Best Valentine's Day Ever. In reality, this will be the best Valentine's Day/Anniversary ever because February 14, 2019 is our 20th wedding anniversary. I have done all the traditional gifts through the years, like chocolates, jewelry, lingerie, but I really want to do something extra special this year. My wife is an amazing woman and she deserves to know that, plus my 18 year old daughter says that I am way overdue to do something "really big, Dad." With her help, I have been brain-storming the perfect gift for months.
My wife is a hospice nurse. This is a huge, demanding job, physically and emotionally, and sometimes she gets overwhelmed and overworked. That's what got me thinking about something that will help her relax, something "really big." I remembered a vacation we took a few years ago to a resort in Denver where she seemed to really enjoy the use of a hot tub. When I mentioned this idea to my daughter she gave it two thumbs up.
We live in the Midwest, in Indianapolis. We don't have Denver's mountain air, but we have a fair amount of cool to cold nights and one of the things my wife particularly enjoyed was the contrast between the hot water and the bracing cold. This was a point in favor of the tub.
I am the type of person who wants all the facts, so I Googled "the benefits of having a spa" to get a better idea of what I would be getting us into. One of the things I found out was that for people like my wife who are on their feet all the time and suffer from joint and muscle pain is that having a spa will help. That was another point in its favor.
There were all kinds of other health benefits, like getting a better night's sleep and reducing stress and anxiety. Some articles I read even said a hot tub could improve cardiovascular health. This all seemed great but then I wondered how hard it would be to maintain a spa. My daughter said if I am giving my wife one for a present, then it is my job to keep it going. This is fair enough, but I'm pretty busy too. I'm an administrator at a large high school, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't biting off more than I could chew.
I went back to Google and read up on maintenance. It sounded like a pretty straightforward task. I could handle testing and adjusting the water a couple times a week, cleaning above the water line once a week, checking to make sure the temperature is where it should be and the water is circulating. I figured I would get more information about this when I actually started shopping. If I decided a hot tub was going to be too much to deal with, there were always jewelry stores.
Last thing I did was Google stores around my area that specialize in hot tubs. This ultimately brought me to Family Leisure and the reason for this blog. After going to their really impressive showroom and talking to a very knowledgeable and professional salesperson, I was asked if I would talk about my experiences in shopping for and owning a hot tub.
So I hope this will be the best Valentine's Day/Anniversary ever because my wife is getting a hot tub from Family Leisure. She's going to love it!
Shopping for a Hot Tub
Once I decided that I was going to move forward with the idea of a spa for a Valentine's Day/Anniversary present, I went back to Google. This led me to familyleisure.com. They have a really nice, professional site and I didn't have to sign up or identify myself just to read up and get info. I found a buying guide on their site which was really helpful. It helped me to narrow down the size and type of hot tub I thought was going to work best for us. There was even a link to a video that showed me what I could expect when the tub was going to be delivered. I liked being able to educate myself prior to actually shopping.
With the help of the buying guide, I realized that what I was looking for was a portable spa with a hard shell that would sit 3-4 people. I didn't see us hosting parties, and I really did want my wife to feel like it was a gift for her, not for me too. But I knew that she would like to be able to use it with me and my daughter on occasion, so I wanted to give her that option. I briefly considered a swim spa but I decided my goal in gifting her is to give her a place to relax and unwind. That being said, those swim spas are pretty cool.
I looked through them online and found several that looked really nice. They give you the option to search by size. Most of the hot tubs didn't have pricing, which I thought was weird. But they explain on the site that some of the manufacturer's won't allow them to show prices but that they would be glad to give them in an email or over the phone. I looked at some other sites and saw they didn't have prices either.
By this time I felt ready to go to the store and see them in person in person. It felt good to be able to go with at least some idea of what I wanted. I was really glad I shopped on-line when I got there because they have a pretty impressive showroom and there are a lot of choices. I was helped out right away and my salesperson wasn't pushy. He answered all my questions and let me digest the information without trying to force me to make a decision. I'm a guy who likes to think about things before I do them.
I went back a couple of days later with my daughter so she could help me choose colors and make a final decision. We settled on the Santa Cruz by Artesian in Tuscan Sun with a Java cabinet.
I liked the idea of having one lounger so that the spa would really feel like it was for my wife and that was her special seat. If and when she wanted company, there are two upright seats as well. Size-wise it also fit well into our patio area and I thought I would be able to have them install it near the backdoor.
My daughter convinced me that we needed to add some upgrades to make it extra-special, so we are getting it with a waterfall, LED lights and "dual footblaster jets" for her feet. I am feeling pretty confident about this gift and am getting excited about my wife's reaction. She is going to love it!
The Next Steps
I am so pumped about getting the hot tub for my wife for Valentine's Day and our anniversary! I am pretty sure she suspects something is going on because it is really hard for me to hide my emotions. But even if she suspects, she doesn't know what its about.
I talked to my Family Leisure salesperson about the actual installation. Luckily, when we moved into our house, there was a concrete slab off to the side of our paver patio because the previous owners had a hot tub. I showed my salesperson a picture of the area and he said it looked ideal. I have been using it for a small Rubbermaid garden shed and my trash cans so I will have to figure out what I am going to do with those and I will have to figure out how to explain why I am moving them in January. That's not suspicious at all, ha-ha.
The salesperson said that an installer would contact me and that he would let him know that I was requesting the hot tub to be delivered on Valentine's Day. Hopefully that will work out. He also gave me a referral for an electrician but my younger brother is a Master Electrician and I have already talked to him about doing the hook-up and overseeing the installation for me. I trust him to make sure everything goes smoothly, especially since my plan is to not be there until after it is all finished.
