B and I don't do a lot of date nights. I think for all of 2012 we had maybe 4 the whole year. Since we don't have the family option, date nights involve trusting and paying for a sitter. Up until late last year, we only knew one sitter, an old pre-school teacher from LM's first daycare, and, even though she was nice and trustworthy and charged $10/hr, she didn't own a car so date night also involved a good hour of driving for us just to pick her up and drop her off.
So, towards the end of last year, I hopped onto Care.com and interviewed potential sitters who owned cars and found 2 I liked. The one the kids love the most is of course the costlier of the two ($17/hr). She is a retired elementary school teacher who brings toys and books with her and of course she is awesome. We all love her and the fact that she lives close and has her own car has made it easier to commit to our goal of having one date night a month.
But, having to pay $85 to the babysitter for the privilege of leaving the kids safe at home for 5 hours doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room in the budget for the actual date. Since B and I miss seeing movies in the movie theater, we tend to do dinner and movie dates with an emphasis on the movie and less on dinner. For example, one night we only had about $30 for the actual "date" and the movie took 2/3 of that so the dinner part took place at a Subway sandwich shop. Split a foot-long under fluorescent lighting? Tres Romantic!
So I was very excited when I saw a deal come through on one of those Groupon like sites for a nearby burrito shop and movie house. It was something like "2 burritos, 2 Mexican sodas, and 2 movie tickets" for $18. I scooped it up! As a bonus, the burrito joint and movie theater are about a 5 minute drive from the house.
The problem is that there is nothing much else to do near the house. Our suburb is not one that offers copious amounts of "night life" and even though the burritos were tasty, we had an hour to kill between finishing dinner and the movie's start time. At first we thought we would walk around a bit but it was freezing out so I recommended a drive to a nearby CVS to read magazines and troll for cheaper movie snacks.
The combination of burrito burps, my "leaves much to be desired" night driving and parallel parking abilities, and shopping for deodorant at CVS on a "date night" made B decide to narrate the date as a bad YELP review. It was as if it were our first date and I had taken him out on the town. It went sort of like this:
The choice of sad NPR like news about Syria on the radio instead of slow jam R+B grooves set the mood as she nearly plowed into a parked car trying to back into a spot on a dark side street. "I can't see!" was her excuse as I clutched the door handle desperate to flee the sounds of atrocities in the middle east and the toxic fumes of the burrito curse that she belched into my face.
CVS is an odd choice for a date but, being the adventurous sort, I went with it. She suggested looking at magazines but instead spend 15 minutes reading the labels on deodorant bottles saying she did not want one with anti-persperant but was tired of the 'cole slaw smell' her pits had from the straight deoderants. I entertained myself by making fun of the celebrity perfumes nearby. Antonio Banderas has a cologne out?
Later, as we were crushed into a mass of waiting moviegoers in the small lobby of the one roomed local movie theater, he continued to narrate.
She took me to a small mom and pop movie theater run by idiots. There crushed against the popcorn machine as we waited to be let into the movie that was supposed to start 10 minutes ago she asked me to hold her coffee so she could update Facebook. I give this date 0 stars.
FYI, we saw the Silver Linings Playbook which I cannot recommend high enough. It was SO GOOD and we both loved it and it elevated our date from 0 stars up to maybe 5.
I do love how we change over time. B was right, had this been a first date there would never have been another one but of course I like to think that I would have had sense not to drag a first date to CVS and shop for deodorant. Also, if you can't kill an hour on a first date with idle chatter, than you have no sense following it with a second date. But, I do have to admit, it was a little sad for a date night.
So far our best date night in the past few months was the night in early December when we roamed around a popular area in Boston, including a city mall, and found this weird small fancy chocolate and tea store where we spend crazy amounts of money on funky chocolates, including one that was "Mesquite BBQ potato chip" flavored that was very surprisingly super tasty!
Sometimes the best dates are the more spontaneous ones but still, since we don't get out much, even the worst YELP reviewed date with B can still make me laugh until I cry. I married a funny one.