Well, we’ve been back at home for ten (10) days after our seven (7) day annual vacation. Yup, that’s the longest vacation that we can take each year when we can venture off for some extended “alone time” and by golly we cherished every moment of it.
It was also good that we returned home on Saturday as it gave us a day to get caught up on all of the things that had been allowed to languish for a week: yard care, laundry, bills, Email, etc. We also were able to attend a large gathering at our friends Chuck & Julie’s home on Saturday evening and to celebrate our granddaughter Caroline’s 10th birthday on Sunday with Wesley, Julie and Caroline’s sisters Charlotte and Vivian. Wow, 10 years old. It doesn’t seem possible.
What also didn’t seem possible was our upcoming 23rd wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 16th. Yes indeed, it had been 25 years since we’d met and 23 years since we were married at the Gazebo in Glover Park by Judge Jim Bodiford surrounded by my loving parents Flora & Bill, my sister Betsy, her husband John & Son AJ, sister Anne, my Uncle Rae & Aunt Flossie, Debbie’s son’s Charlie & Wesley, her mother Joyce and Uncle Bennie and long-time friends from work, Randy his then wife Diane as well as Gary and his wife Susan. It wasn’t a huge gathering by any stretch, nor did we want it to be. In fact, I was surprised that as many of my family members made the trek down to Atlanta. It’s hard to believe 23 years has passed since then… but we have evidence in the form of five grand children from 2 years to 16 years to prove it. However, I’d like to think that our spirits have aged a bit, our bodies have only aged a little and our love has continued to grow!
Interestingly enough, July 16th is also Wesley and Julie’s anniversary. While they’ve only been married 11 years, they’ve been together and dating for nearly 23 years which is pretty amazing for a couple of young kids in these times. That our anniversaries are on the same date is purely a coincidence: when they booked the chapel and reception they didn’t even realize it was the same day. None-the-less, we enjoy sharing our special day and suspect there may come a time in another 6 years or so when we might be able to celebrate it together… just the four of us! In the mean time, and like Caroline’s birthday, it will be a table for seven and that’s OK too!
As for what went on during the balance of the weekend, Friday was my work from home / off-day which gave me some time to resuming work on our downstairs flooring project. Friday’s objective was to cut splice joints between and the new and old hardwood flooring as one of the final steps before sanding and refinishing the 900 square feet of existing wood floor in our downstairs hallway and kitchen. As expected, running a circular saw, a Dremel Ultra Saw and a JobMax Multi-tool indoors created amazing amounts of sawdust that was heavy enough to set off the smoke detectors 9 feet above the floor: ugg. Even with plastic sheeting halfway up the walls I spent about as much time cleaning up as I did cutting. As you can imagine, I’m not looking forward to sanding that 900 square feet of flooring, hence my slow progress to date. But, as previously mentioned, I have other projects that are stacking up so I’ve got to get on with it and get it done… sooner rather than later.
As the clock worked its way toward 10:30 a.m. I stepped away from my flooring project so I could run a few errands and also meet the lovely Miss Debbie at The Red Eyed Mule for our every other Friday lunch date. Nothing better than getting to see my sweetie during a work day and this is the only workday when that happens so we make the most of it. Great burger, as always, but it’s the company that makes it special. We could meet anywhere for lunch and it would be a good time.
On my way back home I ran a few more errands including a stop at the hardware store to replace the tools that I’d left in Key Largo during our return trip from Key West. Thankfully, I had a second tool kit for our other Harley, Betty, and I’ve now consolidated those tool rolls which allowed me to get by on the cheap by only replacing about $50 worth of ratchets, sockets, extensions and small vice grips. In fact, replacing some of the extra nuts and bolts that I also had in the tool roll for Blue cost as much as the 3/8″ ratchet! $2.00 per bolt; really?? Oh well, at least they’re stainless steel.
With all of my errands and some grocery shopping behind me I headed back to the house to finish cutting on more splice joint before it would be time to get cleaned up for our Finally a Friday out at Loco’s.
Our evening at Loco Willy’s ended up turning into something of a combined homecoming and bon voyage, as our part of four — Debbie, David, Deb and me (aka, Dick) — grew into a party of fourteen when Jeff & Julie, Arne & Monica, Ryan & Jeanette, Mike & B.A., Cowboy and Bobby (without Carrie Ann) joined us to welcome us back from Key West as many of them prepared to head to Jamaica on the following Friday where Ryan and Jeanette would be renewing their wedding vows upon their 15th anniversary. We had a good time and went into extra innings by heading over to Paddy’s Irish Pub afterwards to listen to a friend’s band. At one point during the evening Ryan asked Debbie, “how do you guys do this every Friday?!” Debbie quickly pointed out that except when “the gang” turns out we don’t “do this” every Friday. We just sit at the bar and enjoy the company of our friends, sans any rounds of shots that always seem to be the norm once the boys get a whiff of tequila. Again, a good time was had by all and we were even home before midnight!
I let Debbie sleep in while I finally got around to tidying up the garage. The main work bench had been littered with tools from the flooring project for several weeks while my “bike” work bench was covered with a combination of bicycle and motorcycle “stuff”. Clutter drives me nuts, so after spending a few moments to get everything sorted back out I had the garage looking “good enough” for my comfort zone.
