The Weekend

Guess what day it is? It’s the day before my new violin arrives!

Well, to be honest, it might not be new and its certainly not mine. Even though I have wanted to play the violin for years and years now, I still have a little bit of anxiety about whether I will ACTUALLY be able to do it, so instead of purchasing an expensive instrument right off the bat, I rented one from a local music store for four months. After the four months I can keep renting it at a higher price, return it and get another one to keep as mine, or I can give up altogether. I left myself an out, just in case.

I’ve been studying the book I bought, I get it all pretty good until third finger and half steps, but once I start my weekly lesson I think it will make more sense. My goal until my first lesson is just not to learn anything the WRONG way.

It was only after the violin was on order that I was like, WAIT, how do I take care of a violin? What’s the correct violin posture? I had to spend an evening googling everything I ever wanted to know about violins. I’m like, practically an expert now. (wink, wink)

We went to the music store last weekend. It was a date weekend. J and I were supposed to go to the lake, we usually always try to go at the beginning of April, but the roads are not plowed way up there in the north woods and it decided to keep being winter forever in MN this year. After the third pretty significant snow in a row we decided we better not risk it. We’ve been stuck, more than one Spring, on the road to the lake, and neither of us thought that would be very much fun in the bitter cold. That meant we had a three-day weekend to plan any way we wanted.

After the music store, which was first on the list, we went to lunch at this woodfire pizza place in our city which has won tons of awards but which we leave every time thinking, “I don’t know why we go there.” It always seems like a good idea but the pizza is always smushy in the middle and who likes uncooked pizza dough?

We left there planning to head over to Home Depot and get some paint chips (Hey, redecorating is romantic, ok?) but then I saw that the local antique store was open. This was miraculous because I have lived in this town for 25 years and I have never been inside that store. They are never open when I can go.

Now, I am not a big antique-er. I do collect some unique green glass bottles and also there is this autumn foil dish pattern that I have been collecting for Thanksgiving dinners but other than that, I usually just look around and leave empty handed.

When I said I wanted to run in quick J said, “Really? I thought you didn’t like antiques?”

We made a deal that I would run inside and he would wait in the truck. But then I don’t know, he got bored or thought he was missing out on something and pretty soon I saw him sneak in the back door. It turned out he might have been there to stop me from buying everything.

“Look at this box!” I would exclaim, several times over, “This is a perfect kindling box for up north, I’ve been looking everywhere!”

We primarily use birch bark to start campfires, which we collect from the firewood or the trails or the national forest abandoned logging sites. The problem is that while we’re not there, it rains and snows and our birch bark gets all wet and soggy. I’ve been on the lookout for a box that will keep the weather out but isn’t TOO nice because its going to sit outside in all the elements. I found a perfect tin box.

J promptly came over, looked at the thirty-dollar price tag and declared that the box was probably worth five dollars.

“You don’t understand,” I said, “I could not even find one on Amazon.” That is saying something these days, right? If you can’t even find it on Amazon?

Then, lo and behold, we found a bellows. A little one. Compact. J even pointed it out to me. While we’re up north trying to get the soggy birch bark to light, J is blowing and blowing and blowing on the fire. Blowing until he gets dizzy and practically falls over. I’ve been threatening to get a bellows for years now. But then J, his delight fading fast, looked at the price tag. No, he said seriously, we could not pay that much for a bellows and even if I bought it he was not going to use it. IN FACT, he likes blowing on the fire until he passes out!

So, I left the antique store with a new green glass bottle for my shelf, but nothing else.

At first opportunity, I’m going back for both the box, and the bellows, and also this cute little shadow box I found with some vintage ribbon wrapped around old spools. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 25 years before I catch them open again!

Then, finally, we did make it to Home Depot for the paint chips. Or rather, I looked at paint chips and J looked at guy stuff. (Insert that noise Tim the Tool Guy used to make)

We went home and watched the last regulation Wild game of the year, even though it wasn’t on until 9:30 at night, because we’re that kind of fans.

In the morning, I made a good breakfast, like I would make at the lake. My signature French toast (Of which one of Bunny’s friends once said, “This is the best French toast I have ever had in my life”) and bacon and scrambled eggs. We ate ourselves stuffed and then J announced that I had one hour to get ready because we were going to a play.

We went to see “He Loves Me” at a local theater and it was fabulous. There was a last-minute cancellation so we had excellent seats and the acting and singing and props and costumes were all extraordinary. But the best part, actually, was during a song that one of the lesser characters sang later in the play. At a certain part of the song he switched to the demeanor, voice, and face expressions that reminded me so much of Robin Williams. It was only a small part of the song but it caught me and from then on, he was my favorite actor in the whole play.

I saw some girls from high school across the theater at intermission.

“Dammit,” I said, snuggling into J, “there are some girls from high school over there.”

“Why are you trying to avoid them?” he asked.

BECAUSE HIGH SCHOOL WAS ONE OF THE WORST TIMES OF MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE, I thought, but I said, “I’m not sure really, I just don’t want to talk to them.”

I managed to avoid them entirely, even in that small venue, or maybe they were trying to ignore me as much as I was ignoring them. Whatever. Win/win!

After the play we went to a restaurant we had not been to for a long time, and I had the pan-fried walleye, which is always the best. If you ever come to Minnesota, try the walleye. Pan fried, though, not deep fried. Good fish does not need to meet the deep fryer, ever.

We topped our date weekend off with some new kitchen cabinet and flooring shopping. Mostly looking, trying to narrow down what we like and come to an agreement. It’s the “come to an agreement” part that’s been giving us the most trouble so far.

An elderly gentleman who worked for me once said, “The true test of a marriage is to build a house together.”

I know quite a few people who built a house together and then still got divorced so I am not sure that is the best measure of the strength of a marriage, but I learned this weekend what he meant. I also learned that someone who doesn’t even care if we get new cupboards still totally has an opinion on which cupboards. Who knew?

As dates go, it was a pretty sweet one.

Oh, and did I mention, my new violin arrives tomorrow!

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