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Wife and Child Go to Cali...This Is Gonna Be Great! (Until It’s Not.)

When my wife first told me she’d be taking Little E to Southern California for a mother-daughter vacation, my first reaction was jealousy. They'd be experiencing a dry, desert climate underneath panoramic starry skies, while I stayed in Portland, which had taken on the look and feel of a wet gym sock. 

I quickly gained some perspective, though, and saw this for what it was: Six days totally alone to do with as I please with nary a runny nose or dirty bottom in sight.

It’d be great…right?

Here are some excerpts from my briefly amazing staycation diary:

Tuesday – I sleep through the night for the first time in months. Nobody wakes me up by stomping on my groin. The sun decides to make an appearance, like it knows it’s time to party. After work I meet some friends for dinner. Then back to the bar for a few drinks. I come home, throw my shoes in the corner, flick on a bad horror movie and open a beer. This is going to be awesome.

Wednesday – I revive an old home-improvement project I’d started before Little E was born. More sleep. More friends. More drinks. So this is what it was like before children. Sometimes it’s impossible to remember. I end the night by listening to old records and dancing with my dog.

Thursday – The  quiet is getting uncomfortable. I find myself jerking awake or looking up suddenly from my book in a phantom panic. Where is Little E? Did I forget her in a shopping cart somewhere? Is she okay? Nothing binge watching The Walking Dead can’t snuff out.

Friday – I wonder what Little E is doing right now…probably something really cute. I  get some mobile photos from their California adventure, and sunlight and oxygen drains from the room. Is this the beginning of depression? I’ve stopped shaving. Stopped putting on clothes. Stopped leaving the house. I could build Trump’s stupid wall with takeout containers.

Saturday – Little E left her favorite toy, Pinky Pie the Pretty Pony, behind for me to care take of. My combing of her long neon locks has become obsessive. She’s nearly bald. I eschew dinner for a whole box of Girl Scout cookies. Pride has been thrown out the window. Phone calls from my friends wondering if I’m coming out go unanswered. I miss my Little E.

Sunday – Homecoming! The house is a rat’s nest of dirty dishes, half-empty glasses, recycling, and dirty clothes. In just five days I have devolved into a disgusting pig. I finish cleaning and get to the airport an hour before they arrive. Just in case. It’s the perfect reunion with lots of tears and hugs. I feel like a dork.

Monday – I’m awoken before sunup by a kick to the nether regions. My wife is snoring in my face. Everything is right with the world.

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