#221 In which our hero describes his weekend of, um, two weekends ago.
Our sixth wedding anniversary was October 6th. We had made plans with my mother to come up to the house and watch the girls while The Scientist and I went out for a nice dinner, maybe a movie. Honestly, things have been so hectic at work lately that I hadn’t planned it out very well, other than to think up a gift (the traditional 6th wedding anniversary gift is candy--so that was simple. One box of Godiva dark chocolates and I’m a hero).
Mom came up Friday afternoon. The Scientist got off work early and I, for once, seemed like I was going to get out of work on time. We had a pasta dinner planned. Then I got this phone call on my cell.
THE SCIENTIST: Hey!And then she walked into my office.
ME: Hey. Where are you?
TS: I’m in my car… um, driving.
ME: You don’t sound so sure. Are you lost?
TS: No-oo. I don’t think so.
ME: When I say “I don’t think I’m lost” it generally means I’m lost.
TS: No, it’s okay. Oh, here it is!
Which was a nice surprise, but I’m thinking, “Well, it’s nice that she drove down to Akron to visit… but kinda dumb. Now we both have to drive up to Cleveland, in separate cars.”
I thought this, see, because I am dumb.
As she quickly revealed, my wife had a whole weekend of activities planned. We jumped in my car and drove down to Columbus.
Now, I really like Columbus. I went to The Ohio State University and stayed for 12 years after graduation. I’d be there still, except for the fact that The Scientist lived in Cleveland, and it made a lot of sense for me to move north rather than she south. Moreover, it’s where we met, more or less, and where we started dating, more or less, so it’s a special city for us. It’s where I proposed, and she agreed to be my wife.
We went down to Columbus last year, too. Stayed in a fancy hotel room downtown (and quickly discovered that when it comes to fancy hotel rooms, we need to spend a whole lot more money to notice a difference), ate a fancy meal, went to the Gallery Hop in the Short North and had a great time.
This year we stayed at a fairly crappy hotel, which was free because The Scientist cashed in her credit card points or some such thing. I don’t remember. All I know is that I raised an eyebrow about the whole trip since money is a little tight for us right now… but she assured me that the room was free, as was the babysitting, so we could afford it.
Friday night we went out to The Scientist’s favorite restaurant in Columbus-- wait. No, it’s probably not her favorite, but it is the place that serves curly fries that I find decent, but she believes to be the best in the world. So we go there, only to find that it’s not the “Gibby’s” we’ve always known and loved, but now it’s something else. “Big Moose Lodge” or some shit like that. The Scientist was crest-fallen, but we went it anyway. It appeared that other than the name and décor, nothing else had changed. So she got her curly fries and I got my fish sandwich.
Then we walked over to Stauf’s, the little coffee shop where I proposed. The table we were sitting at when I popped the question was already taken, but the two-seater in the corner where we had our first date was open. This table, and that date, are much more significant in so many ways.
On the way back to the hotel room, I swung by OSU campus and OH-MY-GOD things have changed. I didn’t drive around campus, only down High Street (the main drag where I once drank too many Long Island Ice Teas and heaved into a garbage can on the street--I know, I’m classy) and I was totally blown away by what I saw.
(Aside to Janice--have you been back to campus recently? Mean Mr. Mustards? Gone. Crazy Mama’s? Gone. Magnolia Thunderpussy? Gone.)
One entire side of the street had been razed and replaced with a four story parking garage and fancy shops. Caribou Coffee. Borders. A tanning place. It was all very up-scale and slick… lots of glass, bright lighting, opening spaces with nice landscaping. While it was very impressive I also found it a little depressing. I mean, a big part of my college experience was the grimy floors and rundown walls of the bars and record shops that used to live in that space. They had a lot of character. Now it’s all very commercial and corporate. And yeah, if you never knew the OSU I did you wouldn’t miss it, I guess.
But, all was not lost. A quick drive further down the street revealed that The Newport was still there, and still looking as crappy as ever. The marquee listed off six bands I had never heard of. And SBX, my favorite textbook store, was still there, looking much the same. (One thing that was gone? The Ohio Union right across the street. Right now it’s a huge fenced-off hole in the ground. Presumable, a newer, bigger and better Union will be built there. This is also sad for me, since I spent a lot of time studying in the lounge, and eating crappy pizza-by-the-slice in the basement.)
The next day we slept in, drove to an all-you-can-stuff-in-your-piehole breakfast buffet, then started the day’s activities. The Scientist had this planned out, as well.
Couple of years ago the BODY WORLDS exhibition came through Cleveland. It sounded fascinating, and I’ve been bummed every since that I missed it.
But, as it turns out, there was a very similar exhibition called, cleverly enough, “Bodies… The Exhibition” going on in Columbus while we were there. I found it utterly fascinating. So much so that I’ll write a separate entry about it.
After the body show we went back to the hotel for a nap. I’ve always been a big napper, and I’ve turned The Scientist into one, too. Cool, dark room, middle of the day? Perfect.
That evening we went to our traditional anniversary restaurant, Hyde Park Grill, and had a wonderful meal. Then we walked around the Gallery Hop for a bit, delighting in some great art and the freaks that came out to witness it.
The Short North, the home of the Gallery Hop, has really changed since I went to school, too. At that time it was mostly run down store fronts, bars, a coffee shop or two, and a strip joint. There were a few honest to God art galleries, but mostly it was other businesses that would push their M-F stuff up against the back wall, hang some art, put out some cheese and wine and call themselves a gallery for the evening. I was very charming to have to walk around big envelope-your-head hair dryers in a beauty salon cum gallery to look at the art.
Now, it’s cleaned up considerably… the really run-down bars and shops gone and replaced with fancy shops (like a Segway store) and loads of real galleries. Again, it’s all very nice, but I find myself a little nostalgic for the way things used to be.
But it was a great time, all in all, and we returned early Sunday morning to the gleeful shouts of our children.
Six years seems like such a small amount of time. But in those six years, The Scientist and I have had so many laughs (and a few tears), and have managed to create two little people who have their mama’s red hair and their daddy’s attitude and are just about the greatest things on earth.
I love you, honey. Thanks for saying yes between bites of cheesecake those six years ago and allowing me to be your husband.