Read the fine print. That is the lesson I learned recently after purchasing a Groupon for a six hour wine tour in a limo. I thought, What better way to celebrate our seven-year anniversary!?! So I paid the $50 per person, made the appointment and excitedly anticipated the romantic day.
Well, the day finally arrived. We dropped our daughter off at Grandma and Grandpa's house for the day, and the two of us drove off for a memorable, relaxing day in whimsical wine country! It was a gorgeous Saturday morning. We pulled up to the MAX station, where we were instructed to meet the limo. We parked and waited..and waited…and waited.
“Do you see a limo anywhere?” We both scanned the area. No limo. Suddenly, in the corner of the lot, we noticed a massive black bus. It seemed to be pulsating from the high energy dance music pumping from its speakers. “Could that be it?” asked John.
No. This couldn't be it. This is a party bus! The company is called “fiesta limos.”
LIMO. Long. Black. Chic. Romantic.
“Wine tour?” the driver of the bus asks us.
“Uh, yeah,” I answer apprehensively.
“Well hop on!” he turns up the dance music even louder.
We enter the party bus and take a seat on the black vinyl benches that are built into the perimeter of the red velvet walls. In front of us stands a tall, steel pole. Yes. A pole for dancing.
All of a sudden a strobe light pops on.
It is 10:00 am. I just finished my second cup of coffee. We are ready to party.
During the next fifteen minutes, 14 more people enthusiastically enter the bus. A group of four women in their 50s, clearly on a much-anticipated “girls day out", make themselves comfortable in the back. As soon as the bus gets going, the other wine tasters pop open a bottle of champagne to make mimosas.
The images of a quiet ride through the vineyards, sipping vino together alone, suddenly vanish. These people clearly had other intentions. Let's just say it was clear that they weren't here to just "taste" fermented grapes and educate themselves on the whole wine-making process.
Our party bus weaves throughout the rolling hills of wine country. We stop at Ponzi, then Skol Blossomer, and enjoy a leisurely tasting at Erath. All the wineries have their charm, but with each stop the bus becomes louder and louder. The atmosphere heats up and people suddenly become really friendly.
John and I do our tasting. We learn about tannins, chat with the wine makers, and learn the optimal temperatures to store various wines. We even have lunch outside at a cute little sandwich shop by Argyle winery.
However, the other members in the party bus seem to be doing shots with the wine. They barely nibble on some cheese, and there is a continuous flow of alcohol in between each stop. Friendly becomes obnoxious very soon.
On the way home, John and I are clearly the only sober ones. He has his arm around me. I try to make some nostalgic comments, "Seven years ago today we were walking down the aisle...." What? He can't hear me over the base.
Suddenly, I sense a shadow fall over me. I turn my head around and the 50-year-old women in the black stretch pants in the back of the bus is pole dancing; her booty bounces like an overstuffed couch in my face. A guy in his early 30s slides provocatively up to the pole to take his turn after the enthusiastic prompting of his entourage.
I try to pretend as if it not happening. "yeah, sweetie, seven years..."
Suddenly I realize that it is impossible to pretend to ignore what is going on in front of us. I turn my head and look John in the eyes. "I'm so sorry this turned out this way. This is not the romantic, seven year celebration I envisioned for us when I planned this."
He just looks at me and laughs. “It will certainly be one we will look back and talk about! You know "us." Some of our best memories together have been the situations that didn't turn out like they were supposed to."
I’m so glad that I have a husband who has such a great sense of humor.
"And believe it or not, I'm actually kind of amused." He takes my hand and we do our best to enjoy the entertainment.
Yes, happy seven years.
Bring on seventy more.