We Went Away On the Train In the Rain

I don’t want to make it sound like DJ and I especially deserved to get away our anniversary, but… well, actually, yes I do.

We’ve had children for 14.25 of our 15 years of marriage, and no family lives near us. Starting in July of 2001, DJ and I have spent a total of five nights together without kids.

Our oldest is now 14 and our youngest is 6. They’re pretty self-sufficient. When DJ asked if I had any grand ideas for an anniversary celebration, I dared to imagine, “We could leave overnight.”

We checked with the director of the younger kids’ co-op. Sure, she said, we could drop off our kids this one time.

We checked with Ranger’s godmother — the friend who watched our kids overnight for our tenth anniversary. Sure, she said, she’d pick up Sparkler and Ranger from co-op.

We checked with my-friend-since-we-were-teenagers, who recently moved into my town. Sure, she said, she’d swing by and see about the kids during the day.

And finally, we checked with the kids’ favorite babysitter. Sure, she said, she could come over after work and spend the night.

DJ and I could hardly believe it, but Friday morning we drove to the train station, boarded the train, and settled back for a getaway.

You caught that, right? We rode the train! I assure you, there’s everything romantic about being kissed on a train. I highly recommend it.

We didn’t go far, just two hours down the rails. I told DJ, “We don’t even have to stay in a fancy hotel, really.”

He replied, “Yes, we do.”

So we walked through the rain to the hotel.

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The picture is blurry because I didn’t want people to see me taking a picture of the lobby, as if I was in any way impressed with a hotel that gave you complementary glasses of champagne and required your room key to use the elevator.

We also walked in the rain down the Walking Mall in the middle of town.

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Our own town has a walking mall like this, too. Apparently it was a fad around 1973 to brick over a street and build quirky little shops on either side. Not complaining, really. It was a lovely stroll. (In the rain.)

We walked through the rain to get to an artisan bakery.

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We made a point to visit the bakery in the morning before catching the train.

We escaped the rain by ducking into a gourmet chocolate shop.

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The striped ones are Earl Gray dark chocolate truffles. I won’t share.

As the rain slacked off, we browsed around a gallery of local artists including one who spun bunny fur into yarn.

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The skein on the far right came from an angora rabbit named Guinevere.

And after supper of Indian, we sloshed through the rain to toy store where they would play a demo of any game you wanted to buy.

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We did buy the game they’re demonstrating. It’s a Ravensberger game called “Cartegena.” DJ and I played it in our hotel room and I won! Once. (We played three times.)

Not sure if you picked up on it, but it rained the whole time.

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I told DJ that he had a George R. R. Martin look going. “But less of it. Like, less beard, less bulk…” DJ added, “Less money.”

And it sure does look like God wants me to be back on Friday, November 6, right?

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This is actually the venue where I first saw Carbon Leaf. What, you can see that warm glow too?!

Bookgirl and I kept in touch by messaging, and evidently everything went so fine that we hardly heard from the kids at all.

We got back home this afternoon. Four kids were happy to see us, but not particularly disturbed that we’d been gone. We shared our goodies, admired watercolor paintings, cleaned up the living room (me), and introduced the kids to the new game (DJ).

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Gamerboy won.

Thanks to very generous friends and top-notch kids, DJ and I celebrated in style. Kind of soggy style, thanks to the rain; and kind of mushy style, thanks to the fact that we still act like we invented love. Happy 15th to us!

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