A Year of Dates #3: Playing Tourist in Our Own Town

I realize I’ve been rather remiss in updating the blog posts about the Best Gift Ever (from the Best Mom Ever – that’d be mine): a Year of Dates for my husband and me to enjoy, once a month for twelve (really fantastic) months. With my wedding anniversary coming up, I thought I’d spend a few writing sessions re-living some of the fun Bill and I have had so far…

January was a late (and surprisingly delicious) breakfast, followed by some serious bowling action (as fun as this was, I’m not sure I want to go back to the scene of MY victory, as Bill is still grumbling about a rematch, and I’m pretty sure I’d never win again!).

February was a return to one of favorite dates when we had way more time on our hands (pre-children, obviously): lunch (a date isn’t a date without food…) and a visit to a bookstore for some serious browsing. (Can you hear my sigh of contentment? I can seriously spend hours looking at books…)

March was… oh yeah, March was a date at the HOSPITAL with the toddler to learn that he had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Hot date, right?! Actually, the third of our year of dates was supposed to be the day after Broder’s diagnosis, but since my mom would be babysitting (this is a major part of her gift to us, which is really a double gift: no babysitting expenses AND my kids get to spend quality-time with one of their favorite people on the planet, their grandma; have I mentioned that this is the Best Gift EVER??), and since Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is highly contagious, and since Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease can still afflict adults (though it usually hits kids under the age of five), and since Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease can be quite painful… the gift-giver was more than happy to give us a rain check  on date number three.

Which brings us to our April date… playing tourist in our home town.

Driving Home from our Date

A major advantage when playing tourist in your own town? No need for a car rental! Wahoo! (And don’t worry; we were stopped at a light!! I’m all about safety, remember??)

I’m always surprised how little I know the town, state, and even the country in which I live…

For example, when my best friend from high school and I moved to England for four months during our junior year of college (we were supposed to be there for the year, but the University I attended, turns out, decided to up and DROP the program I crossed a continent and ocean to study at, and turns out, didn’t bother telling me until I showed up on the first day of school… Nice, eh? At least I managed to cobble together a semester’s worth of courses so I could justify my stay…), we took the train and/or bus to a different city EVERY WEEKEND. By the end of our 16-week stay, I knew England better than I knew my home state of MONTANA, let alone the good ol’ U. S. of A.

So, Bill and I have been back in Seattle now for 11 YEARS… plenty of time to get to know our “home” city, right?! Yeah… No.

In all fairness, I’m quite familiar with our little neighborhood of Ballard (for those who don’t know Seattle, our city is a bit like New York City – though on a MUCH smaller scale – in that it’s comprised of multiple burrough-like nieghborhoods that were once their own municipalities (with their own mayors and everything!) before being annexed into the city; this means that each neighborhood has a very distinct history and sense of identity that makes visiting each neighborhood a bit like visiting a different town altogether: Ballard was originally settled by Scandinavian immigrants, and is still an active fishing port; Fremont, down the way from us, is the eclectic, artistic neighborhood, and the self-billed “Center of the Universe”; Capitol Hill still embraces the edgy vibe that gave birth to grunge music; Downtown is home to Nordstrom (yes, fine, it’s also home to the iconic Pike Place Market… but, really, it’s all about Nordstrom’s shoe department); the University District is, well, duh, where the college kids hang out; and so on and so forth…). But, though I’ve necessarily visited and driven through various neighborhoods, and can find stores (read: Nordstrom) and street fairs (yep, I’ve seen the naked bike riders at Fremont’s Solstice Parade) and coffee shops (one requires much caffeine to survive the drizzly and dreary Seattle weather) just a bit further out than the 10 mile radius I tend to limit myself to, there are pockets of Seattle that I just haven’t explored and would love to know better.

Like, the International District… We’ve taken the kids to the (have-to-go-at-least-once-but-should-be-more-like-annually) Lunar New Year parade, and I, of course, have been told a thousand times that I HAVE to go to Uwajimaya, the huge Asian specialty supermarket (and someday I’ll get there, but honestly, just going 15 minutes to the local Fred Meyer seems a colossal effort most weeks; I just can’t summon the energy to battle the traffic and drive 30-45 minutes each way, no matter how awesome the selection of bok choy or hoisin sauce), but for the most part, Bill and I haven’t spent much time in this part of Seattle – located just a touch south of Downtown and a bit east of Pioneer Square (where you’ll find a lovely selection of art galleries, and the comical-but-historic Underground Tour – I’ve been to that neighborhood, yay!).

