My anniversary pearls
We wanted to have a frugal anniversary this year. Perhaps not as frugal as 2009, but H1N1 flu can put a damper on celebrations and that year we used a gift card and voucher for childcare to spent 1.5 hours at a restaurant while Papa really should have been home in bed. Or the hospital, take your pick.
But in general, since 2008 we have done our anniversaries in a big way because we have grandparents who say things like, Please, go away for five days and we will watch the boys. We haven't always gone away for that long, but with the exception of the swine flu year we have taken a short trip for every anniversary starting in 2008. Santa Barbara, Encinitas, Laguna Beach, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara again. I won't deny that it has been wonderful to have an almost yearly trip away with just the two of us, but this year we realized that we needed to hop off the expensive anniversary train.
We could have kept it really simple and just gone out to dinner, but we still have the standing invitation for the boys to visit their grandparents for our anniversary, and we know that this trip has become less about us being set free to celebrate (because we can certainly leave teens home while we get dinner) and more about the boys spending several days with Grandma and Grampa (that is how the teens spell it). So, the day before our anniversary I put them on a train (because you can do that with teens) and fretted for an hour and half until they arrived (because I am a mom). And then we were free.
That first day? Papa went to work. I made split pea soup and fresh bread for lunch, and we had sandwiches for dinner. We went to the movies using ticket vouchers we purchased at discount sometime last year, taking our own snacks and water bottles. (Some movie theaters really frown at this; while ours has a stated No Outside Food policy I have never been hassled and I don't feel guilty because I have food allergies and need to be sure that I don't go into respiratory distress in their theater.)
On our actual anniversary we went crazy, going out for not one, not two, but three meals. Breakfast was at our local little market hangout, although they didn't have anything vegan that appealed to me so I had my beverage and ate a homemade cinnamon roll at home (which even Papa thought was outstanding and far better than the vegan scone at the little market).
We then got ready for the day and headed to a little town we like for a plant-based lunch. The food was good, but honestly, not eating out frequently makes me prefer my cooking even more. Then we walked around, bought a package of (needed) guitar strings, then drove to another town to visit a park from Papa's childhood. He had packed chairs so we sat under a big carob tree for about an hour. Then we drove home and Papa played guitar and we sang and it was laid back and enjoyable.
We'd planned our anniversary dinner at a local Thai place that is nice enough that you wouldn't feel funny dressed up, and as I said, I had planned to wear a dress and heels. However, I realized that I couldn't walk to the restaurant in heels, and Papa didn't feel like changing out of his shorts and shirt (nice shorts and a nice shirt), so I put on a lace blouse, jeans, and flip flops, plus my pearls and my grandmother's pearls, and off we went.
We could have driven, yes, but the restaurant is half a mile from our home and it is a nice walk.
Over the past couple of years I've realized that I really just don't care anymore what other people think or that the cultural expectations or standards are. I didn't wear makeup, put in contact lenses, or shave my legs for the occasion (because I no longer wear makeup or shave my legs). I don't care if there is an unwritten, or even written, rule that one isn't supposed to wear pearls and flip flops -- who gets to decide that for everyone else anyway?
We had decided not to give each other gifts, but we each bought the other a card and a little something; I bought him a really good vegan chocolate bar from the 99¢ store and he bought me an Abba Zabba, plus sunflowers from Trader Joe's.
Altogether we spent almost $100 on our meals out. If I had it to do over I would have skipped the lunch meal out and packed a picnic for the park, and I would have planned to eat breakfast at home as well.
And the pearls and flip flops? I totally rocked that look.