The Date Night Out

With a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse gift card collecting dust on a shelf, Bryan and I decided to have a long-overdue night out during our December winter break. A date night, we thought. We’ll get dressed up, enjoy a delicious and leisurely meal, and take a jaunt to the bookstore. Yes, this would be our child- and animal-free evening. And while the evening was certainly enjoyable, I have to say that bliss is pretty darn hard to come by as you have kids (and pets) and grow older. Let me explain what I mean.

Sophie was beyond excited to have her former camp teacher babysit. In Sophie’s four years, this is the first time someone other than a family member has stayed at our home alone with her (and the four 4-legged creatures). I had no worries about said sitter and I knew Sophie would be in good hands.

Yet I found myself explaining every detail to her. Things like where the bathroom is; Sophie’s routine; dinner arrangements; my cell number; how the television works; where the dishes are located; dessert options; you name it – I covered it. I later remembered that this sitter took care of Sophie at day camp every day for eight weeks over the summer. So why did I feel the need to tell her everything?

Meanwhile Bryan’s biggest concern is whether he should tell the sitter where the house’s main water shut-off valve is located in case of emergency plumbing problem. Of course that’s not even on my radar. Leave it to the man to think of that detail.

We arrive at Ruth’s Chris and are seated right away, and we order our delicious dinner from a very personable, yet somewhat chatty, server. Don’t get me wrong; he’s very nice. But I’m out on a date, people.  And I really have absolutely no desire to listen to — or speak with — anyone else.

Ah, dinner arrives! For once I could sit down and eat a meal without interruption. No Sophie telling me she doesn’t like the food. And cats meowing at me. And dogs needing to be let outside and back in (and outside and back in … you get the idea).  FOR ONCE, I wanted a quiet dinner where people did not bother me.

Perhaps this was too much to ask for because our waiter, the restaurant manager, and several other servers made countless trips to our table asking, “Is everything tasting okay?” or “Everything all right?”

At what seemed like the 20th interruption, I really thought I was going to explode and say something like, “EVERYTHING IS FINE! LEAVE ME ALONE. FOR ONCE I WANT TO EAT IN PEACE AND YOU’RE NOT HELPING!”

Here we thought we had to get away from the kids and creatures. Turns out the wait staff are just as annoying!

But I didn’t do that. I took a few deep breaths and focused instead on the paid-for dinner I did not have to cook, and relish in the fact that I was at a restaurant and wasn’t expected to get up three times during my meal to take Sophie to the bathroom.

We finished up our dinner and headed to the bookstore to peruse the shelves.  I, of course, found several books I must read. (NOTE: Do not start reading books you’re not planning to buy. You’ll just want to keep reading and find yourself staring at said book on Amazon until you succumb and buy it.)

By the end of the date, both Bryan and I are missing our little Sophie and decide to head back home. We thank our sitter for the night and say good-bye. And then the dogs need to go out. And the cats start going crazy. And Sophie has a meltdown when we tell her she can’t eat goldfish crackers after she’s just brushed her teeth at bedtime. … Welcome home!

Needless to say, Bryan and I had a very nice evening. It was relaxing, we were able to converse for an entire meal period, and the food was wonderful. And it really was great to be alone with each other for a few hours. Still as I said before, with our crazy cast of characters, I’m not sure bliss will ever be attained in one night out. Maybe next time we’ll try for a weekend getaway.

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