The Floating Anniversary is the third episode of Season One.
Frankie and Mike's romantic anniversary get-away is ruined by various family matters, including Brick being sick, Sue being lovesick, Axl just getting his learner's permit, and two psychotic aunts and their dog.
Mike surprises Frankie with an early anniversary present, a trip to the carpet remnant store in French Lick, which includes an overnight stay at the Route 33 Motor Lodge. The big guy’s such a romantic.
When Brick gets sick, Frankie is forced to take him to work. She props him up with pillows and blankets in the backseat of a red sedan. Unfortunately, one of the other salespeople takes the car for a test drive. Brick returns safely and spends the rest of his recovery in a green hatchback.
Frankie promised to take Axl out to practice his driving but Bob offers to pinch hit. Bob tells Axl tales of his wild (aka mild) life. Without a family, he has the freedom of “a bag in the wind.” Of course, one gets the sense that Bob’s bravado is a front for his loneliness once he starts crying in the passenger’s seat.
With Frankie preoccupied, Sue asks her dad for advice on how to impress a boy. Anyone else think this is a bad idea? Mike tells Sue that a grand gesture may do the trick, like the time he painted the names “Mike & Lisa” on the side of a barn. Frankie didn’t like Mike when they first met, so she told him her name was Lisa. Sue is inspired. She takes hold of the microphone to the school’s PA system and belts out a sweet, i.e. embarrassing, rendition of The Carpenters’ Close to You. Doo, doo, do…Doo, doo, do…Doo, doo, do.
In addition to dealing with her immediate family, Frankie keeps getting calls to help her elderly aunts, Ginny and Edie. It seems Aunt Edie failed her driving test, so they need someone to drive them around. Also, their dog Doris has developed emphysema from inhaling all their secondhand smoke. Frankie takes Doris home, as this diaper-wearing pooch (don’t ask) now needs to be in a smoke-free environment.
Frankie feels overwhelmed and Bob suggests that she take just 15 minutes for herself. She turns off her cell and hides out in the bathroom at work. The litter-filled lavatory leaves a lot to be desired. But to Frankie, its solitude provides the same appeal of a luxurious day spa. Cut off from her hectic life, she reads a magazine, does her nails, basks in the smell of air freshener and covers her eyes with maxi-pads. Yes, life is good.
When Frankie emerges from her respite, she discovers that her world has spiraled out of control. Sue is crying in the bushes after that humiliating serenade at school. Brick takes Doris the dog for a wagon ride, but drops the handle and sends a runaway beagle into the road where Axl, who is driving Aunt Edie to the mall, swerves and totals the car.
Frankie realizes having 15 minutes of downtime is a luxury meant for people like Queen Elizabeth or Julia Roberts, but not Frankie Heck. She finally resigns herself to the fact that she’s a wife and a mom who needs to be on duty 24 hours a day. No breaks.
Mike tells Frankie he needs to show her something in the car. He locks the doors, pulls out of the driveway and tells his wife they are off to French Lick to buy a carpet remnant. But what about the kids? The aunts? That diaper-wearing dog?
Mike took care of everything. He convinced Bob to give up his freewheeling “bag in the wind” lifestyle for one night to take care of the family. Frankie and Mike finally get to celebrate their honeymoon in style, as the Route 33 Motor Lodge never disappoints.