After a mid-morning breakfast we decided we’d spend part of our anniversary day taking a ride on Blue II to Dahlonega for lunch at the Corkscrew Café, a place we’ve been to on four out of our six most recent lunch time visits. The weather was a little iffy with most of the forecasts calling for afternoon thunder showers regardless of where you were in North Georgia so I packed our rain gear just in case. The ride up to Dahlonega was quite pleasant. I made a point of staying off the Interstate and highways so we could truly enjoy the ride on mostly rural, two-lane roads.
We shared a Caesar salad and a 6oz chicken breast served on multigrain bread with swiss cheese, chipotle aioli, sautéed jalapeños, mushrooms and onions. It took about 30 minutes to get our meal served, but it was very tasty and just enough food for the two of us. After finishing our lunch we made one loop around Dahlonega’s town square and headed back home on the same rural back roads. As we made our way through Dawsonville we ran into a brief shower but it wasn’t heavy enough nor did it look like it would last long enough to warrant putting on our rain gear. We guessed right and what little rain was collected on my shirt and the knees of my jeans was dried-off within 20 minutes by the 90F temps and sun peeking through our mostly cloudy afternoon.
However, I did finally accept the fact that as much as I like my new Frye boots, the heels and soles just aren’t tall enough “as is” to give me the solid footing I need when riding Blue II. It just takes too much effort to get both feet firmly planted on level ground and when there’s any sort of irregular surface under the bike it gets dicey. So, as much as I hate to do it, I’ll be taking them to a shoe repair shop to have about a ¼ to a ½ inch tall lugged sole and heel added to both boots to correct that problem. With any luck the boots won’t look like Herman Munster’s by the time the additional material is added! Although, even if they do look a little ‘Steampunky’ if they make holding up and moving the bike around more stable it will be of little consequence.
We were back at the house by 3:30 and after enjoying a little quiet time at the house we decided to see if our friends David & Deb wanted to join us for dinner at Copelands of New Orleans. We arrived at 6:15 p.m., just a few minutes before Deb and David and had the bar all to ourselves. This also meant that we had nearly the full attention of the folks working behind the bar and they were a joy. Pretty sure we spent the better part of two hours enjoying our cocktails, appetizers, dinners and even desert… something we rarely have. But, then again, it was our anniversary! It was just a wonderful time, but one of those evenings out when we were reminded how expensive it can be for a couple to eat out. Unlike our meals at Loco’s or anywhere else for that matter where we typically split an entrée and that’s about it, we had several high-end cocktails (e.g., Don Julio is pretty close to top shelf), an appetizer, two different entrées and a desert. Yikes! About double what we’ll spend at Henry’s and easily 3x – 4x compared to our Loco Willy tabs. However, you can’t put a price on good friendship and a nice evening out, so it was worth every penny!
We finished out the night at home re-watching Deadpool, the Marvel Studio’s surprise hit of the spring on my laptop. Yeah, haven’t gotten that whole video download / streaming to the smart TV thing figured out yet, but working on it!
As we did on Saturday, we slept in a bit on Sunday morning having decided to pass on making the 75 mile / 80 minute drive out to Social Circle, Georgia, for the monthly Tandem Club of Georgia group ride from our friends Jose & Sheri’s lovely historic home. As much as we would have enjoyed visiting and riding with our friends, we truly enjoyed not getting up at 6:30a.m. so we could be in Social Circle by 8:15 a.m..
Instead, after having breakfast around 8:00a.m. and getting laundry and the dishwasher going we headed out for a lovely 25-mile tandem ride from the house around 9:30 a.m.. The weather was about as nice as you could ask for – low 80’s with low humidity – and we rode at a comfortable and somewhat moderate pace.
While we were out riding the tandem we received an invitation head out for an afternoon motorcycle ride with our “biker friends.” While it was really tempting, we just had too many other things we needed to take care of for what could easily end up being a late afternoon / early evening return. David & Deb joined in for the ride which they called ‘memorable’; details to follow next Friday evening. I have no idea what to expect, but it was characterized as “all good” by David. Hearing that we wished we’d have been able to join in for the ride; alas, just enough hours in the day.
Once we were back at the house from our tandem ride we switched from cycling to motorcycling clothes and headed out on Blue II in search of some lunch. We ended up at J.D.’s Bar-B-Que in downtown Acworth, Georgia, whereas on three previous Sunday afternoon visits we had the small bar area to ourselves. We get to watch whatever we want on the TV, our barkeeper serves our soft drinks immediately, brings us our BBQ in less than 5 minutes and we’re out of there in 20 minutes after having a very leisurely meal. What could be better! In fact, the BBQ was so good that we had seconds!
After lunch I took Debbie over to Jared’s Galleria of Jewelry to see if we couldn’t find her some pearl stud earrings to go with her pearl necklaces. We’d gotten her diamond stud earrings a few months back. We found the perfect pair in just two tries and those, along with the 18 roses that had been delivered to her office on the Wednesday before our anniversary, our trip to Key West, her butterfly display and a couple of special dinners and lots of “us time” all made for a nice anniversary.
Of course, reality had to sneak back in to our weekend in the form of finishing up inside chores as well as doing the weekly yard care thing while Debbie went out and did some grocery shopping. Once she returned home I made some guacamole and margaritas and followed that up with some hot wings, celery w/blue cheese and fresh-cut fries as our dinner.
Other than finishing up household chores, paying bills and streaming a few old episodes of the animated FX show “Archer” it was pretty much a wrap for the weekend. Still more than enough to do ahead of us, but I guess that gives us purpose, such as flying to Pennsylvania for a weekend visit with my folks during August and those darn house projects!