Wednesday, June 8, 2011

8 Years, OR, The Journey of a Cheesecake

Happy anniversary to us!

8 years ago, Jeff and I got married in Dallas, TX.

This post is not a story of the last 8 years; it is merely a relating of our anniversary outing.

(Though it may take you 8 years to read.)

And critical to that story, if anything could be considered critical, is THIS cheesecake.

(Insert arrows pointing down.)

Doesn't it look yummy?

(Keep that delightful image in your head. At the end of this post I will perform a cheesecake-to-marriage analogy that defies all sense of logic. No really. Be prepared to think it's the worst analogy ever.)

To celebrate our 8 years (10 if you count dating), we took a mid-week respite to relax and reflect on our time together.

And while there was definitely relaxing and reflecting, Jeff summed up our days-off best when he said, patting his tummy, "Food goes in here."

We started the expedition at The Cheesecake Factory, one of my favorite restaurants, yet one at which, oddly, I had not eaten in the state of Utah (having tried it before in Raleigh, Austin, and Seattle.)

We tried to eat at The Cheesecake Factory on our last anniversary, but the wait was too long and we had tickets to a function that demanded expedience.

When we were finished with dinner, we chose to construct our own "specialty" cheesecake by buying 12 individual flavors, a-la-carte, and wedging them together in one box... as though they were meant to be.

It was pretty.

Here is Jeff about to tuck in to a piece of Oreo cheesecake.

Two servers (not our own) were so in awe of our public gluttony that they did double-takes (which were more like double-turns, having passed our table before spinning back around to gawk at us.) I got one of them to take a photo. You can see her in the reflection.

When we were finished with lunch we drove to a lodge in Park City, Utah. (Park City hosted the primary ski events from the 2002 Olympics and is a nice local get-away.)

For only the second time since Bridgette was born, we spent an overnight without her. It felt weird not to have a baby monitor in our room, listening for a 2AM diaper change.

Honestly, it was very good for us.

Fortunately The Bridge was healthy, and we thank Heidi loads and loads for taking care of her while we were away.

Here's the room where we stayed.

We splurged (on everything) and got a room with a hot tub on the deck. Fortunately, anniversaries do not last a week because this one-night-stay required some budgeting.

But we put the TV, fireplace, and hot tub to good use.

Here was our view.

(If you're wondering about the snow, yes, it was still there in large quantities in June. Although the lifts in Park City are closed, another Utah resort area -- Snowbird -- has already announced they will not be shutting down the ski season until at least July 4th. A rather odd year for weather, all around.)

We arranged to have a couples' massage in our room (which was much LESS expensive than going to the lodge's spa.) I asked for a deep tissue massage. I regretted it at the time because it hurt a whole heck of a lot. But now I really regret it because I have gigantic bruises down my arms.

So, um, I won't be doing *that* again.

After the massages we just hung out, relaxing and reflecting, exchanging gifts (Jeff's to me was a long list of all the reasons he loves me -- how adorable is *that!?*) and discussing how our lives have changed over the last 8 years.

Also, since nothing says, "I'm cool," like traipsing around in a bathrobe, we pretty much did that for the rest of the afternoon.

Nothing is cooler than bathrobes.

No really. I'm here to convince you that to be ultra-cool like us, you have to wear a bathrobe all day. And take photos of yourself. And post them on the internet.

Later that evening, (what? oh ok, fine... so we weren't *quite* cool enough to wear our bathrobes in public), we wandered up and down Park City Main Street for a while, talking mostly. It's a cute little town, in architecture and mimicry much like a quaint tourist village in Ireland or France or Norway.

And then we ATE again. Yum!

Before moving on to day two, let me tell you about the cheesecake.

So, our cheesecake (with phenomenal variation) was transferred by box and bag and car.

Once at the lodge we discovered it wouldn't fit in the refrigerator unless we turned it on its side and wedged it in. Not graceful at all. But it fit. And it kept it from spoiling. And that's what matters.

Day 2

Our second day was relaxing as well. We slept in. We lollygagged. We explored the grounds a little. We also decided to have a picnic.

