In the Pit – Our Valentine’s Day

May 18, 2009 — 3 Comments

Now that the site is up and running, I just had to write up our Valentine’s Day. The Mrs. and I had a really special day.

On Valentine's Day we went to a "paint" cafe.

We went to a "paint" cafe for a date.

The day started with me giving my Mrs. the black fuzzy scarf I had been secretly knitting for her. I’d been sprinkling gifts throughout the week (flowers, a couple books on making handbags/purses, etc.), but the scarf definitely got the best response. It was simple, mostly because I had just rediscovered how to knit. I eventually had decided on a “no tassels” design to which I attached three heart shaped lockets with pictures attached. I also finally got to tell her about the knitting explosion in my class, so we got to share some laughs there. ‘A great way to start the day.

After lunch, the Mrs. did a little work over at her mom’s which gave me some time to Mapquest all of the sites, make up a romantic mix CD for the car, and get otherwise prepared for the day. This was our first attempt at a “surrender date” (i.e. all the decisions in my hands), so I wanted to be prepared if I was going to be responsible for everything.

It was also a surprise… Mrs. had no idea what was up. The comedic implications of this fact would not be totally realised until later in the day. When I asked her to dress up in her best little black dress, but to bring some slippers or thick socks that would fit into her purse “just in case,” she was totally perplexed. I didn’t want her to get paint on her shoes. I later found out that she thought she needed the non-heels footwear because we were going to be Bhangra dancing! (There were Bhangra events happening all week in the city.) :-)

So, the Mrs. all spiffed and me in my suit avec pink tie, we headed into the big city. It was a good trip that even included some tears of connection (listening to Ben Folds “The Luckiest”).

About the only negative of the day happened when we got downtown and had a really hard time finding a parking spot. Apparently everyone and their truck from the ‘burbs had decided to come into town. It’s rare that Pacific Center parking is full, but it was Saturday. We scraped the rims cutting a corner too tight down there, then, when we resurfaced, proceeded to “nearly hit” (not really) a couple of homeless jaywalkers on a left turn… with ensuing angry words. Mrs is good at those. I just apologized. We eventually found a tight spot in an outside lot at Homer and Nelson. The clientele around at that time was a little sketchy. Not terribly romantic. But we had landed and headed to Robson Street.

The first place we visited was the Vancouver Art Gallery. Ooo… scratch that. The first place was actually went was The Candy Aisle on Robson. We love that place for all its retro sweets. Mrs. picked up a Turkish Delight and I got some nougat… a little energy food for our “long” walk. ;-)

The VAG had some really cool exhibits on including one on early Canadian impressionism. The game of the day was to go room by room and answer the question “If I had to pick one painting for myself, which would it be?” The top pick of the day was a painting of children at play, but there were many others.

My favourite pieces of work weren’t in this collection though. The work that stuck with me was a piece in the modern works section called “The Invisible Hand.” Imagine a large white wall covered in half-sphere security mirrors. What isn’t apparent until you read the description is that these shiny bumps on the wall actually spell out “The Invisible Hand” in Braille! Brilliant! I also really liked a spray-on-silk painting on the top floor of a woman with a brief case. We wrapped up our visit with a trip to the gift shop and then went on our way, the art theme of the day established.

Supper time for us is 5, so we had no problem finding a place to eat even though we didn’t have reservations (I tried, but they weren’t taking any that early). We ended up at Earl’s… not terribly daring, but a non-threatening choice. We had a great time talking and people watching. It was cool seeing all the “daters” interact; because of the early hour it was mostly older couples. 

After some good eats and an emergency shoe shopping trip to find something more comfortable for the Mrs. (she bought some nice black flip-flops which she didn’t even realise would be perfect for painting!), it was off to Raw Canvas (http://www.raw-canvas.com/). I told her “time to go pretend we are trendy.” :-)  

Keep in mind that I hadn’t even told the Mrs. that the place existed, or where we were going, or what it was about, so she had no clue what she was getting into. So imagine, if you will, my poor little claustrophobe entering a small cafe with a large group of artsy couples milling around and the very first thing she sees is not the paint pit, but rather a small gold framed painting of a pierced naughty bit and on another wall there was a rather large painting of a nude woman in bondage, complete with ball gag. She clutched my arm and implored “What have you gotten me into?!” :-)

Fortunately, between me and the rather handsome barista serving us (complete with cool British accent and barrette), we were able to quickly tell her what was up and pointed out the sunken paint pit area. Mrs. was intrigued, but still uncomfortable, mostly because of the tight unfamiliar space. However, we still sat down, had a latte and watched as some of the couples got started. And before she could get really tense, I made sure we got into the pit. This is where the evening really came alive as Sandra totally seemed to forget about being “trapped.” We took the corner away from everyone coming a going and Mrs. finally felt safe-ish. I was chief paint getter and brush washer and the Mrs. set about creating an impressionist landscape.

It was really cute – she kept trying to give me things to paint so it would be our painting. For those that get to see it, the lame birds are mine and I am quite proud of my balloons (an homage to our previous date where we flew helium balloons on the end of fishing line high over Como Lake). I do have art in me, but I lean towards abstract, so I was a little out of my element. That said, it was a ton of fun and there was a lot of good energy in the place. We painted for well over an hour and the time just flew by.

Debriefing later in the car, I asked the Mrs. “So, I know it was tight in there. Would you do it again?”

“You know what? I think I would,” she replied. :-)  And I think we will. The fact that my claustrophobe hung out in a cafe with standing room only for that long is a testament to how cool it was. 

We drove back to the burbs, bopping to Duffy cranked on the stereo, happy and satisfied.

3 responses to In the Pit – Our Valentine’s Day

  1. wow what an amazing way to spend such a day !!!

    u leave me breathless with those perfect romantic ideas.

  2. Gregory Blake May 18, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Thanks so much. Your romantic story is pretty amazing too. Be sure to keep me up to date, eh!

  3. How sweet! I can tell this took some planning. You did so good not to give away the secret plans. I love the idea of the lockets with the scarf.

    Nice first post. I can hear your “voice.”

    Happy Anniversary to you both!& Congratulations on the blog.

    Marie