Friday, August 15, 2014

Low-Budget Date Nights. Or Parents With Funding Issues.

                                          Swan Tavern Antiques in Yorktown, Va.

You and your honey/hunk/sweet thing/lovey-dovey/sugar pie -- or whatever it is you call your spouse/mate/life partner/husband/wife -- may be so financially secure that every date night you take includes $15 appetizers, $30 steaks, $15 desserts and a short cruise for $100 a pop in the bay. Not to mention the tab for the babysitter. Plus tip.

The Sabos, however, operate in a different financial realm. Five Guys is high-end for us. We've been known to head to dinner with coupons. From McDonald's. We like going to the nearby Mexican restaurant because it's all about volume; we can take home enough food for a second "in-house" date the next day, provided our boxes of food can somehow survive the gauntlet of starving chitlins rummaging through the fridge over the course of about 24 hours. Basically there's a better chance of Los Angeles being smog-free in August than a box of Mexican food leftovers surviving more than a few hours in the Sabo fridge, however.

So almost subconsciously Julie and I have begun to specialize in the "creative dating lifestyle" category. For example, on our recent trip to Oregon we took a lovely stroll through her former hometown of Canby, Ore. She was a great tour guide and pointed out all of her old downtown haunts, walked me by her old elementary school and pointed out how small the trees used to be in Wait Park. It was a wonderful time together unencumbered by the demands of small children ... wait a minute. Now that I think about it I recall pushing a jogger stroller on our jaunt. Which wasn't empty ... well, I guess it was a date with just the three of us -- Julie, Seth and me. An intimate walk through town with Julie was a nice thought at least.

Anyway, there are times that we are alone together in a formal "date" setting that includes the obligatory dinner. When you have the volume of children we have, you have to pick your spots but thankfully we have older kids who can watch the little kids. But sometimes you just need to get away, albeit cheaply, to have adult conversations without interruption, to share your dreams about the future (Mine entails 100 grandchildren. No pressure kids if you're reading this, but my biological clock is ticking and I don't have any yet.) and sometimes just to HAVE SOME PEACE AND QUIET! Er, excuse me. Our house is actually typically peaceful and somewhat serene even because people who come over to visit often remark how quiet it is in here. But there are those moments when it feels like someone just targeted my house with some sort of smart bomb -- or is it a dumb bomb? -- that causes endless arguing, whining and general chaos. You know what I mean?

All this to say that earlier this week Julie and I managed to take leave of our children, drive down to a large crafts store and actually "browse" through the aisles without even thinking of how long we were taking. It was paradise! Then on the way home on a complete whim, spur of the moment, even spontaneous act, we ducked into Yorktown, parked the car and walked around through the historical Colonial buildings dating back to the 1700s. It was a perfectly delightful August night. The sky was ablaze following a thunderstorm, the smell of the rain was wafting in the air and it was just the two of us, alone in our conversation as darkness crept over us. It was absolutely wonderful. Who can put a price tag on that?

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