Last Saturday began with "pink jobs" and "blue jobs". While she clattered around the house doing chores, I mowed the lawns and swept up. We took the dog out to stretch his legs and organised the son, who's big enough to look after himself these days.
And we left the house just after 10.30am, heading north.
The freeway is longer than I remember it, and soon we are on Wanneroo Road, then on the road to Lancelin, passing through the tree-flanked avenue that announces Yanchep National Park, and stopping at stands of grass trees in the yellow sand country.
"Lancelin" my wife guesses.
We had a free night in a busy world, and I'd told her that I had arranged something and we'd just head off for the night. Get out of town. A night away at a mystery location. It was fun keeping her guessing.
The only clue that I had given was that it was two-and-a-half hours away. She drew a mental circle and came up with everything from places "down south" to Cataby Roadhouse. Which was a guess wildly out-of-the-blue and verging on bizarrely predictive, because we're heading there now.
I turn right before we get to Lancelin, cut across to the Brand Highway and head north. Yep, there it is. "Cataby" on the signs.
She looks at me. What had seemed a good joke suddenly doesn't quite seem so funny.
We stop at Regans Ford Windmill Roadhouse for a pot of tea and some lunch. What a great joint. The table's a glass top on a straight-six engine block (there's a V8 one, too), there's a till set under the floor and a big Shell sign in the ceiling. Part of the sales display is the back end of a station wagon. It's full of icons and intricacies - and it's a terrific pot of tea.
I can tell she's relieved as we drive straight through Cataby (no disrespect to anyone there, of course), and I turn off west into Bibby Road.
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, 250km north of the centre of Perth, is the sort of place that tourists desperately want to see, but some of us locals might undervalue. That's just the result of living in a place.
But the thousands of limestone pillars of the Pinnacles, thought by many to represent the remains of a forest covered by moving sand dunes and petrified, and nearby Lake Thetis, with stromatolites and thrombolites related to those that were the first organisms on Earth to product oxygen, are remarkable things.
But before looking around, first we check in to the Pinnacles Edge Resort. This brand-new luxury resort is a treat. We walk into a sizeable kitchen, dining and sitting area, with sliding glass doors on to a private balcony, also with a big table and chairs. It overlooks the swimming pool.
The kitchen has quality appliances, including a dishwasher, and the sitting area has a lounge suite, flat-screen TV and nice decor and fittings.
The bedroom, with its king-size bed and plenty of cupboards and hanging space, is separate and, once again, stylishly fitted. The bathroom is huge, with a spa.
There is also a function centre on site, and a gym next to the swimming pool.
We dine in the resort's restaurant, enjoying a good menu and wines, and the drifting accents of European guests who are discovering this corner of WA.
As much as the spas, pools and flat-screens - and probably more - it's the people who make a place, and the staff at Pinnacles Edge Resort couldn't be friendlier, more welcoming or more professional.
Next morning we are up to sunshine and breakfast at Seashells Cafe, overlooking the beach. Did a bacon and egg toastie and a mug of coffee ever taste as good?
Cervantes is a classic, undiluted WA coastal town, fed by a history of crayfishing. There are fibro shacks and modern mansions, unpainted aluminium boats on trailers and seemingly all the old speedboats in the world gathered in the backyards, along with red tractors to pull them down to the beach. It's bleached out and sunburnt. It's unpretentious, blue-singlet- and-thongs, cold beers, family, kids-on- bikes, oceanic, everything imbued with the elements.
We buy a pack with local seafood, including two crayfish, at the Indian Ocean Rock Lobster shop and then look at each other. It's only mid-morning, but time to turn for home.
We drive sort-of the same route south and are home about 2pm, ready for all that's to be done before the end of the weekend.It was just one night away, but time stretches sometimes into a personal, shared oasis in the helter-skelter of the weeks.