Friday, October 11, 2013

Date Night

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Friday night is date night at our house.

It didn't start out to be date night.  In fact, I'm not sure I could tell your exactly when or how it started. I think it was the natural progression of my having cooked all week and on Friday saying, "Enough is enough. I need a break." We started going to a little local Chinese restaurant and getting take-out. We took our dog (Hallie, who died last October at fourteen) because it was a treat for her to have a ride in the car. Hallie LOVED this, and the fortune cookies brought out to the car by Wendy, one of the owners of the restaurant, became "Wendy biscuits."

We started watching movies while we ate our take-out, sitting on the floor at the coffee table in our living room. Another dog came along, Neela, and both dogs learned when it was Friday night. They'd start to get antsy, then when I called in the order they would be beside themselves with excitement, jumping at the door and their leashes.

Eventually, we switched to our local Pei Wei for our Friday night dinners, as they stayed open later than the family-owned restaurant and Wendy, now a mom, no longer came to work on Friday nights.

Time moved on. The color TV in the living room cabinet became a flat screen with surround sound.  A new dog, Dax, has learned when it's Friday night, and that Wendy Biscuits are a greatly anticipated treat.  All the staff at Pei Wei know we want a few extra fortune cookies in our bag.

Convenience became ritual, much looked forward to by both two-legged and four-legged creatures. We still sit on the living room floor and eat on the coffee table.  And fire weather is coming up, which makes it even better!

We do make exceptions, but it has to be something really good to oust the Friday Night Movie from our routine.

So, REDS, is there a special ritual in your week?

HALLIE EPHRON: Debs, love your ritual. We don't have a date night, but we used to. After we had our first baby, and for years after, we hired a baby sitter every Thursday night and, whether we felt like it or not, we went out. That was because we were so exhausted from spelling each other, taking care of the kids and the house that we needed a time when we could just be the two of us together, even if it was for two hours and all we did was go to the library.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: We DO! And I can't believe I'm telling you this, but--
It's Friday night, and we go out to dinner together no matter what.

At first, our usual restaurant was a place called Duckworth Lane, so we used to signal each other about going there by saying "quack quack." With the appropriate hand signals.
(I know, silly..)

 Duckworth closed, but our name remained. So we call our Friday night dinner "quacking." As in--yay, almost time to quack! And martinis are part of the ritual, even though I can only handle a few sips now. And yes, one can "quack" at home.

DEBS: Hank, I absolutely LOVE your "quack."  And I'm glad to know that other people are as goofy as we are...  Hallie, maybe you could take date night up again?

Readers, is there a date night, or family night, or for those who are single, a special "just for you" night in your routine?



  1. Often, we go out to eat on Wednesday nights as a family. My daughters have gymnastics and get off at 5:30 p.m. To come home and cook ... it's tough.

    Loved reading about the Wendy biscuits.

  2. We always watch a scary movie on Friday night. I have no idea how that started, but let me tell you, there are not that many good scary movies, so I have seen some garbage.

    But it's nice knowing that we have that constant in the sea of chaos sometimes.


  3. I love this, Debs. You guys are cute, and I love this idea. We do not have a date night, but maybe it's time to start one!

    Hank, I have a keychain I love more than I should. If I can find one, I'm going to get it for you.
    It's SO goofy.
    It's a little yellow duckie. Push his sides and a little flashlight located in ducky's mouth shines and he goes "quack quack." Sometimes if something heavy ends up on top of him in my pocketbook, he'll start going "quack quack quack" and won't quit. Because my hearing is so bad, I sometimes don't hear him. At a restaurant recently someone nudged me to say "your purse is quacking."

  4. Kaye, Hank needs the keychain!!! Quack, quack!

  5. OH< the keychain! That would be SO funny! Even imagining it is funny.

    INteresting though, that we need to keep hold of making sure there's some together time, huh?
    Time goes by so quickly..

  6. Love the image of the quacking keychain!

    We do breakfast as a family every Friday morning at a diner. I love having a regular place to go and we include whatever teenager or college student is currently in residence...provided they want to be there by 7:15 in the morning. It became such a thing that I named my blog after the tradition. Only folks who know me well realize that the Elmos in Friday at Elmos is a real place!

