Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Have you ever seen that movie? My husband thinks it's one of the funniest things he's ever seen, and I can hardly stand it. Why? Because no matter what they do, they can't seem to get it right. I can't stand watching them run into one obstacle after just drives me crazy.

Tonight we had a very "Planes, Trains, and Automobile" kind of night.

It all started a few nights ago when Mike and I were talking about the two of us going out on a date this weekend. Leah calls from the backseat, "What are you two talking about?"

"Daddy and Mommy are going to go on a date this weekend," I replied.

A short pause. And then, again from the backseat, "I think, in this family, that a date means three people should go!"

How could you pass that up? So today, we headed out on our family date. The plan? A quick stop at Walmart, then off to the zoo to take in a new Christmas movie at the IMAX theater. After that, pizza at a place we've never been to on the other side of town. We (thought we) had a $25 certificate that we bought on for $2. Then, home to put up our Christmas tree!

So we left at 3:30, and made a stop at Walmart. Now, you have to understand that Mike hates going into Walmart on a slow day, much less on the Saturday afternoon before Thanksgiving! But we found a parking spot a mile from the entrance and he begrudgingly went in with me. It was a date, after all! So I head right to the thing that we need to buy. They are out of it. Completely. Back another mile to the car, and off to the IMAX.

We walk into the theater and see a bunch of people just sitting around. Strange, but whatever. We go up to the desk, and see a sign: "The IMAX theater is closed due to technical difficulties". Of course it is. But the cashier tells us to check back in awhile to see if it is fixed in time for the 5:00 showing. So we decide to head into the zoo for a little while and find the gorillas and parrots, Leah's favorite animals. Thankfully, they were all alive and well and we enjoyed an hour in a very quiet and empty zoo. Then we went back to check on the theater. Still shut down. "Oh well," I said, "we can just head to the pizza place a little early."

So we walk back to the van. I take out my folder with all of our certificates in it, and what do I find? No certificate! Apparently we had talked about purchasing one but never had. Mike thought maybe we should just drive up there anyway, but I didn't want to if we could first get our hands on the discounted certificate.

Well, our house is too far away, but my sister lives about 15 minutes from the zoo, so we headed over there to use their computer and buy a certificate on there. I get to the website, and find out that this restaurant is only selling $10 certificates, which is probably why we didn't buy one in the first place! We didn't think it was worth it to drive all the way across the city just to save 10 bucks, so we abandoned that idea altogether.

Back to the van. By this time Leah was tired and ready to eat, if not just ready to head home. I still wanted to salvage some bit of this family date, and Mike was just hungry and thirsty. So we drove to our old stand-by restaurant and had supper. It was delicious as always, but not quite part of the adventure that we had hoped.

But there was one part of our date night left! The tree!! We got home, put on some Christmas music, and started pulling the tree out of the box. (Yeah, I don't do real). This tree is a second hand one from my parents and so we haven't used it before. We got all the branches out and Leah was dancing around all excited to finally put it up. Actually, so was I. Mike came in to help (remember, this is a family date!) and says, "Hey, where's the stand?"

So a quick call to my mom told us that the stand is sitting in their porch, three hours away from our house. Of course it is. The "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" curse had reared it's ugly head yet again. I ran to the store to find something there. Nothing. Seriously nothing. And I'm done. I'm not going to drive around this city at 8:00 at night searching for a Christmas tree stand. I'm just not. Bah Humbug.

So our evening ends! The old standby leftovers are in the refrigerator, and the Christmas tree is strewn about our living room. Leah is sad that not only did she not get to watch a movie she also did not get to put up the Christmas tree.

But...we still enjoyed our time together as a family, and Leah was right, sometimes dates are more fun with three.

But, we would like to trade in our "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" kind of night for a "Groundhog Day" one. Because I think we earned a do-over!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn turning into Winter...

The radio station that I listen to has started to play Christmas music 24/7. I wasn't sure I was ready for it but I've found myself enjoying it as I work around the house this week. And I did some Christmas shopping yesterday! So, I decided before I completely switch my brain over to the winter season I better finish up a few fall thoughts on this blog!

I know I left you hanging nearly a month ago. I went hunting for those promised pictures of the third winery but couldn't find any, so perhaps I didn't take any! I'm not sure anymore. However, I have other pictures that will hopefully satisfy any other desires you may have.

We've had a wonderful fall...lots of fun outside and in, and as I write this Mike and Leah are in the backyard raking and jumping in the many leaves that our 4 large trees produce and then dump in the yard.

A few of our adventures are detailed in the pictures below...the first three are of a really lovely trip Leah and I took to the pumpkin patch on possibly the most beautiful fall day ever, and the last one is of our princess on Halloween. A sweet old man answered one of the doors we went to, and said, "Now, what are you supposed to be young lady?" "A princess," she replied. "Oh, my, I had one of those once," he said. "She's 45 years old now!" It was a special moment as for a second I think this precious neighbor had a wonderful memory of his little princess.