This past weekend, my husband left me for four days.
Alas, it’s not what you’re thinking. Although granted, that would make for a much better essay, the whole troubled marriage thing and “two people who love each other but grew apart and are trying to find their way back to each other.” But no, my stupid husband is perfect. Which makes for very boring writing on my part. In fact, if we ever do get divorced, it’s probably because he’s single-handedly killing my writing career by being nice and emptying the dishwasher without having to be asked.
Anyway, as I was saying, my husband left for four days to go to an IMPORTANT FANCY PROFESSIONAL PERSON conference in Cleveland. No big deal, right? Sure. Except for one very important freaky detail of our relationship…
Somehow, in our entire five-year courtship and subsequent two and half years of marriage, we have managed to never leave me at home all by myself. Now, this could either be because 1. my husband (probably rightly so) doesn’t really trust me home alone since I have the common sense of a five-year-old child on meth (“Babe! I invented a new game! It’s called Potato Fire Ball! Here…CATCH!”) or 2. Circumstances have simply never aligned for this particular situation.
That’s not to say we’ve never been apart. But it’s usually me leaving him to go to yet another friend’s wedding or to go visit family or to spend a night in the drunk tank (kidding…that’s only happened, like, three times, tops…speaking of which, Best. Arbor. Day. EVAH.) while he stays behind and does IMPORTANT FANCY PROFESSIONAL PERSON stuff.
So naturally, I was SUPER excited to finally be left to my own devices. And that feeling lasted for all of 45 minutes after he left until I realized how utterly boring it is. And how utterly boring I had become. It quickly dawned on me that we had become that couple that do EVERYTHING together. And now that we’re both in our 30’s, EVERYTHING constitutes sitting around in sweatpants and doing activities that can be done mainly from the couch. Which is fun as a twosome. But just sad and pathetic as a onesome.
So I passed the time as best I could. I had numerous Netflix marathons (“iCarly” is seriously underrated, you guys). I started reading “Wuthering Heights.” I fell asleep reading “Wuthering Heights.” I tried teaching my dog to fetch beer from the fridge. I spent a good couple of hours nursing a drunk dog, holding back his ears back and whatnot.
My boredom finally got so bad that I was reduced to taking on a PROJECT. You know what I mean. Not some rinky-dinky little project you do during a rainy afternoon because it will be fun. No. A PROJECT. An undertaking so big, only people on the brink of insanity caused by boredom would ever even think of taking it on. And the kind of thing you take on that HAS to be FINISHED that day in a manic flurry of activity or else it will never, ever be completed.
We’ve all been there. It’s why kitchens are re-tiled and garages cleaned out and living rooms re-arranged.
And my PROJECT was a suicide mission. But with nothing much left between me re-enacting the majority of “Grey Gardens” in my living room and me actually turning into Edie in real life, it had to be done.
So, I decided it was high time to finally organize the decades-worth of photos from childhood through post-college I had that were just lying around all willy-nilly in my closet in numerous shoeboxes.
No big deal, right? WRONG. Cause see, I have quite literally documented every moment of my life. Ever wonder what you ate before homecoming your freshmen year? Well, I don’t have to. I have a photo of it (cheeseburger and fries). Oh, what’s that? What beer was I drinking at my best friend’s 18th birthday? Natural Light, thanks for asking. And as for what Geoff was wearing at my first boy-girl birthday party in 8th grade? A striped polo shirt and backwards baseball cap.
I even kept all those wallet-sized school portraits. I have like three from elementary school of some girl named Suzanne that I don’t even remember.
So, starting out on my couch, I started going through them, putting them into different envelops organized by event and time period and how I good I personally looked in them. Four hours later, I was on the floor, photos scattered all around. Four hours after that, every surface of my house was covered in photos. And they were never-ending. Those photo boxes were like clown cars. Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly contain more, 300 from a college toga party poured out.
It was like they were multiplying. A prom photo of me and my ex-boyfriend mated with a photo of my college buddies Curt and Tim to produce a ducky-wip picture of my cousin.
It was madness, I tell you. MADNESS!
And to make matters worse, I also thought now would be the opportune time to reorganize my eight (EIGHT!) photo albums.
Sixteen loooong hours later, the PROJECT was finally done. Every photo catalogued and filed away (or thrown away if I happened to have a double chin in it). And every slot in my albums filled in a somewhat narrative order (for instance, sober to drunk for most nights out).
And despite the backache that is still bothering me from being hunched over for hours on end, the PROJECT served its purpose. Before I knew it, my husband was back. And our boring but happy life together continued as before.
And he’s now never allowed to leave again. Because I have about 10,000 photos from the past eight years stored on our computer in about 37 scattered, unhelpfully-named folders.
And that’s simply a PROJECT I don’t think I’d survive.