Sunday, June 27, 2010

Date Night? What's That?

WARNING: This post is pretty long. And somewhat sappy. Read at your own risk!

Date night? What's that?

No, really. What is that?

It's been well over a year (for obvious reasons) since hubs and I had a real date -- you know, the kind without kids? The kind that takes some level of planning? The kind that reminds you that you're a couple and not just parents?

Ya.

I decided it was time to make it happen.

I started planning about 3 weeks ago. I knew I wanted to have a special date night with the husband, and I knew I wanted it to be a surprise, and I knew it was going to take some serious time and planning. So the first thing I did was line up babysitters. Yes, plural, as in more than one. It was sort of a prerequisite for us. It would be the first time we'd leave both kids with someone other than one of us, and we had already talked long and hard about this over the past several months. We knew we wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the kids with ANY one person -- yes, we're overly cautious and probably somewhat OCD. But that's how we roll. So anyway, I lined up the babysitters, who happened to be my mom, my sister and my wonderfully sweet niece (more of a playmate for LO than a babysitter, of course). We figured out a night that would work for them and I began my planning.

I'll fast-forward through the weeks of preparations and just get down to the big day, which happened to be this past Friday. Hubs left for work, as usual, in his blue jeans and golf shirt (casual Fridays at his office). Once he left, I busted out the makings of my not-quite-famous-but-should-be Chocolate Caramel Brownies. They are so incredibly awesome that I can't even share the recipe here. Aren't I awful? Anywho. There's a little background here. Hubs and I used to work at the same building (but for two different companies) back in 2005. The quick, boring story is I noticed him and wanted to "woo" him. We had some mutual friends, who happened to work in the same area as he did. So I'd whip up some of these delicious brownies and use them as an excuse to head over his way and talk with him (you may recall I mentioned my stopping by his desk to drop off my latest and greatest baked goods in this post). So I guess you could say I tried to woo him with my chocolate caramel brownies. The nice thing? It worked!!

So okay, back home, it's Friday morning, hubs has left for work. I get started making my brownies. I also make some handmade note cards while the brownies are baking. I write a cute little note to jog his memory about our early days of baked goods, cut the brownies and put 'em in a tupperware container, topped with a bow. Then I put the container in a small brown shipping box with some blue polka-dot (or as LO says, "coca-dot") tissue paper. I seal the box with shipping tape and put his name on the front in bold, black letters. Then I load up the kids in the car.

On the way to his office, we stop at Sonic and I grab a gift card. Suffice it to say there's another story from our early beginnings involving Sonic. I grab another handmade note card and write a little quip reminding him of that Sonic trip, then tape the gift card to the back of the note and put it in the envelope.

We hit the road again and drive to hubs' office building. I took the box inside and left it with the security guard, asking him to please let hubs know there's a package waiting for him, then darted out the door to keep from being spotted.

Then we drove over to where hubs parked his car. I unlocked it and put the Sonic note card on his seat, where I expected he would find it when he left during his lunch hour to run some errands. The kids and I then headed to Costco for some errands of our own.

Hubs called me not long after we left his office to tell me he received a mysterious package at the office... and called me out on my incredible awesomeness. ;) While we were talking, he was walking out to his car to run some errands, so we were still on the call when he found the note with the Sonic gift card. He laughed (it was a funny thing that happened that night at Sonic during our early courtship) and asked if I wanted to meet him for ice cream. Considering it was only 11am, I didn't have any food for the kids, and I was not going to let them eat ice cream for lunch, I declined. Honestly, I had a TON of other stuff to do to prepare for our date night and needed to get to it! But he of course was already on his way to meet us at Costco. We ended up doing some quick shipping at Costco and had a yummy (and CHEAP!) lunch together (pizza for him and LO, a chicken Caesar salad for me and a bottle for Chase!).

After lunch, I headed back home while he went back to work. Once I arrived at the house, I started working on a few more little projects. One was quick and easy: a "mixed CD" created from a playlist of songs that we listened to while we were dating, including the song we played for our first dance at our wedding reception). Then on to my next project: I happen to still have a PST (for you non-computery-educated folks, this is a file that stores emails in Outlook) from 2005 when hubs and I started our initial courtship. I had been reading through them for the week or so leading up to our date night (was looking for inspiration for the date, but also enjoying the walk down memory lane) and decided on a fun little game. I chose random comments from these emails and printed them on little cards along with the date written and which one of us wrote them. The "game" would be to read through them after dinner and try to have hubs guess which one of us wrote them. Some were funny, some were inside jokes, some were heartfelt and sweet. So I printed those little cards and put the kids down for naps. I needed to make another run to hubs' office, so I called my mom to come over and sit at the house while the kids napped so I could run out real quick.

