Natalee left me. She made her yearly pilgrimage to Berkeley, California to see her sister, Adrienne. She would be gone for six days and the time leading up to it became unbearable for her. It wasn’t just vacation… it was vacation in California… with her sister… and a long list of planned activities like touring vineyards and shopping in San Francisco.
I find when Natalee is gone for one or two days I hold it together fairly well. Three days is pushing it. Anything over four days and much like Kevin McAllister, I am not responsible for my own actions.
Natalee was gone for six days this time.
I don’t lie to Natalee but there are things I neglect to tell her. These usually occur in a category I call “Things I Eat When My Wife Isn’t Looking.” This would be things like a the deep fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs they serve at the Mojo Grill or meals with two starches as a side which inevitably starts an argument where Natalee insists potatoes are not vegetables and retort, “They’re not animal and they’re not mineral.”
I usually lose this fight.
Having taken Friday off, it wasn’t until mid-Saturday morning that I realized I hadn’t been upstairs in my house since sometime Thursday evening. I’ve slept on the couch two nights in a row probably never getting more than three hours sleep, walking up and watching a movie and then falling asleep again. I spent an entire day in what I loosely refer to as pajamas. I didn’t shower. I didn’t brush my teeth. I watched movies and played Xbox.
Later that weekend I found myself in the drive-thru at Arby’s ordering four for five dollar Arby-Q sandwiches with the intention I’ll eat two for dinner (at nine o’clock) and two for breakfast in the morning. I didn’t wake up and scrounge for food like some people… I actually planned that. When I was in the Publix I looked down at the belt and saw an Italian sub, a box of golden Oreos, a carrot cake, oatmeal chocolate chip ice cream and cookies n cream (in case I didn’t like the oatmeal ice cream). In my defense, the carrot cake I was taking with me to a dinner I’d been invited to and it was Natalee who taught me even when they insist you bring nothing, you always bring a gift when invited to dinner.
I made a list of things I intended to do but kept pushing it back and like a kid who’d been given a reading list for summer and instead tried to inhale The Crucible the weekend before school starts, I found myself scurrying to get things done. Not that Natalee would have really cared. She didn’t have a list of things for me to do. It was my list. It was just overestimating my potential and didn’t want her to know I’d spent days doing nothing.
- Remove wallpaper border from the bathroom.
- Paint downstairs bathroom.
- Clean bedroom & office.
- Organize closet and find DVD cases.
- Hack your Xbox.
- Burn DVD backups of wedding photos.
- Clean bathroom.
- Make the bed.
By the time my four day weekend ended, at my lowest, I had slept on the couch four nights in a row, eaten a bowl of peanut butter and jelly for lunch (I ran out of bread), showered twice and watched seventeen movies.
Sometime Sunday my sister-in-law Brittany called to make sure I was still alive and she was right to do so.
I forgot how quickly I regress and wonder if I didn’t have the structure of a wife or job, how fast it would be before I was homeless and worse, would I even know when it happened?
In the end I settled on more realistic goals before Natalee came home.
- Make the bed.
That I can handle.