So on a sunny (who knew?!) day in April (which is usually one of the rainiest months in Seattle, and this last spring was particularly and brutally rainy, so the sun was SO appreciated), we headed off to play tourist. Bill had suggested two vegetarian-friendly restaurants (I’m the vegetarian, which sometimes makes finding places to eat just a wee bit challenging – I know, I’m such a pain!), a Thai place and a Vietnamese place. Both sounded great, but as we neared our destination, I just couldn’t bear the thought of going indoors when the sun was shining so brightly! We needed a patio… So, I pulled up the Yelp app on the iPhone (how did we survive before smartphones and apps??) and searched for outdoor dining in the International District, and surprise surprise!, the Vietnamese restaurant Bill had found – the Tamarind Tree – had a patio! In the sun! I could pig out on yummy, Jill-friendly food AND soak up some much-needed Vitamin D. Seattle was turning out to be such an awesome town to visit!

Outdoor Patio Dining in Seattle!

Enjoying lunch on that patio… Proof that there IS sun in Seattle! (If you look closely, you can even see me!! Wearing sunglasses!! Because it’s sunny!!)

After we could no longer justify taking up space on the toasty warm deck (there were other sun-deprived individuals waiting patiently and not-so-patiently in the shadows), Bill and I slowly strolled down the hill a few blocks to visit what would be the highlight of our day’s tourist agenda: the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (tourist tip: general admission is free on the first Thursday and third Saturday of every month; how awesome is that?!). Though a bit hesitant to go indoors (it was sunny!!), the museum is light-filled and, really, a very beautiful and inviting space. The museum is dedicated to telling the (important and emotionally-touching) stories and sharing the cultural artifacts of the Asian/Pacific immigrants and citizens who have, since the very beginning, helped build Seattle into the vibrant community it is today. The museum is a wonderful resource and community center; after the couple of hours we spent wandering through the different exhibits (and I must confess, my favorite part was the pop-culture exhibit with the vintage Pac-Man arcade game visitors could play for free (!!); I just kept circling around the exhibit waiting for “the other tourists” to get out of my way – um, I mean, move on – so I could play another round!), Bill and I agreed we couldn’t wait to bring the kids for a visit.

Playing Pac-Man

My dear hubby, kicking my dot-and-ghost-eating butt while playing doubles on the vintage Pac-Man arcade game. I’m just a bit out of practice, that’s all!

With the kids on our mind, we took a quick tour of the gift shop, but (rather quickly, too) decided that this was one “vacation” (or “staycation” if you’d rather) that didn’t require us to bring home souvenirs for the children.

After all, we’d definitely be back. Maybe even on another date… Though perhaps after touring some other parts of our “home town” that we don’t know as well as our own backyard… Like the Museum of History and Industry at Lake Union Park (haven’t been there), or the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center (haven’t been there, either, other than for a cocktail about a decade ago), or catching an outdoor summer concert at Marymoor Park (haven’t done that – crazy, right?!), or taking a ride on the SLUT (again, haven’t done that; and for you dirty-minded readers, get your head out of the gutter – I’m referring to the very tastefully named South Lake Union Trolley, a fairly new streetcar connecting various neighborhoods of Seattle!), or even… well, you get the point. There is so much to see and do… just in our own town!

And the best part (well, other than not having to buy a plane ticket or hassle with TSA)? After playing tourist all day, it’s really nice to go home… and be home…

Together.

Dates with My Daughter (and My Son and My Son)

Mama Daughter Date Night

In the words of the very wise Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

With three kids to shuttle to various activities (or, in the toddler’s case, to shuttle home for much needed and much appreciated nap times), two dogs who need long walks (our motto: a tired puppy is a good puppy), one cat who needs prescription medicine (note to self: call vet for refill), one cat who needs to be on a diet (but I gave up that one a long time ago), a house that could be significantly cleaner than it is (if you see Mary Poppins gallivanting around town, could you send her my way? Please?), an endless supply of laundry (add to that a month of laundry duty for the 5yo’s kindergarten class), groceries (read: wine) to buy, meals to make (or pizza to order, let’s be honest), a mud pit for a backyard that desperately needs attention (I have a plan! I do! I just need time. Like maybe five years…), and two jobs between us (okay, mine is part-time, but I work hard in those hours), carving out date times for me and my husband is rather tough. Carving out date times for me and one of my children? Well, that’s nearly impossible.

