when the cat’s away…

best friends

This is terrible to admit. I feel like dancing now that Phil’s gone for a week. I don’t mean it in a mean way. I love my man. But I also love my girl time, my time. No compromise. I feel the way I did when my parents used to vacation, leaving us with Vernell, our housekeeper. Vernell brought us crullers for breakfast during the week, and when we knew we had her all to ourselves, for an entire week while our parents were in paradise, Lea and I couldn’t quite sit still. With Vernell in charge, we were sure, that we were in charge. We got to eat chicken nuggets and ironed grilled cheese sandwiches, to watch movies on HBO, and stay up late. We loved when our parents left us… because we knew they would be back. It’s how I feel now.

I won’t ignore that Phil and I have fallen into a parent/child dynamic, one we’re both working on restructuring. But that’s how it feels right now. As if my parents are gone, and I can now finally do things the way I want. Without a discussion, without a drawn out talk, without hearing how it can be done differently.

I want to play the music loud and get down, dancing like a fool, with the tater tots. I want to take up the whole bed, “read” trash magazines, make thinspiration collages, and eat nothing but tofu! There will be salads for dinner, no meat. Homemade breakfasts, buttermilk pancakes for the wee ones. My to-do list will be whittled down. I will watch morning TV again, the way I used to in New York. I’ll dance with Ellen. I’ll ride the elliptical machine without headphones. We’ll have a movie night, and I’ll introduce the sprouts to The Lion King.

There will be more photos, more painting with watercolors, drawing. There will be no sports, not a single quick score. There will be period pieces, British accents, and if I had my way, truly, there’d be shelves on the walls of the office, complete with art work upon his return. And there will be no diapers! Abigail is going hard-core Dora panties. At home, at school. Rock on, woman.


I think I’m doing it again, though. I get these big plans, all revved up, then I spend the night watching QVC! Seriously. QVC. Who does that? I just spent the past hour or so watching Bobby Brown apply her mascara as an eyeliner. She just said, “Wear the cobalt blue eyeliner. It goes with your jeans.” That’s just weird. You know what’s not weird, enjoying your own space. It makes me giddy. And it makes me a more loving wife. Because I’m so happy, I want to do sweet things for him, to detail his car or something. In truth, I have no idea what makes Phil giddy. He’s just not a giddy guy. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. But for now, I’m just enjoying being fully in charge, fully me. AND, I get to watch The Golden Girls. All night long.




  1. Oh, I so relate to this. I secretly (or not so secretly) love it when my husband travels. I get into my groove with the children, have the laptop in bed, etc … Glad to hear I’m not alone as sometimes I wonder if feeling this way is bad … But I think you’re on to something re: being able to enjoy because we know he is coming back …!

  2. I get this. My husband is on a second shift schedule right now and while I like to complain/pout about not having time together as a family, I have to admit that I like being totally in control of what I/the kids do. It isn’t even that he is controlling or that we always have to be doing the same thing when he’s home, but there is something about that freedom. He went back on a 1st shift schedule for a few months a while back and, while I enjoyed having him home and hated the idea of him going back to 2nd shift, I have to admit that after a few days of 2nd shift I decided it was pretty nice.

  3. Excellent post, as always….yet, despite all of great writing and honesty, I couldn’t help but fixate on the “it goes with your jeans” part. I’m worried about Bobbi Brown’s mental acuity.

  4. Oh, alright! Come on over and detail MY car! If you do good, you can do my husband’s. It’s not as cold as January usually is, but it’s certainly chillier than Austin. Dress warm & clean up after yourself, ‘k?

  5. I can totally relate, and its not terrible to admit. I think its pretty normal, actually!

    I always love when my husband goes out of town. Even if I spend the majority of it cleaning, playing with my toddler and watching What Not to Wear. It feels freeing to do things that you want to do, when you want to do them and without having to run it by somebody else. Which is what I miss most about being single. I love my husband dearly, but sometimes I want to just be “me” not “us.”

    Live it up!!!

    1. Author

      Yes, really! What’s wrong with The Golden Girls? Love that show. It’s as comforting as cheesecake, late night. And you know what? I think that’s the way it should happen… that is to say, so many of us spend our lives looking for “the one,” staying with “the one,” working toward creating more with “the one.” Women live longer than men, and I love the idea of friendships that are there for you in the middle of the night. The idea that friendship is what you grow old and into.

      1. I love The Golden Girls too.

        I remember when one of my cousins was younger, about 10 years old or so.. and being at my grandma’s house and her yelling, “My show is on!!” and racing to a spare bedroom to turn the tv on. I went in to see what she was watching.. it was, you guessed it.. The Golden Girls! ;)

        1. I love the fact that you can watch one episode after another for a couple of hours. The scripts and the timing of each of those actresses is so good that all these years later they’re fresh. Not just The Golden Girls, but the golden years of sitcom writing.

