Friday, January 11, 2013

Home Alone Part I

Each and every year since we’ve been together Mrs. Blackwell and I have spent Christmas and New Year’s together.

That changed this year two days after Christmas when she and the boy went to visit friends and family about 450 miles south of our snowy Madison home. Work required my time and, while I know no man’s last words are ever “I wish I’d spent more time at the office,” it’s also true that no man’s last words are, “I’m sure glad we didn’t pay the bills.”
Pictured: Christmas Cheer. 

So, on the 27th, I was back at the office.

After having family at our place for the three days surrounding Christmas it was jarring to be immersed in solitude, to have an empty home.

We’d had a fun. About 20 inches of fresh snow was on the ground, there was plenty of food and drink and we even managed to get the boy his first sleigh ride. It was, really, quite Christmassy.
And then everybody left.

Arriving home after work on Day One was tough. Christmas lights don’t shine quite as bright, and sleigh bells on the door don’t ring as merrily, when you’ve got no one to see and hear them with.

So there I sat, in my perfectly cheery holiday home feeling sorry for myself. Like any man in a similar predicament would do, I turned on the TV, watched a movie and then went to bed.

On Day Two of being cast away, a friend suggested we go out after work. Upon receiving the offer I defaulted to a quick assessment of my post-work commitments.

Did I need to rush out to buy baby formula? Nope.

Diapers? Nope.

Did Mrs. Blackwell have commitments that meant I’d be babysitting? Nope.

And then it hit me, I was responsible for only me now. The liberation! The freedom!

So, I went out and had a fantastic evening. I drank beer, ate junk food, went home, cracked open a video game Mrs. Blackwell gave me for Christmas and stayed up past midnight.

The next day was a Friday (after that I stopped keeping track of time) and essentially a repeat of the day before. Work, friends, beer, junk food, video games, bed.
Portrait of man left alone for too long.

It was glorious but, wow, it sure didn’t look that way.

A man living on his own is rarely a pleasant scene. I’m no better, as a hockey jersey, pajama bottoms and house slippers served as my uniform while a mound of trash and dishes grew around me by the hour. 

Immersed in the warm glow of my reclaimed freedom I continued my resolution to not waste a moment of it. On the morning of Day Three, this meant executing a plan that consisted of: rolling out of bed, straight to the car and off to the McDonald’s drive thru for breakfast, then straight home to watch action movies.

To complete this slovenly seen, I kept the same outfit on through the drive thru. Though my robe concealed the totality of my ruinous state, I’m sure the kid handing me my food chuckled at my hair, noticed my house slippers and then judged me to be some type of deviant.  

Later that day, sometime at after dark, I finally caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It’s shocking what can accumulate on your face when you don’t have anyone around to point it out for you.

With the gleam and shimmer of my newfound bachelordom eroding, I opted to take a shower and get dressed. Now fit for consumption by the outside world, my wife and I used a video feed to catch up on our day.

She’d gone and seen friends, built a snowman and cleaned out belongings from a closet at her parents’ house. It was amazing how much she’d done.

Then she asked me, what I’d been up to.

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