You know how everyone tells you that you need to go out on regular dates when you're married to keep your relationship healthy? Well, for the past almost seven years, our dates have consisted of ordering some food, sitting in our living room, and watching BBC mini-series. I mean, it's not bad. But I don't think that's what the marriage experts exactly mean.
Our biggest problem is that we can't find a babysitter. We always had my parents to babysit for us, but I really only used them for special things, such as concerts or weddings or whatever because my mom watched the girls for us while I was at work. Then we had our wonderful babysitter, Kathi, who used to watch Lucy after pre-school and kindergarten, but she has her own family so I felt sort of bad asking her to leave them and come over so we can go to Olive Garden.
But...those days are no more. After many tries, we have FOUND a babysitter. (I've been given lots of names--but everyone I try has a much more active social life than I do and is never available). But our new babysitter is wonderful. She's even completed a community college course on babysitting that includes CPR and everything. Short of having a paramedic be our babysitter, we cannot do better.
I broke the news to the girls that we were going out and that Emily would be coming to babysit. They were ecstatic. Oh.
So, Darren and I headed out to try a new(ish) restaurant in town. As we drove away I said, "Apparently there are rules for parent dating. I heard that we're not supposed to discuss the three B's: Business, Babies, and Bucks."
Darren promptly began telling me about having our taxes completely finished and then discovering he had missed one of my freelance jobs and had to do everything over and how ridiculous the American tax system is.
"I think that falls under 'Bucks,'" I said. "Try again."
Then I told him about the cover story for the new issue of the magazine and how it'll be the first issue carried in Barnes & Noble.
"That's business," he said.
We were stopped at a light and saw a pterodactyl flying out of the car in front of us.
"That is exactly something Elaine would do," we both said.
Before we'd even pulled into the restaurant parking lot, we'd violated all three B's.
We did OK during dinner though--we found all sorts of other things to talk about, and we did not have to play one game of tic-tac-toe or word search on our placemats with crayons during the entire time. However, by the time we'd lingered over our food and chatted, it was only 8:20. We still had 40 minutes to kill before we were supposed to be home.
"What do we do now?" Darren asked.
"Let's drive around," I replied.
"In the dark?" he replied. "Oh look, there's the Christian bookstore. I want to buy an ESV Bible. Let's go there."
On the way there, he told me more about our taxes.
We looked around the store for awhile, but Christian bookstores are different than they used to be. There used to be a lot more...well, books for one thing. And music for another.
As we left, I saw a Canada goose sitting all alone in the middle of the parking lot.
"Why would a goose just sit on the pavement by itself?" I asked. "Especially when there's some grass and a tree just a little ways away. Bizarre."
As we drove by the grass and tree, we saw his goose wife, sitting on her nest. I spent a little time trying to think about a beautiful metaphor for marriage from that, but I was sort of tired and sometimes a goose sitting in the parking lot is just a goose sitting in the parking lot. Besides, they'd probably had a fight because soon-to-be mother goose kept talking about the prospective goslings and the man goose probably kept talking about their tax credits, and now he was sleeping on the proverbial couch/parking lot.
We went home, and Emily said the girls and she had had a great time. I went up to check on them in their beds, and they were just barely awake. They told me they'd had so much fun and eaten pizza and ridden their bikes and played freeze tag with Emily and also when could we go away again so she could come over?
So, there was our first date in years. We were maybe a little bit rusty. Now that we have Emily though, we'll definitely try going out again soon.
Especially now that tax season is over.