Thursday, August 23, 2018

40th Birthday & Surprise France-in-Kentucky Trip!

Oooooh, I'm BURSTING with blog posts to share now that I unclogged the writing pipe a little. First let's focus on a BIG CHANGE in my life that was overshadowed by significantly more important things: I turned 40!

Most of my friends have been 40 for a while, so this isn't, like, a huge surprise or feeling. I think I've been accidentally telling people I'm 40 for years now. But it's official, and the day went by without much excitement. My husband flew into town at 5:30pm on my actual birthday, and our family went to Sapporo for hibachi dinner. That felt festive, even though wee Angus was terrified of the onion volcano and clung to me for dear life when the flames shot to the range hood.

The fun-for-the-blog part!

Because I wasn't having a party or anything, my husband conspired with my dear friend Tyra to give me some sort of extravagant birthday day -- a time out from stress and a day of relaxation. He arranged 24 hours of childcare, and Tyra kidnapped me at 10am the day before my birthday. I knew to pack an overnight bag, but that my passport was not required (I had to ask because you never know with Tyra!). I said goodbye to the kids and ran to Tyra's car, not really caring if my 24-hour escape meant a sleeping bag at her house. She gave me this beautiful card, which hinted at Paris, but I had definitely not brought my passport. Minor panic, but then the inside said, "I wish I could fly you to Paris,"  etc etc etc.

Again, I didn't care, but we did hit I-64 east and got out somewhere in Lexington where we had brunch reservations at Shakespeare & Co, a Dubai-based chain that was like a Parisian cafe, but with much more space (no sharing tables with your neighbors!) and less dust. The menu was expansive and delightful, offering crepes, breakfast and lunches too. We had Bellinis and relaxed.

Then we headed for a fantastic MASSAGE!! No photos because I was naked.

But the biggest surprise of all ... which I sort of suspected once I was in on the Parisian theme was when we drove off to Versailles (that's pronounced Ver-SAYLES in Kentucky, y'all -- seriously. I mean it's not surprising considering we pronounce the "S" in Paris even though it's supposed to be Par-EE, but I digress) and pulled into THE KENTUCKY CASTLE!!

If you're not from around these parts, you likely don't know what I'm talking about. During child road trips to Lexington, my family would drive on Versailles Road and on top of a small hill sat this strange and abandoned castle. It was the first castle I ever saw, and you know how I love castles. The story was that a husband built it for his wife after a trip to Germany, but before it was finished, the couple divorced. This was sometime in the 1970s, and I guess it sat empty for years. More on the Wiki page here.

Well, it turns out that the castle has been renovated and is now an operating 5-star-hotel called The Kentucky Castle, and Tyra had booked a room for us for the night, along with a reservation at the Murder Mystery dinner show that was happening at the Castle. She also hadn't booked just any room -- but literally the best room in the hotel, one of the corner turrets that is its own little villa.

The room was great. It had two stories and two Juliet balconies, a little kitchenette and great views. The garden was delightful, and there was a small pool. We tried to sit in the garden and drink wine, but the bar and kitchen and restaurant were closed because of some power outage issues they'd had the weekend before.

I'm not sure why no one had been to the grocery since the power returned, but they seemed mystified when we asked if we could have a glass of wine. "Yeah, there's a Kroger about 3 miles down the road. Annoyed, but not to be deterred, we drove to Kroger, bought cheese, crackers, wine, and margarita fixins for the Murder Mystery (we were warned the bar would be closed), returned to our villa and relaxed and relaxed and talked about everything from taxes to baby toes. It was a delightful distraction, I slept great, and only the sun woke me.


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