Wednesday of last week my wife, Heidi, announced to me that she had a mixed doubles tournament in Dallas. “Remember,” she began, “I’ll be gone this weekend from Thursday to Sunday.” “Where are you going?” I asked casually as I looked up from my computer monitor. “Dallas. I told you. I have a mixed doubles tournament.” “When did you tell me that?”
Mildly exasperated she explained “Last week and the week before that.” She then related that my two other housemates, her sister Cindy and their grandmother would be accompanying her. Unfazed, I casually replied “OK.”
I was in the middle of trying to draft my next blog entry but this new revelation gradually became a significant distraction over the next half hour. I became slowly smitten with the proposition of having the house to myself. I’m currently between jobs and trying to get my freelance practice off the ground, and so I have a lot of spare time on my hands. Visions of a continual diet of Saving Private Ryan, Blackhawk Down, and reruns of Parks and Recreation, while consuming unlimited amounts of bacon and scotch and sitting around in my boxers were suddenly foisted upon me. I was practically salivating.
Predictably, things unfolded a little differently than I imagined.
2:00 a.m. – A call from Heidi’s parents who were returning from upstate New York. They’re stranded in Kentucky; they hit a deer and totaled their van. No one is hurt but they can’t make Dallas in time to watch Heidi play, which was their goal.
10:00 a.m. – Cindy, who was planning to stay in her parent’s hotel room, announces she can’t afford to go.
11:00 a.m. – I realize the continual sneezing I’ve been experiencing since 5:00 a.m. is actually a cold and not allergies. Damnitall.
1:00 p.m. – Heidi’s parents are on the road again in a rented van. They think they might be able to make her second match on Saturday. Cindy decides she’s going to Dallas with Heidi.
1:15 p.m. – Heidi’s ride to Dallas, Sherrie, announces a new passenger; that makes five people in a compact sedan. Cindy opts out once again along with grandma.
1:30 p.m. – Sherrie insists that they can all fit and it’s only a three-hour trip. Cindy and Maxine can stay with Sherrie and Heidi until Heidi’s parents arrive. Cindy agrees to go.
1:45 p.m. – Cindy decides it’s too much hassle. My weekend plans are eroding before my very eyes and the roller coaster ride is beginning to make me nauseous.
4:00 p.m. – I bid Heidi goodbye and begin a steady diet of generic Nyquil and scotch.
6:00 p.m. – I head over to a local bar seeking the isolation I was hoping for. I forfeit the idea that I will be killing Nazis at Normandy and Somali terrorists in Mogadishu tonight.
9:00 p.m. – Completely blitzed, I head home and then file into my bedroom with my dog Gretl. I turn on Parks and Recreation and fall asleep five minutes into Season 2 episode 16.
10:00 a.m. – I awake, laying on my left side staring down the nose of my dog who is demanding breakfast in a low, throaty growl. I get up and wearing nothing but boxers and a t-shirt, feed the dog and make coffee. Unapologetic for my appearance, I offer a groggy good morning to grandma and Cindy.
11:00 a.m. – I call Jeff: “Dude. Let’s do lunch.” Jeff replies: “Twin Peaks.”
12:30 p.m. – The cold has moved to my chest. It’s too early for scotch so I switch my cold remedy to Nyquil and beer as we plot Texas secession from the union at the tacky breastaurant also known as a sports bar.
3:00 p.m. – I return home. Cindy is seeing a client in her home office. I sack out on the couch watching the History channel.
4:30 p.m. – I regain consciousness with an aching head and feeling a little dizzy. I call Fran: “Beer?” Fran replies: “5:30.” We spend a typical Friday evening of drinking, wings, and Karaoke. We argue over whether it’s a violation of the Sixth Commandment if I were the Seal Team 6 member fortunate enough to put a bullet in bin Laden’s head.
9:30 p.m. – I head home, announce to Cindy that I feel like crap, and hit the rack with the pooch. The weekend is looking up. I tune into Netflix and call up Apocalypto.
