Friday, February 18, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

I have found that while skiing on Saturdays is fun, skiing on Mondays, with a fraction of the crowds infesting the slopes and clogging the roads to the mountains, is exponentially more enjoyable. Combine this with a shortened work week and an excuse to miss the one workday the Air Force requires us to wear our dress uniforms (kind of a Bizarro World version of Casual Fridays, known alternatively as “Blues” Mondays, “Sucky” Mondays and “Man I’m glad I don’t have to wear this monkey suit every day” Mondays) and it’s easy to see the allure of burning one of my vacation days and heading for the hills.

Knowing this would not be possible for three weeks while my boss is out of town, a while ago I signed up to take an upcoming Monday off.  Of course it didn’t take my wife long to make the connection that I had failed to make – Monday was the 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day. Short of your anniversary there’s probably not a worse day to spend enjoying one of your favorite activities while your significant other is at home alone watching movies like “The Notebook”.

Not only would this have considerably increased my qualifications for "Bad Husband of the Year Award", but would have seriously reduced my chances of having someone to nurse me back to health if I miraculously survived a collision with a 3 legged bear coming early out of hibernation.  (Obviously it would have to have 3 legs, because a fully limbed bear could get out of the way in time).  I can just hear the conversation in the hospital -
Doctor 1:" Absolutely Amazing!" 
Doctor 2: "What, surviving a collision with a 700 pound animal while flying downhill on skis?" 
Doctor 1: "No, he left his wife at home and went skiing without her on Valentine's Day!" 
Doctor 2: "And to think I just spent 6 hours separating his liver from his bowels."

So after some contemplation I decided to let Heather think I was going away and then surprise her with a day together.  Unfortunately I wasn't sure what this would entail, so I looked online for some ideas of things to do in town and came up with a couple of interesting looking museums.  At least they seemed interesting to me. Heather's from Kentucky, so "cultural" excursions aren't exactly up her alley.  Unfortunately it's a bit late in the season to get a hunting license so my options were a bit limited.

All of this planning went out the window when Heather decided at the 11th hour that she would go with me to hang out on the 3 hour ride each way plus during lunch. She would bring her laptop and some books to keep her entertained while I was enjoying the great outdoors.  Since I normally don’t get to enjoy Heather’s company when I go skiing or snowboarding I couldn't pass up this offer, figuring we could spend the day downtown at a later date.

Unfortunately, since this decision had been made at 9:30 Sunday night, I was totally unprepared for the ski trip.  I figured it wouldn't take long to pack in the morning, but wasn't counting on not being able to find my helmet and goggles, which was the case in the wee hours of the morning (so called because it's when old folks go wee-wee) when I was trying to put my gear together. 

While I am not adverse to buying new goggles, partially because they aren't too expensive, and partially because I'm pretty sure my zebra striped pink-lensed goggles were designed with someone with a lot more estrogen than I produce in mind, I'm not really keen on buying a new helmet to replace the $140 one I bought at the end of last year.  Needless to saay, as I tore the house apart looking for my helmet my frustration rose and I soon realized that I was not going to be a fun person to share a car ride with for 3 hours.  Rather than ruin Heather's day I decided to go back to plan B.

So we both went back to bed, (it's not like anything was going to be open at 5:30 in the morning) and got up at a more decent hour.  It's amazing what a few hours extra sleep will do for your disposition.  We had our morning coffee, then jumped in the car to restart our day together.  Up first was the money museum.  We were able to find it without any major issues and walked up to the front door.  A nice lady on the other side of the glass let us know that they were closed on Mondays.  After letting out a slow-motion "NOOOOOO", we walked back to the car, disappointed, but buoyed by the fact that we had a second location on the agenda.  The Pioneer museum was just a few blocks away in the heart of downtown.

Unfortunately, after feeding the meter with all the change I could scrounge out of my car (1 hour and 10 minutes worth), we discovered that the money museum wasn't the only museum in town that is closed on Mondays.  Needless to say our "NOOOOOO" was even longer this time.  More like "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"  Well, at least mine was.  With Heather less enthused about my selections hers was probably a more tepid "Eh".  But I couldn't hear that over my "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

So I learned a few lessons.  1. If you're going to surprise someone, don't let their attempts at kindness change your plans 2.  If your significant other doesn't give you good feedback on what they would like to do on a holiday, don't default to activities you know you would enjoy, because it just isn't going to happen.  3. Don't feed the meter until you check the hours of operation where you're going. 4. While you're at it, don't go somewhere without checking their hours online first.  That's what the web is for.

Hopefully my tale of woe serves you well in avoiding my mistakes.  As a postmark, it was still worth taking the day off, as Heather and I enjoyed the rest of the day lounging around the house playing Wii.  In life it's not so much about what you're doing as it is about whom you're with.