Lee and I met on February 15, 2005. Since then, we’ve never gone out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Instead, she and I celebrate what we affectionately refer to as our Valenversary. It’s great because we’ve never had a problem securing a reservation for the day after Valentine’s.
This year, we wanted to do something completely different. Lee and I love steak, and we wanted to try a steakhouse neither one of us had been to previously. At the recommendation of friends, we tried Rococo Steak in St. Petersburg. It was, simply put, amazing. My steak was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and Lee’s was even better.
The service at the restaurant was impeccable and the overall ambiance was comfortable (albeit different). Still, if you’re looking for great steak in the Tampa Bay area, Rococo is a can’t miss.
As for our anniversary, it’s been an amazing thirteen years. Thirteen years ago, I was aflutter in chaos and personal darkness. I was perhaps as far away from God as I’d ever been in my life. Yet in that darkness, God found me and blessed me with a shimmer of light and introduced me to the woman I would go on to marry.
We were both burdened with a sense of broken. We were both meandering through life, aware of who God is, but not in any particular hurry to get back to Him. I firmly believe God used Lee to steer me back to His gracious protection and vice versa.
Thirteen years ago tonight I was greeted on a blind date with an amazing smile and a surprisingly firm handshake. Looking back, I am so lucky and blessed Lee firmly grabbed my heart and decided to never let go because she has saved me in so many ways.
That’s what my friends Jeff and Lindsey did with us tonight. As Lee drives up to Georgia for a woman’s retreat, Jeff is spending the weekend here to help me with some projects around the house as we continue to get it ready to be put on the market.
Jeff arrived early in the evening and neither one of us was ready to tackle a huge, time-consuming task. We did, however, rip out the carpet in my son’s bedroom (the only room left with carpeting), and staged the room for laying down laminate on Friday.
To celebrate our minor victory, we went out to dinner at Ford’s Garage. I normally go for something easy and safe on the menu, but there was one item that caught my eye. The Jiffy Burger. Black Angus with American cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, and creamy peanut butter. Yes, you read that right: peanut butter.
As a reminder, this is my current social media profile bio.
I naturally had to give the burger a try … and it was delicious. I know on the surface it doesn’t make any sense. Peanut butter and bacon should not go together, but someway and somehow, this burger was amazement in my mouth.
The cliché is life happens when you step outside your comfort zone. The thing about clichés is, they’re chock full of truth.
We spent more time at the children’s home today, and since they were out of school (teacher’s workday), we got there early and filled our morning with games and smiles and hugs. Around noon, Lee and I trekked out into Samaná proper to check out what that port town looks and feels like. We wanted the opportunity to know what to expect in terms of the municipality itself should God confirm this missionary opportunity for us.
We drove the thirty minutes to the city, and we were accompanied by Dairon, a volunteer at the children’s home and brother to Hellen Jimenez, one of the board members of the Dominican NGO. We came across a little restaurant the serves mostly seafood and has a nice view of the bay. What we discovered is a potential ‘date night’ spot should Lee and I end up moving to the D.R.
To say the food was amazing is an understatement, and when we received the bill, we were pleasantly surprised to find it to be less than half what we expected to pay for the equivalent meal in the U.S. I looked at Lee and said, “I think we may be coming here quite often.”
All in all, I think it was yet another instance of God winking at us and reaffirming that by acting out of obedience, blessings will follow.
Groupon, Living Social, Google Offers …. I’m on all their mail lists, and from time to time I like to take advantage of the deals they have to offer.
Back in February, I jumped on this deal for $50 of dining at a Malio’s, a steakhouse in downtown Tampa, for $25. We never got around to making reservations until I remember last week that I still had that coupon. So tonight, we ate steak …. 44 ounces to be exact.
The food was okay and the service was decent, but in terms of an overall dining experience, Malio’s goes on the ‘Not A Repeater’ list.
After an early morning across the bay for my daughter’s soccer games (yes, plural), we decided to take Patsy out for Mother’s Day a night early. Rather than flowers or store-bought gifts, we have a constructive present for my mother-in-law planned for Sunday. So, following a shower and a nap, Patsy, Lee, the kids, and I piled into the truck and headed out to Remington’s Steakhouse.