Dennis and I have had a long standing tradition to trade planning responsiblities for Valentine’s Day each year. This year was my turn to plan.
I wasn’t feeling very creative- which is not unusual. When a friend asked me last Monday what we were doing for Valentine’s Day, I expressed my lament over not having a clue. She asked me if I’d ever considered renting a cottage.
No, I hadn’t. But it seemed like a good idea, so I considered it then. My friend even offered to watch our girls while we had some time away. Great! I started making some phone calls. Things came together rather quickly and soon I was secretly planning a getaway.
According to tradition we keep our Valentine’s Day plans secret from each other. So I was answering phone calls in the bedroom, running around town doing various errands and trying to keep it all from Dennis. I packed the car with our luggage and the girls luggage while he was busy doing other things so he wouldn’t see me.
On Wednesday around 3:30pm I started getting the girls up from their naps early. Dennis was working on some ministry expense reports at the computer and hadn’t a clue what was going on. Hearing little chirpy kid voices, he finally came over to the bedroom door to see what was going on. I told him to get his coat on.
You should have seen his face. He started running around like a crazy person. “What do you mean, ‘Get my coat on?’ Oh! Are we going somewhere? Do I need anything?” I just smirked and didn’t say much. It was fun seeing him totally confused.
We dropped the girls off at my friend’s house. I blindfolded Dennis with a dish towel (another tradition) and we took off. I was almost giddy with excitment for pulling off this big surprise. Usually I manage to surprise him at Valentine’s Day, but only with the activity and not the timing of it.
The cottage we were renting is about 1/2 hour from where we live. I had a map and directions from the cottage people. And having a map, I felt pretty confident.
I obeyed the directions and turned at the first right after the road I was supposed to be watching for. It was a snowy road. At the end of it I started realizing it wasn’t the right road. None of the numbers were matching up. I stopped. I couldn’t turn around without backing up- right into a big snowbank. A bit of poor driving if I ever saw some. Poor Dennis, he was still blind-folded. He was like, “Whaaa…?”
We got out and after scrounging around in the snow for awhile we decided that we were stuck beyond pushing out. We grabbed our suitcase and started walking down this snowy side road. The road had two tracks on it- one going in and one coming out. After walking for 15 minutes or so I realized we weren’t going the right way. This didn’t even look like civilization. We turned around and walked back to the van, pulling the suitcase behind us.
We walked out to the highway next. It was getting a little cold and the sun was setting. We went right up the highway with our suitcase in tow. Suddenly I saw the sign for our road! It wasn’t the ‘first right’ after all. Down the snowy side road we walked. Thump-a-thump came the suitcase behind. I stiffled giggles and Dennis seemed slightly amused as well. Finally we saw the cottage. What a beautiful sight to behold!
After we thawed our frozen hands and feet we called the tow truck to come get our van out of the snowbank. Dennis had to run back over to where we had left it to meet the tow truck driver, who happened to be his ex-uncle. He kindly informed him that his wife backed the van into the snow.
The cabin was beautiful.
The next day we took a hike on the frozen lake. This is fun for me, since I come from the land of no lakes and the ones we have never freeze over enough to walk on. We walked around a cute little island and made messages and pictures in the snow.
When we got back to the cabin I tried the door. It was locked. “Ummm….? Dennis? Do you have the key…?” You know what the answer was. The key was happily laying on the table inside the cottage, right next to our happy little van key.
Fortunately, someone who had been to the cottage previously had not obeyed the cottage rental rules which indicate that all doors and windows must be locked and secured before leaving. We found a tiny little basement window open and Dennis squeezed through. Yippee!
We completed a 500 piece puzzle while we were there. This is the third puzzle I’ve attempted and the first I’ve completed in 10 years. And we did it all in one day. And not one grubby little hand messed it up. 🙂
At 4:30pm I told Dennis it was time to go. We planned to go out to eat and one of our favorite local restaurants for supper. We loaded our van and took off. Well, kind of. We tried to get up the driveway to the entrance road and finally managed to umph ourselves outta there after 3 tries. The next step was to drive down the long and narrow road that turned up onto the highway. We couldn’t make it. 3 tries, no use. We were stuck. Again. (I mistakenly thought this sort of thing only happened once a year.)
We walked back to the cottage. I admired the tracks of our suitcase on the road from the night before. They almost made me smile again. Back at the cottage we were informed by our auto club insurance that they didn’t cover people who knowingly drive down snowy, un-publicly maintained sideroads. Oh.
So after much disgust and maybe just a couple I-told-you-so-s we swallowed what little pride we had left and called the cottage rental company for help. Our friend runs it, and her kind husband drove all the way out with his all-wheel drive car to pull us out. It didn’t take much, just a few yoinks with the rope.
Supper was left-over chips and salsa.
Happy Valentine’s Day!