The Romance Blog

It just wouldn’t be fair to have my 20th wedding anniversary go by without blogging about it. I’d have gotten to this before, but Carl and I were busy. I mean, besides that. (Sheesh!) Let me break it down for you by days:

Saturday 12 May: My Mom came up to spend the week with our girls while Carl and I went down to her house for a week’s vacation. I know that sounds weird, but the idea was to take little day trips from her place in the Quad Cities. This was partly her idea: she’d offered in the past to “swap houses” with us, and we finally took her up on her offer. We got down to the Q.C.’s in time for supper. We went to Harris Pizza, which is the best pizza in the world (in my Midwestern opinion).

Sunday 13 May: We went to church with my brother Keith and his wife Cindy, and after church we grabbed a quick lunch then headed to downtown Davenport for the Beaux Arts Festival. Lots of vendors with lots of neat stuff: Carl got me a brushed nickel beaded necklace and a silver and blue bracelet. After walking around the festival we went up into the Skywalk, which crosses over River Drive. It’s a really neat skywalk, with a wonderful view up and down the Mississippi River.

Monday 14 May: We day-tripped up to Galena, IL, a small town on the Mississippi which was named for the lead ore found and mined in the area. Galena has a bunch of eclectic little shops (some more bizarre than others) and some nice restaurants. We ate at a place called Paradise Bar and Grille; the food was excellent. We walked around all the shops and we bought a few things, mostly food: cheeseball/dessert mixes, flavored popcorn, caramel apples, and crackers and cheese. Non-food wise, I bought some brushes that were on clearance; Carl, mushy sweetheart that he is, bought me a Black Hills Gold ring with a blue stone set in it. It’s beautiful, and is a lovely remembrance of 20 years of wedded bliss.

Everyone, all together now…aaaaaawwwww!!!!

Tuesday 15 May: It was cold and rainy, so we stayed in the Quad Cities and went museum hopping. We went to the museum on Arsenal Island first. They had displays of all kinds of ordnance, from Civil War cannons to modern rocket launchers, plus they had histories of what the local people did during the World Wars and how the Arsenal helped America win those wars. It’s a neat place, if you’re in to that kind of history. And the Arsenal has a gun collection (both long guns and hand guns) that spans two long walls, covered with firearms from top to bottom. NOTE: if you’re an anti-Second Amendment liberal, never go there. The place is guaranteed to give you both the hives and the heebie-jeebies. (Personally, I found it fascinating.) The other museum we went to was the John Deere Pavilion in Moline. This was kind of a let down, because they didn’t really discuss the history of the Deere company much. It was mostly just displays of equipment both old and new, and kiosks that explained how Deere is helping to feed and clothe the world. I was hoping for a chronological history presentation, one that incorporated information about the Plow/Planter division that my Dad worked for. But oh well. They had a nice gift shop, but it was really expensive so we didn’t get anything there. Later that afternoon my brother Keith took Carl to Guitar Central, and Carl bought himself a new Breedlove acoustic guitar. I sat and watched while Keith and Carl discussed the instruments at length: at one point, one of the sales clerks asked me if the guys were still talking, and I said “Yeah, but I’d rather have him solving his mid-life crisis with a guitar than a Mustang.” The clerk laughed. NOTE: today was the 1st year anniversary of Boo-Boo’s diabetes diagnosis. She’s doing well so far, but I really wish someone would find a cure. SOON.

Wednesday 16 May: Our actual anniversary date. We went up to Bellevue, Iowa, and walked along the riverfront there. It’s quite pretty. The levee is paved with cobblestones and it’s nicely landscaped. I checked to see if that area had suffered flood damage: it did (in 1993 and 2001) but most of that was below the levee we were walking on. Unfortunately, the antique stores in town were closed. I guess you take your chances before Memorial Day. At lunchtime we bought Subway sandwiches and went up into Bellvue State Park, located on top of the river bluffs. We ate up there, then hiked a couple of trails. We saw some old Indian mounds, and also got a great view of the river from above. After Bellevue we drove down the river to LeClaire, Iowa. We walked around their downtown and checked out the antique shops that were open. I didn’t find anything I really wanted, but I had a neat conversation with the owner of The Captains Wives Antique Shop. We discussed art and antiques while Carl patiently listened. (He is such a saint!) Anyway, after LeClaire we went back to the house, rested a little, then got dressed up and went out to dinner at the Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant. This is a very nice place with great food, however I made the mistake of mentioning that it was our anniversary, so once we’d finished our entrees the wait staff came out with a complementary dessert and sang us a “Happy Anniversary” song to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies. We were not the only ones subjected to this torture: anyone with a birthday got serenaded with birthday song to the tune of The Farmer In The Dell. But the food was so good, it was worth it.

Thursday 17 May: We drove around Grant County, Wisconsin, and checked out some of the little towns up there. First we passed through Dickeyville. There’s an antique mall there, but it opened at 10 AM, and we got there at 9:30 AM (Arg.) Anyway. Next was Potosi/Tennyson, then Platteville. At Potosi we toured the St. John Mine, and at Platteville we toured another mine that was connected to the Rollo Jamison museum. We checked out some shops in Platteville, but they really didn’t have much for antiques. After Platteville we went to Montfort, where we got some cheese (and a “tour through the window” of the cheese factory) some more flavored popcorn, a book and a little toothpick holder shaped like an antique Mason jar. We also got ice cream. After Montfort we went to Muscoda; we thought there were some shops there (the Wisconsin Tourism website said so) but they had nothing, so we wound our way along some country roads to the Spurgeon Vineyards and Winery. Naturally we bought wine there. After that we went through Fennimore (nothing there) then on to Lancaster. By then all the shops were closed, but Lancaster is the county seat and the Grant County Courthouse is a wonderful piece of architecture. Carl got some great photos of that and also of some of the other buildings with cool details. After that, we’d had enough, and we headed home. NOTE: Grant County has some super-beautiful scenery. It was never covered by glaciers, so the county has these huge domed hills all over the place. You’ll find a wide, flat valley with a tiny stream running through it, then suddenly a hill rises off the edge of the valley. There’s no gradual incline to take you to the hill: the hill just suddenly starts from the valley and goes up. Grant County has a bizillion little roads that cut through this countryside, and thanks to the GPS system we got to travel lots of these little roads and thus saw alot of countryside without getting lost. I think the landscape was the best part of the whole trip.

Friday 18 May: Last day of vacation. I was kind of bummed because I hadn’t found any neat antiques, so Carl let me buzz around Davenport by myself while he went over to Keith’s to help him build a retaining wall in his backyard. It was a good trip: at Riverbend Antiques I found a green glass Hoosier-style mixer-thingy, and at Antiques on Brady I found two Hoosier jars with green lids, and a green handled dough cutter. A very successful antiquing trip, finally. After shopping I went back to the house and packed our stuff up, then I drove home. Carl drove home separately from me: we’d brought down our F-150 to loan to Keith for his landscaping work, and while he has Carl’s pickup Carl has Keith’s Jeep. (Whhhheeeeeeeee!!!!)

The last thing I want to mention is how nice my Mom made this week for us. Not only did she watch over our girls, she made us some embroidered heart-shaped ornaments and put them in a basket with some chocolates and put it on our bed. She had a book of our wedding pictures laid out, and she’d bought some champagne and other goodies and left them in the fridge. Carl and I had a fantastic week – relaxing, unstressing and totally romantic. How romantic? I’m not going to tell you.

I have to leave some things to your imagination.

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