  6. hmmm, so what this single lady is getting, (me) is husbands are like chocolate, too much of a good thing, can make you sick.

  7. I had that giddy feeling nearly 11 years ago when I divorced, and I still feel it today. Every day. I feel it when I get into my ridiculously soft, feathery, princess and the pea bed and sink into quiet, undisturbed slumber. I feel it when I make my coffee in the morning – not the black, bitter, strong kind, but the light-roasted vanilla kind with lots of cream. I feel it when I get to choose how to respond to teenage angst – patting, fluffing, smoothing their fettered brows – whilst also drawing a firm line in the sand without making them feel like shit.

    I feel it when I come home from work and order pizza instead of making that big, heavy meal. I feel it when I get the bills paid on time, with money I earned. I feel it when I treat myself and my daughters to a special spa day – facials, manicures and pedicures – and I don’t have to justify it to a soul.

    I feel it on Saturdays when the darlings are out, and I can spend the entire day watching Lifetime movies for women and play tetris in my jammies. Or I can go to the movies. Or shopping. Or wandering a bookstore.

    I actually never don’t feel it (love that double negative). ‘Never don’t’ seems to be more expressive than the vapid ‘always’.

    1. 3 teens mom- I always love reading your responses! You seem like the sweetest mom and your posts always make me feel warm and cozy inside :)

  8. Have FUN! Watch Television! Eat whatever you want, however you want, whereever you want. Personally, I’d settle for Pizza in Bed, PJs Sans Shower all Days… :)

  9. My husband joined a band about a year ago and at first I was complaining about the weekly practice and the Friday and Saturday nights he’d be away at gigs. But it turns out I love those nights. Bring on the Masterpiece Theatre!

  10. Yes, really, what’s wrong with the Golden Girls? Looove that show. Terrific actresses.

    It’s television, for pete’s sake.

  11. What’s not to love about the Golden Girls?! I was only three when the show originally aired, but I’ve watched (and re-watched) it for years now. I hope to have half the spunk of those sweet ladies when I reach my golden years! Oh and their theme song is pretty kick-ass too.

  12. I love the Golden Girls, too. I know exactly what you mean about feeling free when the hubby is out of town. I always make myself a special dinner after I put the kids to bed (much earlier than we usually would), drink chardonnay, and watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns.

  13. I watch a lot of QVC (and the other shopping channels). It’s my de-stresser – and I’ve gotten some pretty good stuff, too. For makeup – Laura Geller; skin care – Skinn (Demetri James, Shopnbc); inexpensive pretty pearls – Honora; jeans with thin legs and stretchy waists that fit my bore-three-children body – Diane Gilman (HSN). Increasingly, designers are doing a line for the shopping channels – last night was Issac Mizrahi on QVC, I always like watching him. I buy stuff, try it on in the comfort of my home, and return it if I don’t like it for about the cost of gas to drive to the mall and spend tiring hours walking and dealing with crowds and crabby salespeople.

    1. Author

      Yesterday there was dancing. Today after school we did water colors, a water color wheel actually. To see how mixing different colors, in different amounts, creates different colors. In truth, though, all Lucas wanted me to do was paint him a “Thomas Train!” So I did. Then we talked about all the animals in Africa, and how we don’t eat most of them. They cannot, for instance, go to a restaurant and expect to eat chicken fried wildebeest, even if everything is chicken fried here in Texas. We’re gearing up for The Lion King tomorrow! We’re making animal headbands to wear during the movie. Lucas wants to be a giraffe, Abigail a Gazelle, and I think they’ve ordered me to be Rhino zebra. So we’ll see how that goes. I’m thinking we won’t get to the actual movie part, considering I have couples therapy tomorrow night. So, you know, there’s that.

      Tonight I made a mushroom lemon soup, which they both actually ate. Score.

  14. I.feel.vindicated. Mine doesn’t travel a whole lot, but I do so enjoy a weekend every once in a while with him elsewhere. I enjoy it so much that I try not to schedule any interactions with anyone! I stay up really late and drink cheap wine. I watch True Blood, Wife Swap and Hoarders into the wee hours of the morning. Or, I don’t even turn the T.V. on the whole time he’s gone. He’d have a coniption, but I love it. This time makes us better.

  15. Just found your blog through Jasmine Star’s blog and really, really enjoyed reading your posts! It’s like reading a good novel.

    I too, along with so many other happily married wives, secretly enjoy it when my husband goes out of town … just for a little time to myself. If he were truthful about it, he enjoys it when I am out of town as well! Times like these do make us better …

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