Here's IMDb's synopsis of the 2010 movie "Date Night" starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell:
In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.
And here's my summation of my last date night: Couple can't get baby sitter on Valentine's Day, so they plan a Friday night dinner outing, only to have their top three choices booked solid except for 4:30 and 9 p.m. reservations. They do find a nice place to eat at a normal time, but dinner runs long, killing the chance for a 7:30 movie, which is the perfect viewing time because then they don't run the risk of nodding off before the flick ends. Instead, they hit Costco for milk and get home, well before 9 p.m., so they still have to put the kids to bed.
No thrills. No danger.
So you can see why "Kristen and Joe's Excellent Date Night" is nowhere to be found on IMDb.
Sheesh, when did we get to be so lame?
Oh yeah … after kids.
Before our children sucked away our desire to do anything except transform into human Pillow Pets, we did stuff. I vaguely remember. Weekends, we went out to dinner and a movie, even if the movie didn't start until 9 p.m.
We were craaaaazy.
Now that we've gone from husband and wife to co-managers of a bustling child-care center, couple time is nearly nonexistent. Now I've read more than a few women's magazines, so I know this is a really bad thing, that you're supposed to make time for your relationship, so says Oprah, and blah, blah, blah. But dude, I'm wiped.
Just thinking of setting up a date night makes me tired. That calls for serious planning, and, as a general rule, I try to avoid nonessential planning since on a day-to-day basis I schedule everything from strategically timed trips to the bathroom to when homework will be shoehorned around basketball games, practices, orthodontist and doctor appointments, play dates and various school events. My calendar is like domestic Tetris.
But here's the thing: Our anniversary is coming up - it'll take me a few more paragraphs to remember which one but it's definitely double-digits - so I feel obliged to make an effort at going out.
The trickiest part is finding an available sitter. They're pricey, especially if you're like us and feel compelled to tip big when you return to an intact house and everyone still has all their fingers and toes. Good sitters are hard to come by and even harder to keep. They grow up, get boyfriends and are unavailable because have their own date nights.
The kids' favorite sitter was this amazing college student who kept coming back even after No. 2 locked them all in a bedroom one time. Luckily No. 1, the most likely of the three to go to a really good, expensive college, MacGyvered them out with a hanger.
Alas, Most Favored Sitter went away to grad school.
So we're on the hunt again. Honestly, I would think baby sitters would be beating down our door since they could work for us and still have time afterward to go to a movie, a concert - shoot, even pick up another sitting job for people who can stay out late enough to enjoy reverse happy hour.
By the way, the magic number is 18. This anniversary will be our 18th. Isn't it cool we live in a state that lets 12-year-olds wed?
I think the milestone would be best spent like one evening we had awhile back. Each and every kid had a sleepover. On the same night. That might be rarer than a nearly 20-year marriage … to the same person. Rather than going out, we stayed in. Why waste an empty house? We ate takeout - and didn't spend an hour arguing about which restaurant to get it from - and then watched a movie and never once had to pause to answer a goofy, non-movie-related question.
No, not an IMDb-worthy night, but still a luxury to two pooped parents.
Contact Kristen Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4194. The mother of three, Cook tries very, very hard not to mutter "sucker" whenever she walks past a pregnant woman.