Just Heather

monumentSpencer and I have lived in the Indianapolis area for more than 10 years now (though never actually in Indy) so we’ve spent our fair share of time in the Circle City. Mostly, though, our trips downtown are centered around some sort of event so our activities are very specific and pre-planned. I always see the horse-drawn carriages, pass by the canal to watch the boats go by and drool over landmark, fine dining experiences we usually can’t afford. For our 4th alphabet date, we decided we were really Doing Downtown.

Our anniversary weekend provided the perfect opportunity, especially after my parents volunteered to take the girls. With the girls off to Camp Grandma’s and an entire weekend before us, we were anticipating such wonders as childfree grocery shopping, grown-up movies and sleeping in! We did all of that—and a whole lot more. After an indulgent sleep-filled morning, we headed down to Indianapolis. (I love how we always say that like it’s so! far! away! It’s, maybe, 30 minutes, but I hate traffic so it’s not something I do often.)

It did occur to us that since we’d never done any of the things on our list before, we should call ahead and see how it works. Does St. Elmo’s require a reservation? Yup! We got a 5pm. How late is the pedal boat rental place open? 8pm—we should have plenty of time for our dinner first. What else do we want to do? We decided to play the rest by year. Clearly, we don’t get out much.

st-elmoDinner at St. Elmo’s was decent. For the price we paid, I’d love to say dinner was fabulous or even a trite “you pay for the atmosphere” but, really, it’s just overpriced steak. The hubby really liked their world famous shrimp cocktail, though, so all was not lost. I’ve had much better steaks and I wasn’t super impressed with the atmosphere anyway. I mean, it’s cool the waiters were all in tuxes and all, but we have tablecloths and cloth napkins at home (yeah, we’re fancy like that) so for a $125 meal, I’m expecting to be fawned over.

The cosmo was super strong (points for that one, bartender!) and the food was decent. Still, we got to visit an official Indianapolis landmark. Now that it’s crossed off the list, I’m all good. If you ever want to say you went, I recommend stopping by just for appetizers and drinks—the shrimp cocktail is their signature dish anyway and, quite possibly, the best thing on the menu (this from someone who eats nothing from the sea). It’s a great way to have the experience without the full price tag.

canalAfter dinner, we wandered over to the canal. We had never actually been down to the canal (just watched it from the street), much less in it. We rented a pedal boat and enjoyed a good hour floating along. It really is quite beautiful. We had a truly lovely evening for it. The only thing better would have been a canal float by moonlight, but we work with what we’ve got. Now that we know it’s out there, I’m sure we’ll find another opportunity for it. Maybe next time, we’ll take a gondola ride (who knew we even had them in Indiana?).

sundaeAfter returning our boat, we took a walk up the other side of the canal. And, landed straight in a jazz concert at White River Park. From there, we decided to head in the general direction of Monument Circle—Spencer wanted some shots of the monument itself and I wanted dessert at South Bend Chocolate Cafe. We both got our wish, even though the circle was overrun by motorcycles. There was apparently a large event that day as parts of downtown were blocked to cars so heading home after our night was another experience altogether.

This was definitely not our most inexpensive date night, but it was well worth it! We spent a wonderful, relaxing day together, our marriage was in a very good place and it was great to share some things I’ve always wanted to do. Exploring the city tourist-style was a little grandiose for one day, and we didn’t get to everything. We’ve decided to use I for Indianapolis for the rest of it—slated for December to enjoy the holiday lights. Maybe next time we’ll remember to take some pictures of ourselves.

5995377I love food. I love musicals. I love pirates, a fact which everyone in hubby’s family now knows (thank you, Jagermeister). All of this adds up to the Beef and Boards production of Treasure Island being tailor made for me. It was always our intention to visit this local dinner theater as part of our Alphabet Dating journey, even before I discovered they were featuring pirates through the spring.

We had plenty of letter choices—dinner theater, play, musical—but when I won tickets last month it was obvious we would be using the alliteration for our B date.  I was very excited.  Him? Probably not so much.  Musicals aren’t really his thing, especially when he has to dress for the event.  I, personally, couldn’t wait to get dressed up, have dinner with my husband and catch a show. About pirates.

Then the weekend arrived and brought one of our biggest fights yet.  The night was rocky, the next day tough and I didn’t think we’d last to the evening much less feel up to a date.  We hashed through a lot over the course of the day and finally got to a pretty good spot.  It’s been one step forward, two steps back since we began the rehabilitation journey.  We’ve been on our current path for a month now so this time I’m convinced we’ve made lasting progress.

