Happy Sweetest Day!

Happy Sweetest Day!

Wait, you have never heard of Sweetest Day?  That’s okay, no one else really has either.  It’s a Hallmark Holiday, although Hallmark didn’t invent it.

Here’s the back story: In the early 1900s, a bunch of confectioners got together and thought it would boost sales if they introduced a new holiday, which they termed “Sweetest Day.”  The original premise was to give sweets to someone who was a little down and out– an orphan, an elderly person, or someone convalescing– to boost morale.  A great idea that never took off and never went farther than the Cleveland area, from what I have come to understand.

When I started dating Tom in 1996, I thought everyone celebrated Sweetest Day.  My father would go to the Malley’s store on Brookpark and wait for hours to buy my mother chocolate covered strawberries.  Of course, he would stop at the florist as well.  To me, Sweetest Day was the second half of Valentine’s Day, and to share something special with the one you loved seemed like a wonderful sentiment.

Tom was in Wisconsin on our first Sweetest Day.  I baked homemade chocolate chip cookies and mailed them to his hotel.  When he received them, he called me.  “Umm, thanks for the cookies, but I don’t know what Sweetest Day is,” he said to me.

What?  How is that possible?  Did he live under a rock?

“It’s the third Saturday in October,” I said.  “Everyone celebrates.”

“Sugar (He likes to call me Sugar when he is being condescending), no one I am working with knows what it is either.  But thank you.”

I was a tiny bit miffed, until I talked to a few other people who did not grow up in the area, and I realized that unless you are from Cleveland, you don’t really celebrate this holiday.  Huh.  I was flabbergasted.  How could such a lovely holiday be a local phenomena?

Fast forward seventeen years, and I still like Sweetest Day.  Since that first holiday, Tom has never missed.  Each year, I have gotten flowers or candies or some little treat because I am his Sweetie.

006This year, however, Tom is in Green Bay.  He took a little road trip with “the guys” for a Browns game.  Yes, it will be exactly what you are thinking– a whole heck of a lot of drunken middle-aged men pretending they are twenty-somethings.  Before he left yesterday morning, he ran to the grocery store to pick up supplies.  He got snacks, beer, and a special treat of donuts for our girls.  For me?  Nothing!  He forgot.  And even though I received two carnations from a Secret Admirer at school that were strategically left in a vase on the kitchen counter, he didn’t think about what he was missing– so excited about his weekend, he forgot about me.

“You forgot,” I said.

“Seriously?” he said.  “I promise I will make it up to you next week.”  He left, and I felt a little sad.  I secretly hoped he was running back to the grocery store to buy me an overpriced bouquet.  Nope.  When he left the house, he left for good.

In the scheme of things, I knew it didn’t matter.  We have been together for seventeen wonderful years, and Tom surprises me with flowers every-so-often, and I know the random flowers “just because” mean more than the made-up-Cleveland-only-holiday flowers do.

But, I cannot say that I wasn’t a little bit giddy when the delivery truck pulled into our driveway late yesterday afternoon and delivered this beautiful bouquet.

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What We Do When We Cannot Afford What We Want to Do.

This summer, even more than any other summer, I have truly felt like I am on a vacation.  Each week has offered a plethora of fun activities, and at times, I wonder why I ever long to “go on vacation.”  At times, I feel like every day is kind of a resort day.  In the past week, for example, I have been able to go on a boat ride, see a movie, go to the track to gamble, play in a pretty amazing outdoor pool, go to a cookout, and eat a few pretty amazing restaurants.  I have gotten a private tour of Severance Hall and I have finagled some good deals at the Westside Market.  Opportunities seem to continue to present themselves, and with each fortuity, I seem to enjoy each day even more than the last.

This morning, a rather exciting occasion presented itself yet again.  I was over a friend’s house helping his daughter with her summer reading assignment when a text came from Tom.

“Hey.  It just so happens that the Tribe game is not sold out tonight.  Maybe we should go?  Omar Visquel bobblehead night?”

