There is only one happiness in life – to love and be loved

Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 26. Saturday.

There is nothing quite so fulfilling in life as seeing a look of surprise and happiness on the face of the woman you love. Of course, it is one of the most difficult things to do since it takes a great deal of secrecy and by nature, men are not good at keeping secrets. That’s why they always get caught cheating and why in most cases their attempts at surprises mostly fall far from their target. I personally find it immensely difficult to keep anything secret since the greatest pleasure I get is from sharing that thing with whomever it concerns. So there I was, trying to keep the surprise a secret, feeling immensely guilty for hiding something even though it was a really nice surprise and driving myself insane with worry in case she either found out or hated it!

Leaving work early was an added bonus, but when I told her to pack an overnight bag she really started to beam. We went home, grabbed whatever stuff we could and headed out the door, without her knowing what was happening or where we were going. As the miles passed, the highway exits flew by each crossing off a potential destination as we went. The 407 turned into the QEW as we headed around the lake towards our celebration. As we drove through the almost deserted main strip of Niagara Falls, it all started to fall nicely into place. The hotel, The Marriot Fallsview, perches above the waterfall spray with spectacular views across both the Canadian and American falls. The room had a wonderful king Size bed (although now we have our own, this is no longer such a benefit), a two person (or more) Jacuzzi with a shower enclosure in the huge bathroom. The room looked directly over the Canadian Falls so we could see the beautiful floodlights at night as they changed colour every few minutes, really a breathtaking sight. The hotel had a games room, a pool with hot tub, an extremely expensive restaurant and was in walking distance to the Casino. We decided that we should probably get a bite to eat first and since it was still only Friday night, that we would check out the casino the next day. We had a nice ribs and chicken dinner at Tony Roma’s and retired to the room to enjoy the rest of our anniversary eve and to see just what the excitement was surrounding the two person Jacuzzi.

Just one word of recommendation. If you haven’t tried a two person Jacuzzi, do yourself and your loved one a favour and book a hotel room with one for your next weekend away… You won’t regret it.

The next morning, we woke to the rumble of the falls, a sound that is amazingly therapeutic in many ways, and decided that taking advantage of the Denny’s across the street was the only really appropriate thing to do. We ate, still amazed at how quiet the town was, and packed up to head to the Casino and then back home. Of course, the reason that the place was deserted was because everyone was in the Casino losing their money. I wont bore you with my theories about Casinos and their “tax on the stupid” but suffice to say that if you are going to go, expect to lose, it’s the only way you will enjoy yourself. We spent some time playing around, Nicole on the slots and me at the roulette table and after a while had satisfied our gambling urge and decided to head home.

As difficult as it was to keep the secret and manage to hide the tongue ring I had bought her in Switzerland for a gift (even though she had found the other gift I bought her) I am so happy that regardless of the amount of time and effort, that I was able to really surprise her with something out of the blue. There is something magical about taking the woman you love somewhere unexpected, removing her from the usual grind of her life and treating her like the princess that she is. I think that every once in a while it is important to remember why you fell for her in the beginning and to follow through on what some people think are childish ideals of treating her the way you always wanted to. It is not an old fashioned or effeminate notion to want to treat a woman with dignity and compassion, nor to want to make her feel like the only woman in the world, those ideas are what make a partnership successful. So rather than living life through the silver screen or in the folds of a Hallmark card and saying to yourself “That’s what I want” or “I wish he/she would do that for me” take the first step and start something magical for the two of you, you both will be happy that you did.

As for Nicole and I, well, we have passed two major milestones this year. We have survived a trip to Switzerland that had at times in the past seen the end to failing relationships and we have managed to put a notch in our belt that I am sure will be accompanied by many many more…

..and Nicole, even though this year has been filled with some wonderful times, some heartbreak and much laughter, the greatest thing about it all was that I got to share all those times with you.

Thank you… I love you…