The Single Life

Steve is settling in to a hiatus in South Florida, and I am staying back in the Chicago area to attend to the dogs, the house, and life in general.  I am a Village trustee, and I have some obligations that preclude me from ditching for the winter.  We could not pull up stakes, anyhow:  our little abode in Pompano Beach is NOT dog friendly. Much as I like our condo, it is not the same for me now that Dad is not there.   I do not mind waiting Up North until I miss Steve so much that my heart will not break when I first return to Florida.  That is scheduled to occur in February.  He will pop in for the March of Dimes telecast on February 11th, and we will travel back together.  Until then, I am reorganizing my routines.

My first “single girl” task was to “undecorate” the outside of the house:  Steve is not much on Christmas, and he managed to head South before the frozen garland and lights were removed from outside. He also pitched all my Christmas decorations into the attic willy nilly, and I spent Sunday plowing through that mess.  CIMG7738.JPGMilly Dog can go up the ladder stairs, and she kept me company. I dragged my old, huge, pre-lit but lightless tree from the attic to the garage, stacked all my bins, and segregated the Halloween, Easter, Autumn, and Christmas sections.  I checked and re-zipped all luggage to make sure there was no mold.  I disposed of some artifacts stowed by the kids.  I was scared to drag the vacuum up the ladder, so that will wait for Spring.    CIMG6119.JPG

My next adaptation was to shop at the local meat market, Casey’s, as a single woman.  I am pretending I am European:  I bought a few slices of roast beef,  small tubs of egg and chicken salad, a bit of cheese, eggs, and a loaf of crusty bread.  That has provided meals for the last week.  Of course, I have also started re-connecting with my friends, who are scared to call or visit when Steve is around.  We have had a dinner night, a matinee (Avatar) , and movie night at the house.   I prevailed upon Steve’s crew to bring up my Popcorn Wagon (purchased to aid fundraising at the kids’ schools in the 90’s, and basically unused from then) and since last weekend, I have augmented my Euro-diet with popcorn galore. 
My next round of adaptations included moving the phone and remote control chargers to my side of the bed.  I abdicate most technical power to King Steve, and I like the fact that he has to wake up and answer the phone if it rings during the night.  This also means he controls all late-night programming.  This has changed drastically. I have shifted the DVR menu to delete place Steve’s shows at a lower (or invisible) priority.  Lockup and Police Women of Broward County will simply have to wait for Steve’s return. Football is OUT, hockey post games will not be taped.   I have added Human Target and Life Unexpected- they will be a gentle path to sleep at night.  The dogs have migrated from the foot of the bed to Steve’s side- my legs thank them.  Milly is bold- she likes the pillow.

I would like to have at least one project completed by the time Steve comes back.  First up: photo organization.  Our family history is residing in our basement, where it is getting musty.  Boxes of pictures, a dozen albums, baby books, school projects- all of them are jumbled between the sump pumps and ejector pit.  I have bought two card tables and have a plan:  I will disassemble the albums, put pictures in chronological order, edit and reassign to 4 albums: one for each of the boys and one family album.  This promises to be a ridiculous job:  I over-photographed my kids, always ordered double shots, and at some point, decided to maintain boxes based on themes like the boys’ senior years, Pat’s wedding,  and family vacations. Integration and elimination will be the key.  I am setting up a station in Pat’s old bedroom, and I will hate myself if I do not finish this by spring.  You may think this is a preposterous allocation of time, but I have 28,000 pictures on my current computer, and that represents the last 6 years.  I have decided not to print these for addition to the albums; I will make each boy a disk of his shots.  The albums will merge new and old technology, and I will be Green.   Imagine the mountain of memories summoning me!  It is as emotional a job as it is logistical.  I hate seeing me young ! Time doesn’t fly- it races.  If you have any tried and true methodology- feel free to share via e-mail or comments. 
Last of all, I have made an investment in a cute little microwave for my bedroom.  I told Steve about this, and he rolled his eyes back into his head.  (My response: It cost less than a golf lesson!)   I may make myself an occasional cup of tea, but the main purpose for my gadget is to heat up a therapeutic wrap for my knee so I can sleep.  I guess that makes me old.  But since I lack any cartilage in my knee, the trek to the kitchen is rarely worth the pain.  Now I can heat and reheat my knee without taking a bath or slathering it with Ben Gay.  Even with Steve in sunny Florida- I am snug….which is not to say he has been replaced by a microwave.  But the fact that his only domestic contributions are to empty the trash compacter and take the garbage out once a week makes my adaptation to the single life less onerous.  
I know that Steve talks a big talk, but I also know he is lonely and a little disassociated in Florida. Without a father in law to justify his presence, he feels guilty.  He likes solitude, but he likes it as a choice, not a constant.  He tunes out most of what I say, but is glad that someone cares to ask him how he is doing.  He likes to think I am dependent.  I like to think I am complementary.  Part of complementing Steve is being OK with the time off. I am banking on the adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Steve knows that while the cat’s away, this mouse will play…with her girlfriends.  And there is always I Chat.  

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