Still working on motivating myself to continue turning my list of ideas into blog posts. At the top of my list, a post I thought would be good with Valentine’s Day coming up. It’s the perfect time to post ideas for date night. I have a bit of a different take on this for this particular post.
David tends to work late shifts. He has enjoyed a few jobs in which he worked a later shift, and his current employment has him leaving work most nights between 8 PM and 9 PM. His schedule really works well in a lot of ways, but it does present some unique considerations in terms of spending time together, especially going out together.
Late shifts lend themselves just as well toward going out for drinks, going to clubs, and going out on the weekends. However, David and I don’t really have much use for clubs. They’re just not our thing. I believe he may have outgrown them, and run out of use for them now that he has me. I just never was interested in them. We like places that are conducive to conversation. I also do not drink, and David is more a drink with dinner sort. I’m sure there are more like us, so with that said, I have some advice.
You might suggest that one could have a date together before work. To some extent that is true, but, I find that doing anything before work can feel more rushed than doing something after work. Even if, as with many jobs, there isn’t a great deal of time then. The schedule is typically a bit more forgiving.
Of course the obvious solution to an odd schedule and late, sometimes long, hours during the week is to just have dates on the weekend. Weekend dates are great, and I have plenty to say about those. But, we like to try to find time together during the week. The best way we’ve found to do this is to have dinner together. It’s not usually a glamorous dinner, but we don’t really care about that to be honest. We just sit down and eat a good dinner we both like, and have plenty of conversation and laughs. This is great fun, but not everywhere is open by the time David has left work, made it through his commute, and freshened up from a long day at work. Lucky for you, I have a list of places we like that are open if you have a schedule like this, in order of the ones we like most or visit most.
- Denny’s: Open 24/7: They have breakfast food all day, and also some nice dinner options. Can I just say that breakfast for dinner is right at the top of my list? We almost always get breakfast, and I’m very picky about my breakfast, but they do it right. I don’t care for their sausage, though, so I typically substitute bacon.
- Steak ‘n Shake: Open 24/7: Inexpensive, perfect for odd hours, and I think this restaurant appeals to my affection for the 1950′s. I was surprised that I actually like their chili. That’s saying something for me. I haven’t had anything I didn’t care for at all.
- Little Caesars Pizza: The one we go to is open until 10 PM except on Friday and Saturday, when it is open until 11 PM. This food isn’t everyone’s idea of a good date, but it’s great for a movie night, and you can get a pizza for $5. Their hot and ready pizzas are great for making the most of your time if you don’t have much of it, and it’s great on days that a date might night otherwise be in the budget.
- Domino’s Pizza: The one where he lives is usually open until around 11 PM. Some are open–or deliver–until midnight. The advantage here is that they actually have pasta. If you want to have a nicer dinner, you can get pasta, put it on actual plates, and have dinner.
- Qdoba Mexican Grill: The one we go to is open until 11 PM Mon-Sat, 10 PM Sundays. Filling, not too expensive, and better quality than Taco Bell. However, just saying, Taco Bell is open later.
- Texas Roadhouse: Peanuts on the floor, but they’re open until 10 PM Mon-Thurs and Sundays and 11 PM Fri & Sat and they do serve a very good dinner. I love their rolls, and my steak is always right. That’s very good in my book.
- Applebees: The one David takes me to is open until 2 AM Mon-Sat and 12am Sundays. They have hamburgers, but they also have steaks, seafood, and pasta. Their maple butter pecan blondie is delicious, but honestly very over priced. I recommend skipping the dessert.
It’s also fun to cook together if you have the house to yourselves. If you do this, though, I suggest you make sure you’re prepared to start cooking right after work. Make sure you have all your ingredients handy.
There are a few things David and I like to do during the week to spend a little more time together relaxing and having fun in addition to dinner.
- Go for a drive without a destination. Talking and sing a longs are the best. I can’t see much scenery in the dark, but honestly, I think that only makes us like it more, as we really focus on each other. Still, sometimes we do find interesting things for a day trip this way.
- Have a picnic, weather permitting. This is especially nice during the summer and is nicely combined with our drives. We just find a nice place outside to park, hopefully with a picnic table, and eat together. I love the fresh air. It really helps me feel grounded and settled when I’m up north in the city with him. (I jest a bit, but I’m sort of serious.)
- Movie night. Watch a favorite movie or rent a new one and cuddle up together. Netflix is also great for this.
- Game night. Choose a favorite board game or video game and play just one game, or if you’re more competitive, best two out of 3.
These things don’t necessarily mean staying up later than intended. They leave time to just be lazy together. One thing that I find is true about spending time together during the week is that I typically don’t like to do things that keep us out or busy right up until time for bed. I like to have some time to unwind and just sit in the quiet or cuddle before it’s time to go to sleep. I’d even go as far as to say that it makes for more restful sleep and a better feeling of closeness for me. We are so pressed for time, I really like to spend it wisely.
The weekends are the best way to spend our time together wisely. David works one or two Saturdays a month, but he gets off in the early afternoon those days, which does leave time for some nice dates.
- If the weather is right, we sometimes like to have some lunch and spend the better part of the day at the park, then maybe watch a favorite DVD and go out for dinner later on. If the weather is hot, there might be ice cream involved. In cold weather, we’ll often grab a coffee.
- The thing that we really love to do, which keeps things exciting for us and helps us spend quality time together without interruption, while building fantastic memories is to pick out a place near us and go for a day trip. For more information about that, check out this post about a day trip we took one weekend. If you’re concerned about the money for something like this, set aside even as little as 10 dollars from each pay check, and you’ll be able to do something different, and maybe a little bit special, without worrying. Smaller cities or towns often offer better prices for things. As well, try eating lunch rather than dinner at restaurants that might cost more. Often, it will be considerably more inexpensive.
Date nights are a little different for us for a lot of reasons: his hours at work, his commute, and our long distance relationship among them. It really makes good use of my frugal nature, and helps us find plenty of creative ways to make the most of our time together. I hope this post is interesting or helpful for someone. I know people tend to like my date idea posts.