– Home Alone –
22, 2004 – I have to admit, I knew it was coming. My husband
left me today. What could be worse? Well, a few things, I suppose.
From now on, it's just me and
Merlin – plus our three cats. Home alone. For three whole
weeks. After almost
25 years of being married to a research scientist, I should be used
to my husband's
absences while he goes gallivanting off to exotic places. During
the first decade of our marriage, I often accompanied him. But as
we got older and life became more complicated, it was harder
to get away. I'm sure you know how it is.
This time Billy has gone
to South America. More specifically, Brazil. Even more specifically,
the Patos Lagoon in southern Brazil.
180 miles long
and 40 miles wide, Patos Lagoon is one of the largest coastal lagoons
The lagoon's water is almost completely blocked from the Atlantic
by a 20-mile-wide
For reasons I won't get into, the presence of the barrier makes for
a very unusual marine environment with complex interactions occurring
and the ocean. My husband will
be collaborating with a team of American and Brazilian scientists
to study the seepage of the Patos Lagoon water through the sandy barrier
into the Atlantic Ocean. Although they'll be working along one
world's longest uninterrupted white-sand beaches, I'm
afraid it won't be much of a vacation. Most of their time will be
spent drilling holes and pumping water. So now you know why
I stayed home.
While the Cat's Away, the Mouse
I've always loved that old saying. My husband, on the other hand,
has learned to fear it. He has his reasons. Whenever Billy goes away
for more than a couple of weeks, I view his absence as a Golden Opportunity.
Early in our marriage, he might return from a trip to find the living
room completely rearranged, the dining room
or bedroom painted a bright new color, or an ambitious new piece of
furniture. Nothing too radical, just enough to get his attention and
while he is gone.
Over the years, I became
more bold. A 20-gallon fish tank with a population of 30
small fish suddenly
fish tank inhabited by many more personalities. (Bigger and brighter,
of course.) Once, Billy was welcomed home by
a large flock of geese in the driveway. They even chased his car – but
only because they hadn't met him yet. A few years ago, Billy came
home to find two new cats lounging in
"I thought we weren't going to get any more cats," he might
of said. And I might have answered, "But I was lonely."
What to Do?
Another Golden Opportunity, and I can't quite decide
what to do this time around. Maybe I'll get three more Great Danes,
is gone. I don't know, though.
Maybe that's a bit excessive. How about a goat? I've always wanted
Merlin would like a
goat. Then again, an emu might be nice.
I suppose the most radical
thing I could do – the thing that might shock Billy more
than anything else I've done so far – would be to clean
out my art studio. Mind you, "cleaning
out" is quite different from "cleaning up." Frankly,
I'm not sure three
be enough time
to short through twenty-five years
possessions. Billy calls it my JUNK. I call it my ART STUFF. Whatever.
I've decided I don't like that idea. Too much work. Guess
I need to keep on thinking about it, huh?