9:45 p.m. – Grandma wanders into my bedroom asking for Heidi. I yell at her to go back to bed. Somehow I make it through 2 hours and 20 minutes of subtitled Yucatec Maya dialogue while watching half naked men chase each other through the jungle. I turn on Parks and Recreation and fall asleep five minutes into season 2 episode 16.
10:00 a.m. – Gretl is losing her patience with my new sleeping habits. I put on a pair of jeans, make coffee, feed the dog, and check my e-mail. I check the laptop clock and realize it’s 11:30. I have no idea what I did with the 90 minutes I just lost.
12:10 p.m. – I meet Jeff at a Twin Peaks. Tom can’t make it because he’s waiting on the lawn guy to come over and collect his pay. Totally weak. I decide to lay-off the Nyquil for a few hours. I’m hacking like a smoker as we continue to plot the Texas secession.
2:10 p.m. – I suggest to Jeff that he and Tom and I get together for pizza and a History Channel presentation of Targeting bin Laden. I call Tom: “I’m going to Jeff’s tonight. I’m bringing pizza and we’re going to watch Targeting bin Laden. Are you in?” “Sure man.” “See you then.” I pull into the driveway, head for the den, turn on the History Channel and sack out on the couch.
4:30 p.m. – I open my eyes and after a few minutes stumble into my office. I feel like I’m just about over my cold. I check my e-mail. My phone rings. It’s Tom. “Dude; Art is coming over. I can’t make it tonight.” “What does he want?” I inquire. “I’m not sure. I think he wants to talk about that evangelist we were supposed to see tonight.” Annoyed, I shoot back “Dude you already bagged on that. We’re having pizza and we’re going to watch the Seals hunt down bin Laden.” Tom is firm: “Sorry man.” Completely lame.
4:45 p.m. – I get a call from Heidi. “We’re coming back tonight. I’ll be home at 7:30 or 8:00.” “Uhm, I was planning to go over to Jeff’s for Pizza.” I hear a disappointed “Oh. Well that’s OK. You have your plans.” “OK.” I retort.
5:30 p.m. – I realize I’m a jerk. I call Heidi. “How about if I make a meatloaf tonight?” “Well, we’re just now leaving Dallas and traffic is murder. Don’t worry about us. I’ll be home around 10:00 or 11:00.”
7:30 p.m. – I pull into Pappa Murphy’s Take-n-Bake. They are as slow as Christmas. I run across the street to pick up a six pack, and down two Nyquil gel-caps.
8:00 p.m. – I arrive at Jeff’s. We start living vicariously through Seal Team 6, but I’m a phlegm-bag. I pop two more Nyquil and begin my first round of beer and whiskey. I enviously eye the AR-15 Jeff is holding, wishing I had brought my AK-47.
8:30 p.m. – We put in the pizza.
8:40 p.m. – The Nyquil and alcohol are beginning to kick in. I’m razor sharp and my cold symptoms have completely dissipated. We are 2 minutes away from tasty awesome goodness and 15 minutes away from killing bin Laden. Heidi calls. “Hello?” I answer. “Where’s Cindy?” “Out with Gwen and and your grandmother. Why?” “I’m locked out in the front yard.” “Where are your keys?” “I left them in the house in case you guys needed to use my car.” I’m momentarily speechless. “I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.” I hang up. “Sorry Jeff. Duty calls.”
9:00 – I’m three minutes from the house. Heidi calls. “I just got in the back door.” I begin to doubt the existence of God.
9:10 p.m. – I find my wife unpacking in the master bathroom. “Hey; I’m home.” I offer with as much cheer as I can muster. Standing up with a blouse in her hand she exclaims “I know you’re mad at me!” I ignore and her and invite her to dinner.
OK do-over. I just found out that Heidi has another sectionals tournament in two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed. I really need a second shot at bin Laden.