happy hour

Nothing lately excites me more than happy hour.  I love the idea of it, that for an hour–well really, for three hours–your time should be spent with friends at a happy discount of half.  Half-off appetizers.  Half-off wine.  Half-decent company.  I went to a restaurant the other day and ate $0.35 oysters.  35 cents!  And I drank my wine and life became uncomplicated.  I fell in love with my husband and loved the way he found reasons to touch me, his hand on my back, slipping into our casual selves, friends. We’re looking to make more.  We spend our week at home with the tater tots, eating frozen dinners and steamed vegetables, but come the weekend, or some random weekday night, we find someone to watch the kiddos for a bit while we watch each other, finding time to be who we were in New York, where we had different friends and different lives.  I love the idea of making friends with people at the bar.  Striking up a conversation, using the bartender to play the intermediary.  I love the idea of new, their new stories and families of their own, their preferences and favorite restaurants or musicians.  I love people, watching them interact, listening to their stories, seeing the differences within couples, the roles they play, when she begins to share too much, and he steps in with "oh, is this a story we actually tell, honey?"  I love guessing who would prefer to keep to themselves and who wants to be chatty.  Those who are open and those who’ve chosen the bar to be closed, with an open tab. 

It’s beginning to feel like spring here.  I’ve begun to go for walks, have made my way to the elliptical machine, and have even opened up a new can of tennis balls.  Phil and I hit on the courts then escape to happy hour, ordering up minty juleps and finger snacks, rehashing our bright days, as I watch him chat it up with the bartender, proud that he’s with me, loving that the person beside me was once a stranger at a bar, too.   I love that someone who can change our lives starts as nothing more than a stranger. 



  1. I really liked this post Stephanie. I'm getting married in a few months and listening to you use the word Husband makes me so excited that in a few months I too will have one and he'll have a wife. We're honeymooning in MY Italy that I'm so excited to share with him and we'll be hopefully mingling at bars and restaurants with strangers that perhaps could become friends…who know, the world is our oyster right?
    On another note, I'm a little sick of these asshole readers that love to point out your faults and comment on here like they are your teacher. Your blog does not need a moderator and I think sometimes your readers want to be that to you and it sucks balls.
    Maybe they actually know you and feel that they are keeping you 'real' but I certainly know that most including myself don't have the balls to post about their lives for the public to see and take the heat that comes along.

  2. I was not going to comment because something off-putting happened with my comments lately, so I hope it doesn't occur again.
    This was so lovely the way it was put, however are you still breastfeeding? If so, what is with the wine and mint juleps? Just wondering, don't want to incur the wrath of the moms on this board…

    How long did you know Phil before you got pregnant? Because I thought you only knew him barely 1-2 years? Was it even that long? Based on this post it seems you indeed have known him much much longer. That is sweet!
    Enjoy your time together, the minimal time you have free from the babes.
    Lovely post.


  3. I know you don't write for us, but feel the need to say it anyway. THESE are the kinds of posts that make me want to read your blog.

  4. I am glad you prioritized this time together. 20 months later, my husband and I still have no sitter. Now that we are on our way to #2, I am sure it will be even more difficult. You have inspired me to make it happen. Unfortunately babysitting in NYC costs more than a night out, but what can you do.

  5. I love that … you need that closeness to your husband, the excuses to touch one another … with babies, breastfeeding, bills and deadlines – it is just too easy to let go of those excuses and find others.
    Great post Stephanie.

  6. It's so nice, and OH SO IMPORTANT, that you and Phil are still finding the time to be a couple. The babies will be fine, even better off, in the long run, having happy, loving parents with lives of their own. This post was great.

  7. Oh I love it!
    I love everything about this post.
    The approaching of spring (even though I live in Chicago and it may never come), people watching, bars and finger food.

    Great post!

  8. this post just gave me the warmest fuzzy!

    it's all warm and toasty here in denver today too – nothing makes me want a cocktail in the afternoon like a little sunshine.

  9. It's not just your writing, SK; it's the validation I get here! Andrea: Thank you — I don't blog. As it is, I spend too much time here and at a few other well-written blogs (2 of which I found in SK's links) to the detriment of work. And I'm self-employed, so it really is detrimental! Again, thanks!

