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The Lovely Louise has been gone for a week on the trip I was supposed to take with her. After five days in Paris with her friends, she just texted me that she’s getting on the clipper ship with her friend from Belgium, her sister, and her brother-in-law. That’s a picture of the ship to your left. Notice I'm not in the picture? Yeah, so did I.

So what have I been doing for the last week in my unasked-for bachelorhood? Don’t get excited, it’s not that great. Whenever Louise leaves, I enjoy my freedom for about two days. Then I start to wonder why the house is falling apart. This time is no different. On the very first day, right after putting her on the bus to Logan Airport, I headed straight for the grocery store to buy stuff I shouldn’t be eating. I started with clam chowder and then proceeded to load my cart with potato chips, crackers, prepackaged chicken parm with mashed potatoes and corn, chocolate chip cookies, a bag of Peanut M&M’s, cornbread mix (I love cornbread!), and some fresh-baked muffins for breakfast. I scooted past the vegetable aisle without even feeling guilty. That first night, I poured an extra large adult beverage, added some shrimp cocktail and a box of Cheez-its, and headed to the sun room to watch TV. I cued up reruns of /react-text The Sopranos react-text: 18596 , turned the sound up much louder than Louise would have tolerated, and settled in for the night. I thought about making some dinner (I was thinking mac ’n cheese), but I was enjoying my third cocktail and dinner didn’t really seem that important. Finally it was off to bed about 11:00, after which I almost immediately fell into a sound sleep—that is, until about 2:00 a.m., when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m not used to having the whole bed. My bed territory is usually limited to about eighteen inches on my side. The rest of the bed is hers, and she takes full advantage of it. With no elbow in my face or feet in my back, how the heck am I supposed to sleep? I got up and went downstairs to watch some TV. Deciding it was too late for another cocktail, I instead cracked open a beer and settled in to the computer to check Facebook, etc. After a second beer, I was starting to get tired and headed back to an empty bed. Getting up about 8:00, I stumble downstairs to make a cup of coffee. I’m still tired so I have a second cup and then a third. I think about breakfast but it’s far too much of an effort for just me. A piece of toast with peanut butter and grape jelly will just have to do. For the next hour or so, I wander around the house looking for something to do. There’s plenty to do, but I’m just not motivated to do any of it, so I grab my guitar and start playing old Beatles tunes. Tiring of that, I remember that I promised Louise I would continue to swim laps in the pool while she was gone. I admit that it’s helping me a lot, but I typically don’t feel like it unless I can chase Louise around the pool. Well, there’s no Louise, but a promise is a promise, so off I head to the pool. I feel pretty good, so I do extra laps and get in almost a third of a mile. Not bad, and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. The New England Patriots will be playing soon, and since they need my help after a not-very-good start to the season, I load up on vittles and grog and settle in to watch them win. They don’t. The game is over, the season is in jeopardy, and it’s only a little after 4:00. Normally, that’s way too early to begin the drinking thing, but hey, I’m all alone and who will know? I’ll start with the ice, because I like it cold. More snacks and back to the sun room so I can catch up with Tony Soprano and the gang. Once more I fill up on junk food and forget all about dinner. That night I can’t sleep again, but not to worry, tomorrow is Monday and I can get back to work.

Establishing myself in my home office, I proceed to work very effectively—for about two hours. I glance around and see that my office is a complete mess. Not a little mess mind you, but a mess that hasn’t been cleaned or straightened up since last spring. Okay then, everything off the desk. I clean my desk with Windex because I don’t know what else to use, and then start putting things back. I have a small collection of paperweights, and every one of them gets thoroughly cleaned and put back. Man, do they sparkle! All the paper I’m not currently working on gets put on the floor, where I’ll attack it tomorrow. After all, I’ve been cleaning steadily for almost twenty minutes and I don’t want to overdo it. I know, the sun is out, and I did make that promise, so back to the pool I go. Completing my laps once again, I realize how chilly the air is. Back to the deck and the hot tub so I can warm up. Quickly to the outdoor shower afterwards, and then back inside to get dressed. Eating lunch, swimming, hot tubbing, and showering . . . now I’m ready for a nap. I don’t normally take naps, but today seems like a perfect opportunity. A couple of hours later and . . . wait a minute . . . it’s the cocktail hour!

I suspect you can see how this is going. In the first week I’ve gained three pounds, but I’m pretty sure I can knock that off before she gets home. Now if I can remember who she uses for cleaning help, maybe I can get someone to clean up all of the mess I’m making so she’ll realize how much I really don’t need her. Damn, I hope she gets home soon.


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