Thursday, November 1, 2018

While the Wife's Away ...

     B's mother and sister live about an hour and a half west of us. It's just far enough so we really don't like to go for the day, although we've done that a few times. We usually go overnight, or sometimes for two or three nights. Sometimes we stay with her sister; sometimes we pony up for the bed & breakfast located halfway between her sister's house and the assisted-living facility where her mother lives.

     Sometimes B and I go together. But this time she's visiting by herself, and I am home alone.

     I love B dearly. But, you know, in any relationship there are lots of little compromises. So I like being home by myself. I get to do what I want, instead of what we want.

     Since B likes to have all her stuff around her, and I'm the neat one in the family, the first thing I do is go around the house and tidy up. I put all the dishes are in the dishwasher and clean off the kitchen counter. I take her clothes off the bed or the living room chair, fold them up and put them on her dresser. I gather the Sunday paper and the old magazines and catalogs and toss them in the recycling bin. Now I can finally see the top of the coffee table.

     But there is at least one lapse in my tidying up. It's my job to make the bed, partly because B usually gets up before I do (except on golf days). Besides, making the bed is a habit of mine leftover from summers at Boy Scout camp. I never made much of a Boy Scout, but one thing I did learn was how to make a bed. (Yes, the camp counselors did bounce a quarter on the bedspread to make sure it was tight.)

     So pretty much every morning of my life, I make the bed -- except when B is away. Then, who cares? Nobody else is around. You see ... it's a little bit of a vacation.

     When I'm on my own, and only answering to myself, I can do whatever I want. I could drink beer or stay up late if I wanted, although I don't do either of those things. But I still have the opportunity to indulge my bad habits. And the only reason I give myself license to do that is because I know when B gets back, I'll have to stop.

     So, normally, B cooks dinner for us almost every night. She's a good cook and always includes a vegetable or two. This is good for me. I know it, and appreciate it. But when B is away, I sometimes go to Panera's, with free refills of Pepsi -- and dessert only costs an extra dollar. Or I get a couple of slices of pizza, with . . . well, what do you know, free refills of Coke.

     The other night I went to our local grocery store that puts out a spread every day, like a cafeteria. I had peppers and sausage, mashed potatoes, and some macaroni and cheese. Then a berry tart for dessert. While I was there I bought some Halloween candy. And when I got home, I tried it out. Just one piece. Well ... two pieces, but they were very small.

     I should also admit that I spend more time watching TV when B is away. It's easy to plop down in front of the TV when I'm eating breakfast. Or it's 4:30 p.m. and I'm home and it's not time for dinner yet, so I flip on the set and see what's going on. Maybe I catch an old Seinfeld rerun or just mindlessly watch the weather or one of the cable news shows.

     At night I'll watch something on Netflix. I'm currently in the middle of "Moneyheist", a Spanish crime drama recommended to me by a friend. It's okay, but the dubbing is terrible and the plot is slow-moving at times.

     Of course, I do my regular activities while B is away. This week I tutored English on Monday at the library, and on Tuesday I went to the dentist. On Wednesday I ran errands. After B gets back from visiting her family, we're leaving for Charleston, SC, so I'm paying bills, returning books to the library, going to the bank, stopping off at the post office. I even went to the YMCA to do my exercises.

     So I'm not totally playing hooky from life. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, for the most part. But I will admit, on the way home from the Y, I stopped at our local ice-cream emporium. The butterscotch sundae is one of my many weaknesses.

     B is due back later today. It's a good thing. I'm okay by myself for a couple of days. But after that, my stomach begins to act up, the kitchen counter looks barren and empty, and the coffee table seems bare and abandoned. Besides, I get tired of my own company. It gets pretty lonely around here.

     Speaking of which . . . I better go make that bed.


Janette said...

I go over to my daughter's to help out several times a month. On the nights that I stay over, there is an audible happy sigh. My husband creates a soup (every bit of left overs in the fridge) for dinner and gets eggs for breakfast. He lives out in the workshop with the dog close by his side. No one to bug him, he gets larger projects done.
I get my fill of gabbing and making kid friendly meals....
I think our time apart is as important as our time together. I certainly appreciate him more when I return.
Seems you have a similar experience.

gigihawaii said...

It's nice that you can be independent when you want to be. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Jono said...

I like it a lot when my wife leaves, too. Unfortunately, she doesn't do it often. If she did I would probably appreciate her more when she returned. That said, I do similar things as you. Clean the house up a bit and do more or less what I normally do with a few indulgences.

Barbara said...

Cute. Yes a little alone time can be lots of fun until you reach that point where you are satiated with all the fun and ready to get back to the life "we" created.

DJan said...

You sound much like my husband. He makes the bed because I get up and out of the door before he wakes up. I also am the one who likes "stuff" surrounding her, and he sometimes cleans things up. I'll be gone for a week in January and he'll clean and tidy up. Very similar to your situation. :-)

DUTA said...

In a relationship, giving space to your partner is beneficial to both; it makes it stronger. In life, there has to be some balance between together time and alone time for things to grow and evolve.

Tabor said...

I really like going to bed at night and seeing a made bed, so I always make the bed...well almost always. I am the tidying one. Hubby likes to spread stuff everywhere and then ask me where it is!

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Tom - I love the sound of your grocery store dinner. That's my favourite kkind of food!
I agree that two small pieces of candy really only count as one!

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Diane Dahli said...

"When the cat's away, the mouse will play."—that fits! I loved your description of how you spent the days B was away. Hopefully she doesn't read that post! It's true that we need our time alone, and that it benefits a relationship to make sure it happens. My time alone consists of the early morning hours, usually 5 to 7:30, when I write, think, daydream, and generally have a good time!

David @ iretiredyoung said...

I'm also the tidy one, and the one who makes the bed, and who switches the lights off.

But although I've offered, I haven't been brave enough to follow through on my suggestion to "sort" Sally's wardrobe. I'm tempted, but my survival instinct tells me that wouldn't be a smart move.