My husband just switched jobs and for the first time ever, actually gave himself a week off in between. This is the man who didn’t even take time off when our children were born. Not counting the pre-baby hospital stay where he never left my side, he was back in his office 24 hours after our daughter entered the world. A few complications brought him back to the hospital with us for a few days, but once we were both home safe and sound, he spent the next 48 hours pacing the house like a trapped animal before I finally broke down and sent him back to work. So, call it a stay-cation, call it a bye week, call it what you will, but for one miraculous ten-day period, he was home.
The week did not start off auspiciously. In fact, the day after he turned in all the paraphernalia of the modern working man, I found him taking a conference call. To his credit, he didn’t try to hide it. He just packed up the kids in the car, loading the trunk, turning on the DVD player, preparing for our weekend away while he chatted. I drove, he used the royal “we” to discuss a project he no longer worked on, for a company he no longer worked for, with people he no longer worked with, while I drove down I-95. Twenty minutes later, call complete, he turned to answer a question from our son only to realize, and I quote, “Holy shit honey, he’s not buckled!”
You know in cartoons when a car pulls over so suddenly that it actually makes a little “rreeerrrrttt sound? Well, when you are going 80 mph on a major highway and you very suddenly swerve into the left shoulder at top speed kicking up a cloud of asphalt before you come to a complete stop, it turns out that the sound the car makes is much, much quieter. Deadly quiet, in fact. I jumped out, locked the boy’s five-point harness into place, and shot my husband a look that would have made Medusa proud. It is entirely possible that my ponytail hissed at him. Luckily, no children were actually harmed in the making of his phone call.
After that, he did pretty well. While he did keep checking his e-mail, which had not yet been de-activated, he was able to keep himself from answering it. By the time he was well and truly cut off from his former employer, he seemed at peace with the silence.
Or so I thought. I very quickly came to realize that my husband is addicted to his phone. But what do you call an iPhone addict? His CrackBerry habit was easy to explain. Even the Commander-in-Chief has a BarackBerry. An iCrack sounds like a plumbing problem. A crackPhone sounds like something a Batman villain would use. An App Addict just sounds ridiculous. But what else could it be? He spent the remainder of his vacation playing Scrabble on his phone just so he would have a reason to hold it in his hands. Never was he so relieved as when he started his first day of work and found himself with over five thousand e-mails in his in-box.
To give credit where it is due, he did spent most of his time with the children (and the phone.) He still got up every morning to take my daughter to school and he put both kids to bed almost every night. In between, he cooked family meals, played lots of games, took them on lots of walks, and made them the absolute focus of his attention (minus trying to figure out how to use six consonants and only one vowel). I got to leave the boy at home a lot (instead of bringing him everywhere like a piece of very active luggage), got to spend quality time with the girl, and read three books in one week.
Would I like him home all the time? Oh my God in heaven, no. The man is a routine-killer. I was so thrown off by him being home that I barely knew what day it was. The kids thought every day was Saturday. Due to our new Apple TV, I feel asleep more often to the sound of explosions and screaming than is usual (does anyone on Battlestar Galactica ever catch a break?) and woke up more often to the sound of someone snoring from one floor below than I would have liked.
So, while I am glad he enjoyed his time home I think we were both ready for him to walk out the door on Monday morning. And while I am sure it won’t take long for him to resume his grueling work schedule and I won’t get to see him during daylight hours, at least we’ll both be content. He will be in a job he enjoys, and I will get the remote to myself again.