A while back Paula stole my pajama bottoms. She later texted me saying she was holding them for ransom. We eventually agreed that I could have them back in exchange for “a valentine dates with original romantic content.” The game was afoot.

It started with me playing guitar and singing a song while she cooked up something to eat. Then, I went to the store to get her tampons and whipped cream (unrelated purchases) and I brought her a goofy card with something not goofy written on the inside and 2 roses, one real, one silk. This was all explained inside the card. Unfortunately we got sidetracked by being amused at me purchasing 2 roses, a goofy card, whipped cream and tampons and in the confusion, she didn’t realize the flowers and card were for her until I told her the next morning after she hadn’t seemed to have touched them and asked me if I wanted to put those in some water.

Anyway, back to V-day. I then left to run some errands and do my final preparations (of which there were a lot…this had actually been in planning for several days and I had done some preparation the day before as well). We are both huge fans of the BBC show, “Sherlock”. So it all started when she got a mysterious email from “Richard Brook” (a major plot point alias for Moriarty in one episode). It told her to start her journey by looking in the left pocket of her trench coat. In that pocket she found my iPhone. Upon unlocking it, she was looking at a Geocaching app with her position on a map and destination point not far away.

I had her navigate us to the point on the map where she found a tree. Eventually she climbed up on the tree and found the geocache hidden there. Inside it was a note with her initials that told her to email Richard Brook with a one word subject line of “the place where the seeds of love were sewn among ground and roasted beans”. She sent an email with the name of the coffee shop where we first sat and talked and received an automated reply that gave her a youtube address. After some trouble with the link we got to it on my phone where there was a video of me doing my best Moriarty impression and telling her to “go to a fast food place where you can also find inner peace and harmony” and that across the street would be a gas station and to go to that station and text her initials to a phone number at which point she would receive a call at the pay phone.

She did this, and after some snafus with the caller not being able to hear her, the mystery caller eventually told her to find the author of the first gospel, and sign the last page in the guest book in the bell tower chapel. She immediately knew this was St Matthew’s right near where I live so we went there and in the back of the guest book she found a photo of a sign that said simply “Abbey Road” with a pasted on arrow pointing to a spot on the photo.

She did some Googling and found there were the “Abbey Road” apartments on Penny Lane here in Austin. We drove there and she recognized the sign. After some searching she found a small tape recorder in the bushes. She played it and again Moriarty spoke to her and said he’d written a song for her. He played the simple 3 note song and then hinted that if she had problems with deciphering the message, that there was an app for everything. She was to email the answer as the subject again. She found the guitar tuner app on my phone and quickly deduced that the song played the noted “F-A-B” 4 times. She first emailed “fab4” and received an automated reply that it was close but not quite and that he was looking for the band that this was a nickname for. She sent another email with “Beatles” as the subject and received another automated reply that she was correct and that, being that she was probably peckish by now, she should go eat somewhere that despite the name, the dishes weren’t too hot and that I should know since I was the Foursquare mayor. She first thought Torchy’s but then I informed her that I wasn’t the mayor. She then deduced that it was Firebowl.

We went there and had a yummy dinner. At the end she went and grabbed two fortune cookies. At the table, I deftly managed to swap one of them so that when she opened it it had a custom fortune in it and another email instruction with some personal words and instructions that we should go home to snuggle, snack and watch movies.

We first had to go to a rehearsal for a scene we are doing together but after that we went home and watched “Once” (thanks, Mom!) and ate some more of the awesome red velvet whoopie pies she had made.

She seemed very happy with the evening, and though I would have liked aspects of it to have been grander, I was overall happy with my machinations. The only problem being, I may have set a very dangerous precedent.

I gotta say I’ve never been a big Valentines day person as I saw it as a stupid commercial holiday where people are obligated to do romantic things and so some of the meaning is taken away by that obligation and the overpriced commercialization of it all, but after having a discussion with Paula about it a while back, I realized that it can be whatever you want it to be. Just like any day. So why not just use it as a day to express your love and celebrate and have fun in whatever way you want. There’s nothing negative about that.