How Do I Date Thee?

My husband and I don’t date as often as we should. We’re not exactly the kind of couple that holds Friday night in sacred reserve for each other… maybe we should be, but I just don’t know if we’re creative enough (or rich enough, for that matter) to date every single Friday night and enjoy it. Truth is, sometimes, we want to spend our Friday nights with our kids. And sometimes we want to spend it turning in early because sleep is golden ’round these parts. Anyway, I think we’d get a little stuck in a rut with a Friday routine.
But, but, but: on the flip side, we haven’t been dating at all. Not even a little. Not even a teensy brisk, kid-less stroll down the lane. The other night, I tossed out the idea (that I thought of all by myself but I’m sure someone -probably a thousand someones -have thought of before) that we each write down ten date ideas of our own, cut them apart from each other, put them in a jar, draw one out every Sunday night to be used the coming Friday (or Saturday). This gives us prep time so our dates have a little more meat to them and it also gives us ample time to get a sitter if needed. How many times have we planned a date and put off getting a sitter until it came right down to it and then weren’t able to go out at all? I can’t say for CERTAIN, but 4,539 sounds about right.
Last night after the kids went to bed, we made our lists.
Confession: when I ran out of ideas, I scribbled intently on my page so my husband would think I was full of awesome creativity and not just a blankness.
The funny thing about our lists is that mine is written in huge-o chunky writing and my ideas go into great detail while my husband’s list is short and very much to the point.
I used two pages.

We had one rule: We were allowed to choose whatever we wanted regardless of the other spouse’s feelings. I know that sounds cruel, but we both agreed that we don’t spend enough time focusing on each other’s interests. For example: my husband LOVES gardening and would kill to have me garden with him. I was raised gardening, and so it isn’t fun for me. I like having a garden, but it isn’t FUN for me. It’s WORK. So as one of his date ideas, he wrote “Spend an evening gardening together.” He knows I’d rather not, but it’s important to him so I can suck it up. We’re hoping that in the process we’ll come to love and appreciate each other’s hobbies and interests more. On that note, my husband isn’t exactly thrilled that I wrote down choosing a poem to share with each other. But hey, babe. you love weeding. I love words.
Let’s meet in the middle.

The date ideas are jarred and ready to go. It looks like we’re set for the next 6 months or so -and we won’t be bored by any means. We’re both excited to try our date ideas (poetry aside, on his part. gardening on mine). I suggested we go to a restaurant and share one large platter of something-or-other, to which he replied without missing a beat, “48 wings from Native New Yorker.”
And the baby inside of my flipped with joy.
We’ll also be making our own popcorn -straight from the kernel -and flavoring it as we choose. My husband loves buttery and salty popcorn. I’m more of a sweet, kettle-corn kind of girl.
He wants me to play Playstation with him.
I want him to make a playlist for me.
And yes -we’re going to make a date out of writing living wills together. It’s not like we’re rolling in assets that need to be divided, but if in the case that one of us should die, there’s certain little trinkets that I want to make sure go to certain people, and my husband feels the same. Might as well make a date of it (black attire optional).
We’re both really excited to make a list of things we want to do together before we die… not that death is a theme in our marriage, but I guess we do talk quite a lot about it. We’ve already outlined our qualifications for potential future spouses should one of us die.
He has to marry someone happy.
I have to marry someone who will take care of me financially.

Between walking the historic downtown area in the city and taking a backwoods drive in the forest, we’re going to have a rollicking good time interrupted by brief periods of gardening, poetry reading, and will writing.
If I was a proper, cute wife… I’d make the jar adorable, but I’m practical. and I’m tired. and husband’s don’t care about cute jars.
Let the games begin!

Goin’ Courtin’

A few months ago, I uncharacteristically nagged my husband about the simple fact that we didn’t do much together.  I wanted to broaden our common interests, spend more time getting to really know one another, and consequently create a more solid foundation.  Solidify our relationship.

Solid, solid, solid.

Solid is the key word.

