If you're someone who hates Valentine's Day or cute stories about couples being cute, abandon ship now because this is a sappy post.
I started off Valentine's weekend in pain. I was coming down from the kidney stone extravaganza on Friday, when that afternoon I began having horrible cramps in my abdominal muscles and a pounding headache that just wouldn't go away. By 3 p.m., I asked if I could leave work early because I felt like my insides were going to explode and I couldn't sit up in my desk chair any more. I don't know what came over me, but I assumed it was the antibiotics since I had already passed the stone by this point. How I managed to drive myself home, I don't remember.
I clawed my way into bed and wrapped myself in as many heating pads we had in the house - two - and tried to sleep. Sleeping made me feel a lot better and before long Tad was dancing with me in the kitchen before we settled down enough to watch a movie... and this is the part of the weekend where our friends tell us we turned 50.
The movie I chose On Demand was Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn's debut film set in Rome (really, they showed a disclaimer at the beginning that said "This entire film was shot in Rome"). Neither of us had seen it, but it was adorable and hilarious. An American journalist take a princess from a far away land out on the town in Rome. Simple. Sweet. And nothing beats 24 year-old Hepburn beating a man over the head with a guitar as one of the guys yells out, "Hit 'em again, Smitty!"
Saturday, I slipped on my new red dress and Tad donned a coat and purple Jerry Garcia tie before we headed out to D.C. as was the plan for Valentine's Day. Metroing to Foggy Bottom, he convinced me to walk to Georgetown despite my two-and-a-half inch gold heels and numerous offers to split the cab fare. He has a way of making me want to prove to him I’m not a wuss. That, and this unspoken "anything you can do, I can do better" complex we share.
We made it to Paolo's on Wisconsin off M just in time for dinner and for my feet to rest. We determined nine couples after Tad suggested we play "count the couples" game before we were seated at a table for two across from the kitchen. Paolo's is a place my family used to go to for lunch every time we visited D.C. when I was younger so I was very excited to take Tad there for his first meal. I'm sorry to say I don't think he got a great first impression.
The food was delicious, but surprisingly the service was terrible. One waitress came to get our drink order, another waiter apologized for the wait and came to get our food order two minutes later. After that, a different waiter brought each dish. My lobster risotto had to have been for another table because it came seconds after I ordered it, while Tad's steak bruschetta came almost 20 minutes later - which ended up being a slab of meat on a piece of bread. Nothing bruschetta about it. My Chianti was brought half way through my entree and they completely forgot the palette cleansing sorbet between servings (as was stated in the prie fix menu, I'm not that much of a snob). My water glass was only filled after I set it on the edge of the table and giggled my ice around. I understand the restaurant business is suffering horribly in the recession, but it was a disappointment to see no extra effort on such a special holiday evening rush - especially with two managers working the floor - when they clearly weren't under staffed.
Check paid, we hurried out the door back towards M street and were Kennedy Center bound. Offering again complaints of my shoes and to pay for a cab, Tad pulled out walking directions and smiled at me before replying, "Oh come on, it's a nice night. Let's walk."
Carefully maneuvering through adorable brick-lined neighborhoods (who knew such cute row houses were on 25th street?) and only semi-getting lost but accidentally finding the Watergate (+1), we finally saw the grand marble building with the bronze columns. We were shown to our seats and settled in right as the lights dimmed. The sounds of the National Symphony Orchestra were soothing and breath-taking; I'm always so humbled by musical talent because it was never something I could master. Later, that calm was turned into cackles as the Smothers Brothers took the stage - another first for Tad and I (I had just bought the tickets because the NSO was playing, we had no idea who the Smothers Brothers were). They were hilarious and much like the gaffs back and forth on Prairie Home Companion that we had listened to with our parents growing up.
Strolling out into the bitter cold and eyeing the long lines for cabs and metro buses, Tad said, "Come on, let's walk." Back past the Watergate and up 25th street to Foggy Bottom we went, as I walked like a toddler trying to lightly stumble through the pains in my feet. By the time we made it home, I had six blisters but I can proudly say had walked over three miles in high heels. As my mom said, Thatta girl!"
Sunday was lazy as they're meant to be. I drove home to meet the newest addition of the Effron family: Ollie, a young male long-haired dachshund that leaped into my arms and feel asleep before I had even said hello. I thought my mom had turned into the crazy dachshund lady given that this is the third one now, but it's so easy to see why she fell in love with him, as we all have.
Coming back up, I spoiled Tad with mom's pork and sour kraut leftovers as well as boxes of girl scout cookies she had surprised me with. So from cramps to cookies - all in all it was a fabulous weekend and looking back on it, the walks in those heels with Tad's arm looped through mine was the part where I laughed the most.
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