Wednesday, January 9, 2013

making it work

most of our friends and family are familiar with the fact that steve has been living across the country since july of 2012.  he made a career change that has been all for the best, and the kids and i are looking forward to joining him in the d.c. area in the spring.

we are making good use of technology to keep in contact with each other; skyping allows for face time, which is especially important for the kids.

finding the opportunity for us as a long-distance couple, though, to participate in something simultaneously has been a challenge exacerbated by the difference in time zones.

we did something over the weekend that really worked.  i'm certain we are not the first couple to think of it or implement it or even write about it, but i am so excited about its success that i felt compelled to share.

we are fond of watching things together.  we spent many (pre-child-days) dinnertimes watching star trek: the next generation (and a multitude of spin-offs) and babylon 5.  we laughed together over jeeves & wooster and monty python and space ghost coast to coast.  we enjoyed early seasons of the west wing and gilmore girls and the entirety of battlestar galactica.  we've indulged in silly games while watching adaptations of jane austen's works (emma, in particular) and shakespearean comedies (much ado about nothing).

that's not to say that we like all the same things, though we do have plenty in common.  steve has been known to drag me into a new series, like true blood or game of thrones and i end up enjoying most of them in spite of my misgivings along the way.  i prefer watching episodes of agatha christie's poirot or sherlock on my own and i don't even know if he has watched any of them, nor does it really matter, as i appreciate them enough for the both of us.  especially sherlock.  sigh.  i'm a sucker for an intellectual, articulate, curious man.  that's why i married one.

we tried viewing some online comedy once but it didn't go so well because we were both tired and it was weird paying attention to the comedy and watching each other on skype.

we needed a new idea. or strategy. or something.

everybody i know, it seems, is watching downton abbey.  i don't know why i have held off so long in starting to watch it.  probably it's because i know myself very well; if i start an episode and like it, i'll stay up all night to get through as many episodes in one sitting as i can and i'll get even less sleep than i already do.

i asked steve the other night if he was interested in watching it, and, if so, could we try a date night with it.  (i had so much fun at my first twitter-movie-watching party with long-distance friends that i figured he and i could make it work somehow.)

he was game for it!  another reason he's awesome!

rather than skyping, which would be distracting and slow, or texting, which would be too limiting, or tweeting, which would be too public, he suggested google chat.  he helped me set that up and made sure we could each watch the episode on our respective computers.

why did it work so well for us?
  1. we had it at a time of night where neither one of us would have to be up terribly late.
  2. the episode is only an hour long, unlike movies that can stretch into many hours.  my attention tends to wander after a while, or i get antsy or uncomfortable and need to move.
  3. the show was something that would be ok if the kids came in to see what was playing on the computer; it was also easy to pause and restart, unlike an action flick where the tension of a scene would be disturbed by interrupting it.
  4. the kids had their own movie date in the living room, complete with popcorn.  diana was wonderfully responsible for and accommodating to her brother, and ander was ok with letting her do things for him, rather than needing me.  hooray for siblings!
  5. in google chat, we could (and did) engage in the kind of commentary we would do in person.
although we are behind the rest of the world in all the intrigue that is happening upstairs and downstairs, steve and i take no small amount of delight in the fact that we are on our own timeline and path, exploring together, virtually turning our heads towards each other with eyebrows raised, saying, "i can NOT believe she just said that!" or "zomg! seriously?!"  steve is, after all, not just my husband but also my best friend.  it's worth it to find a way to make this work.

i'm really looking forward to our next date.


  1. That sounds super fun! It appears that we have all the same show-loves in common. The premiere of Downton Sunday was quite tense here, because our antenna decided not to pick up really anything, especially pbs. I did an emergency run to Target to get a more high tech one. We got it working as the opening credits began. Whew!

    Are you by chance a Dr. Who fan as well?

    1. you know, i am kind of a purist when it comes to some things. i was a huge fan of the tom baker incarnation and i haven't brought myself to trying out the newer dr. who. however, i did allow myself to watch benedict cumberbatch as sherlock holmes, even though i thought that no one could take over the role that jeremy brett played so well, and watching him makes my heart, i *might* try out the new dr. who sometime in the future. maybe it will be a fun date-at-home activity with dh when we are living together again :)

  2. I canNOT believe it! He did WHAT? Aaaaaahh!

    I love making quips via chat and having you LOL at them.

    James Lipton: What is your favorite sound?
    Me: My wife's LOL.