hello hale and hardy hoodlums! what news with you? i will tell you what news with us nice peoples: last friday we entered into our sixth year of marriage, marking with due diligence our fifth anniversary.
oh such crafty schemes i cooked up for my spouse mouse. we went out to dinner on friday, the actual day of our anniversary, quite pleased with ourselves for having made it out of the house. then we called it a night because i had work in the morning. and that was it.
OR SO SHE THOUGHT!!!
on saturday morning i kissed my wife and child goodbye said "i am going to my office now because, as you know, i work on saturdays, so i should leave the house now and go directly to the office, where i work on saturdays, in order to work."
OR SO I LED HER TO BELIEVE!!!for then i walked over to brooklyn's enterprise rent-a-car and rented-a-car. then i hid it near my house and went to the office to kill a couple hours while my in-laws, mrs nice guy's parents, drove down from vermont. when they arrived, at around 2 pm, i met them and all together we went to nice guy world headquarters to surprise my wee bride. the plan: to whisk her out of town for a weekend of incredibly fine dining and obscenely restful luxuriating, devoid of two-year-old as the grandparents hover at the homestead.
oh, the month of planning was worth it just for the expression on my baby mama's face. i walked in the door with her parents and she looked up from her lunch and said "hi. hi! hi? wha?"
nice in-laws: hellllloooooo.
mrs nice guy: hi. wow! what are you doing here?!
mr nice guy: happy anniversary. i'm taking you out of town for the weekend.
mrs nice guy: wow! i ... ok. wow. um, all my clothes are dirty.
mr nice guy: start packing! by the way, you don't have an all-day meeting on monday. i set that up with your colleagues so you could have the day off.
mrs nice guy: ok. wow. really?
mr nice guy: and your playdate tomorrow was a decoy as well. you don't really have a playdate tomorrow. we're going to the hudson river valley. WITHOUT OUR CHILD.
mrs nice guy: wow.
and then i whisked her away! [editor's note -- i wrote everything preceding this note last tuesday. i should have just posted it then because i foolishly thought i would be able to fill in the remaining details. BUT I DID NOT. so instead i will basically leave it at that][ok, fine, i might be persuaded to add the following, incomplete, rundown of what we did next]into the rental car we hopped. onto the brooklyn-queens expressway we skedaddled. up to the hudson river valley we put-putted. the main thing to bear in mind here is that the important fact of this getaway was that it was a GET AWAY. it was not really necessarily a destination vacation. for example: we stayed at a B&B in white plains. as in white plains, new york. as in westchester comuterville suburbia--you know, where people who work in new york city live when they have money and lots of pleated khakis. but here's what i figured: the important thing was that we could SLEEP IN for two days and maybe, if we weren't sleeping, drive around the resplendent hudson river valley. we got to our B&B, an elegant circa-1920 victorian manse on 4 acres of verdant spread. it was, upon first impression, imposing, slightly decomposing and an intriguing mixture of lovely and creepily menacing. we walked inside and a little old lady walked up to us. she greeted us. she made small talk. she offered us water and had us fill out a form. she chatted a bit. talked us up. then she chewed the fat a little. and then, maybe because she hadn't had any visitors in a while, she talked some more. and then she showed us our room. but first she talked some more. and also she did a little yammering. and ... just when the wife and i were sure she was going to kill us and serve us for dinner to the SSOLGTSEYEUYT (you know, the Secret Society of Old Ladies who Get Their Strength for Endless Yapping by Eating Unsuspecting Young Tourists) ... she left left us alone.ten minutes later--just as my wife and i were wondering if it would ever be possible to have surprise-anniversary-trip coitus in this place even if we were the last people alive--the proprietress called me from downstairs on my cell phone to see if everything was to our liking. i told her i was too busy receiving fellatio to formulate an articulate answer but if she would be so kind as to call back in about 27 seconds, i would give her a full report. actually, no, i told her everything was fine except for the fact that we were so scared of her we may never sleep again. the highlights of the trip!:
- dinner at blue hill at stone barns. sweet jesus! people, promise me one thing: promise me you'll eat here before you die. the restaurant is on a large chunk of old Rockefeller estate. it's still a functional farm: they grow and raise just about everything they serve. the food is so juicy-fresh it practically slaps your face for drooling on it when it arrives. (and slaps you again after you've eaten it ... when the bill arrives.) think of it as Alice Waters-on-Hudson. probably in my top-five dining experiences.
- speaking of rockefellers, we went to Kykuit, John D.'s hudson retreat, which he handed on to Junior who in turn left it for Nelson. nice digs. take the hugely-long walking tour--otherwise, you'll never fully realize exactly how bad your taste is and how depressed you really are about not being the richest person in the world.
- we took a lovely drive all the way up the valley, stopping here and there. had a little brunch in Cold Spring. went to some excellent antique shops--i bought me a beaten-up old rickety washboard! the real deal, a gorgeous thing. now all i need is a few thimbles and i can join me an old-timey string band. then i'll never be depressed again!
- an afternoon at Dia:Beacon, a whack-job of a sprawling contemporary art museum in a gutted Nabisco box factory on 31 acres of jaw-dropping riverfront land. my tolerance for some of the work exhibited here runs alarmingly low (plywood boxes placed inside slightly larger plywood boxes; an artfully arranged pile of broken glass), but even so the surreal location and serene vibe conspire to make the museum a lovely, otherworldly trip--especially if you're playing hooky. the really interesting thing was a quick drive through the town of Beacon itself. a fun game to play is this: cruise down Main Street and guess which stores opened after the museum plunked itself in town, and which storefronts predate the fancy cityfolk interlopers and their high-falutin' broken glass.
as perhaps befitting the celebration of a work-in-progress marriage, there were a few setbacks, a couple of unexpected obstacles. for example:
- Big W's Roadside Bar-B-Q is apparently closed on mondays. i had thought it would be the perfect thing to do--go to Dia:Beacon, then take our appetites out for some delicious "slow chicken." mrs nice guy, a true bbq enthusiast, enthusiastically agreed. so our plans were set! alas. Big W had other plans ... plans that involved not serving us mind-confoundingly delicious bbq! plans that resulted in my wife's ferociously giving me the silent treatment for about 100 miles because i should have "called in advance" and because "we could have gone there on saturday instead of traipsing around Cold Spring and buying that ridiculous fucking washboard." [URGENT UPDATE: mrs nice guy wants me to inform you that she never actually uttered the preceding sentence out loud and that my grave editorial misjudgment will be punished with involuntary abstinence until i de-sully her name. she's all good with the washboard! and she only gave me the silent treatment for about 50 miles! sorry for misleading you all!]
all in all, though, i have only this to say: happy anniversary mrs nice guy! my love runs deeper than the hudson river valley and higher than the rockefellers' tallest mountain estate!
(and the next time i do something catastrophically stupid and possibly life-threatening, please remember my lovely five-year surprise to you!)