I was talking to a friend last night, who exclaimed at one point, "Wow, I've never put a 'daddy hat' on you before. I know you have kids, it's not like they're secrets, but when you were talking about them just now I really made the connection." Well, dang - I'm a full-time Dad, so that came as a bit of a surprise. So, here's a story riddled with kiddos. Date Night is a sometime tradition in Spiffytown. It started many moons ago, where each parent would have a night alone with a kidlet once every week or month or so, then switch kiddos for the next one. During busy seasons, which seem to run together, Date Night is often neglected. I caught up a little bit a couple weeks ago. I took Boy out for Chinese on Tuesday, since the wimmins in our house don't care for it. We piled on the wontons and cashew chicken, chatting about plans and skiing and odds & ends. He just started driver's training last night, which is vastly different than when I was a beginner driver. First of all, it wasn't offered in winter - which, if you ask me (and I know you're asking since you're here), is a good idea, teaching 'em how to drive in snow, since (surprise!) it snows here. Second, there's the waiting list, which for him was many months. And (c), there's the cost. When I was a whippersnapper, it was offered through the public schools using ginormous Caprice station wagons (built like tanks) for the road and crappy little Volares for the range. All using tax money. No charge to the whippersnapper. However, now we have to fork over hunnerts to get him trained up. As a capitalist, I suppose that makes good sense. As the one paying the bill, it pisses me off. Not enough to vote Libertarian, but still. I discovered he's been invited to Sweetheart Swirl, which was supposed to be last weekend but canceled because of a little weather. It's happening this weekend, and he's happy because he doesn't have to go clothes shopping. Yep, he's a man after my own heart. Speaking of which, I found out about this game he likes which involves math... and bloodshed. Oh, it's fun alright, but I had to cringe every time he scored a hit. If you click, play vs. the computer... Girl and I went out on Thursday, to a nice place near the 'movie village.' It's a little city all to itself, where you can stroll the covered sidewalks from theater to record shop to restaurant, art gallery, coffee house, and salon. I got Fettuccine Jambalaya, and she got a wood-fired pizza. As we gourmeted ourselves to contentment, I heard about her little stalker. Oh yes, she already has a stalker. His opening line to her was, "My girlfriend just dumped me, and I'm lonely. Will you be my girlfriend?" Um, no thanks. He persisted over the weeks, trying to wear her down with his abundant charms and questionable hygiene skills. She continued to politely decline his advances. Finally, she asked him, "Would you like my father's phone number?" He did not get any clues from this. "No, why would I want that??" She eventually took her plight to a teacher, and he's calmed down since then. That's my girl alright. She has a custom when we're out in public of asking everyone we encounter, "Do you like your job?" Waitresses, cashiers, stockers, snowplow drivers, anyone. Sometimes it's when she notices a particularly grumpy worker. Other times it's as if she's doing research, to find out what kind of job she's going to want. Often she'll get glib, off the cuff answers. Sometimes there's a surprised and thoughtful response, one lady even coming to the verge of tears. Ever the conversationalist, she announced at dinner one night that she wanted each of us to tell our Most Embarrassing Story Ever. I have so many to choose from, but I narrowed mine down to the time I was trying to impress a girl at a dance, and just before delivering a sure-fire opening line ("Hi!"). I sneezed. In her face. Oh, it wasn't pretty. These little buggers are fascinating. I had a few memorable times of being 'alone with dad' when I was a kid, and I want to make sure it's not an unusual thing for us.