Last year, my friend Lovey and I started an adventure birthday tradition. In terms of love languages, we both value quality activities. Both of our spouses enjoy quality time, but for Jrex, that can look like making a nice dinner and talking at home. For Lovey and me, it involves leaving the house.
Last year she arranged a day that included a horseback ride (the first one ever for Jrex and Lovey’s husband Dovey), lunch in Saratoga and a cruise around Monterey Bay. Then for her birthday, I packed a gourmet picnic (three cheeses, heirloom tomatoes, crackers, pancetta, wine). We drove up to San Francisco, rented bikes and rode over to the beach near the Presidio. With the setting sun lighting up the Golden Gate bridge, we feasted, laughed and then booked it back to the bike rental shop before nightfall.
This year, I took it to a whole different level. As I mentioned before, after our Yosemite trip, I realized I miss climbing. I’ve been scrounging up partners from Craigs List and from church, but I really wanted the option of my husband as a climbing companion. He doesn’t like climbing in the gym and we’ve speculated it might be better for him outside. For my birthday, I told him I wanted to climb with him. We considered which of our friends might join us and I thought we might be able to persuade Lovey and Dovey (they made up the names themselves!).
I asked if she thought they’d be up for it. She gave me a maybe, so I researched hiring a guide; it turned out to be expensive. I emailed and told her the price and said we could go kayaking in the Bay instead, if that sounded better. After careful consideration and conversations about Dovey’s fear of death by climbing, they said yes.
We went out this morning.
Our guide seemed very stern and impatient at the beginning. As we picked out shoes, he kept glancing at his watch. Once up at Cathedral Rock, he took us through belay basics and safety checks to make sure we were all up to speed. He’d hung up one rope and said he’d do another, depending how we did on the first one.
As we started climbing, cheering and harassing each other, the guide warmed up and began to laugh with us. Turns out he has a masters in counseling and was a dean at a local community college, but took a year off to go for it as a climber and now as a guide.
Without going into great detail, let’s just say that the day involved the following quotes:
“Hmm…my pants just split! Well, I’m wearing black underwear, enjoy.”
(Lovey let me borrow her spare pants)
“Nice butt mantle!”
(Dovey established a new signature move)
“Um…there are a lot of spidery things here! I don’t think I like going first . . . Hey, there’s a rock over my head, what do I do now?”
(Lovey managed to scramble up the chimney like a pro)
“Where’s the triumph?!”
“I have to compose myself first.”
[three second pause. Arm fling. Click!]
(Lovey and Dovey showed us a whole different level of adventure photography)
“I like outdoor climbing ten times better than the gym. It’s great to have more than one way to get to the top.”
(OTRgirl gains a potential climbing husband!)
“We’re going to lunch at a biker bar? I was not properly informed of the details of this trip!” (we all enjoyed Alice’s restaurant, where, in addition to many bikers, there were also horseback riders and a Tesla driver)
All in all, especially if Jrex and I start going outside, one of my best birthdays yet! (And I still have a week to go before my real birthday. I love spreading out the fun!)