Today Drek and I have been married for five whole years. We had a wonderful anniversary; we dropped off the baby and car seat, cleaned the car inside and out so we could drive in an "adult" car, and went down to the big city to spend the night at a bed and breakfast, eat out at a fancy restaurant, and stay up late watching the most romantic movies we could think of: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
We've now known each other for six years and one month. In that time, I've picked up on a pattern: Drek isn't big into planning dates. As far as I can tell, he doesn't mind going on dates, or even paying for them, it's the planning them he doesn't like...or do.
On our Anniversary, we usually give "us" a gift. This year, I decided to make our gift. This is what I came up with:
The label says:
Date Sticks In-A-Jar
Red sticks: Expensive, 24 hour planning required
Purple sticks: Free - $30, up to 1 hour planning
Dark Cherry sticks: At home, up to 1 hour planning
The easy part was painting the sticks (Ash helped. She loved this part):
The hard part was scouring the Internet for date ideas and cross referencing local attractions. Thus transferring the very unhelpful "go out to eat at a nice restaurant!" and "This restaurant serves the best vegetarian chili in the entire state. Four stars!" into "drive eighteen miles to Vegi Mama's Bistro located at 555 Sunland Road, Sunland. Order vegetarian chili at $7.95/meal. Total cost: $15.90 + tax and tip. Total time: an hour and a half.
Of course, not all of them are dinner dates. Most of them are fun, creative, and inexpensive. I would give examples, but Drek reads this blog and I don't want to give away any spoilers!
In essence, I planned all the details of thirty seven dates. I typed out the details of the date on a strip of paper, then wrapped that paper around a color-coded Popsicle stick. Then, on the outside of the paper, I wrote the total cost, total time, and total distance:
The result: Whenever we want to go on a date, Drek will decide how much time he has to plan, how much we can spend, and the time we have available, and picks out an accommodating stick (having no idea what the actual date is). The he unwraps the paper and reads the instructions for our date night. No planning on his part, we get to enjoy some pretty awesome date nights together, and we have the added bonus of the "oh, which stick will he pick? What mystery date awaits us?"
Happy Anniversary, love of my life.