  7. Yes, Hank, interesting how hard it is to make sure to spend time with the people you WANT to spend time with! Rick and both work from home, so it's not as if we don't see each other every day--but that's different.

    I'm also starting to try to schedule regular "date nights" with my daughter every few weeks. Not that we don't see each other, or that we don't do things as a foursome, but time just with her is really special. And if we don't plan, we don't do it.

  8. After 48 years together, we now have date night each evening with dinner, no matter who cooks. We eat from the coffee table or our laps while watching a Netflix movie or catching up with the DVR'd shows, and constantly comment to each other. When the children were young and money was scarce, we too would hire a sitter to stay a couple of hours while we had adult time ( one anniversary outing was a sundae ordered at Friendley's).

  9. Friday night is our special night. We dine at home, and the menu always involves fish. This probably stems from my Catholic childhood (meatless Fridays). But I am the cook/griller in our household, and the fact is I love to cook and eat fish of all kinds. Also, Portland, Maine is a primo place to buy fresh seafood/fish, so there you go.

    Our ritual is to swing into the fish market on the wharf (Harbor Fish) after work to see what looks especially wonderful (or is on special) and then stop into Rosemont Market on the way home for a nice bottle of wine to complement the fish.

    Then I cook and we watch The News Hour and Washington Week in Review (we are big news nerds) before switching over to the ball game.

    BTW, may I suggest one of you Reds decides to write about the rituals we New Englanders adopt when the Red Sox are in the playoffs. Just sayin . . .

  10. Hank, I love the quacking! Nice to see others are as goofy as Ben and I are. And you definitely need Kaye's fabulous keychain!

    Ben and I try to keep Friday night as our date night. Often, though, something else comes up that we must attend, and in that case, we take another night during the week, even Monday if necessary. What we won't give up is that time together that's not time at an event for his or my work or something else. We make time to be just the two of us together, and believe me, plenty of our friends think that's nutty. We don't mind. We've outlasted a lot of their relationships and marriages, and I suspect setting time for us together alone as a priority has helped with that.

  11. Oh Deborah, I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who sits on the floor and uses the coffee table for dining! I thought I was the only one. Why is it more comfy anyhow? (BTW, it was lovely meeting you at Bouchercon.)

    Friday is my quiet, lazy, do nothing night. I eat appetizer dinners -- cheese, olives, crackers, that kind of thing -- and I sit on the floor and watch a movie. Then I go to bed early to read until as late as I want to read. Most of the time I don't even bother cleaning up the kitchen (gasp) before bed either. Now that's living dangerously! :-)

    Kristopher, I often watch scary movies too. And you're right -- so hard to find good ones!

  12. Lisa, your Friday night is what I do when Rick's gone, or when I'm on my own in London. I love it!

    Have good snacky appetizers for dinner, a nice glass of wine, watch something I want to watch on TV, or a movie, go to bed and read.

    Such sloths, aren't we? :-)

  13. Linda, one thing I've found about the date night ritual is that it helps smooth out any irritations from the week. We've been married almost twenty years, we work at home together... you can get crabby with each other. But somehow the crabbiness doesn't survive Friday date night. And like you and Ben, if we have something else that we have to do on Friday, we try to move date night to the next, etc.

  14. I forgot to mention wine! Crucial element for a slothful evening at home. :-)

  15. We used to have a date night when our kids were home. We needed the relief, for sure. Now we take long hot baths together a few nights a week and that's where we get our time to smooth things out and enjoy just talking with each other. We have a huge tub and we fill it up with hot water and just enough cool to make it bearable,then we stay in till it gets cold. We do occasionally go out to dinner or a concert, but that bath is what keeps us together!

  16. Bev, that is fabulous!

    And yes, indeed,wine. AND--very important--you CAN quack at home!

  17. We have date night or date day every Friday. We go to a movie and eat out. Today, we went to our local Pei-Wei for Chinese,
    We met and married fifty years ago. So it has been a lot offun!

  18. Kaye of the quacking purse! Adorable...

    Step and I go to our favorite Chinese restaurant for crispy white tofu and wor wonton soup once a month. Once a week we alternate an omelette brunch with a soup and salad bar for lunch.

    We used to go out once a week for dinner with his ex and her beau. Very bad idea for a date night! Yeah not good.