Sunday, March 18, 2012

Date night

Yesterday I convinced Andrew to go on a date with me—like, one where we actually leave the house and don't just watch a movie downstairs or play a game at the kitchen table. That kind. It was rather spur-of-the-moment and I didn't even ask him until after the girls were sleep. Then we took advantage of the fact that we live with his parents by asking Karen to "babysit" our already-sleeping children, grabbed a 2-for-1 coupon to Menchies and sneaked out of the house.

We got our ice cream and sat chatting about our life and our future, reenacting one of our first dates. Just six days after he got home from his mission we held hands for the first time after going to the temple, then went out for ice cream (at SubZero, not Menchies...same difference). We sat and talked about "our future" and that was the first time we'd ever really used the terms "us" and "we" and "our." We didn't make any real plans over ice cream, just silly ones like, "We should go to Italy!"

"I'm going to retire in Pescara," Andrew joked—he loves that city. "Want to join me?"

"Sure," I said. "I love Italy."

He asked me to be his girlfriend as he was dropping me off that night but didn't kiss me until several days later. And then several days after that he asked me to marry him...sorta. And then a few weeks after that we got married and honeymooned in Italy. So perhaps we made some real plans after all.

Anyway, sometimes it's still fun to go out for ice cream and chat about "our future," whether it's a serious chat or (like in the case of our first ice cream date) a hypothetical one. Last night's chat was serious (in that it was real since we have some potentially life-altering decisions coming up...such as where to go for his PhD) but still lots of fun. We didn't decide anything official but talked about each location in detail—he leaves tomorrow for his grand tour: Indiana the first half of the week, Duke the second half. We'll be making the decision sometime after he gets home.

And I suppose that's why I was so anxious to get him to go on a date with me in the first place. Because he'll be gone all of next week and then he'll be home for three weeks—but those three weeks include finals and graduation—and then he'll leave for Ghana for three weeks. So basically I'm not going to see my husband for seven weeks. I think I deserve ice cream.

I made him promise that he won't take insane course loads with his next degree. No more "fun" courses—like two of the three (or 3 of the 4) statistics classes he's taken for this degree (among others) that haven't helped him progress towards graduation but have only eaten up more of his time (and, admittedly, made him smarter). I can think of a lot more fun things to do—like taking the girls on a bike ride or doing the dishes or going to bed before 2 AM. All the extra classes he's taken will pay off in the end because (hopefully) some of them will apply toward the coursework for his PhD. But taking extra courses in a PhD program pays off how? It doesn't. It just makes your wife tired.

I told him that I will support him going to school as long as he just works on graduating this time.

Learning's awesome and everything but we have three kids now (okay; not now but almost) and the "graduate-school widow" thing is starting to get old. Already.

He asked if he could take extra classes if it would speed up graduation—like, he could take 21 credits but the extra credits would actually apply toward graduation instead of just being "Oh, that sounds interesting, too!" classes. I told him that I could get behind that idea 100%.

We talked about what furniture we'd leave behind and things we'd need to acquire when we get to wherever it is we're going. We're thinking bunk beds for the girls will be a must.

We didn't just talk though. We also eavesdropped on the couple sitting behind us because they were on such an awkward (what we're assuming was a) first date that it was too funny not to listen. When we got there the guy was expounding upon the merits of the Book of Mormon and how it has enriched his life and how he likes to draw parallels between the scriptures and modern times and...and...and...

Andrew and I looked at each other and giggled because one of Andrew's "pick up" lines when he was dating me was, "Do you have a scripture marking system?" and on our first date he was so fresh off the mission (like—hours off fresh) that he talked about the topic of their last zone conference.

When we heard this guy going on and on about religion we both knew what the other was thinking.

Later on in the night I started giggling because I heard this snippet of the conversation:

"...I used to shower three times a day but now I'm down to one. I still wash my hands a lot though!"

Nothing like admitting to being a germophobe/having OCD on the first date. That was the guy speaking, by the way. Andrew thought I was giggling about the snippet of the conversation he'd heard, which was:

" when I first started nursing it was really hard!"

He was wondering why a nursing mother was out dating a freshly returned missionary. Maybe her husband died...or she got divorced...and has a baby. But why bring up breast feeding?

They left a few minutes after that and Andrew asked me about it.

"Okay, honey," I said. "You've been married for far too long."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"There are these people who work at hospitals and they help people feel better, but they're not doctors. And I hear that the program they have to go to in order to become one of these helpful hospital people is kind of...hard."

"Oh—you think she was a nursing student?"



"Because who talks about breast feeding on dates except for married couples with a baby at home?"

"Good point."

We didn't spend our whole date listening in on their conversation because we were rather involved in our own conversation. But there were a few lulls in our conversation—like when we both happened to have mouthfuls of ice cream—and then we couldn't help but overhear.

That's the danger of an ice cream parlor, I suppose.

They probably heard a few awkward snippets from our conversation while their mouths were too full of ice cream to talk, too.

Just before we were about to call it a night a group of teenage girls walked up to our table.

"Hi, guys!" said one.

It was Jessica Lewis. At first I was a little shocked to see her standing there—because she should a) be in Egypt and b) be at least a foot shorter. But she lives here now (I forget sometimes) and oddly enough has grown like a weed in the three years since we were last babysitting her in Egypt. Weird how that happens.

Andrew took a picture of the two of us but I'm grinning like a banshee so I'm not exactly positive I want to post the picture. Really. I often post pictures of myself that I'm not terribly fond of but this one is beyond that—it's it's not going up.

To sum up: Menchies was yummy, our date was fun. 


  1. Nancy, I'm sure you've seen these but your post reminded me of them:
    That one and the next 5.

  2. Oh, wow.

    "Your husband writes those? Make him stop!"


    "I am not impressed by your pretty graph, Michael."

    Oh, boy. Thanks for sharing. :)

    These ones I hadn't seen—they were before our grad school time.

  3. I also loved the grad school comics, even though they apply more to me than to my husband! Funny!