Our very first date consisted of us driving around for an hour trying to find a park which was lit up at night. It turns out, none of them around here are... So James finally ended up parking the car with headlights shining over a park, and we sat and ate the yummy picnic supper he'd prepared (hot chocolate, marshmallows and Tim Tams - full points for chocolate ratio!), while I was a little nervous about 'bad guys' in the dark at this random park, then we went to a friend's party, and drove my sister and some random friends home.
In the random order they occur to me in, here are some of the other awesome dates we've been on:
- Last Saturday night we dressed up and drove all the way down the coast, to redeem a Spreets voucher I bought a while ago, for a '3-Course Italian Feast'!! - It sounded great, lovely antipasto entrees, beautiful Italian meals and yummy dessert. I even thought that if dessert looked any good, I might have a 'treat for the week' for the first time since I started my 83 days of health!! Our first tip was when I called the 'restaurant' to say we'd be running late for our... booking. I stopped myself from saying 'reservation' by the way the young girl answered the phone, "Something-or-other pizza!". It sounded like she tried not to laugh as she said "Yeah, okay" and then hung up. We rocked up to the takeaway pizza place with a couple of chairs and tables for dine-in guests, and at the urging of the 'waitress', sat wherever we wanted. We sat outside. She brought us a couple of menus, and just double checking the conditions of the voucher I'd bought, I asked "So, no steak, right?" She looked surprised, and said "That's right! - We're also out of lasagne and you can have any dessert you want, but the only dessert available is the sticky date pudding" Ah, okay. I went to a gorgeous Italian restaurant once, and had an amazing chocolate ... thing ... (if only I could remember what it was, or where that restaurant was, sigh..). That's what I was hoping for. No WAY I was ruining my health challenge with sticky date! There is not a single spec of chocolate in that! Our entrees were somewhat successful. They just took a really long time to come. We looked back and noticed there was a single cook in the kitchen, running around like mad. After a while, he ran through a door at the back of the restaurant, and appeared in the next door Thai restaurant!! Apparently he asked for reinforcement, because a moment later he reappeared in the Italian 'restaurant', followed by another cook, taking off his Thai outfit and donning the appropriate apron :) Awesome :) Then, a girl walked into the Thai place and placed an order at the front. She then followed the Thai restaurant waitress out of the Thai place and into the pizza place, where they put her order through on the Italian 'restaurant' till... either there's something really strange going on or the 2 places are cojoined, and share staff and tills. For some reason all of this made us giggle like crazy, as did the couple at the next table, who were not hiding the fact that they'd been waiting for their meal for what seemed to be a very long time, and were extreeeeemely irritated. But with the reinforcement of the Thai chef, eventually all of our meals arrived. For mains I ordered crumbed chicken with chips (there wasn't a lot on offer!) and James ordered the fettuccine chicken pesto. I couldn't stop laughing when they brought out James'. Maybe the 'waitress' should have told us they were out of fettuccine too - but the spaghetti chicken pesto looked awesome :D And my chicken came with a side of 5 chips, and some bonus veggies and a bonus salad. We're pretty sure I cleaned the restaurant out of the last 5 chips :) The tiny pieces of sticky date that eventually made their way to our table didn't look remotely appetising, and James quickly ate both so we could get out of there - running to our car (okay, I was on crutches, so it was more of a fast hobble) through the torrential rain of the crazy thunderstorm which had created the mood for awesome date :) Thank goodness we have so much fun together, especially when things don't quite turn out the way we expect - Spreets have got to stop calling things 'feasts' and takeaway places 'restaurants'!!
- Then there was the awesome Valentines Day Scavenger hunt of 'special places' I put together for James last year. We started off with the girls and the plan was to go to the playground with them (the first one where we ALMOST had our first date - no lights after dark there ;)) as one of the steps, and then drop them off to Mum's as another step, and after a few stops we'd end up at the temple cliffs where we'd meet up with our awesome friends the Macs, and have a fun picnic. Due to weather restrictions (like, torrential rain), each stop became about a second long, kind of lamo, and we ditched the hanging out with the girls at the park part completely. Later the rain died down to almost nothing, but we didn't exactly dwell at our picnic spot at the cliffs!
- And while we're on the subject of the Macs - there was the 'Glow Worm Caves' adventure. We rocked up at a very remote location, where a lone scientist runs a little glow worm expedition on his property, where he accidentally found a glow worm wall (not cave) during a drunk evening stroll which almost killed him. Really long story, but between the $70 000 outdoor toilet, the glowing mushroom room, the fake glow worm business cards, and the story about the woman who chose the wrong leaf to wipe herself with, the night was extremely informative, absolutley hilarious, and kind of terrifying!! I couldn't wait to get off the mountain and back to civilisation!! Obviously, these were not the glow worm caves most people go to and talk about. Which is probably why it was such a bargain! lol
- And speaking of bargains, and the Macs, there was the time they called us to say they'd found a great 'Living Social' deal - an island paradise 2 night getaway for some ridiculously low price. They said the island was just off Stradbroke, and looked amazing! They'd already booked theirs for around Australia Day, and did we wanna join them? Apparently the apartment next to theirs was free, so if we were keen, we should call quickly before it got taken! It all sounded great. We said 'We'd love to!' and looked up the bargain. It became apparent as I opened the deal, that travelling with out of towners was not without risk. "Why does it say Coochiemudlo?!!!" I exclaimed to James with some panic. I'm not even worried about hurting the feelings of Coochiemudlo dwellers. Because after 2 nights, lots of rain, lots of mud, tennis courts with not a raquet or ball on the island, dvd players with not a DVD on the island, a restaurant which 'doesn't open' (don't plan to buy half your meals there...), $10 mini towel hire, and really, really dirty floors, I'm calling false advertising! They could at least admit that the island is basically a mud slab floating in the ocean! - At least then the 83 other obviously out of towners who bought the deal (haha :)) would be going into it with their eyes open!! Thank goodness for good company - and things only seem to get funner - or at least funnIer - when circumstances are a little tragic... which is why James and I spend so much of our dating times (and that entire weekend!) in stitches...
