The combined birthday and wedding anniversary surprise weekend organised by Mr. S. last weekend featured sanding, painting and trotting around Ikea. It must be love, or otherwise I must be mad, but this week I can't stop smiling.
On my 46th birthday last May Mr. S. solemnly declared he was going to book us a weekend away. We were to go somewhere fun and exciting just the two of us. He told me September, but then got operated on his ankle and couldn't see himself hopping around on crutches in some far away and exotic place. All right, October then. Since 14 October 2014 was our 14th wedding anniversary, October seemed a good idea.
In the meantime, however, we bought a house. The same house we have been renting for over a year now and still has the washing machine in the middle of the landing, ill fitted curtains in my bedroom, lights that don't work, a huge climbing frame in the garden and boxes everywhere. So, instead of going away, he proposed a DIY weekend. No children allowed.
Except for the fact that the 13yo has a hockey camp and needs to come home on Friday night, which Mr. S. only tells me about on Wednesday night. So instead of going out, we stay in. And because we are fairly tired from traipsing around the Dutch equivalent of B&Q and lugging paint, wood, nails, light bulbs and countless other thing inside, we just have crisps, beer, some French cheese, crackers and garlic bread for dinner.
It is great. We completely pig out and not a single child in sight to tell us off. Just like the old days! Unfortunately Mr. S. chooses this moment of beer and carbohydrate fuelled euphoria to tell me he originally planned to take me to Rome. Rome! I would have loved to go to Rome, enjoy a balmy night under the Italian stars, eating delicious food, sleeping in an ancient palazzo.
Instead we decide to have an early start on Saturday to make the most of our child-free DIY weekend. And we do. I sand and paint a new storage 'solution', Mr. S. fits the washing machine, replaces lamps, hangs curtain rails and even offers to go back to the DIY store, because I forgot to buy enough paint brushes.
A good two hours later and with a triumphant look on his face Mr. S. walks back in. I had almost given up on him. He, however, bought himself an electric saw. In fact he bought himself the best sawing machine money can buy. Wonderful! Just what we need.
Around six we call it a day. I put on my high heels and some lippy, whilst Mr. S. manages to find a clean pair of jeans and a semi-presentable shirt. We drive to Amsterdam, have a beer on the waterfront, whilst watching an incredible sunset. We then go on to a tiny French restaurant where we have the most fabulous food and wine ever, followed by some more wine at home. We literally talk for hours. What a lovely night,
It was in fact such a lovely night that even a slightly hang over visit to Ikea the next day, can't dampen my spirits. We don't buy anything, as halfway the ubiquitous route through furniture hell Mr. S. decides he is going to make me a desk himself. Which he does. Now all it needs is about four coats of paint.
I also need to make some curtains, tidy the whole house top to bottom, drive to the tip at least three times and fit twenty hours of painting around my day job. When our modest Dutch palazzo is ready, Mr. S. and I will go to Rome. Or we'll go and sit on a mountain top somewhere, enjoying the view doing nothing at all. I doubt though whether we'll have as much fun as we did this weekend. Turning our house into a home.