It's happened. My husband Randy now works from home. And I'm glad, truly. He deserves an easier life, having spent the past thirty-five years zooming around the globe on business trips. But now he's home a lot, everyday. And it's not bad. It's just...well, different. In fact, here are the pros and cons for having a husband around most of the time...
He's nice -- I'm lucky. I love my husband. He's my best friend. If I have a funny story or problem, he's the first person I go to. Sometimes it's like having my own in-house shrink. Randy has a daybed in his office. I'll lie there and tell him my latest dilemma like he's Dr. Phil. His advice is always sound and smart. Later I wonder if I should leave a check.
He's funny -- Not since college have Randy and I spent so much time together. And I've rediscovered something. My husband's hilarious. His imitations are spot-on. He sees the absurdity in life. We crack up at funny cat videos. In some ways, I'm brought back to what drew me to that tall, thin guy in 1976. He's still the wittiest sophomore in the snack bar.
He's freer -- Sometimes we sneak off and see a movie. Sometimes on a cold winter's day we'll meet in the living room for "Happy Hour." We'll have a glass of wine in front of the fire. Needless to say, we couldn't do this ten years ago with two kids running around.
He's contained -- This is super-important. Randy likes a lot of stuff. And I mean, a lot. His (*cough*) possessions are relegated to one room in the house, his office. He has an IMac, television, stereo, mini-fridge, bass guitars and even his own bathroom. This area contains every object he owns and most important, a door. Thank God there's no urban sprawl.
His conception of cleaning is odd - Randy's way of tidying the kitchen is stacking every bowl, dish, plate, glass, knife, fork and spoon in the sink so it looks like Mount St. Helens. What is it with men and dishwashers? It's like men and hampers. Many wives tell me their husbands leave dirty clothes on the floor an inch away. Is it non-masculine to open things?
He'll make an appointment for a handyman without telling me. My husband assumes I'm like Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey. I never leave my post. I'm always on duty. Recently we had to re-negotiate this turf. Now we have it down: whoever makes the appointment has to be on call.
He's used to running things - That same handyman comes over. Before Randy was around, it was just me telling him we have a broken door knob. Now there are two of us, squawking at this poor, confused guy holding a hammer. This also had to be worked out. "Who's got this?" I ask before any workman comes over. If Randy says he'll do it, I bow out... happily.
We've had lunch tension. At first Randy would hover around the kitchen at 12:00 p.m. like a waif in Oliver Twist. Meanwhile I'd have a cup of soup at the computer. Not since the kids were little, have I made a noonday meal for anyone.
To my husband's credit, he's adapted, learning the ins and outs of making a grilled cheese sandwich. He even adds ham and tomato, a creative touch that brought much applause to the culinary-challenged Stone household.
Slowly I'm smartening up. I'm learning there are certain things I can delegate to Randy, like going to Home Depot for light bulbs. For some reason, he loves that. He'll also go to the most popular supermarket at odd, crowded times. I wouldn't go if you promised me free chocolate.
Randy also loves online shopping. I give him strange missions like cat carriers, bathroom mold remover, or exotic furniture polish. He throws himself into it with the zeal of an African missionary. (This also has led to odd purchases like a 12-piece kit for cat urine removal, but that's another post).
But there's one other thing I've realized...
Sometimes my husband will look around and say out of the blue, "I love this place." I stop a moment, feeling proud. Of all the glamorous spots on the planet, he still prefers our warm, Connecticut abode. I put aside all the small things that make this transition challenging.
And somehow it all seems fitting. After working so hard and for so long, my husband's finally come back to the one place he most desires and deserves.
He's come home.
Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, CT. Come visit her blog, "Musings, Rants & Scribbles" where she shares thoughts on growing up, growing older and growing (hopefully) wiser. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.