- Last year I was beyond excited when I won tickets to EVERY SHOW put on by a Brisbane theatre company for their theatre season. That was 6 SHOWS!!! 6 awesome, fun, out of the ordinary and will not even touch the budget dates :) I've been to see shows by this company many years ago and they were FANTASTIC!!! Except, they're not anymore. They're really terrible. By the last 2 shows we were desperately trying to find excuses not to turn up, but when you've got free tickets to a $65pp show, you really feel like you should go, you know?? Also, we felt sorry for them. Fortunately the very last show was by far the best, but by then our expectations were so low that all they had to do was hit a lot of the notes in tune. I kind of want to go into more detail about their very lowest point (which James missed half of because he fell asleep), but I don't want to get specific on the (very, very) remote chance that someone involved catches wind of this and I hurt people's feelings. But be careful about the prizes you claim. It was a really painful time for us.
- The Proposal: James had it all planned out - the walkway lit with candles, the dinner, the ring... and he was all psyched to do it for a Friday night in August 07. Then I accepted an invite for us to have dinner at my brother's house that night - we didn't have anything planned that I knew about! Rather than tip everyone off to the upcoming proposal by telling Jonny we wouldn't be there, or re-psych himself to propose another day, James simply decided to pull over and propose on the way! So we got engaged on the side of the road in one of the dodgiest neighbourhoods around :) Classy ;)
- The other week we decided to go on a date to the Southbank Friday night markets. I haven't been for ages so was excited to check them out. We rocked up to find out that it was pretty much the only Friday night of the YEAR that the markets aren't on, due to the Brisbane River Festival... sigh... does this stuff happen to anyone else?!
- Another time we decided to eat at an Indian buffet at Southbank. There are so many yummy food choices there, it's pretty hard to fail, but we did. To the point where when James picked up a tongful of salad, a swarm of flies flew out from underneath. And we actually saw cockroaches scurrying around under the tables. Try taking a bite after that!! We didn't even complain. We just left. Shudder!
- Then there was our awesome honeymoon. The first part of it was spent on a houseboat. We loved every second of it. Despite the fact that the toilet clogged, we ran out of water and there was a giant river rat onboard which ate a lot of our food, and our Lionel Richie concert tickets!!!! (don't worry - I don't know if the ticket booth people bought our 'eaten by a river rat' story but they reprinted them for us). By the time we got back to dock and hand over the keys I was DESPERATE to get to a toilet. But the owner hadn't mentioned he'd be working that day, and wasn't home. After running up and down the road both ways of the rural river road and determining there was not even a servo nearby, James kindly broke into the guy's house so I could use his toilet, then we waited patiently for his workday to finish. Fortunately he didn't mind the break-in at all, and was very interested to find out about the rat - he'd suspected that there was one on board...
- Every year on our anniversary, we book a little holiday, and I get a bad cold. Then I lie in bed the whole time watching DVD's or really bad TV, begging James to go out and have some fun without me. He hangs out with me anyway, and I try to do more than I feel up to and ruin every outing we try to take. It clears up on the way home.
- Often, even if we do manage to have dinner somewhere perfectly nice, they'll forget us, and we'll be sitting there for an hour and a half watching every other table come and go before we ask about our order, or they notice us and bring us our meal with lots of free extras on the side 'for the little wait we had this evening'.
Our dates often really suck it's true. I'm sure there are bunches more bad ones that I can't think of right now. But I don't know if I'd change that - we usually end up having the kind of hilarious time together that you just don't get in more beautiful or serene circumstances.
And we have had a few awesome dates... the Lionel Richie concert they let us in to even though our tickets were in pieces, the time we went and saw Wicked (not the theatre company we won tickets with..) and once we ate at a beautiful Turkish restaurant at South Bank called Mado - recommend! And there have been many normal dates involving sushi and a movie, and beautiful dates to the temple. It just seems to be the 'outside the box' events that end in trauma...
Tomorow is our 5 year wedding anniversary :) We have, a really, really fabulous evening planned. I was more excited before Tammy asked the other day if we were sure we wanted to do this together, because our hit and miss date ratio is so high. But risking it we are... I'm sure it's an un-ruinable event... but if everything goes wrong, thank goodness we're in it together!! :)