I work from home. I tell you that because in a few minutes I’m going to tell you something relevant to that. And you’re going to pity me. And pity is exactly what I need. It’s all I have left.
Today, the husband is working from home. And adding insult to my potential suicide, he’s made a very aggressive threat to spend more summer days working from home so, “We can spend time together.”
This is where the pity comes in.
For those of us who work from home, or those of us home during the day for any reason other than injury or illness, it’s a choice not a circumstance. We do it because we see the world through sweatpants-colored lenses. We dream of days going by without leaving the house. To us, the term “Shut-In” is a compliment. If it weren’t for those inconvenient kids of mine, I’d probably be well into the Grey Gardens phase of my life, minus all the cat pee and the living with my Mom.
But things like husbands working from home (my home) put a real wrinkle in my otherwise perfectly-pressed life. The kids and I have the “Mommy’s working from home” thing down to a science with me knowing when to hide so they don’t know I’m home and get all freaked out and needy on my babysitter. Everything about my life is set-up and orchestrated for me to get maximum work-to-Mommy ratio out of my life. And I hate when that ratio is disturbed.
So you can imagine my joy when I return from camp drop-off to find the husband sitting in my office. We have two desks in my office and his presence is a reminder that I’ve always wanted to sell or toss that 2nd desk. I’d hate for the husband to get too comfortable in his own home. Sitting in his bathrobe (has it ever been washed?), it’s immediately clear to me that the hubs is in for a while. Or worse yet, the whole day.
So I take a deep breath, make sure he sees me roll my eyes while scowling and I sit down to work.
He immediately gets on the phone. To say his phone calls are conducted at a volume last heard on the TVs at Best Buy would be an understatement. Neighbors can hear what he’s saying. And by neighbors, I mean the ones at our old house, miles and miles away.
I try to get his attention, hoping I can press the Mute button on his remote, with no luck. He’s so loud, it’s like he’s speaking in ALL CAPS.
I keep working. Or more accurately, I try to keep working.
He continues with his phone business. But instead of sitting, each call is conducted while pacing. As if he’s getting paid by the footstep, the husband walks and walks and walks around the room while talking on the phone. Every tenth step, he gets close enough to me to graze the back of my chair. And by graze, I mean shove me into the desk. This pacing and shouting goes on for hours. The only thing louder than his voice are his footsteps, which would be attributed by a blind person to those of an elephant.
I hear my babysitter bring my kids home for their afternoon nap. For years, my babysitter and I have had an understanding: unless there’s a fire, I am not to come within 50 yards of my children when she is trying to put them down for a nap. In a clear state of rebellion and recklessness, the hubs ignores this and races out to see the children who immediately being to cry, pee their pants, threaten to never sleep again, and cry more. He quickly understands why I suggested he not say hi to the kids until after they’ve napped.
The kids finally go to sleep. My husband sees this as the perfect time to sprint up and down our creaky wooden stairs while wearing the heaviest shoes known to mankind. I brace myself, anticipating the kids getting woken up like a beach-front homeowner braces for a storm. It’s not a question of if it’s coming, it’s a question of when.
I look around the office, it looks like we got ransacked by a very hungry robber. There are empty yogurt containers, mashed water bottles, orange peels and a half a cookie strewn about. The husband returns with another snack in hand. He’s grinning from ear to ear, gives me a kiss on the cheek and says how nice it is to spend time with me. I mutter something about wanting to kill him and return to my computer.
He heads for the bathroom and turns the shower on. He returns 20 minutes later, clean and dressed and says he’s going out to get out of my hair for a while. I’m relieved and grateful. I like my daytime routine and I don’t really want anyone to mess it up.
He grabs his keys and heads out. I get lost in the magical sound of him closing the door behind him and am nearly euphoric hearing his car ignition turn on. I revel in the sound of our neighbor screaming, “Fuck you!” as my husband peels out of our driveway, nearly missing our bitchy neighbor and dog.
I revel in the sound of my solitude. I’m thankful order has been restored. And I’m anxious to get back to work. But first, I pick up the phone and call my husband. He’s been gone 8 whole minutes. I miss him already.