Oh, yeah. I may be almost Medicare-eligible, but when my wife goes away on a four-day family reunion trip, I still know how to let loose and get it on!
(That sounds like a '60's term, "get it on," the decade, not the age; can't be sure; at my age I'm forgetful about everything except how damn old I am.)
And you know what? I don't even mind if my wife reads what I'm about to say. Hey, we've got that kind of marriage. She knows that as soon as she heads off to the airport, I'm going to... party!
Senior citizen husband style.
The first thing I do is let the dirty dishes accumulate in the sink. For as freaking long as I feel like it. No more rinsing, putting them in the dishwasher right away, and wiping the stainless steel sink dry. Like I've been trained.
This wild beast is busting free of his matrimonial cage! The dogs and I are in control of the homeland, now. With me in control of the dogs. Sort of.
Laurel, my wife, left me with three pages of written instructions about how to take care of the dogs. The exact same dogs I've lived with for so many years.
Granted, our oldest dog, Serena, has an eye problem that requires twice-daily drops and an antibiotic. I did need some instructions about her treatment, since Laurel has been taking care of that. But come on, three pages!
That seemed ridiculous.
Until one morning I went down to the "dog room" where they spend the night on a futon and in a cushy dog kennel, glanced at their water bowl, and thought uh-oh. Bone dry. That was item #26, or whatever, on the three page instruction list.
Well, the dogs were still alive. Not even panting. That vindicated my I'm In Charge decision to only pay attention to the crucial items on the Dog Care Instructions. LIke giving them food, water... Oops. OK, let's switch subjects.
To my wild and crazy nights.
The first evening Laurel was gone I began to fulfill a desire that my wife is incapable of satisfying: watching movies with a lot of violence and action scenes. I checked our Netflix queue for films that I'd put on the list, but which never got watched because they didn't meet my wife's Cinematic Acceptability Criteria.
Basically, no gratutious violence and no mindless car chases, explosions, or other action scenes. Which meant that I'd never watched Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol or Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version).
It felt great to sit down with the dogs and stream both via Netflix during the four nights my wife was gone.
What I liked the most was the silence: no female voice saying, "Turn the sound down; I hate to listen to torture scenes." Or, "That's impossible; nobody could survive a crash like that and not be seriously hurt."
Which saved me from replying irritatedly, "The movie is called Mission Impossible for god's sake! If I only wanted to see realism I'd just live my boring real life and not watch movies." Or, "The guy deserved to be tortured; he was an asshole who got what he deserved from Lisbeth Salander."
Blissfully, the dogs weren't disturbed at all by the movies I watched each night.
What bugged our youngest dog was the 4th of July fireworks that were set off before, during, and after the 4th by people choosing to celebrate our nation's declaration of an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by making our dog Zu Zu extremely unhappy with loud booms that went on, and on, and on.
I'd sleep with ear plugs, something Zu Zu couldn't do. When I woke up and got out of bed, I did what I always do: leave the bed unmade.
Returning to our bedroom in the evening, I always was semi-surprised to find the bed still unmade. I'd figured that the Bed Fairy took care of this. I made a mental note to tell Laurel, when she got back, that the Bed Fairy must have hitched a ride in her suitcase, because there was no sign of her now.
Ditto for the Kitchen Fairy, but I didn't really believe in her -- because I knew that Laurel and me equally shared clean-up chores in that room of the house.
Still, I guess I had been misjudging our relative contributions, since during the four days I relished doing half of what I usually do to keep the kitchen clean and picked-up, it seemed like the kitchen was eight times as messy.
Somewhere along the line I must have made an arithmetical error in calculating our domestic duties contributions. However, I didn't feel like wearing out my brain thinking about what it could be. Needed to save my attention for the evening action-movie-watching.
Along with taking care of the dogs.
My four day return to carefree bachelorhood was marred by the constant sense of being a single father. Of demanding canines. They bugged me more than usual, probably because they missed Laurel.
I'd be relaxedly sitting in the bathtub, soaking in hot water, reading People magazine, sipping a glass of red wine, and Zu Zu would come in to the bathroom, then lie down on the mat next to the tub. She doesn't do that typically.
So as much as I wanted to feel free of marital and "parental" responsibilities, I never could shake the feeling that two pairs of dog eyes always were looking at me, wordlessly accusing.
Mommy takes us for longer walks. Mommy checks us for burrs better than you do. Mommy doesn't forget to fill our water bowl. (Ouch, too true.) Mommy rubs our tummies more often. Mommy tells us a story before bed.
After a couple of days I thought about checking to see whether there is a respite service for temporarily single dog "parents." The pressure of constantly being the care-giver was beginning to wear on me. I fantasized yelling at the dogs "Fix your own dinner; you know where the pantry and refrigerator are!" like I did when my teenage daughter would lie on the couch and moan, "Dad, I'm hungry!"
But then I realized that our dogs don't have fingers and haven't been trained to use the can opener.
So my Wife's-Away Long Weekend turned out to not be as wild and crazy as I'd hoped it would be.
Plus, I dutifully cleaned up the house before Laurel got home. What I've learned is that if I tidy things up as well as I can, my wife will walk in the door, take a quick glance, and say "Did you do any cleaning while I was gone?"
Not sure what her reaction would be if I left the house looking like it did most of the time she was gone. Start looking for a divorce lawyer, maybe.