For one thing, it’s not like I never see my kids. I work part-time FROM HOME. I am here whenever they are here. I take them to school and I pick them up. I tend to stay with them at most of their activities, and I attend almost every scheduled game or bout (and if I’m not there, Bill is, and he texts me play-by-play commentary so I know everything that’s going on). I take my kids to the park (where they can run around like hooligans and occasionally get into fights with each other), and to the Zoo (where they can run around like hooligans and occasionally see a cool animal or two). I play games with them (I kicked the 5yo’s butt in chess the other morning, and then felt bad about taking his king with a pawn in less than five moves – luckily he’s a better sport than I am and happily continued the game on his own, returning his king to the board in some elaborate and illegal maneuver and then, playing my pieces as well as his own, rapidly taking out my king in a vicious attack by his beloved rook), and read books to them every night (I admit, I love this part of the day – I love that they love to read, too). But almost all of this is done in conjunction with at least one sibling and a furry family member or four. One-on-one parent-child time is fairly rare these days.

So, on Friday, when Bill texted me from the 9yo’s roller derby practice – while I put the boys to bed and counted down the minutes until I could pour a glass of wine – that I should take Paisley to the Rat City Rollergirl’s Championship bout at Key Arena the next night, I thought: that’d be a blast! It’d be great to have a Mama-Daughter Date! And then I quickly forgot about it as I had to put the phone down in order to catch the naked and wet toddler who was streaking and shrieking down the hall after his bath…

…until the next afternoon when Bill reminded me about the big bout that night as he and Paisley headed out the door, this time for a joint birthday party for two of her friends and derby teammates at the local skating rink (the weekend was full of skate dates!). With Broder down for a nap and Liam busy playing himself in chess (see above), I went to the computer to see if I could even buy day-of tickets online. It took all of two minutes before I texted Bill to tell Paisley that we were going on a date that night!

Paisley was SO thrilled. She held my hand (she held my hand!!) as we walked up to the security guy who inspected my purse for illegal contraband, bubbling over with excitement as she animatedly explained to him, speaking as fast as she could (noticing the line forming behind us), that we were going to see the Rat City Rollergirls, and that she also skated roller derby, that her derby name was Lyka Livewire, and that her coach, Coach Luna, was on the Rat City Rollergirls (we had to start walking away at this time, but she kept talking, just louder, to the now smiling security guard), and Coach Luna skated for the Throttle Rockets, and WE WERE GOING TO ROOT FOR HER–

And then we were inside the building and she had to stop talking – or at least, stop talking to the security guard. She kept up a steady stream of chatter as she held my hand (she held my hand!!) and we looked for our seats – I’d gone all out for our date and bought General Admission “VIP” seats for the two of us. I didn’t quite know what General Admission “VIP” meant, but I figured I am too dang old (well, I am!) for nosebleed seats, and gosh darn it, my daughter and I are on a date and we deserve the finer things in life! So I broke the bank and spent the extra (wait for it…) $13 for the good seats. (Right?! It was a no-brainer!)

And the good seats were worth every one of those extra 13 dollars. General Admission “VIP” seats apparently meant that all the seats in the first 15 rows in the two reserved sections along the straight sides of the oval track were available on a first-come-first-served basis. So, betraying every inherited, ingrained and borderline-pathological Scandinavian-Lutheran instinct I’ve been born and raised with that adamantly insists, in any and every assembly of people EVER (school classrooms and workshops, weddings, wherever one is allowed to pick one’s own seat), that I sit in the farthest back row possible (I’m always in AWE of those people who boldly sit smack-dab in front of a teacher or lecturer), I led Paisley (who was still holding my hand!!) down to the VERY FRONT ROW, where we boldly (so boldly!) stepped (we didn’t mean to) on the feet of the two (grouchy) people sitting on the aisle (note to attendees of any event where SEATS are involved: if you don’t like having to stand up for people to pass you when they need to get in and out, DON’T SIT ON THE AISLE – just a thought), and found two seats as close to the track as could be possible without actually being on one of the roller derby teams.

Because the teams were LITERALLY right in front of us. It was SO crazy fun.

