Anniversary weekend

Jessica and I took a long weekend for ourselves to celebrate our anniversary.

Namine stayed with my parents during the long weekend, resulting in all of us — albeit separately — enjoying a long vacation weekend of sorts. (Namine had Friday off of school, too.) Jessica and I haven’t had a chance to get away, just the two of us, in a while. While we stayed fairly close geographically, we still found plenty to keep us entertained. (We were assisted in this regard by a free-to-use app/service called Wanderlog . We’ll definitely keep it in mind when planning our next trip.)

Date night challenge

This first thing I’m recounting wasn’t actually on our itinerary, nor did we plan for it at all. Jessica saw a “date night challenge” on Pinterest, listing things for couples to get each other in a store. The picture below says Target, but I’m sure your store of choice will do.

Jessica and I did go to Target, but mainly because there was one close in proximity to our hotel. We split up once in the store, then met up back outside once we had checked out separately. We both made sure to put our gifts in large bags that weren’t translucent.

Back in our hotel room, we went down the list, giving our gifts to each other for each line item at the same time. In some cases, Target didn’t carry the actual gift we’d have given if we could. We still had a lot of fun. It’s always a pleasure to see the joy on each other’s face, more so, I’d say, than the getting of gifts.


We did have some things we planned weeks in advance. One of those things was seeing the musical Rent, performed by the Sun Prairie Civic Theatre. Both Jessica and I love musicals, and this was one which neither of us had ever seen before. Being a smaller production, there was the occasional sound system issue, but that didn’t really detract from our enjoyment.

Farmer’s market

Our hotel didn’t have a complimentary breakfast, so we tried a different place every morning. (We did have breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant one morning, but we like variety.) We met up with a couple friends and headed toward the capitol end of Madison to check out the farmer’s market. It was crowded — as expected — but full of good food, produce, and more. If we had been heading straight home afterwards, we would probably have bought a lot more. As it was, we didn’t really have a place for refrigerables.

Piercings and tattoos

Although of course this entire weekend was our anniversary present to each other, our visit to a tattoo parlor was something special. Jessica had wanted to get her ears re-pierced for quite some time. She has four holes in each earlobe, not all of which had closed up completely — to our surprise. Well, now they are all usable again!

Likewise, it had been three years since my last tattoo. I’m big on symbolism and etymology, so I knew exactly what two additions I wanted. I’m glad the tattoo artist was able to take the time to do both, since my appointment was fairly last minute.

Murder mystery dinner theater

And now we come to the reason we stayed where we did! Jessica and I had originally planned on taking our anniversary vacation a little farther away, but decided to stay closer to home so we could attend Namine’s fashion show. After that decision was made for us, we looked for fun things to do in the area.

Both Jessica and I are big fans of mystery and intrigue. We do escape rooms whenever the opportunity presents itself, and we even put together a family murder mystery party for Jessica’s 40th birthday. When we saw that there was a murder mystery dinner at a hotel in Madison, we knew we had to go.

I won’t say a whole lot about the specific experience in order to avoid spoilers, but I’ll say enough to try to convince you, dear reader, that you should try it if you get the chance. Everyone got a nametag and was told to choose a different name than their own. Jessica chose “Rosie” for herself; I chose “Raoul.” (My choice was inspired by Christine’s love interest in The Phantom of the Opera.)

The whole experience included a four-course dinner and a three-part murder mystery. The whole thing was hosted in a large room with the guest tables circling an empty space. It was kicked off by a murder occurring in the center space, with the story being progressed by two detectives. Neither Jessica nor I expected comedy to be such a big part of the experience, but it was — and it was made all the better for it. We would definitely love to do this again!

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