I was trying to keep my voice down, because I wanted to keep going through the mechanics of the disagreement. I wanted to stand there and make it exuberantly dramatic. But I didn't, because there was someone in the aisle with us. A young college girl, picking up school supplies for the summer semester. She kept stealing glances our way, trying to figure out if we were actually having an argument, or if I was just being silly.
The truth is, Joel loves to catch me unaware as I debate over a decision that some might roll their eyes at. You see, I haven't learned to be imperfect yet, but he's teaching me to roll with the punches. He's teaching me to just shrug and not take myself so seriously.
Because in MY world, it has to be perfect. It has to go according to plan. And when it doesn't, a tremor of anxiety runs through me and I become irritable and/or visibly upset. I used to get upset - and he may argue that I still do - when he points these things out to me.
I could bring up the example of how we each determined how we should be going though Paris' Louvre. How I fumed and pouted until he gave me the map, and allowed me to lead. How we walked every square foot of the Louvre that day. It's one of our more famous examples of how we both like to control situations - but I'm much more set on it than he is.
I can deal with things that are unplanned or unexpected, but if it is *I* who has a plan in mind, and that plan does not go, well, as planned...it brings a raincloud right on over my head.
The longer I date Joel, of course, the less and less this becomes an issue. Sometimes I have my bad days, sure. But I'm becoming better at it (at least I'd like to think so). I'm rolling with the punches more.
So when he caught me yesterday afternoon, having a white girl dilemma about what kind of cash box I should buy for an upcoming garage sale - should I go with the $10 box with no room for bills on the top drawer? or should I go with the $17.99 box with the roomy dividers on top and space below for assorted items like checks - when he caught me doing it, I was embarrassed because he was totally right. And I knew he was. I'm only going to use this cash box once. Just get the cheap one. But I still felt like I had to prove my point, so I made it a little more dramatic than it really was, just to pretend I hadn't learned my lesson and changed my mind.
You might be surprised to learn I'm not an only child - I'm the eldest of two girls. Sometimes I don't act like the older sister, and I totally know it.
In the end, I picked up the $10 cash box. But I held my ground on the price labels. Doesn't everyone know that the best way to label garage sale items is with masking tape? DUH. ;)
I explained my multiple reasons for my masking tape decision, right there in the aisle. And then it was his turn to pretend I was being silly (even though I was picking up the cheaper item! on my own!), and our voices carried through the next few aisles, I'm sure, as we continued to poke and prod at each other's mental sweet spots. We know each other well. We walked out hand in hand from the store, cash box and masking tape in hand.
This was a good day.
A six-year-old should probably be gearing up towards being off the training wheels, but well, let's just say he doesn't get an opportunity to practice often - unless he's with us. So, Joel bought him a brand new bike since his other bike stays at his mom's house. We outfitted him with a helmet, and then we went for a nice long bike ride. I think I counted five crashes, but it was more overconfidence and fast turns rather than balancing on the bike.
His little khaki pants just kill me.
Okay, don't tell anyone, okay? My boyfriend is amazing. Ah-mazing.
In one of his acts of awesomeness today, he cooked a mexican buffet - yeah, not a meal, but a buffet - for my friend and I tonight. Isn't he the sweetest?!
I am amazed that every single day I get to call him "my own," and have to bite my tongue every time someone tells me their boyfriend is so great because they either...took out the trash, cooked them dinner, did the laundry, you know, a feat of epic proportions that occurs once a month...because he does that every day. EVERY day. I'm not even kidding.
Wait, why is he with me again?
Well. I'm honored. Truly. Happy (almost) 18 months, hun.
On our last full day in Toronto, we decided to venture to Centre Island for a day of fun.
We arrived around 10 a.m. to the ferry and climbed up to the top portion so we could feel the wind in our face. We stood at the front of the ferry, taking in the water and the island that was drawing closer. The clouds were ominous, darkening with every passing moment, but we continued on. Once docked, we walked quickly to Centreville Amusement Park, which is a small ride-heavy park with an adorable "Coney Island" feel to it. Almost all the rides were appropriate for children, and Little Guy rode all but four: the ferris wheel (too high), the bumper cars (not tall enough), the water bumper boats (not tall enough), and the log flume (but he watched me ride). LG was very brave, as he normally - how do I put this delicately - spazzes out at the mere mention of some of the rides. To our surprise, he hopped onto several of the more thrilling rides, such as a cute child's coaster and an indoor "Scrambler" where the cars move back and forth and fling you from one wall to the next. He was brave, but determined that those rides were definitely not for him. We rode with him on the carousel, the spinning teacups, the spinning monkey barrels (ugg, Joel and I don't do well on spinning rides), the haunted house, and several other rides. There were several LG-sized car rides that he did as well. As we were taking a ride on the Jalopies, the clouds decided to let loose and pour. Pour! We stood for a moment under the awning, deciding what to do next. I noticed an ice cream parlor across the way, so we quickly ran into the parlor and ordered some delicious ice cream. I hadn't eaten ice cream for what felt like months (which may not be inaccurate) so I savored every lick of my chocolate chip cookie dough cone. After riding the Jalopies a few more times, the rain had somewhat died off and we moved on to the next few rides. After about fifteen minutes, the rain had broken and the sun was shining through the clouds. We finished up all the rides, and stopped for lunch at a restaurant inside the amusement park.
