Home Alone - and what it taught me

today was the last day of the first stretch of family-free time i've had since, well, since i started my own family back in '98. granted, kid #1 didn't arrive until 2001, so it's fair to say that was the last time the house was empty for more than a few hours. but on Thursday my wife and 2 kids went to visit her relatives and i chose, despite the points it cost me, to stay behind. and i must say it was worth it.

Day 0 (Thursday, 8/14/08)
~0900 - the very first thing i did after waving family and nanny off to the airport was to turn off everything non-essential in the house. my family has allergies and also a habit of leaving lights and TVs on so as soon as the house was mine i turned it all off - air filters, air conditioners, TVs, even the night lights in the hallway. the utility meter never had such a holiday since we moved in. only fridge, computer, and everything between it and the Internet stayed on.
~0930 - the next thing was to find a good book ("The Watchmen" in this case) and go sit on "the throne" with the door wide open. ah, the freedom of an open bathroom door - how strange it is to miss something so simple. :)
1000 - (all times are approximate anyway) - took shower and then walked around the house a la natural. yet another simple pleasure i never realized i had lost.
1030 - off to work (i have an understanding employer - they understand because i do tons of hours from home when i'm not at work).
1700 - left work and came straight home. this is unbelievably early for me to leave work - normally (i.e., when the family is home) i stay at work till 1800+. not something i'm proud of, but it does give me some sense of balance between my paying job and my Daddy job.
1710 - i seem to remember playing a lot of Rockband (i love the drums, tho i wish they were more flexible in the layout - can you imagine Neil Peart having all his drums laid out on the same level side-by-side? but still, it's fun) :)

Day #1 - Friday - didn't go to work!!!! (this is unheard of in remembered history - for me to not go to work unless deathly ill or in some other way incapacitated or unable) instead i went around the house fixing things, hanging pictures, repairing the cable in the master bedroom, etc. and best of all i didn't have to keep a weathered eye on my tools at all times to watch for mischievous little hands looking to snatch away an unattended hammer or screw driver. oh, the joy of knowing your tools won't run away or you won't be called on to do this, that, or whatever, while you're trying to finish something else which is important to you, even if others don't think that what you're doing is important. Finished the day with more Rockband and working out. Ate surprisingly little - just didn't think about it. :-/

Day #2 - Saturday - more running around the house fixing things, watering plants outside (it's been hot in WA lately), trip to Fred Meyer with a list of only my own things (typically my shopping lists are written in my wife's hand and often i have to look it over and ask a number of clarifying questions before i head out. but this time every item made sense and was clearly legible and this, too, was a simple pleasure i had forgotten from way back when). i think it was about this time i started talking to myself... i also was becoming quite used to how hot the house is without the AC running. after a while it felt comfortable to feel sweaty all the time - weird, but true.

Day #3 - Sunday (today, or more accurately yesterday) - until 0930 this morning there was a chance they would stay in AZ a few more days, but my wife informed me that things had transpired with the family which guaranteed their return today). at that point i went into high gear (until then i had actually considered if i could miss work Monday as well) because there were various things i hadn't finished and i knew once they arrived my productivity would drop like the Market on Black Monday. Helter skelter for 6 hours (the last 2 of which i started worrying like i did in the old days - day-mares of crashed planes, car accidents, all sorts of highly unlikely events that would bring my world crashing down). Luckily tho, as had been in the old days, all my worrying was unfounded and my (and their) vacations ended. And from it i learned a number of interesting facts:

1. i eat a lot less when i eat by my own schedule (i.e., alone and only when i'm hungry)
2. i can go days without working (or even using a computer) if i'm left to do other things (like Rockband) that i enjoy
3. your true nature, even if repressed for 10 years, is still your true nature when given the opportunity to express itself
4. i don't mind the heat anywhere near as much as my family does
5. a house (and my brain) is much quieter without all the background noise (mostly fans - of which i can hear 3 right now, including the fan on my computer).

oh yes, and i think i figured out something about blogs too - writing blogs is for people who want to have a diary to record thoughts but realize that keeping those records secret is a waste of effort - otherwise you should just spend the time talking to yourself. but a blog - it's like a diary that people can read - people you don't even know (and hopefully don't know you - in particular i'm hoping my family never finds my blog - otherwise i'm never going to write another thing on here). but as fun as this was i'm sure i'll forget to worry about it eventually and hopefully write something someone would find worth reading (no refunds tho - time wasted reading my drivel is time lost for good). :) now to fix those spelling errors...

oh, two good quotes i thought of today:
- "The most important thing I learned after school was that much of what I had learned in school was worthless."
- "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it; but, then again, so are those who remember it."

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