Cramming Fun into One

Originally Posted July 1, 2008- My wife and I are the lucky parents of a 5 and 3 year old. Just bragging for a second, these kids are great, a joy to parent, and the best thing to happen to us and our relationship.
But, as every parent knows, and every non-parent has no way to comprehend, though it seems so easy, when you are a parent, your “me” time and “we” time become scarce indeed. 20 hours of the day seemed consumed with work, parenting, and planning for tomorrow.
And some parents never seem to ever see “we” time again. A couple we know are the parents of a 7 and 5 year old, and just a few weeks ago was only their second full night out, as their children’s friend across the street had invited the kids over for a sleepover.
We are much luckier in that my mother-in-law lives about an hour away, and she loves, truly loves for us to bring the kids over to spend Saturday night, and into Sunday. She asks for us to bring them over probably once a month.
And, this night, this night once a month, my wife and I become these two hilarious, almost ravenous, tourist-like people our friends barely recognize. Somehow we get caught up in the fact that the next 16 hours is all we have, and we need to see and do everything. Around the first of the year, a couple we are friends with hosted a party at their house, a 5pm until type of affair that happened to fall on our Saturday night without kids. We showed up at 5:01pm, and left with the last couple at 2:30 am Sunday morning! We were going to wring every last drop of fun out of that party.
This past Saturday night was one of those, and since my wife had been complaining we never get to spend time alone anymore, I came up with an idea to do something we haven’t done since 1998 when we were 25 years old, go on a date! I work in Durham NC, and we live about 20 minutes away, near Chapel Hill and Carrboro, so I planned to take her to Durham since she does not get there much. We started out around 3pm, and did this:
  • We went to the Ox and Rabbit on Ninth Street in Durham, to peruse their gifts, and get a soda at their hipster soda fountain. I chose the Coca-Cola with lime flavoring, and my wife chose the Raspberry soda with lime. The 93 degree heat, the very welcoming staff, and the wonderful drinks made this a refreshing first stop.
  • We then went up the street to the Center for Documentary Studies, an outpost of Duke University. I once showed some photographs here, and would desperately like ti do so again, so I love to stop by and see what is on display. We were treated to a Community Art Project honoring Pauli Murray.
  • We headed toward downtown, and stopped into the new Somerhill Gallery, at the Venable Center. This gallery had been in Chapel Hill for many years, and is now in an awesome space downtown, to take part, or maybe jump start the burgeoning arts scene in Durham.
  • We then intersected downtown, and tried to stop in on Branch Gallery, the one art gallery in North Carolina that gives me the feeling I get when I walk into an art gallery in New York, or Boston, or Chicago or Seattle. Unfortunately, North Carolina is rubbing off, as there was a sign that stated “be back in 20 minutes.”
  • So, we walked down the street to the TROSA furniture store, a used furniture store on Foster St. The only thing that stopped us from buying something is our complete lack of need for furniture. The people, and the furniture were great. If you have a need in Durham, run, don’t walk.
  • Then, this being about 4:30 pm, I was reminded by date’s past when my wife announced she needed a “snack”, which to her means damn near a meal (I am not trying to be funny here, she just eats a lot, despite her trim frame). So, upon the referral of a friend, we headed back to Ninth Street for tacos at Chubby’s Tacos. A great snack, and all I can say I am really not an expert at Mexican or Latin food, but I am guessing this is great stuff. I certainly liked it, and it seemed care, attention, and local ingredients were used, which is something lacking at many other Mexican restaurants in the area that seem to have the exact same combinations #1 – #30 on their menus.
  • So, we have done this much in only 2 hours! So, we head back to Chapel Hill, off to our favorite, most consistent bar in Carrboro, Milltown, for a few beers to cool us off. Though only 2 other couples are in the whole place, we know both, so sat with them and conversed for the next few hours.
  • Later, another couple arrive, and we eat supper with them at Milltown (Catfish Po’Boy is AWESOME!)
  • Then, the night gets a bit blurry, as we and the other couple, our friends of many years, enjoy a beer or two at both The Station, and Orange County Social Club or OCSC. Speaking of blurry, here is a picture of my wife shooting pool.

We arrived home about midnight. Most dates I remember from way back when, you’d go out to eat and then a movie, or maybe to the bar for a drink, or maybe to see a rock show. But, when the total number of dates you can go on in a year is 12, we decided to do about 10 things. About 5 dates worth in one evening. I am not sure if we are awesome or just impatient.


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