Virtual Date Night

By Scott Westerman
Someone once told me that the secret of a successful marriage is to “never stop courting”.

For 30 years Colleen and I have preserved our Wednesdays for Date Night. I leave the office at 5 sharp and we spend the evening celebrating our relationship. We’ll seek a favorite restaurant, see a movie, walk the mall or hang out at the bookstore. It’s almost always low key and it’s a nice midweek break for two lives that are increasingly busy.

Now that we are in the process of moving to New Mexico, date night has been more challenging. She’s getting the Iowa house sold and I’m having a great time immersing myself in the new gig. So how do you do date night when there are 1,116 miles between you?

We’re both Boston Legal fans. She likes James Spader and William Shatner’s Denny Crain cracks me up. We also are impatient commercial zappers and love our cable digital video recorders. And with our cable phone service, long distance charges are a thing of the past.

Our new date night drills is to begin with dinner, she in her world, me in mine. We fire up the webcam and converse while she eats her healthy fare and I gobble another Lean Cuisine. Then she calls on the phone and we sync up our DVRs and watch our favorite show together. Hearing each other’s laughter and wise guy comments about the BL gang’s trials and tribulations makes it feel almost like we’re physically together.

Other nights, we’ll multi-task at the PC. I have all of our machines configured for the super LogMeIn service, so we can both work on her desktop to update the Ipod library, or work through any software issues, all the while conversing via GoogleTalk.

And now, with the advent of Ustream, we can include the kids. One of my Twitter buds turned me on to SuperWebcam and with the ability to password protect a video stream, we can go live. In need to seek out an app that lets us all fire up our web cams at the same time.

It’s not perfect. We still much prefer to be together and are excited about the prospect of our new adventures in The Land of Enchantment, But even as the miles may separate us, technology can keep our far flung family as close as if we were in the same neighborhood.