5 Years and Counting

26 Oct

IMG_0128I was trying to come up with a clever opening for this important post. I did Google searches for songs about fifth anniversaries and all I found was a depressing David Bowie track* and a really awful-looking musical. Oh, and this twee number from Noah and the Whale. Ok, that last is actually pretty cute — feel free to play as you read through the rest of this post. Anyway, Zack and I hit our 5 year anniversary from the day we met on October 10, and he took the occasion to surprise me with an amazing resort getaway for the weekend, and reminded me of just how lucky I am to have rode on his shuttle bus.

*This song fits a lot better in Rob Sheffield’s book about his wife who died after just five years together. 


I spent the week leading up to our anniversary away from Zack in Dallas at a workplace summit, which gave us the added bonus of missing one another terribly before reuniting on October 9. After driving the 3 hours back from Dallas by myself, I dropped off my belongings, repacked for the surprise getaway (all I knew was that we weren’t staying at our apartment Friday night), and then Zack took me to ACL so I could catch my favorites, Run the Jewels. I sweat it out while Zack sat in the car nearby, reading Harry Potter* and waiting for our weekend together to begin. After the set, I walked back to him and we took a 45 minute drive to the outskirts of Austin. When I saw the sign for the Oasis restaurant, I knew at least one thing: we were going to get gorgeous lake views** wherever we were.

*Finally finished the whole series. Still not over Snape being good.

**Those lake views were on point.


We arrived at Travaasa, Austin’s luxurious and relaxing getaway resort and spa, and I was blown away by all that my husband had worked out for us. Zack thoughtfully offered to have us pick up our dinner* instead of eating at the restaurant where we had reservations, because he suspected I’d feel really sweaty and nasty after attending ACL. He was right, so we ordered some delicious dinner (I had tempura veggies and some pasta, along with a slice of cheesecake) and got to watch House Hunters** while we nommed. I was in heaven!

*I have enough experience to know that Caitlin needing to go from festival-ready to dinner-ready in 30 minutes wasn’t the way to start a relaxing getaway. 

**Tiny house hunters. We considered whether we could live in a tiny house until we tried to imagine Scooby doing his crazy run in such a small space.

We also exchanged gifts at this point, and I started crying when Zack revealed three photo books capturing our memories from our last three years* together. He also got me Emily V. Gordon’s Super You**, which I am incredibly excited to dig into. For my part, I was entrusted with supplying desserts, so I bought our favorite chocolate-covered sea salted caramels, yummy gummies, a gigantic box of Dots, and some La Patisserie macaroons. I also purchased us a couple’s massage at Milk + Honey that we’ll get to use in the coming months to extend our pampering and relaxation.

*I made photo books of pics of us as an anniversary gift for our first two anniversaries and had to play catch up this year.

**Caitlin’s touching reaction to the photo books made the following reaction only funny. For a split second she thought Emily had inscribed the book before realizing that it was just me who signed it with a note.

After an amazing shower, we shared some chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne (another Zack surprise) before passing out — we had another big day planned! I’d promised to make-up for not getting to take advantage of the champagne and strawberries on our wedding night.


The next morning, we went out to the restaurant to have some breakfast, and then headed to our couple’s massage. That’s right — Zack and I accidentally bought one another the same gift! Neither of us are complaining about it, though. Massages for days. And I need it. My back and neck have been killing me lately and I now have to sleep on my back.


After struggling to make a decision of “do I wear underwear or not under this robe*?!” Zack and I met back up in the fountain-strewn waiting area, and then headed back to our room. I don’t remember the name of the woman who worked on me, but she was absolutely fantastic! I had never gotten a massage before (except for what I’d more accurately describe as a beating at UT in their “training area” that turned me off the idea for a long time), and my masseuse was attentive without being distracting. She would quietly whisper check-ins to me, asking if the pressure level was OK and things like that. I was super loose and relaxed after the whole thing, plus I smelled like lavender, so I was pretty excited about all of that. Caitlin definitely got the better of the two masseuses. Mine’s name was velvet and I got a solid, relaxing massage, but I’ve really had some pain in my neck and back lately and tried to tell her to not go easy on me, but I left with as much pain as I came in with and didn’t get the face, head attention Caitlin told me she got. Oh well. Still a solid massage.

