Friday, March 2, 2012

Romantic dates with your partner?

Before Fabrice and I were married, we went out often, our dates were usually random and unplanned.  We would go out several nights per week, mostly just for dinners.  If it's weekend, we would complete our dates with additional trips to movie theaters.  Occasionally, we also drove out of the city for some rock climbing, river canoeing, and hill hiking.

One Saturday morning, I woke up feeling an urge of getting out of the lab for a change.  So I suggested Fabrice to drive out of town.  He asked, "Where to?".  I said, "I don't know.  As long as it is not the lab!".  Then, we went to San Antonio (we lived in Houston then), visited the Alamo, took a cruise to enjoy the River Walk, spent a few hours wandering from one local store to another to experience being a tourist and to understand why so many people consider this city tourist worthy.  We even spent a night there just for the night life along the River Walk!  Next morning, I woke up depressed because I did not want our fun trip to end.  Then I suggested Fabrice to take a detour back to Houston via Austin.  He must have thought I was more worthy of his time, so he went along with the "unplanned plan".  So, there we were, visited the capital of Texas, stumbled in a finest French restaurant in the downtown area for lunch, and then completely lost ourselves on the streets.  While walking randomly on UT-Austin campus, we noticed a stream of people: they all nicely dressed walking towards one direction.  Curiously I followed them, Fabrice followed me, eventually, we all arrived a theater.  It was already quite late and Fabrice wanted to head back but I insisted to check out what show was on.  He and I looked at the bulletin and could not decide what to do - the ticket was very pricy and our unplanned trip already took longer than intended.  Our responsibility started to take over our curiosity by then.  It was then, we were approached by a group of people.  They told us the show was something one should not miss.  Best of all, they made decision for us by offering us a free ticket.  So with mixed feelings, Fabrice and I bought another ticket.  When we went in, the theater was already packed with people, a first sign of a good show, we thought.  Even then we still decided to stay on the back in case we needed to leave early if the show turned out to be was not worth of our time.  Pleasantly surprised however, that was absolutely the best Contemporary/Modern Dance Performances and the Concussion Music that I have ever watched/heard!  It was a night to remember.

The whole trip was a date to remember!

After we got married, especially after we had kids, our life becomes highly predictable: we now own a Toyato Rav4 and then my little new green beetle retires.  Our driving routes have changed from all over the city to home-daycare-work-home on weekdays and home-Costco-home on weekends.

We don't even shop for food in various grocery stores anymore.  We also have completely forgotten how to have a date with each other.

One day at about 8 months after I became a mother, I had made a major discovery: we were not an isolated case.  So I decided to make our married life a bit more fun.  Married couple should not be deprived from loving and fun dates!  I told Fabrice, "Let's ditch the kid and get out for a date." He looked at me as if he saw a pretty young girl, "Really, when?"  The poor husband of mine was clearly excited.  He must have been happy to find that I was willing to leave our infant with someone else - I was a new mother at 46 for the first time, can you blame me for not willing to separate with our lovely Zhuzhu?  Poor Fabrice, his weakness is too understanding of others.

So I asked Ling to babysit Zhuzhu for a whole night - from 6 pm to 11 pm, we said to her.  Fabrice and I had planned to have a real date, which should have included a good meal in a fine restaurant followed by a good movie.

The moment that we walked out of the door, however, I wanted to turn back - I could barely keep my eyes open.  All I wanted was to have a good sleep.  But that was our first night out for fun ever since the kiddo was born, I could not ruin it by telling Fabrice that.  So, I stuck with our original plan.  Our meal was a bit rushed though, because I was too afraid of falling my head down to the table.  Seriously, I almost did fall in asleep!  Interestingly, Fabric was not much more excited than I either!  So he finished his meal without any delay.  We acted like we only wanted a sequence of events involved in the concept of date to end, as quickly as possible.  We should have stopped right then, without a movie.  But we had planed to watch a movie, so we continued to go on our date.  When we made it to the nearest movie theater, both Fabrice and I looked at the bulletin boards and then each other.  Almost simultaneously, we said, "Let's go home."

Ling laughed her ass off when she saw us coming back home before 9 pm.

Second dates - staff night out nights.

First let me give you some background. Apparently, we, Fabrice and I, not the only ones who understand the problem that married couple don't have much time for each other.  Our employer does too.  To solve it, our employer provides us "staff-nights-out" nights.  In those nights, we can simply drop our kids to a "night care".  A bunch of college students then babysit them for us.  We can then have our dates for free from 6-11 pm!

On the first staff-night-out night, Fabrice and I ended up going back to our offices - he continued working and I visited my favorite blog sites.

The second time I went shopping with Ling while Fabrice was out of town.

Those, my friend, are what I call romantic evenings.

Pathetic, don't you think so?

Well, not really, if you know that Fabrice and I have our offices on the same floor.  His office is about 20 meters from mine and we lunch together almost daily.  Compared to other couples, what we need more may be alone date, except we do wish to go out for good meals without kids, from time to time.

At the last staff-night-out night, we decided to do something different.  We have recently had a lot of changes in life.  One of which was that we have moved to a new house.  I am having a love and hate relationship with it, even though its noticeably bigger and nicer.

At around 5 pm, Fabrice walked in my office and asked, "So, what we are going to do for our date tonight?" - it usually irritates me whenever he asks this type of question - it's his job to provide ideas to have fun: he picks up movies from Netflix, he choses places to go for skiing, rocks to climb, routes to run, restaurants to dine (ok, I contribute to the last one too)... For the man readers out there, never ask your woman what to do on your dates - it's the man's job to find fun things to do with the woman!

Anyway, back to our romantic dates.

"Why don't we go to have our house cleaned!" - I still love our old house that we moved out slowly but never get it completely cleaned.  I hate to leave it unattended even though no one is living in it at the moment.

Fabrice was disappointed but he could not find any better things to do.  But he suggested to at least get some food first.  Then we found every single restaurant close by our old house was full, even the bad ones.

Eventually, Fabrice and I cleaned our house with empty stomach!

What do you do with your spouse of 10 years?

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