Every year I like to surprise my husband with something for his birthday. It's a tradition he has grown to love, and is something I have refined over the years. The surprises have ranged from a new guitar to weekends away with friends, private chefs and dinner trains, scavenger hunts and live theatre.
This year, I decided I wanted a whole day with him to myself.
Monday was his birthday and, conveniently, his regular day off from work. When he woke up, there were two wrapped presents on the kitchen counter waiting for him. One was a French press coffeemaker and the other was a DVD of his favorite right-now comedienne, Maria Bamford. I had the fixin's for cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, so I whipped them up while he brewed us coffee, and we sat together in our pajamas watching the comedy show and snow falling outside our window.
It fast became one of my top five ways to ease in to a morning.
Our next stop was a couples massage at a nearby spa. This is one of our favorite things to do together, and boy, were we both overdue for a kneading! The spa was warm and inviting and every bit relaxing. The nice thing about having a snow storm outside was that the parking lot was scarce and we were the only patrons in the place. I have a feeling the therapists went over their scheduled time with us because of this, and we weren't complaining. If you've ever had a good massage, you know how gooey you feel inside after the session is over. With pillow crease lines on your cheeks and unkempt hair, you end your treatment with a deep sigh and a goofy grin.
Yeah, that was us.
The true adventure came after the spa when we took our newly limbered bodies on the road, in blizzard-like weather, to Cleveland for an early dinner at Michael Symon's B Spot restaurant. The roads were icy and snow was actually blowing sideways over the freeway. Perhaps we should have turned around when we noticed several cars in the median (facing the wrong direction), more than a few sets of red and blue police lights lining the roadway attending to fender benders, or the fact that the mail didn't come that day due to snow (what?). Instead, we smiled our way to Cleveland and marveled at how well Kat handled the elements.
The risk was worth it, as we dove in to our gourmet burgers and delighted in their perfectly balanced flavors. Chris had the Chilly Willy and I had the Symon Says (think: bologna & coleslaw - oh yes!). We included a basket of lime & cilantro chicken wings and some Lola fries. I like the snarky personality of the place, including a fresh pickle bar that you are not allowed to access until you have received your order, and there are no substitutions allowed to your meal.. ever. Rumor has it, Symon is opening a new location in Strongsville.
After our marvelous nosh, we braved the weather back home, kicked our shoes off for a bit, and then headed back out to the theatre to see the new Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp caper called The Tourist. It was a satisfying ending to a satisfying day.
The photo that opened this post is of a dish of brownies our young adults' group made for Chris on Sunday at our bi-monthly lunch meeting. They arranged the whole thing, complete with ice cream, candles, and a birthday card.
Turns out, I'm not the only one who likes to surprise my better half.