My husband and I don’t do that weekly “date night” thing that many people do. We are so busy with our teaching jobs and raising our own children, and when we do call it quits at the end of the workday or workweek, we simply want to stay in and have family time at home. We find ourselves happiest when we’re at our own home for dinner, doing and wearing whatever we please. It’s comfortable (and relatively inexpensive).
But he and I recognize the importance of spending time together as a couple. So here’s our solution: We have since adopted the idea that, instead of spending $100 every single week on a special dinner and movie/show tickets, we save that money and put it all towards something HUGE. Our date nights usually involve us leaving town.
Our dates usually revolve around concerts given by our favorite bands. We started this trend with Lollapalooza in 2011, and continued it with little shows here and there. Chicago is our date destination of choice, but we did orchestrate a date night where we flew to Denver from Las Vegas this past summer. And this weekend, we pulled off a New York City date night.
The plans for these date nights always start off with concert announcements. My husband is so lovely… He knows how much I adore Two Door Cinema Club, and once a concert is announced in our area, he pretty much knows that I’m going to want to go to it. (And yes, it is quite helpful that he likes the band as well.) When the band announced that their tour was going to open in New York City this time, it was impressive how quickly both of us came to the decision that we were just going to … go to it. Yes, we know we don’t live in New York City. Yes, we know it’s on a Friday night, and there would have to be time taken off from work. Yes, we know we have two children who have to go to school and piano lessons and everything. But this is the beautiful thing, the thing that I am so appreciative of EVERY SINGLE TIME: We are blessed with many, many solutions to the myriad of situations this poses.
First of all, we are very lucky that my husband’s parents live so close, so they were able and willing to watch the kids one night, and then take them to school the next morning. Also, one of our cousins is now a freshman at the nearby state university, so she was able to come and watch the kids for the second night of our absence. (It is very helpful that the children LOVE her. For other date nights, Cousin A tag-teams with Cousin B, and both of my children are ecstatic. They love it when the cousins come over.)
When we did the Denver date night from Vegas, my parents and brother (and sister-in-law) helped out with kiddo duty. This was very lucky for all of us; since we live so far away from each other, these sleepover nights are extremely rare. So the family got to enjoy the precious time with the children, and my husband and I were able to steal away for a quick flight. ;-)
Regarding the NYC trip: We booked concert tickets as soon as Ticketmaster opened them up for purchase. We found relatively cheap fares for the airline, even though we’d have to drive to Chicago to fly Southwest. The NYC hotel situation would prove to be a thorn for three months, but when we found a great deal on Hotwire, we snapped it up and became very pleased with our choice (even though a certain notorious leader of a country ended up staying there at the same time…).
Neither my husband nor I had ever been to NYC, really, so this was going to be an amazing first trip for us. We knew that we only had 24 hours in the actual city, though, and much less than that to actually do things, so we had to really think about what was going to be important to us. And so, in classic J+R fashion, we decided that we were just going to do what we wanted. If that was going to include sightseeing, sure. If we were simply going to shop in exclusive NYC places, then okay. The only real plan we had was going to the concert in Central Park, and the rest of the day was going to be what it was.
And as it turned out, we made the most out of the time we had, and I am so pleased with everything that happened. I did everything I set out to do… Which was:
- I became a boss at NYC public transportation. We rode the subway like champs, with only one directional hiccup at the very beginning (and a MetroCard swiping snafu on our second ride). Cabs? Yeah, we did that too. I was so impressed with how clean they were… And I got to watch clips of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on the backseat TV screen!
- We stayed in a famous NYC hotel. The Warwick Hotel on 54th Street has housed celebrities and political figures. We happened to be staying this week during the UN General Assembly… And a certain Iranian leader was reportedly in our hotel, too. At any rate, it was a beautiful hotel, with a comfy bed and swanky bar.
- We shopped at only two stores: The Disney Store (oh, the princesses!) and the global flagship for Uniqlo. We did an amazing killing at the latter… We’ve never been before. Hoping one opens up in Chicago soon, because those clothes are amazing. It’s like a Japanese H&M. ;-)
- We planned our day around seeing people we knew in the city. From brunch with our rabbi’s son, to dinner with our Blue Man friend: We knew we wanted to connect with those people more than sightseeing by ourselves. Plus, my cousin was coming to the concert with us that night, so that was a great way to ensure that we would see her (I hadn’t seen her since 1996!). Our time was definitely spent in the best way possible… Good food, great conversation, fantastic company.
- We had some amazing food. Matzoh balls, corned beef sandwiches, cheesecake at Junior’s… Calamari, hummus, truffle mushroom pizza at dinner. And then, after the concert, cookies and Cereal Milk (Google that) at Momofuku Milk Bar, followed by lumpia and Spam fries (plus a shot of whiskey!) in the East Village. Ended the entire night with drinks from the hotel bar… Delicious food everywhere. I even wanted to try one of the food trucks, but maybe next time.
- Watch TDCC play a great show. The concert itself was fantastic. Two Door puts on a great show anyway, but with this being the beginning of the North American tour, they pulled out all the stops. And the CO2 cannons. And the inflatable balloons. Well played, boys.
From start to finish, the entire trip was fabulous. Our planes left and arrived on time (both arrivals were 30 minutes early). Car rides to and from Chicago were easy and uneventful. I got to hold my husband’s hand! :-) Our 48-hour date night was an absolute success, and I am so blessed to be able to do that. I got to have some fantastic conversations with my husband, and even though we usually do talk to each other, we often find ourselves interrupted by other things. It was nice to actually focus on him and us for a little bit. I am so lucky to have him, and it’s also such a bonus that he’s an amazing traveler. Trips like these are not easy to pull off…
Now on to the next TDCC show in Chicago in a week… ;-)