Let me share a life hack with you that I'm maybe totally late to the game in discovering... or maybe I'm actually a couple of decades early, come to think of it.
We had awesome plans for Saturday night--we were meeting up with a group of friends (four other couples) to do an escape room! (so fun, right?). We'd actually scheduled this originally in December, then it got canceled due to ice/snow, so we rescheduled and because we're all busy people and some of us work on weekends, the first time we could all get together again was February 26. So the anticipation was huge! And the plan for us to be there at 6:30pm on Saturday night.
Most of the gang lives out in west county, so they were going to do the escape room and then head back toward home for dinner/drinks after. Because we live in the city and we both have 30 minute (or more) daily commutes, that plan wasn't ideal for us. We talked about going out to dinner downtown afterward, just the two of us. Then one of the couples asked if we wanted to go with them to an early dinner before the escape room to a restaurant near our house that they (and David) had been wanting to try.
I checked with our babysitter that she could adjust her timeframe, crossed by fingers that the Copper Pig would have something vegetarian for me to eat, and we agreed to meet for dinner shortly before 5pm.
After all this planning, the escape room ended up getting canceled. Womp womp. I'd even bragged about it to one of my classes. But they had evidently double booked us or lost our reservation or something. Thankfully, the organizer of our group called about it before we all showed up there, but it was really disappointing to get that text about 3pm on Saturday.
Since we already had a babysitter coming, though, we decided to stick to our dinner plans and YOU GUYS. It was the BEST idea ever.
We snacked instead of eating lunch so we were hungry when we got to the restaurant just before 5pm. Carol and Aaron had already grabbed a table (not difficult to do, as there were only a few other people in the restaurant). We had great service, delicious food (they substituted jackfruit for meat on my veggie-cheesesteak and it was great!), a couple of cocktails, fun conversation. And we were finished at the restaurant by 6:30pm! We went out for ice cream and STILL got home by 7:30pm.
An added bonus: Our babysitter got to sit through the ridiculousness of the dinner hour with my children and we didn't have to deal with their demands or complaints. She played with them and wore them out and when we got home, they assumed it was really late and that we'd let them stay up! So bedtime was a piece of cake. After we put the kids to bed, date night got to continue in sweatpants on the couch and Victoria on PBS. It was awesome.
I realize that everything about this revelation is the definition of incredibly lame, but I am embracing the lameness of this stage of my life. 5-8pm date night is the answer.