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As Summer got it’s groove on this month my family prepared for that week of camping they’ve all been dreaming of.  That same week of camping I pretend to like annually.  That is until a job came up in town and I didn’t have to pretend anymore.  Rather I could stay home, all by myself for a week working only three days – while my husband seemed like a prince for braving his own children without me.

To relieve my guilt of not sleeping on tree roots and rocks I packed everything for all of my family, which took a little more time than the actual trip.  But it was worth every extra granola bar as I only felt sad for a moment as I watched my whole posse pull away.

Then, as I turned from the front door and took my first look around the house I have lived in for several years (yet have never once been alone in for more than an hour until this day) it felt like I was seeing an epic glacier before me.  It was vast and unfamiliar and forboding – as well as beautiful beneath the debris scattered everywhere on it.

Over that first day of my staycation I didn’t even remember to turn music on as I purged.  I was moving faster than a hungry pregnant woman as I entered every room of my home determined to throw twenty things out from each space.

On my second day I began that homeowner ritual that transports me to a special vortex in time where I can remain for ten to twelve hours without food, water, sleep or even going to the bathroom: rearranging furniture.

It is curious even to me that as a person who just breaks 100 pounds I can lift, haul or at least drag three times my bodyweight if it means my stuff will be displayed just the way I want.  I was so deep in the vortex on this day that when the doorbell rang, I consciously chose to ignore it.  All the people I loved were currently putting on bug spray over their sunscreen over the dirt caked on to them and no one else was worth getting between me and the couch.

This housework – which is a misnomer as it felt like my true life’s work while it was happening – was all taking place before and after working ten hours a day.  What I decided to forgo in order to have this Pottery-Barn-esque mental reboot was 1) eating unless I was also moving and 2) sleeping more than five hours a night.  But, really, who needs either of those comforts when you can hunt, gather, catch and release everything you’ve ever owned.

On the third day I brought in reinforcements.  A carpenter to move a fence, a painter to clean up those window trims, a gardner to help me carry the potted plants that are five times my body weight who could also put sprinklers in them (so they might live past this special week.)  This process felt much like the typical vacation day when you go to the spa and have beauty or body experts help you get your relaxation on or like the days on an adventure holiday when super buff college dropouts show you the way to live better.  Only on my staycation, I was the expert.   These gents were all just helping me get one step closer to the life I dreamed of when I was meant to be paying attention to my children.

As my fantastical week at home was coming to a close, my house began to look and feel like it did when I was single.  Music was playing now.  The windows were open and a breeze was blowing (because the screens were in for the first time ever) and the house looked perfect.  Or as my husband used to say when he was still my boyfriend – my house looked like a museum.  Everything was in it’s perfect place and just waiting to be ogled by the masses.

I should say here that what I longed for next was for the beautiful children I bore to come fill my house with more than just well placed things.  That what my home really needed now was their laughter and little feet running by my bedroom door to finish the perfection.

But for that I might need two weeks at home alone.  When they did arrive back safe and sound, I made them play outside all weekend to try and keep the museum alive.

  1. Radka on Wednesday 2, 2014

    Very nice story! Thank you, Diane.

  2. Dan Mackey on Wednesday 2, 2014

    The Mr. Mom perspective is not so different except that with the giant family I rarely get mire than a weekend at best which compresses what I can get done. I never get to the museum phase but at least it looks better than some of the places they go in American Pickers, but only some of those places so far.