The best seats to watch the Rat City Rollergirls!

The best seats in the house! It’s like we were ON the track.

The first bout – the Sockit Wenches versus the Derby Liberation Front – was a blast to watch; especially because one of Paisley’s coaches from last summer’s New Skater Camp (Clobberin’ Mame) is an amazing blocker for the Sockit Wenches. Paisley kept asking me if she could say hello to “Coach Mame” – she (not very patiently, but understanding that she shouldn’t take a skater’s attention away from the bout) managed to wait until half-time, when she finally had the chance to wave and say hi, and beamed in turn when Mame smiled and waved back. Paisley was only disappointed by the Sockit Wenches’ loss, the Derby Liberation Front winning the bout 168-114.

The main event – the Championship Bout between the Throttle Rockets and the returning champs, Grave Danger – was INTENSE. Paisley’s roller derby team, The Orange Crush, is coached by the Throttle Rocket’s extremely talented jammer, Luna Negra. We were, therefore and of course, rooting for the Throttle Rockets. Paisley managed to say hi and wave to “Coach Luna” before the bout this time, so was quite happy to sit back and watch the action. And eat some cotton candy, of course.

Eating Cotton Candy

The skating was so insanely intense and thrilling that the 9yo even forgot to eat her cotton candy!

The Throttle Rockets were up at halftime, 72-50, and stayed in the lead until about the last ten minutes, when the two teams began trading the lead back-and-forth every single jam for the rest of the bout. I felt like I was watching North Carolina play Duke during the NCAA championships, I was so tense (I’m a Tar Heel; I know tense)!! The bout came down to the last jam; the Throttle Rockets were at a distinct disadvantage with two blockers in the penalty box, and as incredibly talented as their jammer, Missile America, is (“Coach Luna” had skated jammer in the previous round, having miraculously pulled off lead jammer with some ridiculously good skating and putting the Throttle Rockets up again), with only two other teammates on the track, she just couldn’t get through the solid wall of four Grave Danger blockers, and in attempting to do so, managed to end up in the penalty box herself. Missile America would end up MVP of the bout (and deservedly so), but the Throttle Rockets lost 171-165…

… and Paisley started crying!

It was so sweet. She was so disappointed for her coach and for the Throttle Rockets. I put my arm around her and while other folks started packing up and walking out we talked about how each player had skated their very best, and in spite of the loss should be very proud of themselves for their herculean efforts, sheer determination, and admirable dedication to their sport and teammates. She noticed that Missile America had left the track for the penalty box with tears in her eyes – and was quite worried that she “was ashamed” of herself. Oh no, I said. She was disappointed by the loss, and probably would worry that she could’ve done something different to change the final result, but she won MVP and would know, or should know, that she skated her heart out and should be very proud of herself.

And Paisley wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her Orange Crush hoodie, nodded her head in understanding, stuffed the remains of our greasy pizza slices and drinks into the empty cotton candy bag (!!) to deposit in the nearest garbage can (yes, I actually had to pinch myself), and…

Grabbed my hand. And held it all the way back to the car.

I’m not sure our Mama-Daughter dates will always serve as such wonderful life lessons and be quite so exciting as a championship sporting event at Key Arena, but the evening made me realize that one-on-one time with my children is priceless, invaluable, to be cherished, and to be given more of a priority in my crazy busy life. I loved having the opportunity, for just a moment, to appreciate and celebrate my daughter’s empathy for her coaches, her passion for derby, her pride in her own team when she talks with the people sitting next to us, the ushers, and random security guards. I shouldn’t have needed Bill to remind me TWICE to take my daughter to this event. Next time, the laundry can wrinkle in the dryer, the dogs can chase each other in the backyard and drive the neighbors mad with their barking, the toddler can run around naked while chasing the fat cat (she needs the exercise, anyway, right?) as long as he wants (well, maybe with a diaper on…), and I’ll remember that going out to ice cream for dinner is a brilliant idea. Hey – maybe that can be my next one-on-one date with the 5yo? After all, he’s an ice cream junkie…

You know, I don’t think I need to be asked twice – I know a good idea when I read one… Salted caramel ice cream in a waffle cone, here we come!!

And maybe, just maybe, he’ll hold my hand the whole time we’re out, too.