I feel really confident about this whole process so far. Family Leisure has been great. I think my salesperson is as excited about this surprise as I am. He suggested I get a plush towel, robe, indoor-outdoor slippers for her, and even said he would email me the perfect play list for the hot tub on Valentine's Day. I'm not sure if the water will be hot enough to use that day, I will have to double-check on that one. Maybe if the installation is early enough in the morning.
On to the next stage, figuring out how to get my wife out of the house on Valentine's Day! I guess if worst comes to worst, she can just be surprised when the Family Leisure installer shows up with a hot tub, but I'd really like to surprise her with it ready to go.
Planning the Surprise
So I worked it out with the installer from Family Leisure to deliver and install the hot tub in the early afternoon on February 14. Since I need 220 service, my brother is going to make sure to have the wiring ready and will hook it all up once it is filled. I'm not sure if the water will be hot enough to use that day, but I hope so!
Now I just need a plan to get her out of the house. I guess if worst comes to worst, she can just be surprised when the Family Leisure installer shows up with the hot tub, but I'd really like to surprise her with it ready to go.
My wife so deserves this. She is an amazing woman and even after 20 years I am in awe of her. We met around 22 years ago when we were both at Indiana University. She was in a sorority and I got a job there washing dishes. Looking back I am surprised she gave me a second glance. But she did give me a second glance, and then a third glance and the rest is history.
My daughter suggested I do some more Googling and see what is happening around Indianapolis on Valentine's Day. There are lots of dinners, wine tastings, cooking classes, but I really couldn't find anything going on during the day. I thought about giving her a spa day, which would get her out of the house. But I've done that before.
After some more searching, I found a wedding vow renewal ceremony at the City Market. It sounds a little weird, but it also sounds kind of fun and she might really enjoy it. It starts at 11 am, so maybe I could take her out for breakfast, then surprise her with the ceremony. She likes that chocolate place on the Circle too, we can go there, and maybe even a matinee if there is anything good. That would keep her out of the house most of the day and I the more I think about it, I like the idea of renewing our vows on our 20th.
I am going to run this idea by my daughter first. She has an opinion about everything, and she is generally right on the money when it comes to gifts and surprises for my wife. I will see what she thinks about the vow renewal ceremony. Maybe its too cheesy. In the meantime, I need to move a garden shed.
The Big Reveal
My Valentine’s Day/Anniversary surprises went better than I could have expected! We went downtown to City Market and participated in a vow renewal with the mayor officiating. It was really fun. There weren’t a lot of people there, maybe 20 or 30 but my wife really enjoyed it and thought it was very romantic of me to plan it. After the vows we had a great lunch too, and then she picked out some chocolates and we goofed around downtown for a while.
My brother and the hot tub installer both texted me in the middle of the afternoon to let me know the installation was complete. The tub was filled and it was heating up. My brother said he thought my wife was going to love it and that it looked really great. He said the installer was very professional and conscientious. The timing worked out perfectly because we were getting tired and I was running out of things to do to delay our drive home.
When we were in the car and headed for home my wife kissed me on the cheek and said it had been a perfect day! She thanked me for “going the extra mile” this year. ! I couldn’t wait for her to see her new hot tub! Especially since she thought the gift giving was over for the day. I told her I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the last 20 years of my life with anyone else, and I really do mean that
When we got home she went to the bathroom so I took a quick peek outside. The cover was on the tub and everything looked great. I was so glad I went with the stone look cabinet, it looked amazing!
I retrieved the robe and slippers I had bought her from the front hall closet and got out a bottle of wine. When she came back I handed her the package and poured her a glass of wine. She said “Are you kidding?” and opened the package. She seemed a little confused when she saw what was in there; a thick toweling robe, a waterproof cap for her hair, and slip-on house shoes for walking out to the hot tub. She smiled and said thanks but she was obviously a little confused.
While she was examining the robe, I opened the blinds at the patio doors. I said “Those are for this!” She looked up and saw the hot tub. She was literally speechless. She just stood there with her mouth open. I handed her a glass of wine and said “Happy Anniversary!” She finally looked at me and I think she had a little tear in her eye. She said “What? How?” I gave her a hug and told her that she deserved the tub and so much more.
It was pretty warm for February in Indiana, the mid-40’s. We took out wine outside and examined her new toy. She touched the sides and the cover; I lifted the edge so she could look inside. She said she loved the look of the cabinet and the color of the tub so I told her our daughter had helped with that one. I told her it really was for her and that I would only use it when she invited me in. She laughed at this and said “Don’t be silly.” Then she gave me a big hug and a sloppy kiss.
We weren’t able to use the tub that night because it had to get good and hot, but by the next evening which was Friday, it was ready to go. She was out there as soon as she got home from work and has been in the tub every day since then! She has been going on about how great it feels on her feet and on her back and said she can’t believe we have been living without one all these years. It is really nice. I remind myself that it is her tub, but I have been in it as much as she has. I always let her have the lounger, but she has insisted a couple of times that I take a turn in it.
The weather has been all over the place, which is typical of Indiana. But the evenings have been consistently cold and I have to say I really enjoy the contrast of the heated water and the cold night air. We even got to use it a couple of times while it snowed! That was a really cool and romantic experience. I know everyone is ready for spring, but I am okay with it staying winter as long as it wants! Let it snow!
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