It was wonderful, everything it was supposed to be.We woke up Tuesday morning and before I could get out of bed, Deb was thrusting a gift at me. She couldn’t wait, having spent months thinking about the right thing. Turns out this was Gift 1A. And it was a brand spankin’ new iPod, something I had hoped to get myself had the Final Frontiersmen taken first place. Instead, this worked out fine. Gift 1B was a nice hard plastic carrying case to protect the unit itself. Apparently, Gift 2 would have to wait until Wednesday night.After a leisurely morning at home, we headed to New Paltz. Being a college town, it had a nice main drag with loads of nifty shops to browse. At the suggestion of Richard and Wendy Pini, we had lunch at the Main Street Bistro, which was an excellent choice. Highly recommended.We walked up and down the street, poking into shops that captured our fancy. Deb, of course, found the town’s yarn shop and breezed in and out in just minutes given its tiny size. We found some used CDs that we wanted and then drove into the mountains.While DC execs have stayed at the Mohonk Mountain House, I never had the opportunity. Deb suggested it last spring as the kind of place we should consider for our silver anniversary. I checked the web site, agreed, and booked it. The main building is a sprawling complex made up of sections stretching back to 1879. Set on a lake, surrounded by hundreds of acres of nature, it is pastoral and relaxing.And noisy. The first afternoon, the halls were packed, the hiking trails were busy and it was a lot busier and noisier than I anticipated. They do a lot of corporate meetings and host day-trippers so they have their hands full. Still, there are main trails and we managed a nice walk before our room was ready.It turns out, the room was the only one with two balconies, facing front and back, and with a high ceiling. As a result, it was nice, and roomy and perfect according to Deb. I found it old, well maintained, and not as stylish as I expected. She loved it, I found it fine.We spent our time at Mohonk walking the trails, taking pictures, stalking deer, she painted while I read, eating, playing checkers and so on. It was terrific even if the food sounded better than it tasted. Of course, we went for the package, not the food so it was acceptable. Heck, we even fit in a work out in their new fitness room to stay on schedule.Before dinner Tuesday night, I gave Deb her gift, even though there was no surprise involved since she wanted to pick it. She carefully chose a ring containing our kids’ birth stones and a pair of complementary earrings and looks great wearing them.Our final activity before driving home Wednesday was taking a carriage ride around the lake and it was a nice way to end the vacation. The drive home was nice and mellow, returning to Fairfield ahead of the rush hour madness.Robbie managed the house fine in our absence. Of course, Tuesday night was not without incident. Dakota decided to engage a skunk in the backyard, getting sprayed but also getting to bite the animal in return. Rob called Animal Control, they came and collected the skunk to test for rabies while his best friend’s mother came to help him with arrangements and some of the cleanup. We’re still waiting for the text results, keeping the poor animal isolated until we know what the verdict is.Still, he handled it all very well and still managed to make sure Gift 2 was ready. Deb decided it was time for our first DVR. At first, she was ready to buy a TiVo system, but Cablevision recently entered into a deal with TiVo, rendering their unaffiliated systems useless from a programming perspective so we now rent a box from Cablevision. Robbie went to pick it up and wired it up so it’d be ready when we returned. Cablevision being the finely prepared operation that it is, wasn’t quite up to the task. After wiring it, nothing happened. Upon our return, we fiddled with it and then called Customer Service to discover the cable strength wasn’t strong enough to power the box, requiring a service call. So, tomorrow, I’ll get t enjoy gift 2.Meantime, Kate’s on her way home for the weekend so we four may celebrate the occasion as a family. We’re really looking forward to this.And to keep the day bright, I also was sent my first copy of the Star Trek: Voyager anthology Distant Shores which contains my story, “Command Code.” One of my fellow authors already paid me a compliment on it, which continues to brighten my mood.