Benjamin Franklin claimed that there was nothing certain in this world but death and taxes. Obviously Ben didn’t have the foresight to include the certainty that, on any given night, there is an episode of Law & Order, or the Big Bang Theory, available for my zombie-like TV consumption after my kids have gone to sleep. This is a problem for a few reasons: One, I do not actually like The Big Bang Theory, and yet I think I have seen every episode. Two, Law & Order (especially SVU) convinces me that there may be no reason to ever let my kids leave my sight until they are 39. And finally, that means the majority of the alone time my husband and I get to spend with each other on a given day is spent warmed by the soft glow of our TV. Judging by the amount of people venting about Scandal or Brian dying on Family Guy via social media, we are not alone in our vegging out.
If the key to making New Year’s Resolutions that survive after the first month is to make them specific and attainable, then one non-fitness related goal could be a “date night” once a week. For me, and I assume others, this is complicated by the fact that we have many children and the going rate for babysitters in our area is very steep. So to make this resolution attainable, some of these “date nights” will have to be at home, without an invitation being extended to Jim Parsons and/or Mariska Hargitay. Therefore, I have decided to tackle usual date night themes and tailor them to occur at home.
Obviously a simple solution here is take-out, but maybe you are like us, and your go-to place knows you so well, they have your name and order memorized. Plus, it’s a slippery slope when your food comes in a container that could easily become nestled with you on the couch in front of a horrible Adam Sandler movie. Instead, I was thinking about learning to cook something together using the gentle tutelage of Gordon Ramsay, available in a series of You Tube videos under, “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course.” You and your significant other get a chance to learn legit skills, and you get a chance to smash things while yelling, “IT’S RAW, YOU DONKEY!!”- all in the name of togetherness. If Ramsay isn’t your speed, you could always try some beer pairings with takeout from your local diner, drive-in or dive. Of course, the hazard here is thinking about Guy Fieri when trying to be romantic- I am not sure that is possible. Other options include getting food from Whole Foods, like their ready-made pasta, and then making it at home. The amount of money you will spend on the food there will make you feel like you must have left your house.
Like the cooking, this could be a time to learn something new together, using videos from the library or You Tube. If your husband is like mine, this idea may fly for only about 20 minutes, so it would be best to pair it with the cooking. But it could be fun to learn some popular dances together to prepare for spring weddings or bad DJs at the bowling alley. The “Cha Cha Slide” lists the directions in the song, so it is probably attainable. Anything from classical to modern line dancing create the opportunity to at least laugh together. Truly, nothing would bring me more joy than to see my husband attempt “The Wobble.”
Ok, I know! The goal here was to reduce the TV aspect of “at home dating,” so if a movie is attempted, there has got to be a spin. One way would be to borrow a projector from work or a high tech friend, and project the movie onto a sheet or a wall. Bring popcorn, booze and lawn chairs, and you basically have a movie date possibly modeled after an episode of “Saved By The Bell”. (Seriously, I feel like this would be a very Zac Morris operation, minus the booze.) If it is nice out, your could even project it onto the side of your house, giving it a very “drive-in” feeling. I would just have to be strategic about the movie choice, as my elderly neighbors most likely would not enjoy looking out their window and seeing sex or violence lit up on my siding.
And speaking of drive-ins, there’s always the minivan. When we joined the Minivan Mafia five years ago, the number of people who gave us a wink and a nudge about “mommy and daddy time” behind the automatic sliding doors was almost disturbing. FYI- the amount of people making out in their driveways after dark is apparently enormous. Now I don’t like to hang out where french-fries go to die, but the van does have roomy seating, cup holders, and tinted windows. If that floats your boat, and/or if you have one of those vans with a built in vacuum (which would put me in an extraordinary mood), go for it, you crazy kids! Just be responsible, unless you want to add another car seat in there.
So, there are options if you are going to try to spend some couple time at home. And if these don’t work, you could always use that time to play online poker for cash. Between the two of you, you might only be a few hands away from a babysitter and a meal! (Not recommended if your card experience is limited to Go Fish and Uno.)
(Image: getty images)