Jeff and I are very lucky – this year, our Valentine’s Day is planned ahead for us – we will be on a cruise on that day. And since we will be sharing a room with Ellie, plus a bunch of other family members will be there – it will be a nice holiday, yet it won’t be an intimate time. That is more than ok – who in their right mind would complain about being on a cruise? Certainly not us – that night is one of two elegant nights on the trip, so Jeff will dress up as will I – I will find something in Valentine’s red to wear. It will be a nice night I am sure.
We will celebrate our own Valentine’s Day a week later. We are going away on the night of February 21st – we will be seeing my favorite hockey player of all time (John Tonelli) have his jersey retired – finally! Jeff will be going with me because he knows it will make me happy – and he always makes the best of things and has a fun time. That’s what love is – doing what will make the other person happy, which ends up making you happy. We will be attending the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to see Derek Jeter inducted this summer – Jeff loves baseball and Jeter is one of his favorite players of all time. I’m glad we will be able to be there – even though the only motel we could reserve is forty miles from Cooperstown! That’s crazy, but it’s what is necessary if we want to be there. That will also be a nice time away.
Yet as we are trying to save and get on a good, straight financial track – we still want to have fun, be silly and enjoy dates. We’ve done a few things that haven’t cost much money but ended up being fun. We made memories and took pictures, and looking back on these times – they were as nice as expensive dates, just in a different way.
One Saturday we took a walk around Scranton – around all the streets we drive past as we are going to work, running errands or whatever. We got a cold slushy drink (they make good ones with alcohol at a market downtown) and walked around. We went onto side streets with interesting looking buildings, and went into stores we really didn’t realize were there. We walked all around Courthouse Square, and learned a lot about Scranton that we didn’t know before. There was an interesting tribute wall/statue devoted to people who were reported missing in the city, yet never found. Some of the sidewalk tiles around the County courthouse had quotes from and dates involving significant Lackawanna County residents. Driving through the city, you never would know this stuff was there. We learned a lot that day strolling through town.
It is a good idea to get a newspaper and check out events happening around town. There are some High Schools who perform plays that are worthy of Broadway – really! The bands from certain schools are amazing. Of course, it is always more fun if you go to a play or a game from a school where you know some of the students. But it is not always necessary. These games, plays and concerts are minimal in cost, yet you get maximum entertainment for your dollars.
You can work out together – even if one of you doesn’t like it too much. That would be Jeff and me – he loves it, and let’s just say I don’t. But if we go together, it shows him that I am willing to do things with him that he likes. And honestly, every time we do go to the gym, I am always glad I went – even if I didn’t want to go in the first place (and I never do). It’s even nice to see others checking your significant other out – you can feel proud that he (or she) is yours!
A fun thing to do is an indoor picnic. Have it complete with a blanket, and everything you’d take if you were outside. Planning an indoor picnic is a good idea, because no matter what the weather, your plans won’t be affected. A picnic, yet there won’t be any mosquitoes, flies or ants. Yes!
What we’ve done and is always fun to do is to make some drinks, have some snacks and watch our favorite movie together. We love Austin Powers Goldmember, and always laugh no matter how many times we’ve seen it. Laughing is a good thing. Yet if your favorite is suspense or horror, that’s ok too. It is just important to watch something you will both enjoy.
Have a spa night together. I did this with my sister and Christine when we had a girls weekend away. It was a great success. There is no reason why you can’t make a spa night a date night. Currently, I have the world’s itchiest back – I carry a back scratcher in my purse, and I have one on each floor of our house. Jeff and I plan on doing one of these nights soon – I need a back facial. Yes, go online and look – there are instructions for this.
If you decide you do want to go out, try going for lunch or drinks and appetizers. This in general will be more economical than dinner in most cases. And coupons – always look for coupons, and use them whenever you can. This doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you thrifty, it makes you smart – you’re getting more for your money. And that is a really good thing.
Have a game night – if you’re into computer games, play them. Or try playing board games. You can even play cards. The winner gets to choose the next game, the loser has to go along with that choice no matter what. You can make up your own rules as you go along. The main thing is to have fun.
Teach each other something, even if it is something minor. I frequently explain little things about wrestling to Jeff. He appreciates knowing some of the moves and how the characters are related so that when he watches with me, he understands more of what’s going on. He explains different things to me about baseball – about the players, who’s the current highest paid, why a certain player turned out to be a “bad deal” financial wise. It is nice learning something you didn’t know before about something your significant other thinks is important.
Write little lists, little notes. These notes don’t have to be very big or anything earth shattering. It is just nice getting a note that says “five things you do that makes me feel special” or “five ways I know I’m lucky for having you.” It’s a small little thing to do that can have a big impact.
Make a meal together, maybe a kind you’ve never cooked before – make it from appetizers to dessert. Try an all Chinese meal or maybe something really outrageous, like Arabic food. Christine’s son spent time in Korea with the Army. After he came home, he cooked us an entire Korean dinner from beginning to end, and it was delicious. It will be an experience you two can do together. You won’t forget it, I promise. Whether it was a success or a disaster.
Grab a drink and sit down – and make plans. Make a plan for the weekend, make a monthly plan. Make a 6 month plan, a one year plan and even make one for five years out. It’s a great motivator to have things to look forward to. Sometimes having things written down old school on paper gives you goals to aim for. It’s not enough to say that “oh a year from now we want to take a trip to California.” Make a plan and make it happen. You know you’ll be planning together to be together. And that can make you feel really excited for the future as well as feel really fortunate to have one another.