A Date at the Laundromat

Photo © 2008 Isaac Hsieh CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A romance thread at Sherry the Redhead Riter’s “BlogNTweet” forum reminded me of this story. Sherry asked how often we date.

Now, of course, I don’t date, because my Beloved (formerly “the Missus”), she doesn’t let me date. (It’s probably better that way.)

But we do “date” each other, occasionally… Well…

We used to date, even if we didn’t call it “dating.” For example, when we first got married, we moved into a tiny, third-floor, attic apartment. I worked down the street, and my Beloved was still finishing up her college education. (In fact, our wedding date we chose because it was during a break from classes, which gave us a couple weeks for a short honeymoon.) We had plenty of time during our off-hours to hang out together, spend time with friends, do chores together, or whatever. We used to go grocery shopping together every week, and then we’d carry all those bags up all those stairs. We had to do the laundry at the laundromat, so every week, we loaded up the car with our dirties and drove across town to the “good” laundromat. While the clothes were drying, we walked across the parking lot and got a bite to eat at Burger King. Not fancy, but it was special, and these memories I now look back on fondly.

Then we had kids. Kids change everything. We knew kids were going to change our lives. We knew this going in, but we wanted a family. I would still make the same choices in that regard, if I had to choose all over again. While the girls were little, we still had some time to spend together. Then our together time progressively shrunk, while the kids progressively grew. We still could plop them down in front of a movie with a bowl of popcorn, in order to get just a few moments to snuggle in bed together. In general, we’ve turned to little things to keep the romance alive: Sneaking a kiss in the kitchen, or a feel. Watching TV together, cuddling on the couch. That sort of thing. I find that the daily and weekly routines are comforting, especially when spent with family. A kiss goodbye. “Drive safe, and have a good day.” Eating dinner. Hanging out in the bathtub together. Or just hanging out on Facebook on two separate computers in the same room. (And IM’ing each other therefrom.)

Now the girls have finally grown old enough that they can stay at home by themselves, but we still don’t go out on dates. We have our own washer and dryer, shop for groceries separately (to save time), and we do things with our daughters, not so much with each other. It’s a real treat when both of the kids are out with friends for the evening, because that means we have the whole house to ourselves.

Sherry’s question is timely for me, because lately, I’ve been thinking that I’d like to date my Beloved. This is the kind of distance that can grow between a husband and wife while the kids are growing, and I always expected that we’d have to learn to be together again after they grew up. Buy why should we have to wait?

One possible reason is that funds are tight. It’s the economy we’re living in. We can’t afford to go out to dinner. But why couldn’t we go on a romantic picnic, for example, once the weather starts to warm? (We’d just have to think of an excuse to tell the Little One so that she doesn’t feel dejected that she can’t come along.)

There must be other things we can do, too, low-cost “date” ideas.