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September 4, 2017

Things I Do When He’s Away……

by Anne Paddock

When my husband travels, I used to feel like a fish out of water unsure of what to do without my best friend around but gradually through the years, I’ve learned to embrace this time and do a few things differently.

Let’s start with baking. I only bake vegan desserts (which my husband gobbles up) but there are some desserts – namely, brownies – where nuts are an issue. Brownie lovers are usually divided into two lots: the purist (my husband) who likes his brownies with nothing added, and the adventurer (me) who loves walnuts or pecans and a few extra dark chocolate chips sprinkled throughout (just to make sure the brownies are gooey enough). So, when he’s not home, making a pan of walnut studded brownies (instead of half plain, half nuts) is on my to-do list.

Watching movies is always a compromise when you’re married but when my husband’s away, I watch what I want which is usually an all-time favorite (Always, Michael, Gone With the Wind, Something’s Gotta Give) or a documentary (What The Health, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Vegucated, Hungry for Change) that he would skip (I think his exact words were something to the effect of “I would rather eat chalk than watch that movie”). These movies make me think or laugh which is good for the heart and head.

Going out to eat is often challenging because my husband calls himself a flexitarian (he eats everything except beets) while I follow a plant-based diet (“no animal products, please”). I’ve had my share of baked potatoes and steamed broccoli at his restaurants and he’s had his share of Acai bowls at mine (“wwhhaaaat is this?”) because we both try to accommodate each other. But, when he’s gone, I’m going to one vegan restaurant after another enjoying avocado toast, a mediterranean sandwich, an ALT (avocado, lettuce, and tomato), or a vegan Caesar Salad that most people would find hard to believe is dairy and egg free.

When my husband travels I also do things I’m not supposed to do like let the animals (2 dogs and a cat) sleep with me. Somehow it’s just comforting to have them around in an empty house although my husband would disagree. The problem, of course is when he comes back, they are relegated back to their own room so we can get a good night’s sleep (the cat tends to wake us up around 5 am for breakfast and the dogs are ready to go when the first glimpse of sun appears). One dog tends to scratch the door incessantly and when he doesn’t get a response, he starts barking and continues to howl until we scold him. When my husband asks why the dog is going ape shit, I quietly say “I don’t know, maybe he senses a storm coming.” Of course, I realize my mistake and vow not to do it again but as soon as I’m left alone, they’re back with me.

And, then there is my reading time. I love to read at night while my husband likes to use his i-pad to catch up on the day’s events. It always seems that when I come to bed with my book, he starts watching videos – either humorous shorts, Two and a Half Men episodes or product videos by a guy named Anthony at some motorcycle shop in Philadelphia – and is either laughing out loud urging me to watch with him or talking to me about the videos he finds endlessly entertaining. Meanwhile I’m trying to read my book. After I read the same sentence a few times, I ask him if he can turn the sound off or put on some earplugs. You would think I asked him to eat a bowl of couscous with raw vegetables. So, we compromise and go to sleep.  But, when he’s gone I’m in bed reading my book!

Through the years, I’ve come to realize there are both pros and cons to my husband’s busy travel schedule.  The joy is finding the best in both worlds…..

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