While in the state that is replete with corn and 90 degree days, the professor and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary.
By ‘celebrated’, I mean I bought myself a pair of $15 earrings at TJ Maxx. Which works out to less than a dollar per year of matrimonial bliss (only slightly less than what Elin Woods will get for her time with Tiger.) I also encouraged the professor to buy himself a ticket for the Twins-Mariners game in Minneapolis. Which is another story, for another day.
My sister and mom kindly supervised our three mild-mannered boys so we could go out to breakfast. Alone. Sparing us from having to dole out mean looks, or speak through clenched teeth, or toss our food in to-go boxes while everyone in the restaurant stares at our familial spectacle.
We went to the nearby Taste Cafe which is one of my favorite places to eat because of their crisp pommes frites with basil aioli, served in cute paper-lined silver tins. But everything else is pretty good, too. My only ‘beef’ with the place is the (almost) entirely dark-brown interior; the result of a rather unfortunate remodel when the restaurant went from breakfast/lunch eatery to all day eatery.
From the dark brown walls, to the panels of dark brown curtains draped just so, it’s ambience by night, oppressive mud bath by day.
Hence we sat outside, where we dined on french toast and omelette and lattes as big as our heads. I actually did shovel most of my food in a to-go box. But because I was stuffed to the gills, not because Jason was throwing a tantrum. After breakfast we stopped at The Fresh Market to pick up some things for lunch.
I used to look down on the city of Indianapolis. Like it wasn’t a real city. Or something. But after spending a few days there, I begun to feel a little green. With envy. Maybe it has something to do with the three blonde boys who seem to be always with me, but suddenly Indianapolis seemed like a thirtysomething mother’s version of utopia. Fabulous children’s museum, zoo, art museum and sculpture garden, outdoor aquatic center, Trader Joe’s, Penzey’s, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Target. Even an indoor inflatable playhouse.
Admittedly, I walked into the thing muttering ‘this is the lowest moment in my life as a mom,’ but the boys loved it. And it was air-conditioned. Who cares if the vinyl air-filled contraptions are all labeled with disturbing signs like ‘don’t use if operator is not on duty’ and assurances that all the equipment has been wiped down with [blank] germicide, which has been proven effective at killing 99.9% of germs.
After my date and I paid for our items at the Market, we lingered briefly at their card kiosk, pointing to anniversary cards we could have gotten for one another. There was a lovely bar mitzvah card which the professor chose for me; offering to scratch out the ‘bar mitzvah’ part and replace it with happy anniversary. There were some really cute handmade cards with tiny birds which I liked, but were probably too feminine for Mr. Johnson. So I ‘settled’ on a plain white card with a vaguely attributed ‘African’ proverb printed in red letters: I am because you are. Which, despite its cheesy slash Oprah overtones, is true in many respects.
We drove back to my sister’s house and gathered our spawn for an outing to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the Tara Donovan exhibit. The professor really wanted to see this particular exhibit, which worried me a little since we usually have wildly divergent tastes when it comes to art.
But Tara Donovan, with her crazy, loopy pen drawings and her Elmer’s glue and electrical-cable-shavings installations, proved a hit with all of us.
It was an auspicious start to what the professor has – optimistically – dubbed ‘the’ good year. As in ‘year fourteen, that’s the good one, right?’ A question he posed to our friends who will soon celebrate their fifteenth anniversary.