I emailed Deborah at work: Let's not do OTF tonight, unless you already signed up. Let's just chill and talk instead.
OTF is Orange Theory Fitness, a health club she belongs to, as do I for a few more days. I canceled my membership soon after getting it, when I realized it wasn't the right kind of workout for me and I am just riding out the membership period I already paid for (the arm and leg that OTF exacted from me made working out challenging).
She replied back a couple minutes later: Sounds good.
I had just returned home after a day of book writing, punctuated by short periods of Uber driving. It was 4:30 and Deborah wouldn't get home from her day job for another hour yet. So I cooked up a couple turkey burgers and steamed some broccoli for a late lunch, since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and filled the rest of the time eating it while mindlessly surfing channels on TV.
When the garage door opened, signaling Deborah's arrival, the dogs went berserk with glee, something they do with far less enthusiam when I come home.
"Hey, baby!" I greeted her as she came into the dining room adjacent to the kitchen.
"Hi, honey," she replied.
"Puke," I joked at our sickly sweet salutations. "So...I had a thought."
"What?" she enquired, removing her purse and lunch bag from her shoulder and putting them on the table.
"What do you think about biking somewhere nearby for date night and we call chill and talk?"
She pondered for a moment. "We could do that," she said. "I need to change."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I can't bike in these clothes."
"OK. While you are doing that, I will go tune up your bike."
"Where do you want to go?" she asked.
"Is Stamm House open today?"
"No. Not on Mondays," she replied. "Monk's?"
"Yeah!" I exclaimed. We had gone to Monk's Pub for brunch the prior Saturday to celebrate her son Devon's birthday, and quite enjoyed it. It wasn't far by bike.
I threw the dogs out in the backyard and went to the garage to assess the condition of Deborah's bike while she went upstairs to get ready. Her bike was in great condition for not having been used all winter. Even the tires were almost fully inflated. I topped them off with the bike pump and went back into the house to get ready myself.
"Do you think I will be warm enough in this?" Deborah asked. She was wearing a white hoodie.
"I think so," I replied. "If you wear some bike gloves."
"How will that help?" she asked.
"Because you lose a lot of heat through your hands when you bike," I answered.
We could only find one of her bike gloves in the garage after a fair amount of searching, so she wore one of mine on her right hand, albeit much too large.
We rode south a few blocks down Park Street and jumped on the Pheasant Branch bike trail behind the Kromrey Middle School, heading west along the paved and winding path. That took us all the way to Deming Way by Costco and we cut across the grass median into the parking lot by Monk's.
"It's not as busy as Saturday," I commented as we entered the pub.
"Well, it's a Monday," Deborah said. "It's bound to be busier on Saturdays."
"Hi!" the hostess greeted us. "Just the two of you?"
"Yep," I replied.
"Would you prefer a booth or a table?"
"Booth," I answered, looking at Deborah to see if there were any objection, and finding none we followed the hostess to our table.
A few seconds later, a waitress arrived and welcomed us warmly.
"Can I start you off with something to drink?" she inquired.
"Do you have diet Sierra Mist?" Deborah asked.
"We do," the waitress confirmed. "One of those?"
"And for you, sir?" the waittress asked, turning to me.
I wanted a beer but had not yet looked at the drink menu.
"Why don't you get her soda while I look at the beer menu and I will decide when you come back?"
"Perfect," the waitress said and left. I picked up the beer menu and perused it until she returned with Deborah's soda.
"Did you decide?" the waitress asked.
"Yeah," I said. "I think I'll do the Monk's Amber house beer."
"16 or 22 ounce?"
"Let's do the 22 ouncer, what the heck," I said.
"You got it," she said.
"Do you know what you want?" Deborah asked me. I nodded and she said to the waitress, "I think we're ready to order."
"Sure. What can I get you?"
Deborah ordered a salad, as she healthily usually does. I got the grande burrito, because it had looked good when Devon ordered it the prior Saturday.
"That's a lot of food," Deborah commented on my order after the waitress left to put it in. "A lot of cheese."
"I'll scrape the cheese off," I lied.
The food and my beer were served up in short order. The burrito came with fries. The other options the waitress had offered up as sides were pub chips or tater tots. In retrospect, I probably should have asked if steamed vegetables were available as a side, even if they cost extra. In any case, the food was good.
Deborah and I talked about our plans for the week.
"We should book the flight to Ohio tonight," I said.
"I thought you said it is better to book on Tuesday," Deborah aptly noted. I had heard on some travel show or another that the airlines put out their travel deals on Monday nights, so ticket prices sometimes dipped on Tuesday.
"That's true," I said. "Well, tomorrow is going to be pretty busy, so I don't know when we'll have time. I guess I can look in the morning and see if the tickets are cheaper, then book them if they are."
It was my turn to spring for date night. I polished off my beer and we left.
"It's cold," Deborah shivered as we stepped back outside.
"Only because you drank all that cold soda," I noted.
We took a shortcut home through the neighborhood and rounded out the rest of the evening watching TV before going to sleep.