Sometimes a little trouble is just what you need.

The Puddinette’s sister was handy last night, ready, willing, and able to do a few hours of babysitting for us so the beloved wife and I could have (yay!) a date. So we wiped the globs of applesauce off our faces, dressed ourselves up in some relative finery, and dashed out the door for the evening. We even managed to get away before the kids recognized they were being abandoned.

Well, actually, that’s not the case. In truth, they much prefer to hang with their cool aunt for the evening, since she gives them plenty of snacks and lets them stay up late. Typically, when we tell them we’re leaving and to be good, they barely turn from whatever fun activity Aunt Babysitter has already started, and give us a half-hearted, “yeah, ok, bye”. Basically, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I seem to recall having largely the same reaction to being left with a babysitter when I was young. The only thing better was being left with a grandparent, because Grandma and Grandpa usually start such evenings with the sole intent of spoiling their grandchildren as completely and thoroughly as possible. Paybacks, after all, are a bitch.

For out date, the Puddinette somehow convinced me to take her to The Melting Pot. I know, right? Fondue for real men is like the Lost City of Atlantis. Sure, it might be out there somewhere, but the Magic Eight Ball says, “All signs point to No.” I’ve actually got quite a bit to say about the dinner experience, but that’s another post. What I will say is that for a couple like the wife and I, who have a limited amount of time for Date Night fun and who would kind of, maybe, actually like to spend some time talking to each other, the place fits the bill pretty well. I mean, a movie’s great, and I heart me some popcorn, but you can’t really keep the intimacy fires aglow when you’re watching a compromise movie in the silent darkness of a theater.

Of course, because nothing we do is every simple, and because the Fates are amused by tossing curveballs at Aunt Babysitter, the power went out last night. In the middle of a clear summer night. Not a cloud in the sky. Over 85 degrees.

Luckily, by the time The Great Summer Blackout of Aught Ten began, we were already on our way home. The sister-in-law did a fabulous job of maintaining order in the face of the potential chaos of darkness, and we arrived to find all the kids happily shining flashlights into each other’s eyes. We thanked her for doing a fabulous job and put the kids to bed.

And then we weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. Normally after such a lovely Date Night, the Puddinette and I would go our separate ways to catch up on DVR’d television. Friday night, is, by and large, the only night of the week I have recorded shows to watch. But no power, no recordings, no TV at all. So we gathered our flashlights and candles, pulled out the box of Scrabble, dusted it off, and spent the next half and a half placing words on a board while genuinely enjoying each other’s company.

It was almost like being a couple or something.

Eventually, the power came back on, just as the Puddinette was beginning to yawn excessively. We finished our second game and went about our normal Friday night business, her to bed, and me to the Recliner of Eternal Comfort.

Usually, a power outage is an inconvenient pain. But when you’re married with four kids and Date Night time is at a premium, sometimes that blackout isn’t as much bother as a way to keep a pleasant night that might have ended too soon rolling on.

Sometimes, the man upstairs gives you a 90 minute time-out right when you need it.


7 thoughts on “Sometimes a little trouble is just what you need.

  1. I hope that “Aunt Babysitter” will continue to be my name on Puddintopia; I like it! 🙂


  2. In that case, so you shall be named henceforth! Huzzah! Welcome to the small, but ever-growing group of Those with Puddintopia Monikers. It’s a highly prestigious club, I assure you. 😉


  3. Your post reminds me of the time the lights went out on a Saturday night when I was on the Internet. I grabbed my flashlight and found a portable radio, which I tuned to WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill. They have a wonderful program on weekend nights called Back Porch Music. It’s mostly acoustic and folk music. Anyway, I spent the next 90 minutes listening to the radio in the dark. I had a great time–it took me back to the days when I was a kid, listening to distant stations after my bedtime. It was a throwback to a simpler time. When the lights came back on I was a little disappointed.


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