so many times and it really looked like it was going to happen about 4 years before our anniversary and then squatters moved in.  While technically you can still have weddings/vow renewals there, the idea of strolling past ruins of the hotel that caught fire a few years ago, unkempt grounds with people possibly peeking through the bushes wasn't my idea of a party anymore.  Besides, we all know the universe had other plans and those would've had to be cancelled because of Covid anyway because there was no way to know if they'd be accepting visitors by then.  The filming of our Kauai renewal being played for our guests back home at a reception wasn't going to happen and there's a big mourning in that.  You only get one major milestone anniversary like that if you're lucky while your body is still young enough to move properly and enjoy it.  People would say "just celebrate big for your 30th instead" it's not quite the same.  It's like the weddings, retirement parties, graduations and other milestone events you only get once that were victims of the pandemic.  It seems petty when you have your health when so many have died but I can tell you those of us who lost these dreams we had for years, decades or a lifetime felt it hard and deep.  

We weren't going to let Covid keep us confined to home jail like it had been for the previous year so we decided we would go to Cape Cod and take the 2020 vacation we were forced to cancel.  I don't want to sound ungrateful but not the destination either of us had in mind for this milestone.  I honestly had no big desire to even see it but we've been a lot of places and it was sort of a 'check it off the list' locale in 2020.  We had to rent a 'quarantine house' for 2 weeks because when we booked, that was the requirement to go from state to state for the rule followers.  Even as it got closer before we would lose money, we would now have to test out of it.  We knew we likely would because we don't really go anywhere but we decided to keep the quarantine house because if one of us was asymptomatic, we would still be able to quarantine and get on with our real trip.  Luckily, we both tested negative just before we left- not that anyone checked which is annoying but we know we did the right thing so I guess that's all that mattered.  I worked ahead, as usual, before we left here but the Mr would work from the first house in the Berkshires which was actually kind of fun.  (What they don't know won't hurt them and we found out recently at least one other person did it too.)  We went about our usual routines as far as food/cooking at home but our exercise was typically a walk up and down our street which was dotted with horses, goats, bunnies, chickens, donkeys and a pig.  

That time was a real gift because there was no vacation pressure as far as sights to see, just animals next door to watch...

...new scenery to enjoy including a waterfall up the street and being close enough to the borders of NY, NH and VT that we were able to day trip on the weekend following the same protocol and avoiding people like the plague. 

We had two tri-state days in a row the first weekend with breakfast in NH (balancing an omelet in the car is fun), lunch in a gazebo at a park in VT and dinner back home in MA.  

The next day was a stop in Millerton NY at Harney and Sons, grabbed groceries in Salisbury CT and linner in Great Barrington, MA.  

(Harney and Sons, Millerton NY)

We were comforted by stops at these old favorite spots from our final vacation before the world changed and even visited three of the previous homes we rented and surprised we knew our way like it was yesterday.  Then we moved on to the lower Cape area for anniversary week.

Under normal circumstances, I would've likely planned the entire vow renewal and reception back home if our original plan was going to happen.  Now that it wasn't, I didn't want this special occasion to morph into our usual anniversary fare.  On a typical anniversary we go out to dinner but it's like the vacation is kind of the gift so we don't really do more than that gift/surprise wise.  For our 10th anniversary, I got an upgraded diamond wedding band and he paid a famous Hawaiian chef to cook for us at our rental home.  I knew I couldn't top that for the 15th but I tried and got us up for a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley and didn't tell him because I didn't want him to overthink it.  He ended up loving it and it was truly one of our top five travel adventures.  So I assumed we had this every 5 year milestone anniversary flip flop thing going on as far as a big gift or adventure.  

On our 20th anniversary when we spent a month in Hawaii, we ended up fighting that day, all day because it was a working vacation and the weather wasn't cooperating.  We were both snappy and apologized (kind of) but then he took his frustration out about a piece of equipment not working on me.  I remember standing alone on Wai'anapanapa Beach on Maui crying while he was filming in an ocean cave.  I had this expectation that maybe he had something up his sleeve and now he'd have to wait until we weren't fighting.  I begrudgingly drew a 20 in the sand as is our tradition but when I see that pic, all of those feelings come back and just scroll past the ones of that day.  

I remember us eating lunch on the back side of the Hana Highway at this little roadside burger stand with Lilo the Cat winding our ankles waiting for scraps to drop.  I was staring out at the ocean like a space cadet wondering how the hell it could've gone so wrong that day and he wasn't really talking to me.  (As you can guess, this was the year that our marriage took a serious nosedive with these and other issues that would have us uttering the D word a little over a year later.)  

That night we went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and I was white knuckling it through dinner pissed that the day had been ruined while he smiled and pretended nothing happened which is the way of his people.  By the end of the night, when it was clear there was no surprise, I walked us across the street into a jewelry shop we like and I'd always talked about getting black pearl earrings for that anniversary and dammit, after the day we had, I felt I was owed them.  (Yes, that's how I felt at the time.)  I got them, we paid for them and then before we left the woman proceeded to tell us how delicate they were.  Don't spray perfume around them or let them touch hair product or all of this other stuff that I was 75% likely to do or they would be ruined.  I just looked out the window wearing these earrings crying on the way to the condo thinking "WTF, I can't even have this today without BS coming along with it?"  In the middle of the night, I packed them up in tears and put them by the door to be returned the next day.  It wasn't just the fact that I would feel like I would ruin them but they would always remind me of that horrible day and who needs to pay $900 for that when a pic for free does the same thing?  

So I knew when our original and back up plans for our 25th weren't going to come to fruition and it was now going to be a party of two, I was not going to do the mind reading thing with the Mr and spend all day waiting for a surprise that may never come.  Thankfully, we had learned a thing or two in the communication/honesty department but as I was thinking of the crapfest of the previous milestone anniversary I put it bluntly "don't half ass it."  I wanted more than a dinner in take out containers and it didn't have to be some elaborate thing but I wanted some effort put into it to not let it be just another anniversary.  I already had a few things I knew I wanted to do and I wanted him to know I didn't want a repeat of the 20th or anywhere in the ballpark of that.  Yes, it was going to be the two of us but let's make it one that we could look back on and say 'yeah...screw the pandemic.  It was just the way we've always gone through our marriage...the two of us against the world...and it was awesome."

Swing back Thursday to see how we celebrated our milestone anniversary.  (Sorry, I already have my last pre-vacation post set up for tomorrow.)

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  1. Sigh. Not proud of that day but I suppose it was time for a wake up call. Definitely worth coming back for part II of this one!

  2. Your anniversary dramas sound a lot like my partner and I's New Years Eve celebrations. There has been illness, trips to the hospital, and lots of fighting. We have just stopped trying to make it a big deal. Now we stay home just the two of us, watch a hockey game, have a nice homemade dinner, a few drinks, and are usually asleep before midnight. So much more enjoyable!

  3. These are great pictures! What a great view to wake up to every day as well as walk around to see. Can't wait to read Thursday's blog to see how it all went!


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