Friday, March 12, 2010

Travel and Romance

By Robin Kaye

For those of you who haven’t been following the blog long, you probably don’t know that my husband is not the most romantic guy. Actually, I usually say he’s about as romantic as a stump, and really, what’s romantic about a stump? Nothing. Now don’t get me wrong, he has other great qualities—he’s a Domestic God after all, which in my book, counts for a lot. However, when it comes to the cards, flowers, chocolate, and gifts thing he’s so not into it. For Valentine’s Day this year, I received a kiss and an “I love you.” Although nice, it’s no big whoop since I get those the other 364 days of the year too. Still, there was one day in our twenty + years of marriage that he actually did something romantic. In fact six years later, I’m still pinching myself. Really. Though after such a huge success, I think he’s under the misconception that he’s still on the positive side of the romance-meter, and according to his calculations, is good for the next nine years.

At the time, our children were 11, 9, and 7 years old. My DG and I had never been away from them any longer than overnight–not at the same time at least. Well, that’s not exactly true, there was the time we moved across country and drove the moving van with our car and dog in tow—which I can attest is the least romantic thing imaginable.

My husband had a conference at Disney World and thought, since he already had a hotel room paid for, that I should come along and we could spend the evenings together. I called Nancy, my dear friend in Seattle, and asked if she would come stay with the kids for a week so Stephen and I could have a semi-vacation together. I sent her a ticket to Maryland, and she flew down a week before the conference so we could spend some time together and she could get to know the lay of the land so to speak.

The morning after Nancy arrived, Hurricane Ivan was heading toward Florida, and Stephen learned that the conference was canceled. He called to give me the bad news just as I was leaving for the gym. Needless to say, I didn’t take the news very well. I think my exact words were “I don’t care if we have to stay at a Motel 6, we are going somewhere.” He asked where I wanted to go, and being the smart-ass that I am, I said “Europe is lovely this time of year.” I hung up on Stephen, cutting off his raucous laughter…

I dragged my butt to the gym to meet with my trainer, who I not-so-affectionately called Nazi Kevin and spent my time doing dead-lifts, sweating, and cursing under my breath since I really hate sweating, when an announcement came over the loud speaker that I had a phone call. The normal heart attack ensued, after all, I was out of breath, sweating, my heart rate was already in the danger zone, and the only good excuse I knew should interrupt my half-hour of extremely expensive torture was that someone I knew must have dropped dead. Dread followed me up the steps on silly putty legs, where I was able to take the call in an office. I wiped the sweat from my brow, took a deep breath, and asked who died? Stephen said that no one had died, and quickly covered his ass by asking, “How does Paris sound?” After assuring me that it was in fact Paris, France, he was talking about, I told him that Paris sounded amazing. He asked “How does Paris sound leaving from Philadelphia airport at 7:00 this evening?” I told him it was doable. Definitely doable.

By this time, it was about 10 AM, and we had to leave the house by 3:00. I ran home, dragged my poor, jet-lagged friend, Nancy, out of bed, and proceeded to take her to all three of my children’s schools. I pulled them out of class, told them Mommy and Daddy loved them and we were leaving for Paris. I re-introduced them to Nancy, who they hadn’t seen her in over a year, and then took Nancy on a brief tour of the area pointing out the hospital, the kids’ doctor’s office, the veterinarian, and the grocery store. When we arrived back at the house at noon, I wrote all the notes she needed in case of emergency, packed for both my DG and myself, and Stephen and I were out the door by three.

We stayed at an amazing 4-star hotel in a beautiful section of Paris, right on St. Germain (just two blocks off the Sein.) We had no plans, the only thing I insisted we do was to go to the Museum D’Orsay—my favorite museum in the world. We did that and so much more. We walked through almost every neighborhood in Paris, and laughed our way through the Sex Museum, checked out Moulin Rouge, and climbed to the top of Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. And I’m not talking about just the steps, which were bad enough. I’m talking about the top of the dome through a dark and scary stairway —being married to a builder does have its downside.
We walked along the Champs-Elysees and stopped for espresso and gelato on the grand boulevard. Even though I despise crowded elevators, I showed my husband how much I adore him by going up two, count them two, very crowded elevators to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower to look down at the City of Love.

We ate at romantic cafés, walked through Pere Lachaise Cemetery on the only cloudy, drizzly day we had, and visited the graves of Oscar Wilde,

Marcel Proust, Édith Piaf, Théodore Géricault,
Isadora Duncan, and Sarah Bernhardt.

We took in the Louvre and did our best to cross every bridge over the Sein.

It was an amazing trip but by far the best thing about spending five glorious days in Paris, the City of Love, with my husband was that I remembered why I fell in love with him fifteen years before. I just hope it doesn’t take me another nine years before I can do it again.


