When was the last time you went on a date, dancing? When was the last time you laughed so hard your sides hurt? When was the last time you heard someone admit something really embarrassing and you found kindred spirit? When was the last time you stalked friends on their way home, made a stop at two stores just to buy winter gloves so you could attack said friends outside their apartment with snowballs?
I can proudly say I accomplished all this and more this weekend and I feel like breaking into “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” but I will spare Aaron as my voice is still raspy from the sickness. It has been a fantastic weekend, and I while I did not accomplish any school tasks, I accomplished some life tasks, and that feels a little more meaningful.
This weekend was Asbury’s couple retreat, themed, “Let the Good Times Roll.” Well, we took that to heart. Aaron and I are both full time grad students and work approx. 45-50 hours between the two of us. The majority of the time we have spent together over the past nine months has been spent on our sectional sofa, books or laptop in hand, sleeping, or so tired all we can do is sit and stare at the TV. So, this weekend at a luxurious hotel, in a suite with a jacuzzi tub big enough to swim in, and 24 whole hours of nothing to do but focus on each other, was a blissful departure from our busy, routined existence.
We came home from work on Friday, decked ourselves out, braved the insane Lexington traffic and impending ‘blizzard,’ and were seated immediately at my favorite restaurant, El Chico’s. After a delectable dinner and devastatingly witty repertoire, we checked in at the DoubleTree Suites and headed to the ballroom (yes dancing!), to seek out friends. The ballroom was packed with study-weary students and their supportive spouses, yet the atmosphere was completely worry-free and you’d never know that most of these people were headed for the ministry; I mean, there was snazzy footwork, delightful banter, and sensational, secular accompaniment! Major highlight: AARON DANCED! Yes, danced, and more than the slow songs! I’m not saying we are auditioning for Dancing With the Stars, but we had fun. We laughed at ourselves and our friends, I mean laughed with our friends. The one downside, apart from sore feet, was that our room was a smoking room and I am very sensitive to smoke, so we went to Rite-Aid and bought a candle and room freshener, (and bubble bath!) The evening ended with glowing praise!
Saturday morning, while I slept in until 9:00, Aaron braved the snow laden streets to go home and let Beau out. When he arrived he noticed footprints in the snow leading to our door. No, we were not robbed. We had asked our kind neighbors to let Beau out if Aaron couldn’t make it back in the morning, and they were just so worried about Beau that they had to check on him! It’s nice having good neighbors these days.
The seminar portion of the retreat was splendid. We heard some hilarious and embarrassing stories, laughed a lot with each other and friends, shared, connected, gained new insights, and renewed some vows to each other before sharing in communion. Our marriage was incredibly blessed by this intentional time. However, I think one of the best parts of the day happened during lunch as we ate with two other couples. Our topics centered on TV shows that ranged from Saved by the Bell to LOST and everywhere in between. We compared theories, such as What is the four-toed statue?, Was Kelly Zach’s constant?, What is did A.C. stand for?, Why did the original mom from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air leave?, Were you a Luke or Christopher supporter?, Should you hand in your Y chromosome if you know more abot Gilmore Girls than your wife?, and many more. We all burned our lunch off from laughing.
The rest of Saturday was peaceful and relaxing, partly because we went home and took a two hour nap and it was 7:30 by the time we got up. We were happy to be home, renewed and rested, and Beau was happy we were there to throw Stretch. Did I mention that it had snowed Friday and Saturday, leaving the bluegrass area blanketed in 4-6 inches of snow?
We took full advantage of this icy ammunition! After having lunch early Sunday afternoon at Applebee’s with Chris and Emily Burkhart and Frank and Andrea Haynes, (the same friends from lunch on Saturday, because we hadn’t seen each other in literally hours,) and quietly rooting for Florida to beat Kentucky, Aaron had a brilliant idea. We would stalk Chris and Emily on their way home and attack them with a barrage of snowballs outside their apartment. One snafu: I only had my nice pair of gloves.
We stealthily drove past the Burkharts as they stopped in at Gamestop to purchase a Playstation 2 controller, and Aaron slowed the car in front of Wal-Mart and I rolled out and ran in to purchase tools. Unfortunately Spring is early in Wal-Mart and I wasn’t about to spend $13 bucks on a pair of water-resistant work gloves. I put the Easter baskets back that I was going to get to hold our ammunition and jumped back in the car. Aaron reported that Chris and Emily had already departed for home. We needed a new plan.
After a quick stop at Wal-Green’s to purchase winter gloves (because it is not yet Spring!), we concocted a fool-proof plan that involved Aaron knocking on their front-door (they use their back one) and running, while I bombarded them from the side of the apartment. Perfect! The snow had begun to melt enough to pack well, and we made sure we didn’t make the snowballs too large or icy (we wanted to surprise them and make them cold, not anger them and cause injury). God even provided a discarded Super Bubble bucket that held a good number of snowballs.
Aaron rang the bell and bolted away, and I waited for the door to open. WHAM! Direct hit on subject Chris Burkhart, and the game was on. Eventually, Emily emerged tentatively from the back and we all engaged in a snowball fight that would have made any nursing home proud! We tired pretty quickly and unlike us, the Burkharts hands were not well covered. So instead, on Emily’s leading, we made various sized snowmen and snowwomen, lined them up along their porch railing, assigned points, and proceeded to take aim at helpless beings. I stress that we took aim! We took turns launching assaults on the snow army, but they stood tirelessly, though maimed and wobbly, and eventually were taken out by a frustrated Chris who knocked all but one lone snowman down with a thrashing of his arm.
Cold, tired, happy, and with wet socks and pant legs, we went inside, had hot, peach tea, and played Lego Star-wars on the playstation. Could it get much better? Yes! We continued to shirk our scholarly responsibilities and went to the movies. For just $5 each we saw Vantage Point and stared in shock as a beloved Dr. Shepherd turned evil (if you haven’t seen the movie, ignore this). We gave it 8 thumbs up, especially because it was short (1 hr. 1/2), which made us feel better about our irresponsibility.
We said our goodbyes and headed home, eventually opening a book or two and returning to normalcy. All in all, it was a five-star weekend that left me smiling and satisfied. I may have only read 10 pages, but I made enough memories to fill a post with over 1300 words. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me!
I wish I had a picture from the snowman debacle, but alas we forgot our camera. So I leave you with a picture of us and the Burkharts from the retreat.