So my family has officially been gone for over a week now on their RV trip. Before they left, I was sort of sad that I wouldn’t see them for that long, but I was also joking that I’d put up the disco ball in the foyer and have fun, too. After eight days, I’ve learned a lot, but I’m about ready for them to come home. Except for the fact that my oh-so-clean house quickly won’t be.
The first day, I started tackling my to do list, and it was great. Until about 5pm when I realized that I was by myself. And no one was coming. I felt a little bit lonely, and I wondered how bad that would get by the end of the week. Interestingly, that was the only time I truly felt lonely. Apparently I packed my days with enough to do and am also practical enough that I adjusted to it.
That said, there were differences. The first night, someone rang the doorbell at 9:38pm. From experience, I know this is neighborhood ding dong ditchers (ugh, grow up and parents raise your children!), and usually I get irritated and sometimes go on a hunt for them. That first night? I grabbed my phone and cautiously moved into the office that is next to the foyer where I can see into the street. With all the lights off, I carefully moved the blinds so that I could peer outside to see if there was any movement, prepared to call 911 if someone were trying to break into my house. Wait, was that really me? It’s amazing how quickly your attitudes change when you’re with people or alone.
I also quickly figured out that four people eat a whole lot more than just one person. Ok, I mean – that’s obvious and all, right? But when I’ve been cooking for so many people for so many years, it doesn’t really sink in how much less I need to make for myself. Usually if I make a tray of bagel dogs, they’re demolished the first night, with maybe enough for the wee ones to have for lunch the next day before they’ve completely disappeared. If I make my avocado couscous salad, I have enough for dinner and my husband and I finish it off at lunch. Oddly, I still have plenty of both. I’ve been doing so much less cooking because the food lasts so much longer.
I’ve also realized that I really don’t like breakfast much. I finally am not rushing around trying to do everything for everyone else and ignoring myself – my usual excuse for having “forgotten” to eat breakfast. Home by myself, I don’t really have that excuse. A few days, I’ve made a green tea smoothie for breakfast. But really? I don’t like cereal. I don’t feel like eggs. I’m not up for oatmeal. So shhh, but I’ve been eating my bacon egg salad or those bagel dogs for breakfast most of the time.
And I rediscovered my love of to do lists. Every night before I go to bed, and ok some mornings after I wake up, I create a list of everything I want to do that day. The list has been long, as in thirty items long sometimes. That happy little rush I get when I remove something from that dry erase board is awesome. But the weird thing? With fewer time limits, I’m amazed at how much I can get done. There’s no one interrupting me for help with anything. I don’t have my husband sitting on a chair “doing nothing” while I’m working annoying the daylights out of me. I don’t have to keep peeking at my watch to calculate how much time I have left before someone gets home or someone needs to go somewhere.
My office? It’s almost habitable. For years, it’s been the dumping ground of “I’ll get to it later.” Later finally arrived. I forgot to take a picture until I was almost done, but the top of this credenza is how the entire office looked. The entertainment center that was put there temporarily six years ago was filled in every nook and cranny with “stuff” that needed to be dealt with at some point. Check it out now! The entertainment center needs to be removed from my house. And I need to go to Costco hoping they still have that wooden open shelf unit that I plan to use to store shoes, keeping them off the ground everywhere. And I have a couple canvases of the children that I need to hang there. Ok ok, and that credenza needs to be dealt with, but that will go more quickly than the entertainment center (and everything on the floor in front of it) did, if only because it doesn’t have a mountain of paper that needs to be filed. I can’t wait until I no longer have to tell people to close their eyes and pretend that room doesn’t exist as they walk into my house.
Interestingly, although I’ve done things with friends most days, I’ve forgotten how busy we all are when we have children – and the majority of my friends have children. They simply aren’t available to hang out for a few hours on a whim. They can’t just drop everything and have dinner or go see a movie. Many of their husbands travel, so they’re locked at home during the week. And it slowly dawns on my that this is what my life is like when my family is in town. I have just one more day before they return and my life is one again back to normal.
If you’ll excuse me, I still have just a few items remaining on my to do list for today. But I can now cross off blog post, right?
What do you think you’d do with a week of being single?