Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

Today is mine and Brian's 19th Anniversary!!!!  We celebrated it this weekend by going away to a Bed and Breakfast near the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia.  This is the second time we've stayed in a B & B.  It was really nice.  Brian is not much of a B & B person, and for that matter, neither am I.  What I mean by that, is that neither of us likes the idea of staying in a common house, sharing a bathroom, or meals with strangers.

Both of our B & B experiences have been exactly the opposite of that.  Each time we've had our own little cottage.  We've had total 100% privacy with no other people to interact with at all.  This weekend our cottage was 2 floors with a sitting room downstairs and the bedroom and bathroom upstairs.  There was a fireplace on each floor.  Our cottage was by the pool so right outside our front porch was a beautiful swimming pool that we mostly had to ourselves.

It was very relaxing and peaceful.  We spent a couple of hours Sat on Skyline Drive which was beautiful.  We came back to our cottage and took a nap of all things.  That night Brian told me that he wanted to give me my present.  We were going to go out to eat, but not to get dressed up.  In fact, he told me to wear tennis shoes.  (So far, it was not sounding like my idea of a romantic Anniversary Dinner....but I went along with it.)

We drove about a half an hour and finally arrived.

Guess what my present was????

It was a ride in this!
Let me just tell you, I was very excited.  Number one, because I am tough to surprise.  And, Number two, because I really wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride....(remember it was on my list!?)

The Balloon pilot's name was Bob.  Bob told Brian he'd need some help to set up the balloon.
(I guess he asked Brian because his other passengers were myself and 5 older women...not elderly, but older than us.)

There is Bob setting up the balloon.  The basket started out laying down.

Here is the balloon as it filled up with air.
Getting close to being full!

Bri was really helping out a lot.  I was glad he was there!
Now it was time to turn on the flame.  
And set the basket and balloon upright.
We were off and flying!
It was amazing how much we could see and how smooth the flight was.

Here we are!
This picture is looking straight up into the balloon.  The flame had to be turned on every minute or so to keep us up.  It was hot, hot, hot!!! In fact, I thought my hair was going to burst into flames because of the hairspray I'd put on earlier!
Isn't the shadow cool?
We'd been up for about 30 minutes when all of the sudden the wind came to a complete standstill.  We were stopped over a strip of trees.

We started getting lower and lower
We went all the way down into the tree tops!!!  This was not a good feeling.  Bob told Brian to lean over the edge and try to grab the tree tops to steer us away from them!!!!!  

I told Brian not to lean over the edge and grab the tree tops!
Next, Bob tried to bounce the basket off the treetops!!  This was also not very comforting.  He informed us that we only had a few minutes of fuel left!  He told us all to hold on tightly to anything we could.  

I could not believe it!

Here is where the balloon came down.  Amazingly we were all fine and the balloon did not get tangled in any trees.
Bob yells for Brian and 2 others to hop out and pull the basket and balloon away from the trees. 

They do it and have to run through a field of weeds, thorns and thistles three feet high while trying to pull a heavy balloon.

They make it to a clearing.
Now Bob wants them to take a running start with the basket and balloon and try to boost him up over the trees because there is a freshly mowed field on the other side of the trees.  He tells everyone to get out to make the balloon lighter.  Everyone except for me.  He wants me to stay in the balloon with him since I had shorts on.  

I looked at Brian with my eyes as wide as saucers.  At the moment, all I wanted to do was to get out on the ground with everyone else.  

Brian looks at me then looks at Bob and says, 
"Sorry Bob, she's getting out."

He quickly pulls me over the edge to safety.

Bob used some fuel to double check the field on the other side of the trees and to see if by chance there is some wind.
Still no wind, so he comes straight down.  Bri and the others try to give a running start and push Bob & the balloon towards the treeline.  Instead, Bob goes straight up.  Brian tried to hang onto the side of the basket and was literally hanging onto it as it lifted into the air.  His feet were about 3 feet off the ground before he jumped back to safety.  I wish I had a picture of this because it really was funny looking, but I was worried that he wouldn't jump off in time and he'd get hurt.

Finally Bob decides there is no way we're going to get him over the trees.  He yells for us all to push him over a fence in the other direction where there appeared to be a break in the trees big enough to fit the balloon through.  

Here we are....well not me, I was taking the picture.  Look at Bob riding along while his paying customers carry him in the balloon!  They pushed him through the opening.  Then we all had to climb over a small stone wall and a rusty barbwire fence.  Brian goes first....no problem.  Then the old ladies go next.  One gets over while 3 get stuck on the fence.   (I am not kidding...their pants were hooked on the barbwire!)  It was absolutely crazy.  Brian finally manages to help everyone over the fence.

As Brian was helping us, Bob was yelling to grab the rope so he could land.  It was unbelievable.
Finally, our ordeal was ending!  The balloon was on the ground in a field.  Now all we had to do was deflate the balloon, pack it up, load the whole balloon and basket onto the truck, and ride back to our cars!

The whole ride was supposed to last 45 minutes.  Instead, it was 3 hours of mayhem!

So, now I can cross "hot air balloon ride" off of my list.  I can assure you that we won't be doing that again.  It was definitely a once in a lifetime event.
What a story we have!

Happy Anniversary Brian!  
I love you.


Christy said...

Happy Anniversary! What a special gift and memory you have as you celebrated this year.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! That's a WHOLE lot of drama!! Did you guys get your money back or anything? I mean, not that that's the point, but wow.... That reminds me of the time we went snorkeling and rammed our own cruise ship!

