As we approach the long Memorial Day weekend full of the potential for all kinds of free time, I want to share another date idea from the book 52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern. I first reviewed this book in a blog post from early April where I also gave away a copy of 52 Uncommon Dates to my lucky reader Anne G. You can read that post here.
The first of this month, in this blog post, Anne and I both shared pics of our first uncommon dates based on suggestions from Southern’s book. Anne was so sweet to send pictures of her date with hubby Troy to an arcade and dinner.
Such a cute couple. And I love Anne’s outfit. Darling!
Today, I want to share PC’s and my second date from the book. Actually, we have tried several of the dates but some don’t lend themselves well to being photographed…no, no, it’s nothing like that! It’s just that one date was people watching and while I tried to be very stealth about taking pictures of the people we were watching, I got some kind of uncomfortable looks from our “subjects”. According to the date, we were supposed to come up with stories about their lives and bounce them off one another and that part was easy. Here are a couple of pics taken at the mall that I was able to sneak without being detected.
Last weekend we tried out date number 25, the gardening date. We had been planning to work in the yard on Sunday anyway so I decided to introduce the idea of calling our time gardening a “date” the day before. PC wasn’t exactly bowled over by the idea but he didn’t seem to mind much either. Or at least not on Saturday! When Sunday morning rolled around, he was less enthusiastic than the day before.
In his book, Southern suggests we tackle a single gardening project together or separate projects in close proximity of one another to enable us to talk and laugh as we work. We have these brown areas in both our front and back yards that struggle to grow grass every year. PC had decided that it was time for us (him) to dig up the grass, carefully, and see if there was something under it that was keeping the grass from growing. We were thinking that maybe when the house was built, those spots had been places where the builders had tossed broken tiles, scraps of wood and other materials. We figured that when the landscaper – I use that term VERY loosely – slapped the sod down, he just buried the debris under a thin layer of soil first and then rolled the sod over the whole kit and caboodle. We decided it was time to get to the bottom of this.
After a hearty breakfast of Honey Nut Cherrios and soda (for PC) and Weight Watchers’ oat clusters and coffee (for me), we gathered our gardening gear from the shed and headed out to tackle the smaller spot on the front yard first. My Prince had strained his elbows in a baseball game the day before so he was working at less than 100%. Since my neck surgeries, my 100% is about 50%, so I am not the best help. And I think that maybe that was what decreased PC’s level of enthusiasm for this “date” from Saturday to Sunday. He was hurting and I am no help.
Notice the elbow brace on the head gardener and the neck scar on his flunky. Purrsnickitty was overseeing the whole date – make that, chaperoning – from the living room window.
After we (one of us) got the grass peeled back, we (one of us) used the hoe and shovel (alternating, not at the same time) to dig for debris. Didn’t find much. A few grub worms but they don’t really count. Then we (yes, WE) took the wheel barrow to the end of the street and filled it with dirt from a vacant lot to mix with the garden soil we bought from Lowe’s. On our way down to get the dirt, one of us tried to strike up a conversation about gardening experiences in the other’s childhood, knowing full-well that a certain someone’s mother has two green thumbs and eight green fingers and that certain someone grew up eating lots of fresh vegetables. That certain someone wasn’t in the mood for reminiscing. But most people talk on dates, right?
Before you get any bright ideas, I strongly advise against clicking on this picture for a closer look at my thighs and buttocks and love handles. Let’s just say that 21 Day Fix still has some fixing to do.
We (yes, WE) wheeled the barrow back home and dumped this dirt into the area where the grass had been. Not only is the grass struggling to grow but the whole 3′ X 4′ section was lower than the rest of the yard so we had decided to try to build up the level of dirt underneath. We mixed in the garden soil with the vacant lot soil and smoothed it out. Ok, PC did this part, too. But someone had to take pictures. And Purrsnickitty doesn’t have the opposable (which I thought was opposible until this moment) thumbs needed to hoe or use a camera.
One of us rolled the sod back over the freshly tilled and tended soil while the other went on break. Had to get water to keep us hydrated, you know. This is a desert, after all.
That went so well, and we hadn’t killed each other yet, that we decided to trim the bushes in the front and our Mexican Elder (a tree not a grandfather), before moving to the back yard. We also sat on the driveway and picked the decorative rock out of the raked piles of cut bush branches. Here’s how that looked.
