Julie and I have been REALLY busy over this December with work, family health issues, basketball and the holidays (of course).  It can be a really stressful and chaotic time, especially when you throw in some weddings for Julia’s Blooms!  There isn’t much time to hang out with your spouse with family and work obligations.  What was pretty cool though, was a surprise date night last weekend that really was long overdue.

Who wants to celebrate after New Years?

Holidays are ALL about celebrating!  We cram good food, great friends, a few cocktails, gifts, events and all kinds of fun into December. Everything leads up to New Years Eve, and the days after are usually spent on the couch watching Bowl Games or gearing up to hit the gym.  What sometimes get shoveled into the memory hole is a little day that pops up right after New Year’s Day: January 2nd.

January 2nd is usually a day that makes people groan and grumble because you have to get back to work or school.  For me, however, January 2nd is also known as MY BIRTHDAY.  Yes, I have the “pleasure” of having a January 2nd birthday, and that usually goes over like a lead balloon.  As I have learned on my 44 years on this planet: January 2nd is a day when people are too tired, too hungover, too broke and just too grumpy to do any more celebrating!

Ok, I realize I am whining a bit here, but it happens EVERY January 2nd!  By the way, did you know that the Small Scale Life Podcast’s birthday is on January 1st? You really should listen to it (shameless plug)!

Surprise Date Night Begins

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The picture that kicked off the Surprise Date Night – January 7, 2017

On Saturday, January 7th, I went to Julie’s parent’s house after Ryan’s basketball game (which they won, by the way). We were going on a much-needed date.  Before we left, Julie wanted me to take a picture of our cool new potting bench in the basement because “she couldn’t get the light quite right.”  I didn’t think anything of it, so I positioned the lights and took the pictures.  I dutifully texted the best one to her and then we went back upstairs.  With some goodbyes, we left.

What I learned later was that Julie’s dad snuck a suitcase with items for the night into the car while I was busy in the basement.  I didn’t suspect a thing, even when Julie stalled for a bit as she admired the construction. Clever girl!

Stone Arch Bridge at Sunset

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View of St. Anthony Falls from the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota – January 7, 2017

As the sun went down, the light was perfect for taking pictures. Julie decided to take me to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.  This bridge is located just downstream from the falls, and it used to be a Great Northern Railroad Bridge.  It is now walking path, and one can take excellent pictures of St. Anthony Falls and downtown Minneapolis from its vantage point.  The problem with shooting photos at dusk in January in Minnesota is: it can be VERY cold.  With the wind blowing, my fingers were numb and starting to hurt.  It was time to go!

I have another post showing the photos.  It is titled Photo Diary of a Minneapolis Sunset in January, so you should check that out!

Indeed Brewery

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Indeed Brewery in Minneapolis, Minnesota – January 7, 2017

After literally running to the car, we warmed up as we headed to the next stop: Indeed Brewing Company.  This brewery is located in Minneapolis alongside the train tracks in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.  They have several craft beers on tap, and we both really enjoyed a beer called Wooden Soul #9.  It is a raspberry wood aged sour blonde ale (5.2% ABV – 14 IBU).  The beer had a cool berry color, and it tasted great.  I also tried the Mexican Honey Imperial Lager (8.0% ABV – 17 IBU), but I almost lost the desire to drink it after Julie thought it smelled like cat pee.  How can someone drink that?

Well, for the record, I DID drink it, and then I got a Wooden Soul #9.  We left Indeed Brewing Company, but not after buying a new t-shirt for me and can cooler for Jules.  It was our first time at Indeed Brewing Company, but I have a feeling we’ll go back soon.

End of the Surprise Date Night

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The view from our room. We overlooked the Hiawatha Light Rail Station but never heard it – January 7, 2017

The night ended at the Hyatt Regency in Bloomington, which is a relatively new hotel near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America.  Julie used Hotwire to book the room, which really saved on the cost of the hotel, and we had a really nice room for less than $90.  We had some wine, cheese and crackers as we talked. It was the end of a great, and much needed, surprise date night.  Julie did a great job surprising me, and it was great to reconnect and talk.

Give It a Try!

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We managed to snap a selfie before retreating to the car. Thanks again for the wonderful night, Jules!

We all get busy this time of the year focusing a lot of time and effort on other family members.  We need to make time for our closest loved ones.  Sometimes a surprise date night is just what the doctor ordered.  Thank you, Jules, for the great birthday surprise!

Give it a try!  You don’t have to spend a lot of money (all of this done for around $130), and it might be just what you need after a chaotic Holiday Season.

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