The Revenge of Date Night

Posted on
Oct 25, 2012

(My apologies for the gap in posting. I had intended to get up several blog posts yesterday, but instead I systematically poisoned myself.)

Carving out some quality time in Dublin.

After the fussing and fueding that accompanied our Ireland trip, Rand and I decided to institute something we call “date night”. I know some of you are reading that and wondering why the hell a childless, petless, gardenless (I threw gardens in there because they sound like a lot of work) married couple would need a date night.

Or, in the words of my dear friend Sarah …

“Screw you. You don’t have kids. Every night is date night.”

(It was said with love, I swear.)

But after Rand worked entirely through our Ireland trip (which was supposed to have been a vacation for my perpetually stressed-out husband), I gently voiced my displeasure to him about the toll his professional life was taking on his health.

It might have sounded a lot like screaming and crying and sobs of “You don’t even have time to go to the d-d-doctor,” but that was me gently voicing my displeasure.

So, more as a means to give his poor, overworked brain and body a break than anything else, Rand has set aside one weeknight where he doesn’t do any work after 7 pm.

What kind of madman regularly works after 7pm, anyway? I give you exhibit A:

The same sort of madman who thinks you can learn to drive stick-shift while watching YouTube videos. For the record: you cannot.

On a regular evening, Rand usually comes home,  has dinner with me, and we’ll hang out for a bit (or not, depending on how busy he is), after which he’ll go upstairs and proceed to toil on his computer until the wee hours of the morning. Then he wakes up, goes to work, and does it all again. Every day. Weekends, too. He doesn’t get much sleep, if he gets a cold it will last for weeks, and his back is constantly bugging him.

So now that we have date night, we’ll have dinner, sit around lazily in front of the TV, and go to bed at a shockingly reasonable hour. I suspect it’s the opposite of most other people’s date nights, where they stay out late, have a few cocktails, and feed each other dainty bites of fancy desserts.

Instead, we get to act like The Golden Girls: we’ll put on pjs, complain about how cold it is, or that the TV is too noisy. Then we’ll eat an entire pan of brownies (cheesecake is overrated) while insisting that 9:30pm is an acceptable bedtime.

It’s really great. Or, theoretically it is. Because since we’ve started it, “date night” has become “violently ill” night.

On our first date night, we were so excited about the free time we had together (for, as you might recall, we are still huge dorks for each other) that we decided to go out to a semi-fancy dinner at a local restaurant we both love … and proceeded to get food poisoning. The evening was spent on the couch, curled up over our stomachs and sweating, while periodically disappearing to the bathroom for long stretches.

We’d occasionally hypothesize, through our cramping, what it might have been.

“Was it the appetizer?”

“I don’t know. Maybe the pasta?”

“How could it have been the pasta?”

“I don’t know. Possibly the desser-”

“DON’T YOU DARE BLAME THE DESSERT.”

Romantic, no? We swore the next week would be better.

It was not. I was hit with a vicious cold (that I initially thought was the flu), and spent it on the couch, huddled under blankets, shivering, while trying to eat ramen. Rand did not fare much better: his back was killing him, and so he spent much of the night lying on the floor, twitching. In hindsight, we looked like two addicts being weaned.

Oh, date night! Will your gifts never cease?

No, apparently not.

Last night was the date night to end them all. (No, seriously. I’m strongly considering suspending date night after yesterday, because if trends continue, one of us is going to end up in the ER).

I had been nursing a headache that had started the night before, and as the 7 o’clock hour was nearing, I decided I needed to knock that sucker out of the park. No way I was going to spend a third consecutive date night sick. So I dug through the medicine cabinet and found my uber-strong post-surgery headache meds. My doc had mentioned that I could take them in the event of a stubborn headache. Sure, they made me a bit loopy, but that was fine. I could handle being loopy. I could not handle a two-day long migraine.

So I took one – One! Half the recommended dosage – and figured I’d be fine. And for twenty minutes or so, I was. Then, halfway through dinner, I politely informed my husband that I might be falling ill.

“Good sir, I do believe I might barf,” I said, delicately wiping my mouth.

And we retired to the couch, where I lay down in hopes the room would stop spinning. It did not. Apparently I still had so much stuff in my system after my surgery, I was able to somehow stave off the nausea the pills normally induce. But not so this time. This time was date night.

So I spent the evening emptying out the contents of my stomach until there was nothing left, after which I was merely dry heaving into the toilet bowl, my head gently nestled against the seat.

“Baby, you okay?” Rand asked from the doorway of the bathroom.

“Kill me,” I whispered. “Kill me now.”

He laughed. Then he did the dishes, and helped me up to bed.

And as I closed my eyes to the wave of nausea that was once again about to hit me, only one thought entered my head …

Date night is trying to kill me.

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