Then, we walked down to the other side of the island and rented a quadricycle: a three-seated, four-wheeled bike! It had a little canvas top over it, so we were shielded from the sun for the most part. We rode the bike for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then turned it back in and walked around some more and visited the beach.
The bike, though, was by far my favorite part of the experience because it was just so cute and classic. I'll share a video of us riding it. Little Guy is most helpfully talking...the entire time...and "helping" us ride the bike. For whatever reason he is making baby cooing noises at the beginning of the video. I didn't notice it until I was home and watched the video and realized...dude...you sound like a baby!
I love our little family. :)
Here's me rockin' the log flume (by myself - LG was too chicken to go):
Joel hanging out on the beach...
Joel's dissertation prospectus is today! Send him good thoughts! :-)
We went and walked down by the riverfront upon awakening the next morning.
Then, the agony came of having to acknowledge the fact that we had to check out of the beautiful, relaxing room. Who would ever want to leave? Certainly not me. But, I left with a renewed calmness, and a vow that I would one day have a bathroom like the one I spent many hours ogling over. Come on, dissertation, you aren't going to write yourself...
After we were done with the wineries, Joel surprised me by bringing me to a bed and breakfast. If you are imagining all B&Bs to be quaint and country-cutesy, strike that mental image out of your head, because look at where we partied that night:
Yes, that is a double shower with multiple showerheads. AND, it functions as a steam shower too. Can you say, HEAVEN. You can pretty much bring a circus AND all of Indiana Jones' posse in there and still have elbow room. It's awesome. Here's a closer look:
The picture above is the B&B third floor. We, for whatever stroke of good fortune, had the ENTIRE B&B to ourselves. So if you are asking yourself, did she take the opportunity to prance and twirl around naked, the answer is most definitely yes. Or maybe.
I cannot recommend this place highly enough - every detail was attended to, right down to the complimentary wine, cheese, and crackers supplied to us. And then you might ask, well did you drink wine in the enormous jacuzzi tub? And the answer to that question is most definitely - YES. And, I had picked up some chocolate covered strawberries at a local chocolate store earlier that day and it went perfect, no, divine! with the wine.
Here's the B&B info.
Joel was the mastermind behind all of the events you are about to see. He's a quick mastermind too; I believe he planned all this within two days. He wanted to treat me to a nice escape and congratulate me on passing prelims, so he told me to keep my weekend clear. I had no idea what he was planning.
We bought a few bottles, and moved on to Winery #2: Bommarito Estate
At this particular winery, we were able to have an extended chat with the co-vintner of the estate. She was really friendly and gave us some helpful suggestions about sweeting wines. I didn't take any pictures of the vineyard, but this was the sky above the fields (I couldn't help but blow out the sky in post-processing, the clouds were incredible looking):
Winery #3: Bias Vineyards
We stopped here and had a bite to eat as well, as Joel had packed quite the selection into the cooler: sausage, three types of cheese, apples, crackers, chocolate. There were some train tracks nearby that we had to cross over in order to leave the winery.
Winery #4: OakGlen Winery and Vineyards
This winery had an absolutely incredible view.
Winery #5: Hermannhof Vineyards
This is a winery within the heart of the town of Hermann. Their style is old world, and they even have a cheese and sausage shop attached to the tasting room. Some photos of the tasting room and their quaint wine cellars:
We traveled a short distance to Winery #6: Adam Puchta
This winery had some seriously awesome wine. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures (I think I was more enamored with the wine). Their tasting room, merchandise room, and outside seating were quaint and low-key, but their quality was amazing.
Then, we backtracked a little and went to Winery #7 (phew!): Stone Hill Winery
Stone Hill has quite the interesting history, and they give tours every half hour of their extensive cellars.
With tired feet but happy hearts, we went to our next stop: a bed and breakfast!
“Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
We are lying down, relishing the lazy Sunday morning. LG volunteered to massage my back, so he asks me to lift my tank top up towards my shoulders. He gives a few quick strokes and then starts paddling a plastic sword against my back. He grows bored and holds still. "You're hot," he observes. "I am?"