A Day in the Life: Preparing for Homecoming
Border control may be a hot political debate, but it’s also a sore subject at my house—I mean our house—right now. I’ve been living alone for six months again, and while my husband has been deployed there’s been no armed guard making sure that my clothes respect the boundaries in the closet. The arsenal of beauty products that I use to keep from scaring small children with my “natural beauty” has slowly inched over onto my husband’s side of the counter; now that border is completely unrecognizable! And don’t even get me started on the kitchen. Aside from the three bites of Rice Chex and a sack full of Christmas candy leftover from my parents’ visit, I can’t name anything else my husband would eat voluntarily.
Trying to undo six months of peaceful man-space take-over in a week’s time is a daunting task. I went to the grocery store yesterday with list in hand and I still found myself standing in the middle of aisle seven asking my one-year old why I came down that aisle. He just proudly let out a squeal which, as cute as it was, was less than helpful. Needless to say, I’m going back to the store today.
Last night, after a long day of reorganizing and cleaning, I had a full-blown temper tantrum to rival even the brattiest four-year old. My feet were stomping, there was grunting, tears, and I may have even hit a household appliance with a cookbook. After a few deep breaths, I realized that I needed a new game plan because clearly my organization goals were unrealistic and my to-do list was a joke.
New plan: think like a man. Not once has my husband walked into our house and marveled at the freshly mopped floors or run a white glove over the top of tall furniture to check for dust. So, although I’d like to mop, dust, refinish a bookshelf, and triangle fold the toilet paper, time is not on my side and I need to get realistic.
I’m certain my husband would notice that his side of the bed has become the staging area for our closet reorganization. Did you notice I said our and not my closet? Let’s call that progress. So, obviously the clothes need to return to the closet—on their designated side, of course.
What, dear? You say you don’t want to eat salad twice a day or have hummus and veggies for dinner three times a week? Noted. Groceries are of the utmost importance. With no one to cook for over the last six months, I just stopped cooking. Of course, I fed my son nothing but the best, but after chopping three different dinner entrees into bite-sized pieces to please a picky kid, I don’t have the time or energy to whip up something fancy for myself. In the battle of tired versus hungry, tired wins every time and I grab something quick and convenient. While my husband knows better than to expect a four-course meal every night, it’s only fair to have foods on hand that he enjoys. So, Operation Stock the Fridge is now in motion.
I’m trying—really trying—to remind myself that the house doesn’t have to be perfect. It was in tiptop shape when my husband returned from his last deployment only to be instantly returned to its lived-in status when my husband came through the door and dropped his pack on the floor of the kitchen where it sat for almost a week until I could no longer ignore it. My husband, and I’m assuming most husbands returning from deployments, don’t care if home looks like something from a Pottery Barn catalog or a Better Homes and Gardens feature. All they care about is that they’re home. They want to sleep in their own beds and eat the foods they’ve been craving for months.
We may want everything to be picture perfect for their return, but honestly, all they need to see is that the house is still half theirs. They want space for their man stuff in the bathroom, and their wardrobe, although defenseless against our obviously larger collection of outfits and shoes, deserves room in the closet.
So, one more time for emphasis, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be home. On that note, I’ll begin my day of treaty negotiations in the closet, hair product corralling in the bathroom, and round two at the grocery store.