  10. This made me smile. I love these moments. I'm so glad you guys got out together and how great to keep these moments on record.

  11. stephanie tara klein, i think you are fabulous! i have been reading for about three years, and was so happy you decided to move to austin. i live in westlake and am downtown all the time – one of these days i might be lucky enough to run into you. :) awesome post – thanks for sharing!

  12. Love this post. And from my own experience I can say that it`s really not easy to find the time to be a couple when we`re parents. But it`s so so important. It`s important not to forget why we`re together, why we love exactly THIS man (or woman) and that our story begun before we became parents. It`s natural that a child is in the center of our attention, but it`s definitely not selfish to steal some time here and there just for the both of us, to be man an woman instead of mommy and daddy.

  13. …however are you still breastfeeding? If so, what is with the wine…

    Tanya, what is with the wine? I don`t understand your question. Yes, I´ve breastfed too and yes, I too had a glass of wine from time to time. Guess what happened? Nothing!
    Seems that the breastfeeding police is around…
    People, try to relax.

  14. This seems to be the life you've wanted and your descriptions always leave me itching for it too!
    Very sweet post!

  15. I enjoyed this post. Happy to hear that you are getting out there and enjoying some happy hours with Phil.

    PS- If you could, would you post the link where you list other blogs you read? Thanks:)

  16. Love your post! It makes me happy to know that there are actually women out there that can balance a family and a romantic life with their husband…You give an engaged girl hope!

    I don’t have any children, but even I know that while breast feeding, if you drink too much you can “Pump and dump” the next day. I wonder why readers always so concerned on here for the welfare of your children, you seem like a great mom.

  17. I sent this to my husband who said, "I feel like finally someone understands me." He's bringing it to the bar tonight to show his friends. Said it moved him. Moved me too, that's why I sent it to him. Funny how things go….

  18. My boyfriend is a bartender and I know he enjoys having customers like you. I'm sitting here at work wishing I could go sit at the bar where he works and chat with him and the other people sitting there. I'm not a mom, but I work pretty long hours six or seven days a week and also find myself craving a night out, a happy hour. It is good to get out for a night and enjoy life outside of tater tots. I really get a kick out of how your entry reminded me of lots of things. Evocative.

    Been noticing the comment wars happening here – I try not to say anything if I don't like an entry here or there. This is a rare event in a blog which is well written and has interesting things to say. I've noticed that as soon you write something on the topic of how to raise kids your audience has strident opinions which they yelp about just like little kids. Unfortunately, little kids are cute and the comments aren't.

  19. I love that someone who can change our lives starts as nothing more than a stranger.

    This is profound. True and gives me hope to pick myself up after the end of a four year relationship and meet someone. As you said, I never know. They could change my life.

    Thanks Stephanie! And good for you for getting out there with Phil!

  20. Stephanie, I would read whatever you wrote. However I have a request, maybe you will read this post, maybe you won't, but I notice that your faithful readers never are acknowledged in your posts. Not specifically anyway. At some point, can you write about what specific advice you took or the things that made you think, the books or movies you watched, the actual friendship provided and accepted. The two way street.

  21. where in the world did you go with $0.35 oysters!? i never knew about this place…

  22. Hi Stephanie – this is my first post. I read your book and I've been reading your blog for a long time now, but for some reason I've never posted. I always wanted to tell you how much I admire you. You live the life I dream of living. Does that sound corny? My boyfriend will jokingly refer to you as "the woman I stalk". Maybe it's because like you, I have long curly red hair and I want to look just like you. Maybe it's because of your life in NYC which was always a dream of mine. Not sure, but something in this post made me realize that I am missing something in my life. I just asked my BF if we can go to a bar tonight because it sounded so nice in your post. He replied with "you know I don't like bars". This is true, he doesn't and I've known this for the whole five years of dating him. I understand it's because he doesn't drink at all, and why would he want to go to a bar. But coudn't he make an exception every now and then for me? Sorry now I'm just being whiny. Anyway, the main purpose of my post is to just let you know how much I love reading about your life. Thanks for sharing it with us!


