@Home Date Night
Saturday night has arrived and you've planned a fun dinner out with your spouse, but then you get an unexpected surprise:
- The sitter's sick and can't come over.
- The budget is spent and you should take a week off of going out.
- The weather is suddenly uncooperative and braving the roads seems ill-advised.
- Traffic has taken a horrific turn between your home and the new restaurant.
Do you cancel your date night in the face of overwhelming logistical challenges? Like it or not, sometimes staying home is the best option.
Fear not, housebound love birds. There are plenty of fun ways to still have a "date" with your spouse and skip all of the budget/planning pressures. The key to a successful "home date" is NOT defaulting to the typical weeknight routine of couch sitting and catching up on the DVR backlog. This is not time to dink around on the computer, but to intentionally use your time together...just like you would if you were out on the town.
When our best intended date nights becomes a "home date," Billy and I regroup and shift to "Plan B." This plan is founded on three deliberate decisions:
- No cooking - I love to cook, but not on date night. If we aren't going out, we'll either order food or swing by Whole Foods (or any store with prepared food) and grab whatever suits our fancy. Home-date eating should have all of the complexity of putting food on a plate. Less time being concerned about food prep means more time focused on each other.
- Kids in bed early - Saturday home-date night carries the same early-to-bed routine for our little ones. Admittedly, this is easier to enforce during the winter months when it's not light until 9:30, but still, we are militant about getting the short people tucked in their beds by 7:30 if we have a date @home. The night should feel exclusively yours, as a couple.
- Plan an interactive activity - Brainstorm with your spouse about something BOTH of you would like to do together. If you BOTH love to bake, bust out the pastry recipes, tie on some aprons, and try something new. Do you love to make stuff? Get out the tools and paint brushes and build something together. Need to plan a vacation? Do it together. If you've been meaning to edit your videos into a movie, work on that. Even if you're creating a new workout playlist together, do something out of the ordinary.
Around our house, typical board games (backgammon, chess, cards) don't fly well with us. Billy and I are both a wee bit competitive, and "the loser" ends date nights resenting "the victor." In light of this fact, one of our favorite home-date night activities is a less competitive, 2012, internet-enhanced version of "Game Night." These new "fangled" games not only connect us, they make us laugh - worthy goals for any date night. So, in the name of sharing, here are a few of our favorite wi-fi home-date activities.
Virtual Tours (via Google Maps)
Billy and I grew up on different coasts. As a result, neither of us knows a ton about where we spent our childhood years or the landmarks that provided their setting. For example, Billy doesn't know much about my High School Tommy Burger runs. If we're playing "virtual tour," I'll take him down to the original location on Beverly & Rampart via Google Maps Street view (which is Google Map's database of panoramic street-level photos found by dragging the little yellow man icon from the top left of a Google Map to the street that you want to see. See the Tommy Burger via Street View to your right).
Does he need to see where I saw Bruce Springsteen during the Born in the USA tour? Sure he does! In that case, I'll pull up the scoop on the L.A. Colosseum. Do I need to see the Briarcliff Woods Beach Club (where Billy swam the summers away) or the Toco Hills Kroger (the site of Billy's first job)? Bring 'em on. We've found these "tours" lead to more stories, more connection, and a great night together!
Find the Childhood Artifact (on eBay)
In this activity, one of you picks an iconic object from a childhood memory and tries to find it online. For instance, one of our recent foci was to go on eBay to try and resurrect the images of the lunch boxes that we carried into our respective elementary schools. Billy quickly found his "Pele" lunch box on eBay (here) and was pleased to discover it's worth more than my Holly Hobbie box (here). However, I think my Pee Chee Folders are WAAAY cooler than his Trapper Keepers. Memory lane is always a fun place to walk, so enjoy the stroll...together!
This is a fun little game where one person must navigate from one topic in Wikipedia to another remote topic using only the linked words within that article. Every Wikipedia article is loaded with words that link to other Wikipedia articles (similar to the way that I link words in this post that take you to other webpages). With a little bit of strategy and skill, one can make the journey (via links) from any one topic to another. For example, Billy gave me the challenge to start on the Wikipedia page on "Bungee jumping" and find my way through the links to end on the Wikipedia article on "Donald Duck." Game on. In this instance, I went from the Bungee jumping page to the link in it to the Amazing Race - to The Walt Disney Co (which SHOULD have had Donald Duck as a link, but, alas, NO!) - to Der Fuerher's Face - to Donald Duck. Much of the time, one of us gets stuck and we have to "solve" the puzzle together. Call us geeks, but we LOVE this game!
However you decide to spend your @Home Date Night, make sure it's both strategic AND fun!