Last Wednesday, my husband was rudely awakened by a note from me: Pack your shit! All right, the note itself was purple (our wedding color scheme) and had a bunch of hearts and before it told him to get packed, it may have read like: “Your Special I-Love-You-So-Much Surprise For September 2015… We have a very special anniversary to celebrate… but I’m not kidnapping you this time – go get packed!”
See I had been planning this trip since May. Originally, it was going to be in September, because our very first trip to Estes (when I actually DID kidnap my husband) was September 2014. Roy (the hubs) kept saying how much he wanted to go to Estes Park. But neither of us had ever been. Once we were there Roy had four days to figure out what he wanted to do. I had a list of eating places, hiking trails and other activities, but my husband is the B to my A, and really doesn’t do schedules or itineraries (it’s hell for me, but it’s four days, so I manage). So this trip was paying homage to that first trip. And to be honest, we haven’t been back to stay in Estes Park since that trip – we’ve just done a few day trips.
Then sometime in July, I found out that Roy’s parents might be coming to visit sometime before Christmas. I kidnapped my husband for a second time the last week of July for a trip to Glenwood Springs, and OMG did he make that difficult. After we got back and the dust from that trip settled, I emailed Roy’s mom to find out if they were coming to visit sometime in the fall. I told her why I was asking, I wanted to invite her and Roy’s dad to go to Estes Park with us. On our first trip, and every day trip since, Roy would say, “My mom and dad would love this,” to so many things. I knew he wanted to take them, and I thought that this would be a great surprise.
His mom was in, and I was relieved. I’m not super close (or as close as I could/should be) with Roy’s parents. It’s not them at all, it’s all me, and geography. They live in Florida so I might see them two or three times a year. I’m deaf, so the phone is out. I’m not a big texter, which seems funny as I’m deaf and the phone is out. Roy’s mom is sweet, but between the geography and everything else (and a transition since Roy never came out to her until AFTER he was serious with me – awesome) we just never got close. I love Roy’s mom, and comparing her to mothers in my family would be a colossal joke (and an insult to Roy’s mom) but we’re so different, both in temperaments, mindsets and life experiences, I just never know what to say. I kind of feel way too gritty for her, and like I need to water myself down so I don’t shock or offend (again she has never indicated this, just how I feel).
So me reaching out like that – that was new. But I’m really trying to get closer with Roy’s family, despite geography, deafness and every other excuse (though some clearly valid) I want to use. But that is something else… I’m getting off topic. I really didn’t know if Roy’s mom would go for it. Mostly because it would mean time away from the grandbabies and they obvious trump us (as they should). But Roy’s mom was game and I made the reservations, after figuring out from Roy’s work what days were doable for him to take off.
But there was no way in hell I was going to kidnap Roy again. I mean when I do that I have to figure out a way to get him out of the house to pack, and then have him return, but not come inside so I can load the trunk up, and then make up an excuse about going somewhere without him going in the house and noticing that things are missing because they’re in said trunk. And while the first time I did this, he was unintentionally cooperative, when I tried to do it again for our Glenwood Springs trip… OMG. He tried to check his schedule against the one posted (I had his coworkers give him a fake, what can I say, I’m good at being sneaky) and then he lied to a friend about working when she asked for “his help” because he was behind on sleep, and would not listen to me when I kept trying to get him to catch up beforehand, which is how I got him out of the house to pack. And his return… things just didn’t go as smoothly. But he didn’t know anything was up until we got in the car, and even then while he knew something was up, he had no idea (thanks to that dummy work schedule) that it would be a full-fledged trip.
But even before Glenwood Springs, I had already made the decision. I don’t want to kidnap him for every surprise getaway and there were so many plusses to not kidnapping him this time. Mainly, I didn’t have to get him out of the house, and I didn’t have to pack his stuff. That was on him. And he was still surprised. I had told him my parents were visiting so that he would take the time off, so he fully expected to play host or something. It took him a little while to actually accept we were going to Estes Park.