To learn more about Paisley’s (aka Lyka Livewire’s) love affair with roller derby, you can always read My Roller Derby Queen: Seeing Life Through Orange-Colored Glasses.

A Year of Dates #2: Lunch & Literature

Bill and His New Book

I think Bill was still a little sore about the beat down I delivered at the bowling alley during a Year of Dates #1...

Perhaps one of the best parts about my mom’s BEST GIFT EVER to me and my fantastic and devilishly handsome husband (for our Christmas present, she’s giving us a Year of Dates – one a month for twelve months – isn’t that absolutely the best gift ever??) is that it forces us to do something together, just the two of us, no kids. Just the two of us.

No. Kids.

The thing is, we really like doing things as a family. It turns out (I know it’s crazy, but), we actually like being with our kids. Even when they’re doing something that drives me totally nutso crazy – like kicking each other over and over and over again at the park while I yell at them to stop from the other side of the playground (totally impressing all the other parents at the park – we are such a model family),* or looking at me with total innocence (a look that I know means they’re as guilty as sin) while I say “No, you can’t do that” and then doing *that* (whatever *that* may be, usually something I consider dangerous or rude or both) anyway – even then, I still want to be with my kids; I just want them to use better manners (and really, am I asking too much with the whole good manners thing??).

So, given that we like taking our kids with us on our adventures, it’s been a bit challenging to decide on what to do on any one of our twelve dates. For instance: Me (all excited because I think I’ve finally come up with a good idea): Hey, want to go to a Rat City Rollergirls bout?! Him: Well, yeah, but don’t you think that’s something we should do with the kids, or at least with Paisley, since she’s in roller derby now?** Me (after a loud sigh): Well, what the heck (I used a different word, but I’m trying hard to keep this blog family-friendly) did we do before we had kids??

Which brings us to February’s Date #2: Lunch and Literature.

Way back when we first started dating (you’d think I was referring to the dinosaur age with the way I talk, but it does feel like a long time ago), and even after we were married but before we had children, Bill and I used to while away whole afternoons or evenings just browsing through bookstores (rarely buying, because for most of that time we were broke college students or broke bottom-of-the-ladder employees – browsing bookstores was such a cheap date… and, uh, I mean that in the best way possible!). New bookstores, used bookstores, small bookstores, big chain bookstores, specialty bookstores, it didn’t matter… we were (and still are) equal opportunity bookstore junkies.

But browsing bookstores requires time to browse; and with three kids who come with their own busy schedules of feedings and naps and play dates and numerous extracurricular activities and more feedings, there’s not a lot of time to browse in our lives anymore. Also, I have found that the few times I’ve taken my kids to the bookstore (usually under extreme duress, to find a last-minute gift or a book that I needed to read for book club by the next day), they don’t really have the patience for browsing, at least not for more than one minute and forty-two and a half seconds (and I can tell you, it feels like the longest 102 ½ seconds ever). Nor, it seems, do they care for any section of the bookstore other than the comic book section, of which they inevitably gravitate toward the definitely-not-G-rated-if-they-rated-these-things comics/graphic novels (it’s truly uncanny how they find the most inappropriate item in any store we ever enter). So, yeah, I’ve learned that the online bookstore is now my bookstore of choice. And online browsing just isn’t the same…

So, decision made, off we happily went to feed our souls (thanks, Mom!): lunch at our favorite little neighborhood Indian restaurant (delicious!), then off to the bookstore to browse (to browse!) through an abundance of literary marvels and even spend the gift cards we’d accumulated from various birthdays and holidays, but had yet to find the time to use. It was so fun to just stand next to each other, while leafing through books in the humor section, trying to be quiet (see, kids: good manners – they’re important!) while we laughed out loud at this humorist’s essays (Samantha Bee kills me) or at that comic book’s pages (Calvin & Hobbes – the best). We meandered (meandered!) through the aisles, each heading off to our own favorite sections (me to gardening and home design and cooking, him to sports and non-fiction and travel), to meet up again a short time later to show each other what we’d found. For instance: Me (drooling at the pretty picture): Look, I mean look, at this landscape. Do you think we could do this with our backyard? Him (probably hoping I’d snap out of it and remember we live in rainy Seattle and not on the sunny shores of Lake Como in Italy): Sure, babe. Sure. (He’s so good to me.)

Yes, we really did have a wonderful time together. Just the two of us. No kids.

No. Kids.