  1. I loved your post. I do have to admit that was a very wonderful thing for you DG to do. See they can be taught! Here's hopin' that he sees the light and does something else as amazing as the trip to Paris. You are a lucky lady! Pet him on the head for me and say..."Good Boy"...what's next?LOL

  2. LOL, Jessica! I'll try that. Wish me luck.

  3. What a great story! And your hubby is a pretty nice guy.

    I'd extend his contract for another year.

  4. Lovely post, Robin. My first thought was Paris, Texas. Not the same at all. :)

  5. Lucky you, Robin! I've never crossed the Atlantic. Hope to do that someday and see what's over there.

    Great post! Your DH is not only a domestic god, he's a SPONTANEOUS TRAVEL GOD!!!

  6. Wonderful post. Sounds like a great trip. Men can do some amazing things at times.

  7. Wonderful post Robin. I can see how he thinks his romance bank is still in the black LOL. He is so cute & so are you.

  8. Robin--this is AMAZING! I can see why Stephen thinks he's in the green still for being romantic :)Paris is a truly magical place, and I can't wait until I get to back there!

    Me and my bf (no DH yet, lol!!) are taking a trip in a couple of weeks to NYC for 8 days. He's never been, and I've been aching to go back.

  9. Maria~ I agree, his contract is extended. I know that as soon as the funds appear, we'll be taking another trip together since he had as wonderful a time as I did. I'm looking forward to showing him around Italy.

    Terry ~ That was exactly my first thought too...well, after I found out that no one had died, that is. *grin* I don't look good in cowboy hats.

    Cheryl~ LOL, I can't wait to tell Stephen he's got a new moniker.

    Mason~You're so right. Men can do some amazing things sometimes. I just wish he'd do the good amazing things a bit more often.

    Hi Mary~ I really am still pinching myself and I totally agree with you, he's really cute, as for me...not so much but thanks!

    Danielle~ Have a great time in NY! I'm so jealous, I need to get my Brooklyn fix soon. It's been way too long.

  10. I'm sure Paris is gorgeous but after 6 years with my DH, my idea of romantic has become, "Why don't we order out?" I've learned to take my romance where I can get it, and because the kids and DH and I are on different diet/dinner schedules, I make 2 dinners a night every night. Just one break from that once in a while, and the kids are lucky they don't find my undies on the chandelier in the morning.

    Gorgeous pics, Robin! Thanks for sharing! Glad to hear you had a great time! Maybe you could leave prints of your trip on the table and when he gets home, sigh longingly. Or just a flat-out hint. It doesn't have to be Paris. Atlantic City is nice this time of year too!

  11. Carla~ You really should give us a spew alert before saying things like that! Thank God I had just swallowed a big gulp of luke-warm coffee. I'd be thrilled with an annual trip to Brooklyn. Sigh...maybe if we get a tax rebate.

  12. Robin, I can see why you married him now. What a lovely--and totally unexpected--gesture. Even if it is another nine years before he makes another grand gesture, just imagine what it will be. Rome? Moscow? Prague?

    And now I want to go to Paris again.

  13. Robin,
    Wow, that definitley is a doozy. Paris for a week! I think that'd buy romance for a couple of years. I agree, now, he's coming due. *G* I can't wait to hear what the next trip will be! :)


  14. I love this story! (I also love the concept of being married to a Domestic God... Could you send him my way and let me borrow him for a weekend?)

    With the Paris trip, I love that he was so romantic and spontaneous, but I also love that he actually asked you rather than kidnapping you. Once upon a time, I was kidnapped by my sweetie. We were both in graduate school and he picked me up as usual after my last Friday class. But he didn't drive home, he headed off in another direction. I asked where we were going and he refused to say. Eventually, it became clear. We were heading to a wonderful rustic resort (Point No Point) a couple of hours outside Victoria, BC, with log cabins (fireplaces, of course!) beside the most lovely west coast beach. He'd packed food, wine, clothes, candles -- and the schoolwork that I was doing.

    Yeah, I was in the middle of something and couldn't actually take an entire weekend off, and he knew that, so it was considerate that he thought to bring my work. But on the other hand, if he'd asked ahead of time if it was doable, I could have worked like crazy and cleared my plate for the weekend. So, while I loved the romantic gesture, I'd actually have preferred it if he'd given me a little prep time. (There's just no pleasing a woman, is there?)

    BTW, because I truly love the romance of travel, I'm writing a series called Wild Ride to Love. It's a sexy "planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship" - with each book's romance occurring on one of those modes of transportation.