Anyway, the evening arrive and we were still married; I got all decked out (he told me I was beautiful—bonus points), he suited up (yum!), the babysitters arrived (Thanks, Mimi & Papaw!) and we set sail (ha—get it?) for our musical adventure.  I knew very little of what to expect, though I’ve been wanting to visit the place for years.  My parents and extended family all love Beef and Boards but that was the extent of my knowledge.  I didn’t even have real tickets, just an email telling me the show was at 8pm and the hostess had our reservation.

We arrived at 7:30 feeling pretty good about our promptness only to discover that the show starts at 8, yes, but the dinner buffet is 6-7:30.  Oops.  They were gracious to us and the waiter brought us each a plate anyway.  I couldn’t eat most of mine, due to my gluten intolerance, but I picked through what I could (off both plates, of course).  Turns out, the food wasn’t worth an extra hour of our time anyway. We did enjoy our intermission sundae but even that seemed to be nothing more than ice cream from a bucket with Hershey’s syrup.

The show, however, was well worth the price of admission even if it hadn’t been free. The production was fun.  The all male cast was a hoot.  The songs were lively and fun.  I loved that the stage direction kept putting pieces of the show right in front our table.  My one disappointment was that the gift shop was closed after the show.   I wanted a pirate flag, but it’s probably just as well that I didn’t add to our junk collection.  I’ll scrapbook the playbill instead along with the single, slightly blurry picture above.

The “rules” of Alphabet Dating specifically exclude movies because the point is to create experiences and reconnect.  That really requires something other than sitting next to one another in the dark.  It’s my game, though, so I make things up as we go. Still, the lighting and seating arrangement made the play acceptable for our purposes, I think.  We were able to cozy up together to enjoy the show and each another.

Here’s to 24 more letters (plus a lifetime) of enjoying one another.


We hit Six Flags Great America over Labor Day weekend. It was not my first choice, and it will be my last choice from here on out. I suggested Holiday World since it is more in line with my budget, but it was the weekend of the wedding that wasn’t so we all deferred to my sister’s wishes. She wanted to get far away, and Chicago was apparently far enough. And, since my dad announced he was paying, my budget no longer mattered. Though, we did manage to come out over $100 poorer.

We had dinner at Medieval Times on Saturday night. This was my first time (even though my entire family insisted it wasn’t) and I thought it was a lot of fun. Next time, though, I’m bringing silverware. Stupid forkless medieval era. Our knight was not only the hottest one there, but he was the champion and hero of the story. Of course, as soon as I realized he was way hotter than any of the others, I knew that would be the case!

The next day, we visited Six Flags from open to close. I was not impressed. I had intended to write about it when I got home, but life got in the way and it didn’t seem that important. Today, with temperatures in the 50’s, I decided to don my new Six Flags hoodie (thanks, Mom!) and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The darn security tag hangs prominently from the hood! So now, in my renewed anger, I share with you The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of our trip.

The Good

  • They were more than friendly and accommodating when it came to bringing food for my gluten-free vegetarian. There was nothing she could eat anywhere in the park so I packed a cooler which they labeled “Approved for Medical Use” without question.
  • The park is chock full of great roller coasters. I was completely terrified on each of them, but for the most part they were a lot of fun.
  • The adorable capes for kids were only $5!
  • My first vending stop resulted in huge savings. Even though I told the cashier twice that mine were new souvenir cups, he rang us up for 2 refills. I didn’t realize it until after he handed me my receipt. Score!

The Bad

  • My dad may not have saved any money over a wedding. Everything costs extra—$170 for 7 Flash Passes to bypass lines, $15 for a locker, $13 for a tube that it turns out you don’t actually need to ride water slides…
  • $15 parking—seriously?!
  • Once it got dark, the bathroom areas were poorly lit. It was a bit scary heading off the path into darkness.
  • My dad lost another pocket knife at security check. They missed the full size scissors my sis carries in her diaper bag, but somehow the 2-inch pocket knife my dad carries on his keychain was a threat to park security. What a joke.
  • They didn’t actually sell the pink capes in stores. Hubby had to play a lame version of the strong man game to get 3 of them.

The Ugly

  • I finally found a deodorant that would last throughout a hot day in the sun. I’m putting it here because it is prescription strength and costs nearly $10! After 3 kids, my body chemistry is just not the same and I was worried about the long day. This stuff rocked, but the sticker shock nearly flattened my budget-minded body. I used a coupon though so we’ll call the balance “medically necessary” and move on.
  • The Iron Wolf roller coaster pretty much sucked. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t scary. It was just painful. The ride is rough, the seats were wide enough to bruise me in places I’d rather not mention and I left with a headache from being bounced against the shoulder rests repeatedly. Never again.
  • I, naturally, spilled on my shirt at lunch. My mom whips out her handy Tide To Go pen, which removed the ketchup, but left a stain of its own in its place. It didn’t come out in the wash. I had no idea that could happen.
  • Speaking of shirts, did I mention they left the stupid security tag on my new hoodie?!