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Married . WithOUT Children

Heidi Rice

It was to be a week of pure decadence.

I would spend the days floating in the pool working on my St. Tropez tan, taking long, leisurely walks with the dog in the afternoon, dining on delicacies from the sea in the evening and catching up on some long overdue reading.

Not that I was going anywhere.

Nope, I was staying at home – but husband-head was leaving for a week to attend his 20-year high school reunion in Wisconsin, and I was going to have the house to myself.

“A week to do anything I want!” I planned privately. “This is going to be GREAT!”

Reminding him to brush his teeth and change his underwear daily, I kissed husband-head good-bye and waved as he pulled out of the driveway before closing the door.

“It’s just you and me, Weber!” I turned to our big, goofy yellow Lab. “I don’t have to cook or clean or pick up anyone’s dirty laundry off the floor for the next SEVEN DAYS! Whoo-hoo!”

Weber, sensing that this was a festive moment, furiously wagged his tail, reminding me that I would have to take him on his evening hike up the mountain – normally a husband-head duty.

I took out some shrimp and scallops from the freezer, looking forward to eating what husband-head classifies in disgust as “bait” and insists should only be used for fishing. .

Then I putzed around the house, took a long dip in the pool and at 5:30 p.m., noticed Weber sitting by the window waiting for “papa” to come home from work at his usual time and take him on the “poo-run-run.”

“Papa’s on vacation,” I tried to explain, feeling sorry for the poor pooch. “Come on, who wants to go on the … TRAIL!”

The dog went ballistic, and we headed up the steep mountain path. Halfway up, I stopped to sit on a rock and catch my breath.

“Look pal, I don’t know how far HE takes you, but this is it for me,” I said irritably.

When we got home, I decided to fire up the gas grill to cook my shrimp and scallop kabobs. Although I’d never used the grill before – again, a husband-head duty – I determined it couldn’t be all that difficult.

I turned up the gas to high and threw in a match. Following the explosion, I realized I had no hair left on my right arm. .

Husband-head called a couple of days later to check in.

“I miss you guys,” he said. “How’s everything going?”

Well, my legs hurt from hiking up the hill with the dog, the hair on my arm will hopefully grow back some day and the grass is turning an earthy shade of brown from lack of watering – are all the things I DIDN’T say.

“Uh … how do you work the sprinklers for the front and back lawns?” I asked, trying to sound casual. “And which day do the garbage men come again?”

“You don’t know anything about taking care of the house, do you?” husband-head scolded, although I could hear the amusement in his voice.

The next morning, Marianne phoned.

“So … how’s it going, missy?” she asked. “You having a good time living the swinging single lifestyle?”

Only to my best friend would I admit that I’d been to bed before 9 p.m. for the past three nights. .

“Oh yeah, it’s been a HOOT,” I said, lying through my teeth. “Hey, where’s the fuse box usually located?”

“You don’t know anything about taking care of the house, do you?” she said knowingly.

Okay. So I don’t know how anything outside of the house operates. The rule has always been that I take care of the INSIDE chores and husband-head takes care of the OUTSIDE chores. .

A few nights later, I noticed Weber again sitting and looking out the window.

“Move over, buddy,” I said, as I sank down next to him.

We sat together with our noses pressed against the window pane, anxiously waiting for husband-head to come home. .

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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