The lodge packed us some yummy food (remember? the sub-theme is 'gorge thyself'), and we took off to find suitable grounds for munching.

Ends up, suitable grounds were difficult to locate. As Jeff so aptly stated, "For a town called Park City, there aren't many parks."

They don't mince roads in those mountainous areas, so everywhere we drove "arrived" somewhere. We were hoping one would end nowhere. Finally, we found just such a road. We pulled off, took a short hike, and discovered the perfect place for our picnic.

We took the cheesecake with us, of course. That's it behind me, bottom right of the photo. At this point we were carrying it with us, trying to preserve it by shoving it in the snow, keeping it in the shadows.

Pat tummy and repeat after us, "Food goes in here."

The picnic definitely vied for my favorite part of our anniversary. Woods. Solitude. A good friend. Rocks.

Oh yes. So then we chucked rocks at trees -- one of my favorite pastimes (and no, I'm not kidding, so don't make fun of me or I'll get out my bathrobe and show you who's who.)

Now you tell me...

If you were standing before this barren thicket, and Jeff said to you, "Aim for the middle one."

"Which one?"

"The middle one."

"Which middle one?"

"The one right there in the middle!"

... which one would you choose?

Did you pick the tiny one, bent over, left of center, down the hill?

Yeah, me either.

I picked the "middle one." And I hit it with my first rock! Only to find out that wasn't the correct middle one, and I didn't win the rock-throwing contest after all.

That's okay. I guess it was a pretty good anniversary anyway...

Here's Jeff hiking it back up to the car.

And to end the day sans Bridgette, we drove home, put the cheesecake in the fridge, then went to a movie. In a *theater!* It had been a long time since we'd done that. What a great day.

In the end, picking Bridgette up might have been my favorite part of our time "off." We both missed her a lot, even in 36 hours.

Here are two videos we took tonight as I was putting her to bed. They were taken with Jeff's cell phone, so the picture quality is not great, but you mostly need sound. You'll like them both.

Alright, then. For the analogy. Cue the cheesecake.

Here it is!

Look the same?

Not so much...

Here's the thing. Our get-away was not at ALL indicative of a worthwhile marriage analogy. The excursion was everything we wanted it to be, and nothing like normal life.

But the cheesecake's journey was not quite as ideal.

It moved many miles from its original, comfortable glassed-in case to our room at the lodge to a random mountain slope to its destination in our home.

It was crammed in sideways, nibbled on, bumped down many roads, handled, nibbled on again, photographed, and smashed together.

Those individual pieces (think spouses) were boxed up so nicely together, even though they weren't the same flavors. They started on display (think wedding), but were soon unceremoniously thrown in a car trunk. They endured much. Flavors that were not meant to intermingle were, by accident, frosting each other with chunks of peanut butter or raspberry truffle.

And I was thinking, if you could take 50 years of marriage and compare it to our cheesecake, you'd have a reasonable image of family life.

It's no longer all that pretty. And all those blended flavors? Some of the pieces are not quite as tasty, but most of them? They're even better than before!



Lisa Merkley said...

Very nice analogy! Eric and I were just discussing today what we wanted to do for our 10 year anniversary this year. Too bad we can't come all the way to Park City because it looked nice!

Also, we'll be in town next week...we might have a moment of free time to fit in a visit, if that's okay??

mjj321 said...

Author! Author! Cudos to the playwright! What a neat pair you make and an even better three some. Glad you're in our family! Luv Mom J

Lore said...

OK -
Second - glad you could get away and that it was everything you wanted it to be (Yummy food!)
Third - cute videos (what a sweetie!)
and Fourth and Finally - good analogy and, oh, so true - it doesn't end up looking the way it started, nor necessarily the way anticipated, but it's still tasty!

Alisha said...

Congrats on 8 years!! Looks like you guys really celebrated in style! Didn't realize that you guys were married the same year as Steve and I, but we're at the end of the year (December).

You guys are so fun, and sure bet Bridgette was happy to have you back!