I read his message and immediately felt a surge of excitement in my belly.  Oh, how I love Progressive Field.  It is magical being in the ballpark: the excitement of the crowd, the crack of the bat, the way the ball sounds when it hits the catcher’s mitt.  Truly, baseball is my love, although I never played, and going to a game tonight sounded exactly like what I wanted to do to continue my fun-filled vacation days of summer.

I got home from tutoring and immediately went on-line to see what kinds of seats were available.   I was ready and willing to buy.   Well, that is until I saw the prices!   A ticket in section 109 that usually goes for $24.00 was suddenly $49.50. Hmmm.  My mind did some quick calculations: Game 4.  Detroit Tigers.  Bobblehead.  2 1/2 games back.   The front office is not dumb.  They know that this is a series that would be popular and that many people would bite the proverbial bullet and spend the money for a chance to see a Tribe/Tiger standoff.  However, if we went as a family, it would be $250.00 just to walk through the door.  Add parking, hot dogs, pretzels, pops, beers, and a bag of peanuts, and that amount easily jumps to $400.00.

I am a rationalizer, a justifier if you will, when it comes to all things fun.  However, no amount of justification could possibly convince me to spend this kind of money tonight when tomorrow, when the Tribe starts their home-stand against the Toronto Blue Jays, I could purchase five tickets in section 109 for just over a hundred dollars!  Begrudgingly, I texted Tom and told him it was too much money.  He understood, but I knew he felt a pinch of disappointment (as did I).

An hour later, I received another text.  This time, he suggested taking the kids to the game again.  However, the idea was nothing less than creative, thoughtful and genius!

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Go Tribe!

Day 366: A Spectacular Birthday Present

Tom and I were fortunate enough to take a 22-hour jaunt away from the kiddies.  You know, one of those ‘I-remember-you-and-adult-conversation-Oh,-and-this-is-why-wanted-to-marry-you’ kind of trips.  We traveled a whopping fifteen minutes away to downtown Independence, Ohio.  We chose this specific location because two months ago, I attended a fund-raiser and won a raffle prize: a stay at this particular Double Tree hotel and a fifty dollar gift certificate for dinner.  After the initial conversation about the kids, we found other adult topics and were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s funny; a glass of wine tastes so much better when I know I can sip it, indulge in second or even a third if I choose, and not worry about going home to complaining children or being awoken in the middle of the night by a child’s bad dream.  We could have been in any city anywhere, it would have been just as much fun.

Anyway, after watching Vantage Point on FX this morning, we decided we probably needed to get back to reality.  Our good friend Jessica had stayed with the girls, and she probably needed to get back to her own reality.  We gathered our belongings and jumped in the car.

“God, I love getting away, but I always hate the ride home,” Tom jokingly said.

Playing along, I threw in, “I didn’t use the restroom before we left.  Don’t get mad if I we have to stop somewhere along the way.”

“I don’t think there’s any rest areas.  You’re going to have to hold it.”

“Darn it!”

So playful, we inched closer to our house, and the veil of reality cast a shadow over us.  Tomorrow I return to work.  Tomorrow I will be 43.

We pulled into the driveway, and we saw these magnificent snowmen in front of our house.

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Well, they look kind of like blobs, I agree.  But they are mounds of snow decorated to look like snowmen.  They are really rather cute.  Tom grabbed our bag and we walked in; of course, the girls ran and met us at the door.

“Who made those gorgeous snowmen?” I asked hugging each girl tightly.  I wanted so much to get away from them, but seeing them so excited to see us made me realize how much I missed them, too.

“I did!” Maggie said proudly.  “They are your birthday presents.  There’s one for you and one for daddy,” she said proudly.

“I love them!”  And I truly did.  So many times they want to go to the store and buy something, but I don’t need a new pair of gloves or a sweater.  I needed these snowmen, though.  They bring pizzaz to our yard.

She walked over and pulled my hand and brought me to the refrigerator.  Seriously, she spoke.  “I know they will melt, so I also made you this picture so that you will always have the birthday snowman I made for you.

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My heart smiled.   One of the best birthday gifts of my life.