Away

I went away last weekend for a work gig, leaving Greg home alone with 5 kids.

It was his birthday weekend.  There was a sick child.  Actually, there was a sick Greg, too.

Sure, I set him up with helpers.  But does that really make up for your wife abandoning you to cook and clean for your own birthday party?  Even if he hadn’t had the sickies to nurse?  Yeah.  Probably not.

In my own defense, this is the only weekend each year that I’m required to work.  And I had to go to sleep in an immaculate room

at a hotel on the water

with maid service and someone who cooked and not a single interruption All. Night. Long.

Working 13-16 hour days in exchange?  Worth it!

I didn’t have to see this

the entire time.

Unfortunately, Greg made a huge blunder while I was gone.

Major.

Epic.

See, the thing about Greg is that he has no guile.  Absolutely none.

And you probably think that’s a good thing.  Most of the time I do, too, especially since synonyms for guile are deceit and duplicity.

The problem with having no guile comes when craftiness and cunning are also missing.  I would postulate that the absence of any amount of guile creates a lack of self-preservation.

To prove my point, what do you think my reception was like upon my return home Sunday?

Realistically, anyone would be exhausted after parenting 5 children alone all weekend.  I mean, the guy was sick.  So sick that I sent him to the doctor’s office today for a chest x-ray due to the excessive wheezing.  That means that Sunday was the perfect time to milk the illness, right?

Some pitiful coughing coupled with passive aggressive statements, perhaps.

Something like “The kids were so sad without you, but we were fine” *cough cough*.  Or “I don’t really need to sleep anyway” *cough cough*.

Maybe he could’ve prepped the kids.  “Don’t we miss Mommy?”  Or, “Aren’t we so, SO sad without Mommy?”  Or, “Why don’t we tell Mommy that Daddy spanked us for being sick?”

Really, anything to make sure I don’t ever go away and leave him to do this again.

But no.

There was none of that.

I was greeted at the door with the birthday party in full swing.  We had guests.  We had snacks and soup.  Soup Greg made from scratch.  We had toilet paper in the bathroom… on the roll!

The kids were happily playing.  I barely got a glance, much less a “so glad you’re home, Mom.”

But none of that was Greg’s blunder.

None of that showcases how seriously, erroneously he played this one.

Because when I got home, and I moved the world’s largest skillet and my beloved double-burner griddle,

both of which reside permanently on the stove top to hide its heinous mess, I saw something I didn’t expect.

I saw this:

DID YOU SEE THAT?

Here’s a close-up:

And the heavens opened, and a beam of light shone through the darkness.  Behold, the Stove of Greg.

Now, I’m not one of those women who has to clean my own house to feel as though my husband needs me.  (Stop laughing, Everyone Who’s Ever Met Me.)  I have other activities at my disposal that gladly fill that purpose.  (Ha!  See what happens when you won’t stop laughing?)

So I’m left trying to figure out… what’s my incentive not to plan another weekend away?

Big mistake, Greg.  Huge.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Sidenote: My friend Elsie is 13.  Elsie has a blog.  She just blogged about babysitting my kids and added one million photos.  Elsie’s mom is letting me link it here.  Elsie’s mom is also responsible for suggesting a stove top cleaner and instructions for how to clean the stove.  Which Greg USED.  Elsie’s family is awesome.  Awesome.  And awesome.  But you shouldn’t ask Elsie to babysit.  I’m afraid I can’t spare her.  Sorry.  So sad for you.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
9 comments
  1. […] here, while Beth is away this week.  I don’t think I’ll make the same mistake a made a few years […]

  2. […] have five kids. A husband. Extended family. A job. A big house. Food prep, homework, cleaning (or going away so your husband can clean), church duties, etc. Why would you want to be responsible for one more thing, especially your […]

  3. Thanks, ladies. Yep – Greg’s quite a guy!

    Judy – not yet. He gets his x-ray results back today, so here’s hoping! Also has meds and an inhaler now. And he didn’t want to go to the doctor. You raised a good guy, but I’ll tell ya, he sure has to be pushed to see a physician!

    Cathie – thanks for feelin’ me on the T.P.! I knew there had to be someone out there who’d understand. The worst is when it’s not on the roll and the kids leave it next to the sink and it gets soggy. Bleh.

    Kristen – it was tough, but I managed! Next time I’m in your neck of the woods, I’m calling. Be forewarned.

    Susan – I want to rub my face on the stove like a cat nuzzles the leg of the person she loves. Is that wrong? Say no. 😉 And thanks for the intro to Dana!

    Dana – Welcome! Glad to have you! A link to your blog will be up shortly. I think we might be onto something with the need to plan more time away so our houses can be cleaner. 🙂

    Beth

  4. Yay, Greg! I’m glad I trained him so well! (And hope he’s feeling better by now.)

  5. I so needed that laugh! Years ago I also got a break & came home to a spotless bathroom! I have never had abathroom so clean before. In fact I still joke about how I need to leave so he can clean the bathroom again. Thanks to Susan for showing me your blog!

  6. What a great story to share and I am so glad you got a day away like that and a FULL NIGHTS SLEEP! That is blissful!! The stove – what can I say??? OH MY GOSH! Are you looking at it constantly?? 🙂

  7. That’s awesome! What a guy. And glad you had to “put up” with those conditions for a night.

  8. Oh. My. Lord. TP on the roll cracks me up-we still don’t get it on the roll with only 1 kid left at home.
    Thank you for making me laugh daily. You’re awesome, and I’d like my husband to take lessons from yours. Because my husband also has no guile, and I come home to a disaster anytime he’s home without me.

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