Just Heather

When we embarked on our first alphabet journey, we selected the Melting Pot as F is for fondue. I chose it specifically because I had put a romantic dinner at the melting pot on my 40×40 list. However, by the time we got to F, romance was nonexistent. It was just not going to be what I wanted it to be, and I tried to convince him to go somewhere else. I believe I suggested Red Robin (F is for French Fries?), but we had a plan and—by, golly—we were sticking to it.

Whether it was self-fulfilling prophecy or I was just right all along will remain a mystery, but our $100 dinner at The Melting Pot was not what I had envisioned when I added it to my list. We were tense, quiet and I was irritated at spending so much money on just another dinner. The setting was nice—they had given us one of the private booths—and the food was good, but the experience only hammered home the fact that we were not a couple. It would be the last of our alphabet dates, and the beginning of the end.

When we started over (both literally and figuratively), the Melting Pot found itself once again listed at letter F. This time, I decided, we were going all out! I wore my little black dress. He wore his pinstripe suit and the fedora! He looked completely delicious and I couldn’t wait to have him to myself over a fondue pot of more delicious. MFJ graciously agreed to spend a quiet evening at home (ours, not hers) supervising a slumber party. The girls were excited, I was thrilled she could do my hair (and loan me the right earrings), then we were off to a late dinner at the Melting Pot.

This time, it was everything I had hoped it would be. The only drawback was we didn’t get a private booth, even though we had actually requested it this time. We were, instead, seated in Lovers’ Lane. It was set off a ways from the open seating area, with high back booths to provide a more secluded dining experience. Regardless, the food was fantastic (especially the Yin Yang Martini), he told me I was beautiful and, most importantly, the love songs in the background meant something.


2009-06-206_595For Christmas last year, we received a membership to the Children’s Museum. I was very excited as we had actually never taken the children. I am such a horrible mother. Indianapolis is actually home to the number one children’s museum in the country. We have been several times now that we are members, and we will never be without a membership again.

Their current feature is The Power of Children. We’ve been through the exhibit twice and I hadn’t even seen a third of it. It looked incredibly fascinating and powerful (thus, the name). However, it’s not so much for children. My girls just couldn’t care at all. I joked that I wanted to visit the museum one day without them so we could finally spend some time with the things we enjoy. Our next date, C=Children’s Museum, was born.
We dropped the kidlets with MFJ and headed downtown. With the construction they still have going on at the museum, we ended up in the basement to start. We bypassed the dinosaurs—been there, done that. On our way up to The Power of Children, we stumbled on the 2nd reason for our no kids allowed trip, The Clone Wars exhibit. I’m sure Lorelai will love it, but she wouldn’t be as interested in the details and we would have missed a lot chasing her down in a dash towards the train exhibit.

The Power of Children exhibit was definitely worth the trip. We sat through all 3 presentations and while I’m not sure Spencer was all that into it, I thoroughly enjoyed them all. The Diary of Anne Frank is the only assigned book from junior high that I actually read cover to cover. Clearly, we learned no lessons as the hatred and racism continued in our country. The story of Ruby Bridges fascinates me. I just can’t get over how recently it was. I would love to think we’re beyond that, but 50 years later I still see it regularly. Ryan White’s story was familiar. I was young so I think I remember the movie about his story more than the actual news. I grew up here in Indiana, though, so it was a pretty big deal.

2009-06-203Our next stop was for the geeks in us (okay, mostly him). The games through the years exhibit is fun even with the whole family, but we never get to play when the girls are around. Someone is always taking over my joystick and losing my last life. It was a bit crowded so I still haven’t had the opportunity to play Giant Connect 4, but beating Spencer at Pac-Man was worth it. Since we were already there, I insisted that we ride the carousel. Without children to wrangle, I was able to read all the cute tidbits on the history of the carousel. It’s amazing how educational even the fun & games exhibit can be, but we really had a lot of fun being kids.

We capped off our date with a few minutes of relaxation in the basement. Of course, remember we’re at the children’s museum so that isn’t even remotely dirty! They have this rotating couch-like thing that looks up at the bottom of the Fireworks of Glass sculpture pictured above, which, by the way, was apparently created by a pirate. See? Educational.

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.