My wife and kids are going out of town for a long weekend to visit her parents in Florida. I will have three days and nights alone and have the house to myself for the first time since August 2006.
All by myself. A man's weekend.
· Get home from work at 1 a.m. as usual. Instead of going straight to bed, stay up and watch "Lost." Fall asleep in my chair to either The History Channel or "SportsCenter."
· Wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning and wonder where I am.
· 5:01 a.m. Remember where I am. Try to find eyedrops in the dark to clear up the crud in my eyes from falling asleep with my contacts in. Get in bed. Reach over to touch my wife's back like I always do and realize she's not there. Wonder what that strange, empty feeling is in my gut.
· 10:24 a.m. Hit snooze for third time, then turn off alarm clock, wondering why 97.1 has to play so much Boston. (I mean really, do y'all even listen to your own radio station? There are other bands, you know.)
· 11:40 a.m. Get up, fix a bowl of cereal and call wife. Hang up 20 minutes later. Empty feeling comes back.
· Noon to 1:30 p.m. More History Channel. Get ready for work.
· 7:01 p.m. Go to dinner. Call wife. She can't talk because she's eating dinner with her parents. Eat dinner by myself. Not much of an appetite. Go back to work.
· 12:45 a.m. Woo hoo, the fun's starting now! Go to bar for beers with co-workers. Have a grand total of one because I have to drive 30 miles home. Eat too many wings and chips.
· 2:45 a.m. Get home. Empty driveway reminds me no one is there. Go to bed in big, empty house.
· 11:15 a.m. Drag out of bed. Plan on putting computer desk my wife bought me together in the next few minutes.
· 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Watch movie I've seen a hundred times and then part of NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona.
· 4:01 p.m. Time to get started on that desk. Go into kitchen instead and fix plate of buffalo fingers.
· 6 p.m. Too late to start on computer desk. Better get a shower.
· 6:01 p.m. Wife calls. Wants to know how the desk is coming. Just getting around to it, I say. Talk to kids on phone. Hang up wondering how much emptier the house can get.
· 8 p.m. Actually get a shower. Go to grocery store to get stuff to fix chili because it's my weekend alone and I'm having guy food.
· 8:45 p.m. Pull into grocery store parking lot. Realize I don't feel like making chili. Go to Zaxby's instead.
· 9:30 p.m. Get home. Watch another movie I've seen a hundred times.
· 11:45 p.m. Go get computer desk box out of garage so I can start on it bright and early.
· Midnight to 2 a.m. Watch a lot more television. Think about doing something productive like working on one of my World War II model tank kits. That reminds me: Turner Classic Movies is playing John Wayne flicks. Change channel. Realize John Wayne movies don't start until Sunday afternoon. Go to bed.
· 2:01 a.m. Out of habit, reach over to touch wife's back. Realize again that she's not there. Must have something in my eye because I am most definitely not tearing up. I'm watching John Wayne and stock car racing tomorrow for chrissakes. Plus putting a desk together. Manly stuff.
· 11 a.m. Wake up. Wonder why 7-year-old hasn't been in to jump on bed and wake me up and then give me a hug like she normally does on Sunday. Look over at empty side of bed. Get something else in my eye.
· 12:10 p.m. Putting desk together with $300 drill my wife got me with some of our wedding money. I sit in front of a computer all day. I need this drill like Eskimos need snow. She wanted a storm door, but I wanted a drill. So she got me one, the best they had. Probably sawdust making my eyes all misty. Go put TV on John Wayne for testosterone boost.
· 12:30 p.m. Wife calls. They're just now leaving and won't be home until late. Tell her desk is almost together. She reminds me I promised to vacuum, too. Realize I rarely remember simple little things she asks me to do. Hang up, look down at $300 drill again. Feel like kicking my own butt.
· 5 p.m. Desk finally together. Have used cuss words even I didn't know I knew. Managed not to break anything. Sit down to watch rest of Daytona 500.
· 6 p.m. Eat canned soup and potato chips for dinner like in my single days. Get depressed and wonder what wife would have made if she'd been here.
· 9 p.m. Remember vacuuming. Get up and get it done just as wife and kids get home.
· 9:01 p.m. Run outside to help unload SUV. Hug everybody. Wife asks if I enjoyed my weekend. Tell her big lie and say I did. Make stupid joke about when her next trip will be.
· 11 p.m. Go to bed. Reach over to touch wife. There this time. Get something else in my eye.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.