  23. Stephanie, Tiina has a good point. Although I know you write this blog for you, to clear your throat, as you have said, I wonder, and I'm sure a lot of your readers do too, how much of the comments do you really listen to or just take w/ a grain of salt? How many have made an impact, have hopefully helped you, or comforted you when you needed it? I don't always agree w/ what you write, but more often than not, I can relate to something you've said or felt, and if I can't relate to it, I can at least understand where you're coming from, and I'd like to try to help, although I'm not sure that's what you really want. Although, you could always close your comments if you really didn't care what your readers had to say. I, for one, can say that your book helped me in many ways, and it's what drew me to your blog in the first place. Whether you decide to reply or not, I do wish you the best. Along with Tiina, I just wonder…

  24. Eddie V's is a kick-ass upscale restaurant here in Austin (two locations). Phil and I hit the "uptown" one, or the "North Location," for our happy hour… this is where the oysters and tuna tartar come in. And when I say "upscale," I mean the kind of place that come nightfall is dimly lit with a waiter who brings over a miniature flashlight and shines it toward the center of your plate to ensure that you like the color of your meat.

    And Tiina, good idea. Let me just start by saying I've made a few very good friends through this blog, particularly here in Austin. It's extraordinary how giving people can be, offering to show me around, cluing me in on their favorite spots and bands. I'm always up for meeting new people. In New York, some of my closest friends and I met through blogging. As for the advice, there's always more than a few grains of salt taken medicinally with this comment section. It's hard to say specifics, but in the future I'll keep watch and report on it. If, you know, I remember.

  25. There is something about happy hour that reminds me so much of spring! When the weather gets nice in Oregon, my very favorite thing to do is find a table in the sun with some friends and share a few drinks and appetizers. This post got me so excited for the possibility of that happening again soon! Monday and Tuesday it was nearly 70 degrees here… Of course, the trusty Northwest rain is back today so I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer. But thanks for putting the idea in my head and cheering me up by giving me something to look forward to! Maybe in the meantime, I can convince my fiance to take me on a hot happy hour date inside!

  26. This was so refreshing Stephanie. My college years are coming to their last few months and going to bars – for those same reason – will be something I will always remember. Thanks.

  27. You've made me crave a happy hour. Happy hours in this town just aren't like the one you described. They're either empty or people just stick to their own group of friends. But still, I might try a new place if for nothing but the 1/2 off appetizers. Wait, Friday's has 1/2 off appetizers. I love their apps. Okay, now you've made me hungry.

  28. In reference to Michelle's post. Many restaurants have bars at which you can eat dinner. My husband & I love eating at the bar instead of at a table. We end up talking with people seated near us, with the bartender, & sharing a more casual experience. If your husband prefers not to drink anything alcoholic, no one will look askance and I suspect it's the ambiance you're after rather than the drinks.

  29. You know what? I have always wanted to be the 43rd comment. Now my dream has come true.

  30. This post makes me wish my husband didn't travel so much and that we'd taken the time to stay connected. I have never in my life felt so alone.

  31. Stephanie.. does anyone ever recognize you out?

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, though I guess I wonder why you'd ask that. Sometimes people say hi. Other times, I receive an email saying, "I saw you at Eddie V's, but I was too shy and didn't want to seem like a stalker…" I like when people say hi.

  32. I am *so* not the person who chats up total strangers in bars. But once after I'd had a few glasses of wine I asked a stranger at the next (bar) table to come and sit with me while my friend went to sit with his friends. We talked all night and he even kissed me goodbye).

    That was 11 years ago, and today we've been married 7 1/2 years and have 2 beautiful kiddos. Good things *can* happen at happy hour!

  33. I loved reading – and rereading – Happy Hour.

    How wise you and Phil are to spend time together, to stay in touch, to stay in love.

    I am getting older and often look back on my life and know that I could have lived it differently.

    To stay in love while your children are growing up and then grow old, happy and comfortable together – what a beautiful way to live life. Perhaps it is hard work at times but so worth the effort.

    Such an evocative post Stephanie. Fran

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.