Snapshot: sometimes going out to lunch is medicinal

Well, so this time last week Coleen and I were headed to Old Town Alexandria, for a long-postponed, much-anticipated, totally necessary lunch date. We have really been missing each other the past couple of months, since we have both gone off to work and our kids have become more and more self-sufficient.

That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? We both always thought that when our kids could fend for themselves (didn't need a babysitter, didn't need a ride, able to find the Band-aids if a sibling inadvertently amputated a finger), we would be golden -- ready and able to take off on adventures at a moment's notice, with tons of time for those long, relaxing lunches under a festive European umbrella.

Oh, please.

As it turns out, we have a much more difficult time now finding time to be gal-pals than we did when our urchins needed chaperones, den leaders and class mommies. Now that they are more independent, both Coleen and I have found work that we enjoy and -- swell feeling after eighteen years -- that pays us. But while I am fulfilling a lifelong dream by teaching English to college students, Coleen works part-time for the Federal Aviation Administration. Because get this, y'all: Coleen used to be an air traffic controller! She has a pilot's license! She knows everything you might want to know about the air space between California and New Zealand! How cool is that?! And how different from reading Chaucer for fun?!

So because in many ways we are leading different lives right now, when we get the chance to go to lunch together, we run for the car before anyone gets wind of our plans -- our time together is more limited now, so it's much more precious.

The food and wine didn't suck, either.