  15. Robin, that is the most wonderful, wonderful story--and told with your usual eye to the humor of it all.

    I agree, you shouldn't have to wait nine years, but you'll have to admit, he rang the bell on the romance meter so many times on that one trip--if y'all had been at a fair, he would have walked away with all the prizes from every single booth.

  16. What a great story, and the pictures...Wow!

    Yeah, I'd keep him.

  17. Robin, what a great story - and great photos, too. I'd say he's a keeper!
    And hey, everybody looks good in a cowboy hat:)

  18. Great Post. If only men would learn that proving they can be romantic doesn't mean they don't have to do it anymore. Granted, I'd be happy if my husband would vacuum. I'd find it very romantic.

  19. Keena~

    I want to go to Paris again too, but Stephen's never been to Italy and I think he'd really enjoy it. So, next trip I'm hoping to hit the homeland. It doesn't hurt that I still have cousins there.

    Cathy- I agree, he definitely is a real keeper. You gotta love a Domestic God with good travel planning skills.

    Hi Diana~ I'll keep you posted.

    Susan~ Love the idea of your series! It sounds fabulous, but then all your books are...fabulously hot!

    Mary Margaret ~ He did good, and really, he usually does, just not in a very romantic way. He's wonderful. I'm sure when money isn't so tight and the kids are out of the house, we'll do a whole lot of traveling.

    Anita - Thanks, I think I will.

    Joanne~ About the cowboy hat...I look seriously weird in a cowboy hat. I think it's all the chins. *grin*

  20. Hi Laviana~

    I think vacuuming is sexy as apposed to romantic, but either way, I like it just fine.

  21. Yay, Stephen! Great move. I'll have to remember that he's capable of that when you turn him over to me. Our deal is still in effect, right?? I'm in Phoenix this weekend with my DH. Looking forward to some pool time.

  22. Wow, I didn't even get a Happy Valentine's Day.

    I think the most romantic thing dh ever did was bring me a dozen green carnations and a jar of kosher dills for St. Patrick's Day(he was 17 at the time). That was 21 years ago.

    I love your Paris story. I bet he was pretty darn pleased with himself too. He was probably chanting "I'm the man" to himself the whole trip.

  23. Robin,
    That was a wonderful story! Paris! Wow! When he gets it right--He really gets it right! Thanks for sharing.


    LOL! Now aren't you glad you didn't go to Disney World? And the D'Orsay is my favorite museum too! Love those Impressionists!

    I was prepared to NOT like Paris the first time I went, but the place is just too beautiful not to love it. :-) I think you'll feel the same way about Rome, Robin. I do, and I don't have a drop of Italian blood in me! Hope you get to visit Italy soon!


  25. What a fun, romantic vacation! Make sure your husband knows he's contractually obligated to do it again within the next two years.

    The biggest advantage of being a childless-by-choice couple with a family connection to cheap airfare (aunt who's a retired Delta employee) is that we get to do a lot of last-minute travel. It's not uncommon for one of us to say "want to go to Barbados on Monday?" when it's late on a Friday afternoon. Of course the downside is that we often don't know whether we'll make it on the flight (flying standby and all) so we have spent more than our fair share of romantic nights sleeping on an airport floor.

    Love the blog post! Can't wait to hear more about everyone else's travel adventures.


  26. Fabulous! I can't believe you pulled off a trip to Paris in 5 hours! That alone deserves a medal!!

    Dream vacation. Wow! I think Stephen is partly right in that taking you to Paris stores up the romantic bank account!

    Thanks for sharing, Robin. The photos made me drool.

  27. Wow - what a fun surprise. I bet it was even more fun because you didn't have plans and could just enjoy!

  28. Marie~ Enjoy Phoenix! I wish I had some time in the sun.

    Renee~LOL I Love it! Green carnations and dills! Too cute!

    Amelia~ He certainly got it right that time.

    Cindy~ I loved Paris both times I went and I loved Rome, too. Stephen though hasn't been so he's really looking forward to it. It might be a while though.

    Tawana~ Barbados on Monday sounds great. I think it's wonderful that you and your DH take advantage of your freedom and I can't help but be just a little jealous.

    Linda~ Definitely a good boy.

    Sharon ~ It was amazingly easy. There was no shopping for a month before hand, and really, I never got why people did that. I just packed what I had, (Thank God I love Chico's so everything matched) and got the heck out of Dodge.

    Amanda~ It was absolutely the best vacation ever because we hadn't spent 6 months planning it, we weren't disappointed that we didn't get to do certain things, we took time and just walked around exploring. It was delightful and actually really inexpensive because of the last minute plans.

  29. Great post, Robin, and what a wonderful surprise it turned out to be. Loved the photos!