I wanted to thank you for commenting on mmy blog the other day.


Happy Anniversary (you share it with my dad & stepmom!)


I'm gonna add you to my blog roll, is that okay?

Amy said...

Happy Anniversary!!! What an adventure! Did you get your $ back or at least a discount? I think I am going to cross hot air balloon ride off of my list right now! You are the second person that I have heard that happen to and I only know 2 people including you that have taken rides! Thanks for sharing the story. Everything did look like it was really beautiful!

Anonymous said...

What an adventure. Brian surprised me a few years ago with a hot air balloon ride for my birthday and I loved it! Happy Anniversary!


Kathi said...

HTL...thanks for adding me, I'd be honored!

To everyone else, no believe it or not, we still payed full price. Bri had given his cc in advance. We were just so thankful that it was over.

We went out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse and laughed about it the entire night.

Some of the "Old Ladies" even tipped Bob!!! Can you believe that? Bob got no tip from us.

Steph said...

Happy Anniversary! I gave bruce a hot air balloon ride for his 40th birthday over frederick and he loved it! not nearly the drama you had...wow!

Sue said...

Wow, what an adventure! I'm sure you'll remember this one for years to come. :-) Happy Anniversary!

Under the Florida Sun said...

Oh my!!
I am impressed that Brian thought of this! How fun!!
And WOW, what an adventure. But you know.. what a somewhat boring memory that would have been.. just a plain old balloon ride.
At least with this one, you have great memories and an even better story to tell. LOL.

Kelsey said...

How exciting was that?! I'm so jealous. Happy Anniversary!!!

I leave for school on the 28th. Move in day is the 29th! It's crazy...I can't believe it! I'm not ready!

Jennifer P. said...

This post went from sweet, to scary, to funny! So much for a "romantic hot air balloon ride" :)! I can just see all of you heaving and ho-ing together trying to get that thing on the ground. And what was with you and not getting out because of your shorts? Seems like a weird reason!

Happy Anniversary to you! Betcha you'll never forget THIS one!

duchess said...

Ok - hot air balloon ride is now added to the list of things for me NOT to do.
I loved all of the pictures by the way.
Happy Anniversary!

Jennie said...

Hilarious...not at the time I'm sure, but to me reading it safely here on the ground! I just realized reading that post that you and Brian have been married almost exactly 10 years longer than us. We celebrated our 9th anniversary on August 7th. We just went to dinner and a movie alone with no kids though...no drama involved.

Shannon said...

Ok, I was in complete shock as I read this!! Not over the ordeal but the fact that you have minute by minute pictures!! Hilarious!! :) What a story. It looks wonderful though. Happy Anniversary!

Tara said...

Great blog! I stumbled on to your blog from the nester's blog. Dontcha' love her!? I enjoyed my visit today.

Dani said...

Happy Anniversary!! What an exciting adventure, I would still love to do this some day, but my expectations have changed a little...it made for a great story!!!

Brooke said...

I was jealous at the start of the entry and not so much by then end. Glad you are safe and sound. :)

Debbie said...

Ok...I started reading this with rolling goosebumps as to how romantic it was and ended up saying "NO WAY, NO WAY" over and over again. What a story....sometimes when things like this happen, the silver lining is that it makes for great blogging;)

Thanks for all of your encouragement on BATHW. I haven't gotten to read any blogs this week because I have been so busy. I am going to try and catch up over the next few days. But I HAD to come say HI to you!

Kathi said...

To Shannon~
As I was taking the pix of the treetops getting closer, the thought entered my mind that these could be the last pictures I'd take...the photographic evidence of our demise. Then I quickly realized that we'd be fine. I knew at worst I'd end up with a broken bone or two from one of my old lady friends crashing on top of me.

Then once we were on the ground, I HAD to take pictures....it was just too funny and too unbelievable not too.

Sydney said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Good luck training for your marathon. I'm not there yet... don't know if I ever will be. 3.2 miles is hard enough right now!

As for that balloon ride! AWESOME! But too bad you didn't get anywhere. I've been in a balloon before and it was so neat.

hope you'll stop by again soon!

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

Gracious Kathi - I'm having heart palpitations just reading this! :)

Happy anniversary!


Melissa Lester said...

Seeing those first pictures, I was thinking I should overcome my fear of heights to do something so romantic. But reading your adventure took the air right out of that balloon! I'm glad you made it out OK, and you've got beautiful pictures to remember that day forever!

EmmaP said...

Ok - that was freain hilarious! I love how BOB was spewing out commands to his paying customers, as if you all needed to earn your keep or something. Maybe BOB needs some more practice. lol! Thanks for the giggles.

Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness! So glad you all made it okay! Yes, I would think once is enough for the balloon ride.

Happy Belated Anniversary!!!

Nichole and Scott said...

I always knew romance in a hot air balloon was overrated. Ha! I'm thankful you all are safe and that your hubby can read your eyes/mind so well. He was my hero when he told the owner, "Sorry but she's getting off!" Soooo sweet! Looking forward to more posts.

Janet said...

I just laughed so much after I read this! What a memorable anniversary!! Too funny ;)

Briana said...

I am seriously laughing out loud here reading this. That is so fricking funny!!! OMG!! I can see the old women with their pants stuck IN the fence! ha!!

sharon said...

That looks amazing! You are one blessed lady! Happy late anniversary :)

*thanks for stopping by flip'n crazy!