Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It's Raining, It's Pouring
So, Jared & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at the beginning of the month (as you already know if you read my blog.) We were determined to do something to celebrate it that involved leaving our kiddos with someone else, but as it approached we could think of lots of other things that we needed to spend our money on more than a getaway to somewhere fabulous. We have always been full tithe payers, but have lately been really asking the Lord to "open the windows of heaven and pour [us] out a blessing." (Malachi 3:10)
So, regarding this wedding anniversary, it seems that tithing blessings kicked in to make it nicer that the money we had to spend on it. First, I received a gift card in the mail (as a thank you for helping with Laura's wedding) to the Cheesecake Factory, a chain restaurant we enjoy, which we used on the night of our actual, mid-week, anniversary. We were out $18 for a babysitter, but not bad for an evening out sans children.
Then, we remembered that we had already paid several months ago for a night at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco. We'd stayed there once before and I loved the location and the bedding--those people know their linens! So we decided to go for one night and stay there, then spend all day Saturday in SF before going home. Not an entire weekend getaway, but still a nice break from the routine. Plus, we spent three days of our honeymoon in SF so it seemed appropriate. Total cost (now) on the room for us: 13 cents for some random tax.
Then, Jared's patient who owns a limo service and trades with us from time to time asked Jared if he'd like to use the limo again. So, at no cost to us (except the trade) we got a ride into town and to dinner on Friday night, then picked up again on Saturday evening to go home. That meant no gas, no tolls, and no ridiculous SF parking (our hotel alone charged over $30 per night for parking.) Even the tip was part of the trade. Cha-ching. (Special bonus: no bickering over directions as we navigate a lesser-known city--priceless.)
We hit up Jared's parents to watch the boys while we were gone and paid them later in chocolate. Not a bad deal (for us, that is.) The boys can't wait for us to leave again, since Grammy and Papa took them to the circus and they had a marvelous time.
We went to dinner Friday night at a favorite Italian place, Lupa Trattoria in Noe Valley. We love their food and they always treat you like old friends, even if it's your first visit. The owner and chef actually greeted us at the door! (The photo to the left is of our appetizer--bosc pears wrapped in marscapone, then in prosciutto. Very good.)While we were eating some other patrons nearby kept ogling Bronwen (yes, we did take the baby--it was asking too much to leave her with the grandparents when she's still positively awful on a bottle.) They came up at one point and told us how much they missed their children's baby days--all teenagers now, of course. Later (after they'd had a bit too much wine,) one of them came back over and asked to touch her hair and showed us pictures of his children, etc. etc. Much to our surprise, when it was time to pay, the server announced that our bill had been taken care of by the other table! Chalk another one up for tithing!
The next day we wandered through the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is a foodie's paradise. On Saturday mornings there is a local farmer's market there, and inside the Ferry Building there are all sorts of specialty shops for artisan cheeses, wines, chocolates, breads, oils, pastries, and flowers. We sampled a few different things there and then made our way down the Embarcadero towards Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf (yes, totally touristy, but it was all within walking distance and it's fun to do once in a while.)
Among other things on the Pier we stopped to talk to the market researchers there and Jared qualified to do a one hour fast food taste test for a $100 pay out. At first, we thought we would both get to do it, but having the little tyke along was a problem, so I found a quiet spot to feed her while Jared did the taste test. I felt bad for him having to fill up on fast food when we were eating our way through town, but he was willing to take one for the team. (In the end they didn't need him, but paid him anyway, so he only spent 20 minutes and didn't have to sample any gross fish sandwiches, McRibs, or new-fangled fast food salads.)
All in all, we had a lovely time. We did a lot of walking, ate some of our favorite San Francisco food, enjoyed the out of doors and a Saturday that wasn't full of laundry, grocery shopping, and vacuuming. We ate in nice restaurants, picked up a few things shopping (including a "genuine" Coach wallet for $10, a gorgeous hand-silk-screened shirt sold on the street, lots of overpriced chocolate, and some used books from Helper's Bazaar, (where I got to meet the locally famous fashionista and philanthropist Joy Bianchi. She said, "You're a book person? I like book people. Come next door and let me show you some really special things." Next door, I got to see the upscale version of her shop, with vintage couture dresses, hats, and jewelry. When I googled it later, I found that was even cooler than I knew at the time.) And we did all of this for very little cash out of pocket.
Let's hear it for tithing!