Our date-planning is about to undergo a shift (now that we’ve each covered a month). We initially went with the “52 Date Nights” challenge of alternating months, but once RCIA got back into full swing it became evident that planning an RCIA presentation and a date night at the same time was a bit much. It just made more sense to switch off–one or the other. So from here on out, whoever isn’t giving the RCIA presentation that week will plan the date. Usually we alternate, but with this year’s RCIA schedule, my prince ended up with 4 presentations in a row that are traditionally his (i.e., he’s done them before & just needs to tweak them for this year–if I took them, I’d be starting from scratch). Tonight will be his second of the four, so I’m on for the next two dates!
That’s a good thing…my prince was having a hard time coming up with ideas by this time. The things he really wants to do require either more travel time or more daylight than we have left by the time he gets back from work (or fewer mosquitoes outside–we finally got our first frost over the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to knock out all the little buggers). Fortunately he was looking over my shoulder as I looked through date ideas sites to add to the links & got an idea that way…
He decided to send me on a quest! The setup took longer than he expected–the hard part was getting the clues to rhyme in iambic tetrameter(!). What can I say–he’s good!
When I asked if there was anything I should do for the meal or the table, he asked for a meal with ham that didn’t take too much fuss for me to make, and a candle we haven’t used much. Most of our ham recipes got knocked out when dairy & mustard went off-limits, but I did my best approximation of spinach-potato casserole with ground ham on top (I asked if he’d mind if I added cheese to mine & he said that was fine) & tried out our floating oil candle kit for the first time (I found this second-hand years ago & have just never tried it out).
Oh mercy! That could apply to about half of the books on our shelf! (ok, so that’s an exaggeration,but it doesn’t narrow things down much!) “Think like me,” my prince hinted.
He smiled. “You’ll have to see.”
As I looked with dismay at the shelf of books, he suggested that I think geographically like him (he has his own “corner” by the bookshelf). I looked a bit more, took a deep breath, and plunged into the sea of literature…and got it on the first try! The next note was just inside the front cover of Fabiola or The Church of the Catacombs, by Cardinal Wiseman (historical fiction we both enjoy).
That was a lot easier–at least to get to the right area. That would be the part of the bathroom where the kitties (“furry sharks”) have their feeders & litter boxes (which my prince cleans). It got harder from there. Ultimately the note was under a “kitty condo”, but that’s usually Mittens’ spot & I associate “furry shark” more with Moses…but eventually I got it.
French, even :). That’s the only foreign language I’ve studied (although my knowledge of it doesn’t go much beyond “tres bien”!). This one was a dead giveaway. I know that bell! (I gave it to him so he could get my attention to ask for anything he might need when his voice was sore from being sick)
This one was pretty easy too. We just got a new microwave in a big white box–we don’t need it yet, but ours is old enough to be on borrowed time & we found one we liked on sale. It’s in storage (hid from sight) in the basement until ours conks.
That wasn’t too tough either. When we moved in we removed a light fixture that looked like a giant cocoon. We recently found a new home for it on Freecycle, but I knew where it had been (also in the basement).
Once I figured out where his beard trimmer had gone, I was all set…
My prince always takes his laptop to RCIA (that way he can burn audio cds for people who’ve missed previous sessions & he can look things up online…and we keep the digital recorder in there!).
Inside his laptop case, I found a gift bag containing Cormac Burke’s Covenanted Happiness, Love and Commitment in Marriage, which has been on my wish list for a few years now. Treasure indeed!
For the rest of the evening, my prince was at my service. He gave me the option of reading the “new” book together (I read it years ago, which is how I knew I wanted it) or continuing with Mountains of Spices or our latest from the library (The Exceptional Seven Percent: The Nine Secrets of the World’s Happiest Couples, by Gregory Popcak) or doing anything else I wanted with him. I had time to decide while he made popcorn (I’m notoriously slow at decisions!).
I was leaning toward working on the book that had a due date (the one from the library), but first wanted to try the “Marital Checkup” from the last Popcak book, we read. My prince had said he wanted to try it a little over a month ago & although we’d talked about it since, we hadn’t actually made it happen.
Part of the problem was timing. My inclination would be to talk at bedtime, since I’m usually awake for quite a while anyway, but once my prince gets to bed, he just wants to sleep (he’s much better at that than I). My prince suggested talking over supper, but had forgotten (being in “summer mode” threw off his calibrations for the school year schedule) that that’s right when he gets home, which is a critical transition time to be kept as peaceful as possible. Part of a “checkup” is looking at things to change, which can be stressful.
When I mentioned our being “stumped” to my spiritual director last week, he suggested having our little talk after our after-meal prayer (a new development in itself). I’d mentioned that to my prince, who said it might fit into this particular evening after the treasure hunt.
So…that’s where we started. The “Daily Marital Checkup” consists of two questions:
1. What did we do to try to attend to each other’s spiritual and emotional needs today?
2. What can we do to attend to each other even better tomorrow?
I sort of suspected that would take the rest of the evening (get us talking…!). It did. Maybe some day we can whittle it down to the 5-10 minutes it’s supposed to take! I suppose with 12 years’ worth of backlog we should expect it to take a little longer in the beginning…at any rate, it was a fruitful discussion (and it didn’t seem too painful to me & my prince seemed to take it alright…). We stopped only because the clock told us we’d better turn in if we wanted to be coherent today…!