I may have a romantic soul, but I can kill a romantic moment faster than a room full of Conservatives can pretend to support Doug Ford. Faster even. And it leaves my husband with the same look of disdain. Yes, I am that good.

The Carpenter and I found ourselves unexpectedly alone on a Saturday night, so naturally, I got my hopes up for a real date night, complete with dinner in a restaurant followed by a movie in a real movie theatre.  I was so desperate for fun, I even volunteered to watch an action film.

Basically, I wanted to recreate that feeling of the good old days when the Carpenter and I couldn’t wait to be together just for the sake of being together. It didn’t matter so much what we did, just that we were in the same sphere of “us.” Remember that? I do. What I don’t remember is when it left.

This may be a clue. Before we headed out on our date, I thought it best to check our bank balance, you know, just to be sure the hydro bill and mortgage cleared the account so I could be reassured that there was a budget for popcorn. (Note: we don’t share movie popcorn, which is why we are still married).

Honestly, I had the best intentions, but you know what they say, the road to debt is paved with good intentions. As the domestic account analyst/manager, it falls on me to ensure the bills are paid in a timely manner and the budget is stretched farther than my white underwear with the thick elastic band (the ones I save for special occasions, like date night). Sadly, I had maximized both. (Hydro we can blame on the cold winter  – actually, we can blame both on the cold winter, because back fat weight gain is technically a seasonal disorder).

When I logged on to my online bank account and saw the balance, I felt that hot flash of sweat that comes with the panicked realization that my math was inaccurate. (Perhaps it was just a hot flash, but I wouldn’t joke about that if I were you). It appeared I had miscalculated our funds because our numbers we were lower than Premier Wynne’s popularity rating (I’ll stop now). Frantically, I opened my colour-coded domestic accounts calendar and the corresponding Excel spreadsheet that tracks our expenses. I began calculating the next two weeks’ expenses until pay day. I don’t enjoy math. It stresses me out. However, I have become adept at creative accounting (like the shell game) and it seems that while I could assure bills were covered for the next two weeks, by the time I factored in the cost of groceries, gas, the Carpenter’s commuter coffee fix and incidentals, we had $3.52. Not enough for dinner out, a movie or popcorn, but exactly enough to kill the mood.

There we were, the Carpenter and I, in the sphere of us, just like back in the good old days – broke but happy to watch television together. After all, if you’re going to pay for cable, you really should stay home and watch it. Besides we’re amusing enough. Date night on a budget? Absolutely. Anyway, the Carpenter makes the best stovetop popcorn. With butter. A pinch of salt. Separate bowls. Maybe that is the secret to our marriage: keep your expectations low and your amusement levels high.

Whatever. It works.


Kelly Waterhouse