When I search my memories, I remember being a bachelor. I remember it in a certain way though… Now that it’s been so long ago, I remember it in a “rose colored glasses” sort of way. I remember not being particularly answerable to anyone, if I wanted to watch a particular show? I did it. If I wanted to play video games? I played until I felt like I was done. I did all of these things without having to be diplomatic or particularly responsible about it. I know that if I were a bachelor today this is not how it would work . I know this because for 9 days at the end of march I lived like a bachelor. My wife was states away in Appleton, Wisconsin while I held down the fort in Fremont, NE.
At first the idea seemed keen. I love my wife dearly and would miss seeing her for that long but I had this idea in my head that since my attention would not be split I would have a focus seldom seen before. Without demands from an exterior sources I’d be productive, so productive in fact that I would have time to spare for… being… un… productive. (okay it wasn’t a GREAT idea but it was an idea I was very excited about) What I found out instead, however, was that I rely on my wife even more than I realized.. particularly when disaster strikes and, of course, it did.
I started out by simply leaving my things laying “wherever.” Who needs a prearranged location for things?! Well certainly not a bachelor! A bachelor can leave all of his stuff on the kitchen counter. Little did I know how much I would regret that.
I started to realize that some of that “extra time” that I thought I would have… would now be spent doing some of the chores that I usually could rely on Holly to manage. In fact the first several days I spent making sure I still had clean clothes, and clean cookware that I could use throughout the week. I spent my first couple of “free” days (the days that I do not have extreme after work responsibilities) getting used to the new load of household chores and got NOTHING additional accomplished.
But all in all, no disasters, I was still doing well just not as well as I had expected. Then the coffee incident occurred. We use a cold filtering system to brew our coffee. Which means we let our coffee steep overnight in the grounds which allows for a sort of concentrated coffee. Well, my wife will tell you that I’m a recipe guy. If the recipe calls for an ingredient in a certain measurement then that’s what I use, no more, no less. Well I decided in this instance to live dangerously and ditch the recipe… with COFFEE. I surmised that I could add additional cups of water to be steeped as long as I let it steep longer. What I did not think about… was that you could fit more water in the brewing reservoir than you could in the basin… I mean, why would they make one of these containers bigger than the other? It wouldn’t make any sense! Well… they do. When I got up the next day I uncorked the reservoir and let the coffee begin filtering down into the awaiting empty basin as I set out about my morning routine. While I managed my morning shower, tending to the dogs, and packing my bags for work; I was blissfully unaware that the coffee was slowly filling that basin to OVERFLOWING. Remember how I said I could put things on the kitchen counter cuz I was a bachelor? The coffee did not care that I was a bachelor… the coffee demanded a ritual sacrifice! I discovered my folly as I was rapidly running out of time… now it was time to run out the door and I find myself mopping up coffee off the counter/floor/and all my foolishly out of place stuff. I did get out of the door and off to work on time… but suffice it to say that it threw off my entire morning, I certainly was not “early” to work. This could have happened if Holly were home but… it’s not likely. My wife worked as a barista for some time and she understands these things she could have immediately recognized the foolish nature of my gambit without much thought on the the matter.
Having learned a vital lesson I continued through the week doing things a little more normally. However when Holly is around I fall into a routine especially around bedtime and I tend to get to bed at a fairly regular hour, this was arrested during her absence. Jesse-fueled insomnia kicked in and I found myself staying up too late. When I do this the morning routine is effected. Which is how… I burnt oatmeal. Wait? Oatmeal? How do you burn oatmeal? it’s boiling water and oats?! You’re a recipe guy and you learned your lesson?! RIGHT?! Well I did get my ratio correct, but in an effort to save pans I usually boil the water, reduce the heat, add the oats, and set a timer… being in sleep debt I… didn’t reduce the heat, added the oats, didn’t set the timer and took my cup of coffee into the living room to read my morning comic strips on the computer machine. That is until the smoke detectors sounded the alarm that clued me to the fact that I had in fact forgotten many things. A smoke filled kitchen and a pan full of burnt oatmeal later I learned that my routines also would need to stabilize if I were to survive this week without Holly.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fumbles and missteps, I did enjoy the time to myself but my delusions of how much I’d do and how much I’d enjoy it were greatly exaggerated. I did like having access to a car that could take me where I wanted to go without worrying whether it would get me there and back (Holly gets the ‘reliable’ car most of the time). But driving a car that I only drive semi regularly I began to discover all the things I didn’t know about the car… like if you press too hard when turning on the dome light I actually shoved the entire switch into the dash? That was news to me! And the air vents can also pop out…. huh… I did not know that.
I got a few things done and I got a few little adventures in but what I remember most were the moments that I thought “Holly would know what to do here” or “Holly would have stopped me” or even just “I wish Holly were here”. So if you’ve been craving quiet moments to yourself and you’ve had delusions of how great those bachelor days were? I want to remind you…they were overrated.
I rediscovered that “for better or worse” is inaccurate. Because the betters are better and even the worse? It’s better. It’s cozier when you have that someone with you to share the journey and sometimes she helps right the ship. So until next time, better get cozy; it could be a bumpy ride.