How I Didn't Get My Way, Had a Minor Meltdown, Learned an Important Life Lesson and Walked a Goat on a Leash.

Sometimes "sports" are less about athletics and more about how we should always try to be good ones. Even when you really don't wanna.
Publish date:
August 2, 2011
relationships, crying, wine, learning experience, ziplining, kayaking, whale watching

I’ve kind of decided most of you aren’t on the edge of your seat dying to know my opinion about everything that’s going on the NFL right now -- Randy Moss retiring (already?); the Eagles getting Nnamdi Asomugha (boo); Frank Gore ending his holdout (finally); Reggie Bush traded to the Dolphins (interesting) -- so instead of boring you with that (too late?), I made up my mind to write about my exciting weekend adventure: Ziplining through the California Coastal Redwoods.

When the boyfriend told me he wanted to go to Bodega Bay for his birthday, I took it upon myself to plan every detail and throw in a few surprises to keep things interesting. I’m literally such a dork that I wrote out numerous sets of directions labeling them “First stop,” “Saturday afternoon,” “Sunday morning” without places or names so that I’d be certain to keep everything a secret until we arrived at our destination. Sure, he’d requested a mellow weekend without any plans, BUT WHAT’S THE FUN IN THAT?

For our first surprise stop, I ushered him out of the house at 1 p.m. on Friday. As you can see in my directions, our destination was 66 miles away or an hour and 40 minutes in the car. Plenty of time to make our 3 p.m. reservation, right?

When we hit the first insane patch of traffic, I started getting agitated. About an hour into the trip, when we’d only gone 25 miles, I was full on freaking out, but still trying to pretend like I actually didn’t care at all, since he had no idea we had anywhere to be.

“Hey, let me see those directions,” he said.

“Why?” I asked, my defense mechanisms showing a side that hadn't been seen since teenage therapy.

“I just want to see them,” he replied.

And even though this was a totally normal request, I panicked that if he saw the directions, he’d figure out we weren’t going straight to Bodega Bay, so instead I literally said, “Why do you have to see the directions? DO YOU NOT TRUST ME?"

“I just want to see if we are going to go near my friend’s farm in Sebastapol. I'm thinking we could stop by and see them. Can I just see the directions, please?”


I mean, does this sound like a start to the best birthday weekend EVER or what? I know. Best. Girlfriend. Ever!

Forty miles, one covert (and desperate) phone call, and tons of insane traffic later, I pulled the car into the Sonoma Canopy Tours parking lot at the exact time we were scheduled to fly out of our first tree.

“We’re going ziplining,” I said as I searched for a space in the parking lot that was also the meeting place for the largest Christian Asian camping trip ever. “That’s your surprise. YOU PROBABLY DON’T EVEN LIKE IT. [….] Do you like it?”

Of course, there wasn’t time to actually hear his answer because I was slamming the car door shut and rushing to find someone -- anyone! -- who could get us up in those goddamn trees.

“I’m sorry,” the tour guide who was waiting to take the next group said. “Your group is already gone. And this next and last group for the day is full.”

“But…but…” my eyes welled up with tears. “It’s his birthday.”

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “But you can reschedule. We’ll even waive the fee since it's for a special occasion.”

At this point, I knew my one job was to hold it together and not get upset about something that was totally (mostly) out of my control. Crying and pouting were the worst possible things I could do if I wanted to ensure the boyfriend’s birthday weekend was off to a great start.

I'm *pretty* sure we all know what happened next.

“I hope their zip line breaks,” I muttered through the tears I couldn’t even hide because I left my sunglasses in the car in the hopes that we were, you know, GOING ZIPLINING. Because wishing death upon innocent strangers is a total rational way to vent about not getting your way. I totally recommend it if you want to seem incredibly unbalanced and potentially psychotic!

“You know the saying, ‘It’s the thought that counts?’” the boyfriend asked. “It exists for a reason. I’m just so happy that you went out of your way to plan something for me. I don’t care that we can’t do it today. Now I have something to look forward to!”

(I should probably keep him, huh?)

And yet, still, the tears … they came. They came while we went to the office to reschedule. They kept coming when we walked back to the car. They didn’t stop when I got in the driver’s seat and they were still there when I got back on the road. Not like weeping tears, mind you; I’m not that ridiculous. Just a steady stream of, oh, excuse me please while I wipe away another tear (or seven) every thirty seconds. Just enough tears to unfortunately rationalize Coldplay's new (stupid) radio single. Go me!

I don’t know what convinced grown-up Daisy to reappear, and it certainly took her long enough, but suddenly it was completely and pathetically clear how insane I was being. So I immediately stopped crying, apologized profusely and promised to put it behind us (and yes, by "us," I mean "me").

“Good,” the boyfriend said. “Because I’m just looking forward to spending time with you. I don’t care what we’re doing. And hey,” he pointed at a day spa off of the redwood-lined highway, “We could stop and go there. That sounds relaxing.”

I scoffed. “You can’t just SHOW UP at a day spa. That’s not how it works.”

“OK,” he laughed. “Just a suggestion!”

The weekend was amazing. We went on a spontaneous hike and saw a gray whale 100 yards offshore. We rented kayaks and paddled just a few feet away from curious seals. We watched crashing bioluminescent ocean waves light up the night thanks to a tip from a local. We drank wine on a deck overlooking the harbor. We fell asleep in front of the fireplace. We walked goats. On a leash.

And I learned a lesson that the boyfriend apparently learned long ago. Get ready because apparently this is newfound territory for many 0f us (me), but...Wait for it:

Sometimes the best surprises are the ones that weren’t planned.

(Although he was pretty stoked when the Sunday surprise turned out to be massages at that very day spa he’d pointed out on the side of the road.)

Have any of you had vacation plans go wrong? How did you handle it? Hopefully better than I (except not really because if you had a mini-meltdown because they closed down Walley World, I'll somehow feel like I'm not totally alone). Share your horror stories in the comments, pretty please with vodka on top!