I see it as not only enriching but PREVENTATIVE as well.  At first he thought I was crazy.  I didn’t blame him because, frankly, he’s got a point.  I let the issue slide, but it nagged at me.  I didn’t really mean to, but I ended up nagging my husband about it.  It all came to nothing, as nagging usually does, and I became distracted with other things: self-improvement, self-growth, blah, blah, blah.

And then something happened.

I got a text from my husband.  He told me he’d taken some time and read through all of the emails we’d sent one another when we were dating and living 4 hours from each other.

“I have to say I’m a very lucky guy,” he texted.  Naturally, I pried open his mind and absolutely fished for compliments, as any woman would.  This is what came of it.

“You’re just an awesome girl!  You love me more than anyone ever has and I think I’ve taken that for granted…I’ve just realized I need to do a better job of nurturing the good thing we have.”

And… melt.  Right there.  On the spot.  But wait.  There’s more!  He proceeded to ask me out on a date, and I proceeded to accept.  Through no fault of my own or his, I ended up completely planning the date.  Okay, so maybe it was my fault.  But what it comes down to is this: I got an idea.  If you know me at all, you know what happens when I get an idea.  Nothing stops me.  My husband didn’t mind because, as he later confessed, he had “planned” to take me to dinner.  Somewhere.

Through a little Internet browsing, I decided it would be really fun to pick a recipe we could cook together.  I found a recipe for Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta, something that just SCREAMED my husband’s name, and I copy/pasted it to Microsoft Word where I could bend the font to my heart’s desire.  I then made a shopping list and printed it out along with the recipe.  I cleaned the house from top to bottom.

Seriously.  I MOPPED.  You must understand how serious this made things.

Then I washed our aprons.  Truth: I bought my husband a discarded Olive Garden apron at Savers a few years ago.  It’s black and manly.  It’s a beaut.  And the apron’s pretty sleek, too.

Getting the ingredients for this particular recipe turned out to be pretty expensive, and I even omitted the proper cheese on account of it’s costing $10 for a little slice.  I’m country, okay.  Cheese shouldn’t be that hard or that expensive.

We perused the aisles of the dingy Safeway and bought marinated artichokes, red pepper flakes, FRESH basil (which nearly killed me with sheer happiness), shrimp, sparkling cider… and the list went on.  Once home, we made the most beautiful mess in my newly-cleaned kitchen.  My husband put on Norah Jones Pandora Station, and we cooked.

The first thing we did was chop.  I taught my husband how to chop by leaving the tip of the fat knife on the cutting board and only lifting the back of the knife.  He was prodigious good at it.  I taught him how to SLAM a cup down on top of a clove of garlic to get the waxy crap off.  He really took to that.

I asked him to sautee the olive oil and garlic.  He did.  And then, on account of my not thawing the shrimp in time, we burned it. Here’s a picture of him burning the garlic.  See how forced that smile is?  He really did have fun.  Don’t let that face fool you.

We tossed out the burned mess and started anew.  Afresh.  All over again.

The smells that came from the range-top were OH-HO so GOOD.

I have the cutest apron that my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday. I’ve used it SO much! I feel bad using something so beautiful. Really, I ought to just hang it on the wall and look at it. But as you can see, I use the heck out of it.

The dinner turned out really well. My husband put our sparkling cider on ice. I cleaned and vigorously dusted our fancy glasses (we literally haven’t used them in years. How sad). Don’t mind that this picture isn’t very pretty. We’re not photographers. We’re chefs. Obviously.
I might also add that the Parmesan that you sprinkle on is light years cheaper than that other stuff. Oh, and the Sunflower plates were a wedding gift from my aunts and uncles.  Sunflowers are my very favorite and were the flowers of choice at our wedding reception.  I LOVE that set!

This picture doesn’t do this dish justice.  Holy stinkin’ heck, it was divine.Yes, there’s leftovers.

Yes, I’m thinking of eating them for breakfast.

Yes, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

My husband held me close last night after we ate and danced with me to our favorite song.  As we danced, he apologized for not planning the date he asked me on and then confessed that he had a date planned -a surprise date -for Valentine’s Day.  I was so happy I took him out for ice cream.  Right then and there.

Can’t wait. Can not wait!