Sifting through the snipped bush branches to separate the garden rock requires a great deal of finesse and patience, just so you know. It isn’t as physically taxing as it is intellectually trying and requires a degree of OCD not characteristic of all amateur gardeners.
Still smiling. And never more in love.
We have about four worrisome spots back there but the worst is below the balcony off the master bedroom from where I can envision the builders tossing all kinds of inorganic items onto our yard below. Ok, it wasn’t an official yard at that time. But our yard-to-be. The temps were probably approaching 90+ by this time and the calories from our breakfast, hearty as it was, had been expended. We decided to just start work on the largest spot and save half of it for this up coming four day weekend that is now upon us. Oh, YAY!
Our efforts in the back yard were rewarded with two pieces of broken tile, a mysterious chunk of something black and a whole lot of rocks that might be keeping the grass from growing. Nothing more. PC was feeling a tiny bit more talkative now and so I asked what he would have liked to have found buried in our yard. His response was a coupon for landscaping. Mine was an expensive ring that we could sell for money for landscaping to which he replied “you wouldn’t sell the ring and we’d still be stuck doing this stuff”. To which I replied “I have rings upstairs that I don’t wear, I don’t need another one. I would sell it.” And then I started thinking maybe I needed to get one of those rings I never wear and sell it right now. But I didn’t.
So, at this point, we both declared the gardening and day-dreaming finished for the day. We went in the house to wash up and cool off.
The last thing that Southern recommends we do for this date, is to go out to dinner or go somewhere for ice cream when we get to a stopping point in our work. Before the soreness set in, we hobbled up to our neighborhood Orange Leaf for some frozen yogurt. I opted for the healthier Greek yogurt then drizzled hot fudge on it. We sat in the little restaurant to hurriedly devour our treats before our joints and muscles locked up and we’d be stuck there for the night.
That night after falling into bed, we talked a few minutes about our date. As I explained in my review of 52 Uncommon Dates, each date is divided into several parts: ‘Words to Grow On’, ‘Set the Scene’, ‘Make it Happen’, ‘Finish Strong’, ‘Mind Your Language’ and ‘Take it to God’. I read the Biblical verse from ‘Words to Grow On’: “I am my lover’s and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.” PC being the son of a Baptist preacher, knew immediately that the verse was from Song of Songs 6:3.
As we worked we were supposed to have talked about the things growing in our relationship but PC wasn’t exactly feeling conversational, not until we walked up for yogurt anyway. Southern encourages the reader to remember that this isn’t supposed to be a workday as much as it is supposed to be productive fun. And the stop for ice cream was to ensure we spent some nonworking time together.
In ‘Finish Strong’, the author provided three questions for us to discuss, as we rubbed Icy Hot on our bedraggled bodies.
- What are some things we have grown in our relationship? PC and I came into this relationship after being badly burned financially in our previous marriages. Trust with money didn’t come easily for either of us but we have grown trust for one another in this area.
- What are some of the “weeds” we’ve had to clear from our relationship? We both brought kids and baggage from our precious marriages into this marriage. Blending families is tough. We had different ideas about raising our almost adult children. We each had two children a piece (for a total of four) living in our separate homes when we met and two children who lived with us when we married. July 11 will be our eighth anniversary and we have been child-less (in our home) for about a year.
- The last question was “what can we do to make our relationship more productive?” Marriage is work, whether you have been married one year or fifty. I think we both feel that our relationship needs more nurturing and less outside interference.
Acts of Service is the primary love language for this date. You are not familiar with Gary Chapman’s ‘5 love languages’, take the quiz, here, to discover your own love language. Neither of us “speak” Acts of Service so the ‘Mind Your Language’ section of the chapter for this date wasn’t totally relevant to us.
In ‘Take it to God’, we were encouraged to spend some time together in prayer, before the date. I think I did say a prayer myself before we got out of bed that morning but we didn’t pray together. That night, we did talk a few minutes about ways we can make our relationship more productive, more successful before rolling over in pain and calling it a day.
We have plans to continue work on the back yard this long weekend. After we have an overnight date to Las Cruces for the Southern New Mexico wine fest. Maybe this time we will talk a little more and work a little less.
Now that you have read about another of our uncommon dates, won’t you share about a favorite date of yours. Question of the post: What is your favorite date – uncommon or not? Please share in a comment below.
Hope you are fortunate to be celebrating a long weekend, too. Get some rest, have some fun and then come back to share a little about it with me.
Hugs and kisses,