Books for the Kids

Broder (22mo) adores reading The Napping House by two of my all-time favorite children's book authors/illustrators, Audrey & Don Wood; Liam (5yo) is, naturally, loving the Magic Tree House books (these two are about dragons and ninjas - very popular these days with the 5yo crowd); and I stole Neil Gaiman's book, The Graveyard Book, from Paisley (9yo) so I could read it. Is that wrong? I didn't lose her place...

We even managed to spend our gift cards! I bought four books. Of course… they’re all kids books. For the kids…

Okay okay okay, so it’s taking me a while to get used to this whole dating thing again! But, seriously, the books are really good…

What?!

 

 

* Of course it happened: Daylight Savings Time to the Rescue??

** Yes, roller derby has completely taken over our family: My Roller Derby Queen: Seeing Life Through Orange-Colored Glasses.

A Year of Dates #1: Breakfast & Bowling

For Christmas, my beautiful, wonderful, generous, most-awesomest mother gave me and my hubby the very best gift ever: AN ENTIRE YEAR OF DATES. Twelve dates, one a month, for the next twelve months. Twelve blissful moments to sneak away from the everyday mayhem, twelve fun excursions for us to plan together, twelve times to celebrate being best friends. Twelve DATES.

The word DATE is almost a foreign concept for us anymore. We did the math and realized that last year, we’d gone on a whopping TWO dates. To be fair, there are several factors why we rarely go out. For one, have you noticed that even the most basic “dinner and a movie” date is anything but basic when it comes to the checkbook? Well, we have. Add in babysitting expenses for three kids, and you’re starting to compare a date night with the cost of replacing another pair of soccer shoes for the kids (I mean really, how many pairs of soccer shoes can one family have??). For another, last year we added crazy onto crazy and brought home two sweet and adorable, but very energetic, puppies who needed (still need) constant, vigilant attention as they clearly preferred (still prefer) the children’s socks, shoes, and stuffed animals over their own plastic, squeaky toys and chews. With a baby still nursing and just learning to crawl, and two older kids with intricately choreographed bedtime rituals, this equation usually scared off even the most intrepid babysitters, including Grandma! And finally, but not least, Bill and I just really like spending time with our family; we will usually choose a family movie night with the kids over going to dinner at the newest, swankest restaurant on any given weekend night.

But there’s something to be said for carving out time for the two of us.

And some healthy competition between an old married couple!

Bill, About to Pick Up a Spare

Bill, About to Pick Up a Spare

Which brings us to January, and Date #1: Breakfast and Bowling.

It turns out that West Seattle Bowl has this amazing Saturday morning special where, if you buy any breakfast entrée, you get two free games of bowling. I confess that my expectations were very low for breakfast at a bowling alley, but I was pleasantly surprised. Breakfast was tasty, the coffee was hot, the waitress was friendly, and the clean dining room had no resemblance to the dim, smoke-filled, sticky-beer-floor establishment that I’d envisioned. After some serious carbo-loading, we were ready for the games to begin.

Bill started out strong, rolling a strike right away. I was worried, and went in search of a new bowling ball, after putting two in a row in the gutter; if the pink one wasn’t working for me, maybe the green one would. Bill rolled two spares after the strike, started the trash talk (and backed it up with some more impressive scores), and in desperation, I returned to the pink ball. After several more gutter balls for me, Round 1 went to Bill, with a sizeable lead and an inflated ego.

Bill Makes Bowling Look Good!

My Hubby Makes Bowling Look Good!

Round 2-5, however – and I don’t mean to gloat, but I’m going to – were all mine, baby!! Oh yeah. I’m not saying I’m ready for the professional league, but by Round 5, after bowling several strikes, and some more trash talk, it was Bill who went in search of a new bowling ball. Alright, I confess that all that pride-cometh-before-a-fall stuff caught up to me in Round 6, and my lovely pink ball ended up in the gutter as often as in Round 1, but I’m good at blocking out bad memories, and I shall concentrate on the end results: Final score: 503-379. (Gloat gloat gloat!)

And this is why my husband is so wonderful: as disgruntled as he was that he never managed to recapture the glory of that first round, he still took a picture of the scoreboard to show the 5yo who had requested, when we left for our date, to know who won when we got home.

It turns out, it’s nice to have a date every once in a while, if only to be reminded that my husband will always be my biggest fan. And I will always be his.