Until recently, my husband and I were separated. Wait! Let me clarify that. Our marriage wasn’t in trouble. We were just living in two different cities.
For about a year and a half, while our youngest finished high school, Jim worked in Washington, DC, and I continued to live and work in North Carolina. Jim rented a small apartment, and we spent weekends together either here or there. The plan was to move permanently to DC after Thomas’ graduation last spring.
Well, plans change, and as it turns out, Jim decided to take a job back in North Carolina, starting in January. He left his former position in September. He agreed to do a bit of consulting for the Washington company, but for the most part, he had three months off before the new job started.
Wow, we thought. What a gift! Especially in these tough economic times, who gets to spend a couple of months essentially on vacation?
Yes, what a gift. What a joy. What, oh my gosh, what have we gotten ourselves into?
Here we had spent more than a year seeing each other mostly on weekends, and now we were going to spend all day, most every day, together. Many, many hours in the same space. Yay.
Yeah, I’ll admit it, I was a bit nervous. I work from home, so I’m used to setting my own pace. Frenzied some days. Relaxed – OK, lazy – others. I wasn’t so sure I wanted anyone, even the person closest to me in the world, upsetting my routine. Plus, I’m a thinker, a daydreamer (that’s a nice way of saying an occasional hermit). I have to be alone sometimes; too much togetherness makes me a little nuts.
I have a sneaking suspicion Jim was thinking the same thing. Here he had an unprecedented opportunity to breathe, to catch up on some things he’d been meaning to do. Maybe even relax. Yet he knew his loving wife (yes, I know he always thinks of me only fondly) probably had her own idea of what his to-do list should be. And I would be right there in the same house with him, day in and day out.
Jim – and his many, many boxes – arrived home for good a few months ago.
And, I have to say, we got off to a good start. He fixed some things around the house. He painted the downstairs bathroom that has had the base coat on for – no kidding – five years, because I couldn’t make up my mind about the color. He took the dog for long walks and did the grocery shopping.
I wrote without interruption, and on the days I didn’t have to work, we goofed off or ran errands or chipped away at our unending to-do list. We visited the kids at college and took a quick trip to the mountains. This whole Jim-at-home thing was turning out to be not bad. Not bad, at all. Actually, really, really good. I could get used to this. In fact, I was getting used to it.
And then, suddenly, it was January. Time to start his new job, with new responsibilities and new adventures. Now what? Do I have to go to the grocery store again? Do I have to walk the dog – or more accurately, do I have to feel guilty for not walking the dog?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m beyond thankful that he has a good job. And after another month or two of togetherness, we probably would have driven each other crazy. But I kind of miss having him around.
So, happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet husband. Feel free to come home any time!