We went a day earlier than his parents were set to meet us. This was perfect, even though it was not the original plan. See my story about my family coming was so believable (I even had my dad text me about the fake visit, so I could show Roy, leaving little doubt) and Roy REALLY wanted to take his parents up to Estes Park for a day, so he took Wednesday off too, when the original trip was Thursday through Saturday. Luckily, our cabin was available that night and it just turned into a last-minute early thing. It was perfect because we got to do some hardcore hiking Wednesday that his parents would not have been able to do, and then we ate at a super-splurge-romantic restaurant that night. Roy and I are both avid hikers (though I do not do ledges/cliffs because I am seriously afraid of heights!) and both of us also got actual hiking boots the night before (mine a belated birthday gift, his something he needed, and I strongly encouraged him to not wait for his birthday) and other gear, so we were all set. It was the perfect day and we got to be alone and romantic and do things that were probably too challenging for mixed company (like a rocky hike 700 feet up, it was crazy-steep, but there were no ledges so I actually felt good about the heights – yay).
The next morning Roy knew there was one more surprise and that it was an “activity”. We were meeting his parents at my favorite coffee shop that sits on a beautiful lake. (Roy really likes it too, but his favorite is the organic coffee roasting joint that just can’t make a sweet drink for anything, sigh to all of the coffee snobs out there.) We were running late because Roy wanted to take a last minute shower. He dropped me off to get coffee, so he could get water for us for the day, and I told him to meet me inside because it was too cold for me to sit on the water. (It was too, this was around 10:30am, and it didn’t warm up for another hour.) When he came back, he saw me talking with his mom and he just lit right up. He started talking about where to take them for lunch, and I could see that it was painful. There were two places he REALLY wanted to take them to eat, and he thought they had just come up for the day. His mom broke the news to him; he would get two full days with them. And they were staying at the same bed and breakfast we were!
We all had a great time. The first day, it’s hard to remember what we all did, because we tried to do a lot of the stuff we ended up doing the next day. We found a fantastic picnic site for Saturday and explored. We also ate at the two places Roy HAD TO take his parents to: Barbecue for lunch, pizza for dinner. The next day we hiked at Bear Lake which is flipping beautiful. Then we took them on Trail Ridge Road and hiked two trails off it. We had a late lunch at a burger joint and then for dinner we had appetizers at the Stanley Hotel.
The next day it was big Family Fun Day! Roy’s brother, his wife and their three kids (four-year-old twins and a one-year-old) were coming out for the day to picnic and spend time with us. Before they arrived, Roy showed his mom this rock shop he wanted her to see. I don’t think she was all that interested until she went, but I was the same way. Roy had to drag me in there the first time, but they have some beautiful stuff and now I want to stop by every visit. Then everyone arrived at the same coffee place we originally surprised Roy at, because of the lake, and feeding the ducks and exploring kept everyone busy while Roy’s parents picked up sandwiches for us. Then we went to the picnic site we scoped out that first day.
We had a lot of fun. The twins are so much fun and they love learning – I love how curious they are about everything. We hiked, goofed around and just explored. Many of us slipped and our feet ended up in a creek (a few times for some of us). We found some bear tracks, “dinosaur poop”, and a potential beaver dam. Right before lunch, I found a trail and I wanted to see where it led to. Roy told everyone we’d be right there, though we were probably fifteen minutes. We found a beautiful overlook that seemed downright magical. We went back and ate lunch and then the others followed us to the overlook before calling it a day.
We had such a great time, and it was perfect because Roy and I had our time, then we had some time with his parents, so he could show them everything he had been wanting to since last year, and then the whole family came (because we can never get enough of those kids). I’m just happy that everyone had such a good time.
I really didn’t care what we did on this trip; I just wanted to do whatever Roy wanted to do. And he did. Seeing how happy he was during the days we spent with his parents – that was what it was all about for me. It’s totally selfish, but the happier I make him and the more I surprise him – it gives me a mega-high. So yeah, probably selfish.
And I had such a great time with his mom, and it was a great trip just to get closer. We’ve already traded pictures we took on our phones, and I just sent some to his brother as well. I called it an early birthday surprise and it was and wasn’t, but it was definitely a surprise, and made Roy really happy. Happy husband, happy life – hey it may not rhyme, but it’s so true! 😛
Happy early birthday, Roy! Next time it’s my turn! 😉