June 2011


Note: This column is NOT about my children. Since we have recently discovered that their friends apparently read the Free Press and like to share it, in school, I have been forbidden to ever use them again as a topic for discussion. They were especially distressed about the words “sniveling, fetal position and squeaky-voiced.”

The kids are gone. They left last night for Branson, MO. Branson is apparently the Country Music Evangelical Redneck Capital of the World. I wouldn’t know, having never spent any time between the Eastern Seaboard and the Rocky Mountains except to drive through all of it as fast as I could.

But my kids are busting with excitement. Tubing, go-carting, shooting, 4-wheeling – their every fantasy, unachievable while with their peacenik mother, will be lived out in glory. I know that for the next five years, at least, all I will hear is, “Well, when we were in Branson…” Dad will certainly be the cooler parent and they will be more disappointed in me as a human being than they already are.

They are going to meet their future stepgrandparents and aunts and uncles. Admittedly, it’s a little bizarre. Mostly in the fact that said step-grandparents are probably pretty close to my age, given the fact that the future stepmother is young enough to be my daughter. But, besides that fact, they will have a great time and I will actually get some time to myself.

I can count, almost on one hand, how many days I have had alone since the divorce. Not many at all. And that’s okay, don’t get me wrong, I want them around as much as possible – even though these days, the feeling isn’t mutual. The thing about it all is…

I have no idea what to do with myself.

Is that totally pathetic?

Everything I do revolves around them or at least their presence. If I am not cooking dinner for them, I am squeezing in a quick run before I have to cook dinner for them. When they are not here, I am checking in with them to know where they are until they do arrive back home. And I am always at the grocery store.

Now that they are gone for almost two weeks, I don’t have to cook noodles for anyone, I can actually do my own laundry and I may not go to the City Market for at least a week.

So what am I going to do with all of this free time?

Here is a list of possibilities:

  • I could go to a movie.
  • Go out to dinner.
  • Go to dinner and a movie.
  • I could leave the house without my cell phone.
  • I might have a party.
  • Go to the casino.
  • Work late (right).
  • I could stay out all night.
  • Or, stay home, drink wine and watch porn until I pass out.
  • Have a different man over every night.
  • Combine those two.
  • Run 10 miles every day before 8 a.m.
  • Eat doughnuts for breakfast and ice cream for dinner.
  • Play my music really loudly instead of “Hollywood Undead.”
  • Let the dishes pile up in the sink.
  • Not make the bed.
  • Walk around the house naked – with or without each of those different men.
  • Run away. As an aside here, I am having trouble coming up with a list – that’s how out of practice I am at this.

What I will probably do instead:

  • Sit on my ass.
  • Call my Mom.
  • Rent a movie so I don’t have to leave the house.
  • Stare at the cell phone, hoping they will call.
  • Not have a party because I don’t like people all that much.
  • So not a gambler.
  • Actually, probably will work late.
  • Be in bed every night by 9.
  • Alone.
  • Drink tea, not wine, since I do have that thing about drinking alone.
  • Watch “Friends,” not porn.
  • Hate porn.
  • Really? Run every day?
  • Eat lots of leafy greens since I belong to a CSA and I am overwhelmed with lettuce, Asian mix and parsley.
  • Listen to “Hollywood Undead” so I feel like they are in the next room instead of half way across the country.
  • Do the dishes since I am completely anal and can’t stand even a spoon in the sink.
  • And yes, the bed will be made since, as mentioned, I am a little OCD.
  • Clean their rooms.
  • Clean the entire house.
  • Go grocery-shopping to stock up on Hot Pockets for their return.
  • I will run away – river trip. But I will miss them the entire time.
  • So, I will pull river gear. I will try to evict the black widows so they don’t drown when I put my boat in the water.
  • I will attend to those items that slipped off my radar after last fall’s river trip
  • And yes, fellow boaters, you can imagine what that unsavory task might be…
  • And as for the plethora of men that I could be entertaining,
  • I don’t even know that many different men.
  • And no one really wants to see me naked right now.
  • Especially not drunk and naked.

In other words, while they are visiting the site of the Country’s Largest Jesus Statue, I will be twiddling my thumbs, getting a ton of sleep, viewing an endless stream of chick flicks, scrubbing toilets and jogging from here to the coffee shop.

Suzanne Strazza writes from Mancos, Colo.