So it's been a while since I talked about our finances on here. It's not that I am trying to keep secrets or anything, it's just that you know, it's not the most fun subject. lol And nothing has really changed, other than just getting worse, so I try not to dwell on it too terribly much.
But one can't help but think about finances when a 10th anniversary rolls around. Most of the time we are forcefully content with having to do holidays, birthdays and anniversaries low key - not because it's our personality but because circumstances prevent us from doing anything else. But of course, 10 years is a big deal in terms of a marriage, and because I knew we really couldn't afford to do anything, I was trying for months to not think about it.
But, it's pretty much impossible when facing such a momentous occasion. Hubby and I discussed the options we had, which were basically sucking it up and dipping into one of our emergency funds to afford the gas to go somewhere and camp, because any other option was pretty much out of the question. We desperately wanted some time away from the kids, since that luxury comes so infrequent, it was vital that whatever we decided to do involved driving near the inlaws house so they could watch the kids for us for a day or so.
We had originally settled on camping on the beach in Galveston - something I was very much interested in doing, though knowing in the back of my mind it probably wasn't the most "romantic" option out there. I mean the sand, the heat, the mosquitoes - woo wee!
But faced with very few alternatives, I agreed to it and so that was our plan. My task was to figure out how to pay for it. When my inlaws heard that we were planning to camp, they ever so graciously offered to buy us a night in a hotel instead. They booked us a room at the amazingly beautiful Tremont House Hotel, just off the strand in Galveston.So on Thursday night we drove to Houston and stayed with them, then left the kiddos there and headed to Galveston Friday morning. When we got to Galveston we were famished, so we stopped at the Chili's for lunch.
[Now I am also going to tell you all how we managed to pay for this trip. I have to say one of my better qualities is squirreling things away. hee hee. If I receive a gift of cash or a gift card for my birthday or Christmas or the like, it is very rare that I actually use it right away and instead I hoard it for quite some time. I always hold onto things for just the right moment. So, this year at Christmas, Hubby and I received a couple of gift cards for Chili's from various family members. I had tossed the gift cards into my wallet just before we left and was able buy us lunch on a gift card. We split an appetizer and each had an iced tea (a splurge - I hate ordering iced tea at a restaurant because I know exactly how much it costs them to make it and it irks me that they can charge over $2 for something that costs them less than a penny...but I digress). Lunch=free!]
We sat at a little booth on the far end of the restaurant right next to a side entrance/exit. After a filling lunch we realized we were a bit weary from the travel so we decided to go ahead and check into the hotel.
The Tremont House hotel is amazing! It had probably one of the most beautiful rooms I've ever seen. The room, as with the rest of the hotel, was decorated mainly in black and white; with beautiful white bed linens (the most amazing bed!!! I wanted to take it home) white walls with black stripes, a black rug with white accents on the floor and a very cool black, white and silver bathroom.
I fell in love with the knee to ceiling windows (14 feet!) and those white sheers! I had visions of bridal and boudoir sessions galore! (always the photographer!)We rested in the room for a while and then decided to explore the hotel a little. We found out that it had just reopened that week from last year's Hurricane Ike. The entire 1st floor of the hotel was lost in the flooding. It looks fantastic now!!I got a few shots of the hotel and Hubby taking pics of the hotel and then got bored. lol! We decided to drive around a bit in town and then head over to the Bolivar Peninsula to check things out. In case you didn't know, Bolivar was pretty much wiped out when Ike hit, leaving little to nothing left behind. The devastation was unbelievable, and a mere 9 months later we really wanted to see if any progress had been made. Galveston itself is still heavily under construction, and just driving up and down the streets was interesting.
We knew there would be a line to get on the ferry, but we figured since it was Friday the wait shouldn't be too long.Sadly though, after waiting in line for at least 30 minutes with no end in sight, we started calculating how long it would take us to get over to the peninsula, through it and back to the main land. If we'd stayed on our course we'd be having our anniversary dinner well after 9pm. So we hopped the curb and u-turned out of the line and went back to the gulf shore. We chose instead to drive the seawall and look at some of the remaining damage along there.
This was a boat that was in one of the fenced off areas. We assumed the boats here were either unclaimed or unsalvageable. The name of the boat struck me.
[which one do you like better?]
Then we traveled down to a marina that had a boat "graveyard" of sorts. I couldn't believe how much debris there was, even after 9 months of steady clean up. As we walked around taking it all in, I watched several men unload a boat full of wreckage. They were transferring large waterlogged items from the boat (I presume they were cleaning up the marina stalls) onto a bulldozer. The bulldozer would then drive over to a dumpster and deposit the items. I audibly gasped when I noticed the bulldozer loaded down with, among other things, a baby stroller. I found this baby quilt in a pile of rubble next to where we had parked. It was once beautiful...
[which one do you like better?]
Of course, Hubby got much better pictures of the boats than I did. After exploring there a while, we headed back to the hotel to change and go to dinner. It was so nice to be able to go out without having to worry about high chairs and long waits; we could go where we wanted and wait as long as needed without worry that someone was going to have a melt down. (though I do get whiny if I haven't eaten in a while *wink*)
Anyway, we decided to try out a place called Fish Tails. It is a cute place right on the seawall just across from the old Flagship Hotel (RIP). We got a patio table and enjoyed the breezes coming off the gulf. Surprisingly, the fishy, stale gulf breezes I remember from my youth were no where to be found and instead, everything was nice and clean smelling.
We ordered probably the best thing on the menu as an appetizer, the Shrimp Kisses.Oh yeah. Shrimp stuffed with pepper jack cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Oh baby!
We split a platter and enjoyed the view. My view...And his...
Waaaaay back in February, Hubby's parents had sent us a beautiful card for Valentines. They had enclosed a check so that Hubby and I could go out to dinner. Unfortunately, we didn't have a baby sitter so we opted to cook at home and enjoyed a nice meal with the boys. I had been carrying that money in my wallet along with a little of my Christmas loot so - Dinner = FREE. lol! Love that!
I will stop here and start a new post for the second half of our little getaway as this one is getting way too long.