*You’d think I would be the one to be freewheeling under my robe, but when we came out in robes, Caitlin was the one sans undies. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was, but it’s easier to take something off than not have it at all.


Then it was time to shower, gather up our belongings and check out of our room, but there were still plenty of activities planned — we started with lunch back at the same restaurant, and then headed to the lobby to meet up for our “Equine Encounter.” We piled into a van with another couple and a pair of ladies celebrating their 40th birthdays, and then sat in a circle with Keith Moon* and Jodie, our two cowboy leaders. They told us about how horses react to human energy, and how we could safely interact with these humongous animals.

*Wait, his name is Keith Moon like The Who’s drummer?


We were then hooked up with our partner horses — one per pair of us — and I got the one I’d had my eye on, Pepper, because the birthday girls had noticed how I’d wanted to work with her and told Keith that I’d want her. I really appreciated this gesture on their part, because I loved Pepper — she had David Bowie eyes* (one very light blue, one dark green) and a gentle personality. I took her over to a hook so we could tie her up and I could brush her, and whenever I’d stop brushing for a minute, she’d look back at me like how Scooby does** when we’re in the middle of a pet and he wants more. It was so awesome.

*”I loved Pepper – she had David Bowie eyes” sounds like a good line in a short story I’d like to read.

**This made me smile as it was happening and makes me smile again remembering it. 


Then, I was up first in the ring*, leading Pepper around just by using my energy. We’re given a whip but told never to use it on the horse — at most, we can lightly touch it to their hind quarters so they know we want them to speed up, but even that is something we should avoid, mostly just focusing on our confidence and bringing our energy up. In fact, I was told I was “nagging” Pepper by moving around the whip a little too much on the ground. Go figure**. Ultimately, though, I was able to make Pepper change direction and pick up the pace with very little vocal initiative. Finally, I was instructed to drop the whip and turn away from Pepper so I could let her process what we’d done. Then the idea was that she was supposed to turn into me, but she only moved a little bit, so I was encourage to walk up to her, pet her, and then give her a little push and walk away, and she actually followed me out of the ring***. It was such an incredible experience and I still feel filled with warmth when I think about her.

*They asked me to go first, but I declined. My foot wasn’t feeling too bad, but I didn’t think moving around in circles with a big horse was the best idea.

**I’m not touching this one.

***That’s what this pic is of. It was really cool to see the connection grow between Caitlin and her horse and see how happy the whole experience made her.


Then it was time for a bit of a wine tasting before we headed away to dinner reservations closer to home. Our sommelier was named Edward, which I thought was funny since he was NOTHING like my brother. He was a bit bro-ish*, but friendly enough and definitely made the wine tasting experience entertaining. We didn’t have anything too mind-blowing (although I did appreciate an orange blush wine — yum yum!), but we sat with a really nice couple visiting from Dallas, and generally enjoyed ourselves quite a bit**.

*He was an interesting variety of bro not too often seen in the wild. A more cultured, marathon-running wine bro who can hide his bro-ness pretty well and can endear himself to a fancy crowd. 

**We had a nice sampling of wines and ended with champagne to go as we headed to the gift shop.


Then it was time for the final surprise — a dinner reservation at Qui, one of our favorite neighborhood spots and a very elegant (but easy) dining experience. We were treated to comped champagne to celebrate our anniversary, and then moved through something like 9 dishes by the unbeatable Paul Qui. Champagne for days. It was a lovely meal, but not the best we’ve had there. This piece of fried chicken was incredible, though. 



It was such a perfect 24+hour experience to sit back, think about the five years we’ve spent together, and dream about the years to come. Zack and I have been through a lot, and he was so kind to pamper me so much for our anniversary. More than anything, I’m so excited for what is to come for us — every year we seem to top ourselves, and every year I believe in our relationship and the family we’re building even more.


One Response to “5 Years and Counting”

  1. GT October 27, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    What a wonderful anniversary celebration. Wishing you many many many years of love and happiness. Love WOT

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