Laura is in D.C., and so I came home to an empty apartment the other day. We travel a lot as a couple, but each of us also travel pretty significantly for work. I may or may not be proud to admit I have almost every crevice of LAX mapped out in my head. But I digress. So Laura is in one of my favorite cities in the United States, and I should be jealous, but oddly, I’m not. As I walked through the door to my empty home, a few thoughts came to mind.

First, there was the sentimental, and somewhat regular “oh shit we’re having a baby” thought. That one went like this: Soon, the thought of an empty apartment while Laura is on the road will be nothing but a DISTANT memory. I’ll have this other human being occupying the space with me. What’s more, I’ll be solely responsible for other said human the times when Laura is traveling.  Crazy!

Next though, came the thoughts every man who has been in a similar position has had, whether they own up to it or not. It’s deceptively complex, but the first part of it goes like this: I don’t have to put the toilet seat down for 5 whole days! 

Yes, I should be jealous. Laura is in the Land of Lincoln, walking amongst the politicians I have an uncanny and nerdy ability to spot better than the celebrities that haunt my city. But I’m not jealous, because the rule, whether spoken or not is clear: When the wife is away, the husband will play. What else does being home alone as a married male adult mean?

Leaving the toilet seat up

Yes, I know. We covered this. But trust me, it’s just so damn liberating in a weird kind of way, it garners mention multiple times.

 

Cleaning the dishes when I damn well please

I don’t fancy myself a dirty person, but in our relationship, Laura is clearly the neater and more organized amongst the two of us. And so to me, breakfast dishes are a challenge. I can barely get the spoon of cereal to my mouth in the morning, let alone think about cleaning the dish while it’s still nice and cold. But a happy wife makes a happy husband (we all know it’s true) and so I try and get the dishes done right away or at least at a reasonable time, aka minutes before Laura gets home when I beat her home from work. This week? Well, I think I’ll not only wait till the evening, I might just wait a whole day or two!

Hangers are for chumps

I hate work clothes. I often have thoughts I was born into the wrong life. Usually, it comes as I am trying to eat whatever passes as Irish food and, while craving something Mexican I wonder if God slipped up and had me born to the wrong heritage. But I also detest “dressy” clothes, and can’t wait to be in a t-shirt and shorts. I’d make a great coach, if only I was ever any good at sports.

And so when I come home, it’s usually less than 5 minutes before the shoes are kicked off (and in some corner of the house) and moments later comes that stupid button up shirt and those damn slacks. Like most men, I see pants as something to be worn multiple times before the need to wash. And so I should hang them up, but for whatever reason that final step is so damn difficult for me. And so when Laura isn’t home, hangers are out of sight, out of mind. Piles of pants on the chair by our work desk, don’t mind if I do!

Take what out?

This one is a two parter. I’d like to think I have advanced quite nicely on the socilization scale. When I moved to LA and someone asked me if I was a vegan, I was dumbfounded. I’d never heard the word, though I imagine in 2015 there are more vegans in Albuquerque than when I lived there. And so with Laura, my eating habits have improved. Green stuff ends up on my plate more and more, I resist the temptation to argue for take-out every night, and I’ve even gotten more comfortable in the kitchen, though diversity of entrees is not (yet) the name of my game.

But when Laura’s out of town? Hello Panda Express, it sure has been a while. Sometimes I step my game up and instead plan social hour after social hour with friends in the area. We should meet up, and you know where we should meet up? Someplace that serves beer and food!

But there’s another part of this equation. When homegirl is on the road, I’m also less inclined to do that arduous task of taking the recycling and trash down the hall, until I absolutely have to.

If it was good enough to sleep in that way, it will be good enough again

I have always struggled with the idea of making a bed. I mean, on one hand, I get it: The aesthetics of the room improve greatly when the bed is made. It is dramatic. On the other hand, we spend time folding sheets here and there, only to hours later pull them back and make it dirty again! So, why the hell do we all make our beds? While I am aware there is a slim chance baby Furlong will one day find this blog and use it as evidence on why they need not make their bed, I’m sticking to it: For a few days now, my mantra has been simple: If it was good enough to sleep in that way last night, it will be good enough to sleep in it that way, again, tonight.

 

Final Thoughts

There are many, but I could just leave it at this: Did I mention I get to leave the toilet seat up? Jokes aside, there’s a lesson for many a husband or wife who subscribe to a similar philosophy when their partner is on the road. Have fun, leave the dishes in the sink, the bed unmade, and so on, but the day of the return of your spouse: It’s time to get back to the more important mantra of your life: Happy spouse makes you happy. The bed gets made, the toilet seat put down, and the sink- it’s as if it never had a damn dish sitting in it for an hour, let alone 3 days!

 

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