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Monday, July 30, 2012

My Birthday Dinner...When Best Laid Plans Go Awry

My birthday was last Friday, July 27th. Because my birthday is in the summer, I love being near the ocean because it's warm, and I love to watch and hear the waves crashing nearby. Chuck and I have never actually celebrated my birthday near the beach. I asked for that as a special favor this year. He agreed, and we made plans to go to Watch Hill, R. I. for dinner that night. Watch Hill is about one hour away from where we live so not exactly just down the street in terms of travel time. I told Chuck about a restaurant I had been to years ago in Watch Hill, that had a deck outside where we could eat and enjoy the sunset. This particular restaurant also looked over the Watch Hill harbor, and was a beautiful sight with all the boats in the water as the sun set just beyond them on the horizon. Chuck called and called repeatedly to make a reservation, but to no avail. Finally he contacted the Inn that was upstairs from the restaurant and the innkeeper told him that restaurant had been out of business for two years!!! Hmm, I guess it really has been a long time since I was at Watch Hill. We found another restaurant nearby, and decided to go there, although it was not quite as romantic. I was still looking forward to a nice romantic walk on the beach after dinner with the love of my life. As in many second marriages, kids can often interfere with the best laid plans. I had to do some errands with one of my children after he got out of work on Friday. Unfortunately, the errands took a lot longer than originally expected. By the time I was done, and got home,it was late and I wasn't even showered or dressed yet. Chuck and I discussed the situation and due to traffic heading in the same direction as the beach, we would most likely get stuck sitting on the road instead of in a nice restaurant. We decided to save that trip for another time. Was I disappointed? You betcha! We decided not to totally scratch the evening.I still wanted to go out to dinner near the water, and since the ocean wouldn't be available due to traffic conditions, we chose a nice restaurant in Old Saybrook, CT called, 'The Dock and Dine." We have always had a good experience here, and the restaurant itself sits right on the water. This water is not ocean water, but on the Connecticut River where it nears the mouth of the Long Island Sound. The whole restaurant has huge floor to ceiling windows that allows one to have a water view from most of the tables inside. After rushing around to get ready, we headed to Old Saybrook. Once in the parking lot, we were dismayed to see that there were no cars there. This was unusual because it has always been a very popular restaurant.I saw a sign posted on the window. We drove closer and read that the restaurant had been severely damaged by Hurricane Irene, and was undergoing extensive renovations. Unfortunately, these renovations had not been completed by my birthday. So, now our plans had gone awry not just once, but twice. Still wanting dinner by the water, Chuck turned into the driveway of the restaurant across the street. I had not wanted to go here originally because I thought it was too expensive, and being the frugal Yankee that I am, I don't like to spend money unnecessarily, especially at overpriced venues. Chuck insisted that this restaurant would be fit the bill, so I reluctantly agreed to give it a try. As we pulled into this parking lot, of the Saybrook Point Inn, we noticed that at least it was open, and actually quite full of people. We mused that maybe some of these people were also there because the Dock and Dine was closed? We will never know for sure. We walked through a quaint outdoor bar area complete with a fire pit, and lots of people eating and having a drink. Once inside the hostess told us it would be a 25 minute wait, for either inside or outside. At that point, we didn't care where we sat so we said we would wait. We sat at the bar and had a glass of white wine, with a shrimp cocktail while we waited. Outside the windows were boats of many varieties in the marina surrounding the restaurant. We were called not even 25 minutes later and were seated a at great table in the corner, right between a window and a large fish tank. The tank had a variety of about 12 different types of fish, which entertained us most of the night when we weren't looking out the window at the boats on the water, or making toasts to my birthday and to us as a couple. As the night went on, the outside grew darker and the inside more romantic. As I looked at the menu, I was happy to see the prices were not as totally exorbitant as I had originally expected. We both enjoyed a dinner of swordfish, potatoes and spinach, good wine, good conversation, and even better company. On the way out, the fire pit was glowing in the darkness of the night sky. As we walked down the sidewalk, we found 2 Adirondack chairs calling our names. We sat there for awhile, holding hands and talking about our past, and our future, which includes a cruise this fall. And it was a very happy birthday dinner, in spite of our original 2 sets of dinner plans not working out. Flexibility, and having a husband who believes in the saying, "Happy wife, happy life" is conducive to having a very happy marriage.

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