Time to readjust to a man in the house

By Tammy Keith Published August 11, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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My husband has come home to stay, and that has pros and cons.

He spent the summer traveling six hours from our home to his cozy little 400-square-foot, concrete-block-wall apartment on the Southern Miss campus in Hattiesburg.

At first, I was lost. He is my best friend, and we do like to be around each other.

Before long, though, I got into my routine. I fixed the coffee and put the coffeemaker on a timer each night, pulled back a sliver of the covers to sleep, ate out most nights and worked late, not worrying that he was waiting for me.

I controlled the thermostat (insert evil laugh here).

I controlled the remote control (insert second evil laugh).

I got to park straight, or haphazardly, in the garage.

He had a laundry box he hauled back and forth. It was a cardboard box, and by the end it was coming apart.

“It works,” he said.

Most of the time, I didn’t even have to do laundry while he was gone.

The cons, however, are that everything I did, I did by myself.

I hauled the garbage and recycling cans down to the curb (he had to remind me the first few times), and bring them back up, rain or shine.

I was on dog and cat duty while he was gone. Feeding them is no big deal; I do that a lot.

Cleaning the cat box in the garage became my duty, though. I missed him a lot then.

Speaking of cleaning, the messes in the house were mine and only mine.

I got oddly picky about it all, and I am not a neat person.

One Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and started cleaning the house like the Queen of Clean was coming (i.e., my mother).

It felt good.

Then, he came home.

He brought stuff. Boxes. Stacks of papers. A coffee maker. A clock you can hear tick across the street. His crumbling cardboard box.

I was happy to see him and glad he was home.

But, we had to readjust.

Like the thermostat.

“OK, I keep the thermostat down until I finish getting ready in the morning,” I told him, after he jacked it up and I was sweating as I blow-dried my hair.

When I started making the coffee early one evening, he was surprised.

“I always think it’s going to get stale if I do it too early. I guess that’s silly,” he said.

“Well, I do it when I think about it,” I said.

I watched some of my favorite reality TV, and he sat by me, but he made comments.

At one point, I told him he could go back to Mississippi where he had no TV.

So, he sat by me, with earphones on, working on his laptop during one such show.

He cleaned the cat box. He mopped the floors. He put away the stuff in his boxes.

We went out for lunch and to a movie, and I do believe this little arrangement has a happy ending.

But I think he should take the cat with him next summer.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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