Whenever my Lovely Bride goes on a business trip, I conjure up these lofty goals of getting all sorts of house projects done. I’ll touch up the basement bathroom, start crown molding in the living room, organize the basement storage area, etc. I’m like Charlie Brown accepting Lucy’s invitation to try to kick the football while she holds it. Persistent optimism gives way to head-smacking reality as none of it works out. I figure there will be no-one to talk to after the children go to bed, so I’ll have plenty of time to myself. I end up struggling just to keep up with the dishwasher.
This week, however, has been about survival. Just getting through each day.
My wife was here for the first of two blizzards, which culminated wonderfully in 10 adults and 9 children and a snuggly infant in our house for a Saturday-night blizzard pot-luck. The second blizzard screwed up her return from business in Florida. She went from there straight to Oregon for the funeral of her best friend’s dad. (Good thing she threw her funeral outfit into her suitcase for Florida.) And the second storm just about broke me. After a plow squashed snow against my car just as I started to dig out, I threw down my shovel and stomped inside. God bless my neighbor who finished the job.
Then my wife’s uncle died, and now I’m packing to drive the children and me 700 miles to western Kentucky to meet her for the funeral on Monday. We’ll spread the trip there over two days, and the kids are excited – I found a place halfway there with an indoor pool and free breakfast. We stocked up on books on CD from the library (after negotiating some nasty late fees), and the kids are looking forward to listening to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie.” I’m looking forward to actress Cherry Jones taking 5-1/2 hours to read the thing, though it will launch countless questions about why Pa Ingalls never leaves the house without his gun. (“Little House in the Big Woods” was a hit when we drove the same distance to Atlanta for Thanksgiving with the in-laws.) We’re also borrowing the neighbors’ portable DVD player (the one who shoveled me out – and who’s walking the dog while we’re gone), so we’ll be alright.
My Lovely Bride, meanwhile, is dealing with travel vertigo on a continental scale and washing out her socks in hotel bathrooms in four different cities. Over six days she will have flown from Baltimore to Tampa to West Palm Beach to Atlanta to Portland, Ore., to Chicago to Louisville, Ky. (Hurray for credit-card airline points. Boo for inflexible Delta Airlines.) After her second funeral in four days, she gets to drive 700 miles home with the kids and me. We take our together time where we can find it, don’t we?
Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie.