geocaching.com was allowed to create one cache, and one person could find it. The cache could take any form, without the restrictions of the normal geocaching guidelines - the world is the geocache hiders oyster. They call it I <3 Geocaching (the 'lab cache' comes from the experimentation part). The caches are logged by entering a code that is determined by finding a container, or as in this case, solving a puzzle.
I had arranged to swap lab caches with a local cacher who goes by the name of NinjaChipmunk. I had created a cache for her (a puzzle involving exploring a parking lot - yeah, I'm *full* of awesomely mediocre ideas). She in turn created a lab cache for me.
So when I got the link in my email I immediately opened it up and was greeted with this:
It was at this point I started to suspect collusion with my dearest wife. You see she had informed me a week ago that she was going to take me out for dinner in Hickory on Saturday (she never does this - she often suggests we go out, but she never plans it ahead of time), and she had casually mentioned she wouldn't mind if I found a geocache on the way (I talked about filling in my geocache calendar so it didn't seem odd at the time). So when the cache said "bring a companion" on our already planned date night, in the same town 35 minutes away we already planned to go... my spidey senses were tingling... something was afoot. I didn't know what tho. It turned out to be awesome.
So my wife and I leave the kids with the grandparents (conveniently in town, tho I suspect this part was actually a coincidence), and headed off to Hickory. We arrived at the location, which turned out to be a parking lot. I set about solving the puzzle (Spoiler alert: its 'breath'), and used my phone to enter in the answer. I was then greeted with this:
I look up from my phone to see my wife holding an envelope in her hand. It turns out NinjaChipmunk gave us a gift certificate to an Irish Pub (which was in the plaza we were parked at - convenient!).
So we went inside, and had a cracking good date - helped in part to a lab cache.
Ninja said she wanted us to have a good time, so we ordered drinks ('tis date night after all). I was faced with a plethora of tasty looking scottish and irish beers, so I decided to get a sample platter of 4 different beers.
So many thanks to NinjaChipmunk for a great night, and a super awesome lab cache. This one is for you.