For the past two years my husband has been working on his Master’s Degree. And for the two years before that, I was working on mine. On top of that, we both work full-time, coach sports, work side jobs, and raise kids. And while this is the life that we’ve chosen, over the past two years, our schedules have looked something like this:
7am-3pm: Work at job #1
3:30-6pm: Coach or work at job #2
7pm-9pm: Do homework…or watch a kid play some sort of sport…or pick up dinner from the D&W deli…or fall asleep early.
9pm-10pm: Watch TV, take a shower, and check emails from a professor
7am – 3pm: Do it all over again.
For the most part, our lives have been a general movement from one event to the other while giving high fives as we pass each other on the way in or out of the house. Our evenings have consisted of one of us typing up 10 page papers while the other one is out coaching some sort of sport or making a grocery order on Shipt, or shuffling our kids from place-to-place. But this week, something strange happened…Chris finished his classes, neither of us are coaching anything, we are each only working one job, and only one of our kids is currently involved in athletics…and she’s 2 hours away…and doesn’t need us to drive her to practices (Yes, and Amen!) We realized that were home together for an extended period of time for the first time in FOREVER…and we looked at each other and asked the question, “so, what do normal people do?”
You laugh. But seriously, this is the question that Chris asked…and I wasn’t sure how to answer.
Chris: “Do they sit and eat dinner together?”
Me: “I think so.”
Chris: “Should we do that?”
Me: *Awkward shrug*
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the extra time that we have to spend with each other, I’m just saying that we probably need a hobby. Because as nice as it is to relax together, I’m just saying that Chris and I function best when we’re busy. Honestly, there was a moment when he was literally wandering around the house in circles, and I had to remind him that it was ok to sit down and relax…and then I pulled out my laptop and began answering work emails.
So, because neither of us has any aspiration in the least to get our Ph.D, our best bet is to find a useful way to spend our time together so that we don’t wear a path in the floor from pacing around and around. We’ve already tried to find a Netflix series to watch together, but since Chris’s favorite series are The Sopranos and Ozark, and mine are Hart of Dixie and The Gilmore Girls, we’ve realized that this probably isn’t going to work…so here are our current options:
1. Cooking classes: The Artisan Cooking School is right around the corner from our house, and the head chef is our neighbor, who keeps inviting us to try it out. Now that Carson has forced us to buy a new pair of (amazing) knives and I’ve invested in a giant skillet from Love, Inc. (the rest of my pots and pans are from my wedding…so, this is truly the best option that I currently have), I’m sure we could be successful in the kitchen…probably. I mean, right now, our best dinners consist of whipping together pre-packaged items into something that includes the word “salad” or “casserole” or “bowl” but I’m sure that The Artisan will turn us both into Chefs de Cuisine and we will be throwing dinner parties all over the place. You’re invited.
2. Home Improvement Projects: The problem with having time at home is that all of a sudden you are staring at the walls and noticing all of the things that are wrong with your space. This week Chris has already cleaned out the gutters, (and can I just say that we have a wonky ladder and I fully imagined a Clark Griswald experience over and over in my mind while it was happening.) he’s considering building a deck, and he’s mentioned installing recessed lighting in the living room. I realize that not everyone knows my husband, but I want to begin by letting you know about the time that he had to hang a picture on the wall and ended up practically knocking it down (the wall, not the picture) and taught everyone in the house a stream of new vocabulary. I’m not saying the deck and the lighting are not good ideas…I’m just saying that this should remain low on our list.
3. Golf: No.
3. Gaming: So no, we’re not going to join Carson in his Fortnite efforts (which you can read about here), but we’ve discovered that we’re pretty damn good at Wheel of Fortune…and now that we have extra time at night, this seems to be our go-to event. We literally watched this the entire week with the intensity of two people who had their lives on the line. At one point we were standing up and yelling “HIDDEN COVE. HIDDEN COVE” at the top of our lungs as if Pat and Vanna could hear us. We’ve actually entered the Wheel Watcher’s club, and while I totally understand that I’m now part of the same club that my grandparent’s are a part of, I don’t want to miss out on any possible prizes (an all-expense paid trip to The Bahamas, for example) or lose the opportunity to become a contestant on T.V…in fact, I’ve added “being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune” to my bucket list. It goes without saying that we are in desperate need of hobbies…and friends.
Look, this new period of life is transitional and probably temporary…and we are definitely going to take advantage of it. We’re going to watch more Wheel of Fortune and add Jeopardy to the evening routine. We’ll learn to cook, and fix the lights, and build a deck, and maybe even play Fortnite with Carson. We’ll chill out and just take some well-needed down time to remember what it’s like to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Because truthfully, I know this won’t last. Next week I start working at the store again in the evenings (which I love…seriously, come visit me at Blended Furniture Market!) and, soon enough, Chris will have baseball workouts and board meetings…and we’ll be shuffling our kid from school events to church events and everywhere in-between. But for a moment…just for this small window of time, we’ll rest…and possibly win that all-expense paid vacation…and that will be enough of a new adventure for now.