Emily is out of town


Emily and I both work from home. It’s a big house, so we’re not constantly getting in each others’ way, but even so it’s rare that I get the whole house to myself. This week she’s in New York for another round of physical therapy and doctor’s visits, so I’m on my own.

Usually I take advantage of this sort of thing by playing music she dislikes on every speaker in the house, staying up all night and sleeping during the day — more than usual, I mean — and rearranging the furniture.

This time, not so much.

Contrary to prediction and expectation, I haven’t spent the whole week bingeing on Warcraft: it’s been snowing, which knocks the satellite out, and anyway the fact that I’m quitting the game soon makes all the deliciously addictive forms of illusory progress in the game seem less urgent: who cares if my little gnome mage gets his electric chicken; he’s only going to get to ride around on it for a day or so.

Instead I’ve found myself on a cleaning binge — the sort of teeth-gritting housecleaning where you accidentally set fire to the kitchen garbage with the sparks from the dremel tool with which you’re cutting down the slightly-too-long bolts for the cupboard handle that’s been sitting on the counter waiting to be installed for the last six months. You know the sort of thing. The kind of cleaning where the house looks more of a mess than when you started, because you’re pulling crap out of the backs of closets that hasn’t seen the light of day since you moved in, dusting it off, carrying it to another room, and stuffing it into the back of that closet.

I had no idea we owned so many audio cables.

And I’ve been falling asleep early, and being shocked in the morning by how close to dawn it is. This never happens: normally eight at night is when all the I-really-should-be-working-on-something-productive-right-now burden of responsibility lifts; it’s playtime, so I instantly perk up and am wide awake until two or three in the morning. And I have the luxury of not needing to set an alarm in the morning, so usually it’s ten or so when I roll out of bed; today, for no apparent reason, it was only six. I had to look twice before I believed it. (On the rare occasions when I do need to set an alarm because of an early meeting or travel or something, literally the whole day is thrown off by that horrific plunge as I’m dragged abruptly from the middle of a dream into the beep beep beep beep bedroom; nothing feels more than half real until I sleep again. I don’t know if I could handle doing that every day, anymore. I guess you get used to it. It’s amazing what you can get used to. And there are a lot of things I don’t know if I could handle anymore.)

Where was I going with this? I have no recollection. But I should get the sawdust off the kitchen floor, and I could use a shower and maybe breakfast of some sort.