The plan was to leave hubs a note (this one was a note card, that folds, and you write inside it, instead of just a one-sided note card like the earlier two notes -- this will matter later in the story) with directions to where I wanted him to meet me. I also brought a pair of shorts for him and two different pairs of sandals to choose from (it was SO hot that day and our date was going to be pretty laid back and not at all "froofy").

I drove to his office again and found his car. I placed the sandals on the passenger seat, set his shorts on top, the note card on top of the shorts, and his sunglasses by the note. I also put the CD in his CD player and queued it up to start playing "our song" when he started the car. For the record, the note basically said something like this:
Forget another boring night at home as parents...
it's OUR TURN to have some fun as a couple!
Meet me at 117 W. Blahblah Street.
I've left you a change of clothes so you'll be more comfortable.
And enjoy the music during your drive!"
I also wrote driving directions inside the card. It was as simple as turn right, then turn right, the destination is on the left. An easy 10 minute drive from his office.

After leaving everything placed perfectly in his car, I headed back home to shower and get ready. Of course hubs decided around 4pm he was done for the day and was gonna head home. I basically asked him to please do me the favor of staying at work until 4:45pm, and don't ask questions (our dinner reservations were for 5:30pm). Lucky for me, he complied. Whew! I finished up the last little things I needed to do, gave my mom and sister their "instructions" for keeping LO and Chase, and hit the road.

On my way to the restaurant, hubs texted that he was leaving (it was almost 5pm). A few minutes later he texted again and said "You are just full of surprises..." I figured he found everything in the car and was heading to meet me.

YAY! It worked!!!

I arrived at the restaurant at 5:10pm and sat down at our table. I gave the waitress a card that I wanted her to bring to hubs at the same time that she brought me the bill at the end of our evening. Totally random, but I also brought a box of Kraft macaroni & cheese. It was the first "meal" (if you call it that) I cooked for him. I thought about asking the kitchen to whip it up and serve it to him instead of whatever entree he orders, but decided I didn't want to inconvenience the kitchen staff so I didn't. No big.

So I sat. And waited. And watched for hubs. It was 5:27pm and I got a call from hubs. He basically asked me for directions coming from a different way than what I wrote in the card. I thought it was weird, especially since it was so simple, but I gave him the info and he informed me it would be closer to 6pm before he arrived. I tried to hide my disappointment, said it was okay and I would see him when he got there.

Oddly enough, I got a text a few minutes later from my mom telling me that hubs was on his way. Whaa?? That's weird. How would she know? So I called her. And couldn't believe what happened.

My sweet, adorable, loving, handsome, kind, thoughtful husband? Wow. He got to his car after work, saw the note card, heard the music and headed HOME. To our house. Not to the restaurant. But to our house. On the opposite side of creation as the restaurant where I was. Waiting. For him.

Turns out he opened the envelope and saw the note card. He turned it over, thinking it was another single-sided note like the earlier ones. Of course, it wasn't. But it did have a lovely picture of us on the front, and nothing on the back. So he heard the music, saw the cute card and thought I was sweet for doing that. Never mind the fact that there's a pair of shorts and two pairs of sandals on the seat next to him. Really. Just go ahead and drive home. It's cool. I'll wait.

I'll cut him some slack. He did feel absolutely awful when he got home and my mom and sister were there, and I wasn't. The look on my mom's face told him he had done something VERY wrong. He quickly changed into his shorts and sandals and hit the road to meet me. Luckily he was only about 20 minutes late. :)

Anywho, we had a nice dinner at a lovely restaurant. We talked. We held hands. It was wonderful. When they brought me the check, they brought him the card I left for him. It had his favorite picture of us on the front and my heartfelt sentiments written inside. I'll spare you the sappiness...

After dinner, we walked down to a nearby park and sat on a bench swing together, enjoying the beautiful evening around us. I busted out the little cards with our email sayings on them and we relived some of those memories. It was very sweet! Then we headed home to our sweet kids and to relieve our babysitting staff. :)

I'm happy to say that hubs was surprised with everything I had done and thought it was so sweet of me. It was fun to show him it's possible to have a fun night out together without the kids, and that the kids could in fact survive a few hours without us... ;)