Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

It Rhymes with Boston (17th Anniversary Weekend Part 1)

[photopress:DSC_8769_sm_blog.jpg,thumb,alignleft]My bride by my side,
The road long and wide,
I left on a mystery ride.

Friday morning, I was zipping down the road at 70 miles per hour without any idea where I was going, and I liked it. It’s liberating for a dad with a cubicle job to get behind the wheel without knowing his destination.

Shannon had arranged everything for our anniversary weekend — the location, the lodging, and at least one outdoor activity. That was all I knew.

(click any pic to enlarge it)

I started guessing inside my head. Would she take us as far as Big Bend? No, too far for just a two-night stay. San Antonio?. Possibly. We’ve been there a few times, but never as just a couple. Austin?

And that was my new first guess. After four years living in Texas, we never had visited Austin. It had city life, nearby outdoor fun, hills. It must be Austin. I told Shannon I had two guesses, but didn’t reveal them.

Once we reached Austin, it wasn’t long before I saw the University of Texas football stadium looming to the right. Shannon told me to take the next exit.

Okay, so Austin it is. Cool.

She guided me to a parking spot and announced, “We’re going to the capitol building.”

“Sounds great,” I said, as Shannon scrounged up change for the parking meter.

“It’s taller than the capitol building in D.C.,” she said.

“It figures, in Texas,” I said. (It is not the only state capitol with that distinction, but it is the largest state capitol.)
We wandered around the hills of downtown Austin, on foot, completely unable to see the capitol. It seemed crazy. Finally we found it, and that first step through its doors was like a step back in time.

We had a nice self-guided tour at our own pace, and stumbled upon a mock Senate meeting of some sort. I laughed when, asked if the floor was open for questions, one of the young participants answered, “Bring it on.” He was arguing that no-fault divorce should be banned in Texas, but was having a very hard time presenting his reasons in a convincing manner.



It hits me just now that we were a couple celebrating our 17th anniversary, and accidentally wandered into a room where most of the people were arguing for our right to dissolve our marriage without much hassle. Thanks, kids.



Next we drove several blocks and slowly dragged Austin’s fabled Sixth Street.* Unlike Memphis’ Beale Street, this city’s entertainment district was a ghost town during daylight hours. Granted, it was Friday afternoon, but I expected to see some activity.

We headed on over and checked into our hotel, several miles from downtown. We had a suite with an L-shaped couch and an HDTV at least 46 inches large, viewable from the bedroom and the living area. The little ‘fridge rounded the room out perfectly.

For dinner, Shannon had in mind a restaurant called The Oasis, in a reportedly picturesque setting on nearby Lake Travis. Hungry as we were, however, it was too difficult to resist the Buca di Beppo right next door. The Oasis could wait until Saturday night. That art and other items adorning the restaurant’s walls were not the same as those in the location back home.


Shannon still had one more surprise up her sleeve. That adventure will have to wait for a later post.

* – You haven’t heard any of the fables? I present exhibit A, linked here completely without permission (hey, if I can find it on Google, then it’s public, right?).


Click for Part 2.

11 Responses to It Rhymes with Boston (17th Anniversary Weekend Part 1)

  1. Very nice pictures Mark… and nice place to plan to go Shan!!!
    But… what’s with the picture of the short stout guy with the bedsheet on? *chuckling*

  2. Mark, great pictures as always! I need to get in touch with you in regards to the book contest you entered but do not have your email can you shoot me a message at: [redacted by administrator] – Thanks!

  3. Dave – Good question. I left out that detail. Now, I added it back in. In short, it’s one of the many paintings, pictures, etc. that Buca di Beppo featured on its walls.

    Dad of Divas – Thanks, and check your e-mail (which I deleted from your comment now that I have it).

  4. That really is a purdy capitol building there, Mark. Having most of the details kept as a surprise for your anniversary would have been a fun time. 17 years, eh? And here I was starting to feel impressed that my wife and I just celebrated six. We have to be married for 11 more years just to catch up to you! And by then you’ll probably have gone and stayed married (in spite of those darned kids and their mock senate meeting) and STILL be married longer than us.

    Well, I hope you had a good time anyway.

  5. Surprises like that are always fun…well, unless the surprise was that she put a tent in the back yard that you had to stay in all weekend by yourself. That would be a bad surprise. But, assuming the destination turns out to be fun, the anticipation of driving to an unknown locale would be very fun.

    Of all the towns I got to spend time in for work back when I traveled for work…Austin was my favorite. Hopefully you got to go back to Sixth Street after dark.

    And Simon, don’t feel too bad. We’re a year behind even you marital newbies. In an attempt to overtake you and your lovely wife, Moonshot and I are planning to do our next year really fast. The addition of an infant should help in that regard.

  6. That’s really not fair,Moksha. You KNOW it’s impossible for my own wife and I to shift gears and add another infant of our own. Instead, we’ll be checking our rearview mirrors, and when we see you coming up behind us, we’ll release an oil slick so you slide out of control and lose ground. And lay caltrops down on the ground. And a spike belt or two.

    It’s all about who wins, baby!!

  7. Si – Won’t you be surprised when, even after your caltrops and oil slicks, we zip right past you? “How?” you ask. Ya see, our marriage is less a race car and more an AirWolf style helicopter. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll snap some lovely pictures of all your road hazzards as I soar past.

  8. Oh, I’m sorry.

    Did you fail to notice the faint outline of a hatch in the roof of our vehicle? How very silly of me. Please let me show it to you in greater detail as I open it, and shoulder the BFG 9000 with crosshairs centred directly on your pansy-assed helicoptor.

  9. Moksha and Simon – I know there’s no need for me to enter this battle, since my marriage’s longevity already speaks for itself. Over the years, however, Shannon and I have had plenty of time to perfect the Crazy Ivan. Good luck defending you and yours against that.

  10. Si – It is an impressive BFG. However, while I was once content to focus all my competitive spirit at the target directly in front of me, I now see that I’m being short sighted. The more we fight, the further ahead them smart-assed Texans get. I propose we both retarget our aggression toward Mr. Crazy Ivan. We have land AND air covered…he’s ours for the taking.

    So, um….go ahead and point your BFG away.

  11. Dammit, Moksha, your unexpected (and unwonted) turn toward diplomacy (or re-directed aggression, if you prefer) makes too much sense to ignore. I suppose it’s time to acquire a new target and take it down jointly. THEN we can haul off against each other to see who comes out on top.


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