Adjusting to Being Home

Bernd, Bonfire and Maddie

I’ve been a stay-at-home wife and humom to a dog (the eponymous Maddie) and cat (Bonfire) for a few years now. I’ve got the routine down. I know the rules of the house as dictated by the dog and the cat.

My husband, Bernd, just this morning got the word that his place of employment is closed for the duration … however long that might be. No one knows right now. In the last few weeks, he’s gone in to work only a handful of days at the most. More likely it’s only about three. So he’s actually been home a lot.

But now that it’s official (he was told he should apply for unemployment insurance benefits and that they would rehire him when they reopen; they said “when” but I think it’s more like “if” they reopen). So just today, I feel like he’s really and truly unemployed. It’s a relief in some ways since now we don’t have to wonder if he’ll get a call to go in to work. We don’t have to worry about what that might expose him to. And we can seriously make plans for our financial future. Mostly that will mean spending as little money as we possibly can.

We always figured that one day he would actually retire. Even though Bernd is 67 now, he still planned to work for quite a few more years. So retirement wasn’t going to come any time soon. Our combined social security benefits are not enough to meet our monthly needs. So he was hoping to continue earning while collecting the benefits so that we might increase our savings.

Enter Covid-19 and the dashing of those hopes. For the time being anyway.

I’m accustomed to keeping things kind of tidy and uncluttered. I like good organization and everything has a place and I like everything to be in its place. Bernd looks at things a little more loosely.

So I find myself constantly reminding myself that he lives here too and that I should relax. It hasn’t been easy. The relaxing part.

Add to that the fact that anything we get in the mail or delivered has to sit somewhere for at least 24 hours before we touch it again (after bringing it in and then thoroughly washing our hands), and you’ve already got a mess that I find weighing on my psyche. I should just look at it all as a learning experience. Can you see my raised eyebrows as I doubt my ability to do that?

On my husband’s part, I explained one of the cardinal rules of the critters with whom we share our lives when he first started being home a lot. Today, I realized, he’s forgotten that rule. I was made aware by the many complaints and heavy sighs and grunts of displeasure that came from the living room as Bernd attempted to peacefully eat his very delicious lunch.

Maddie and Bonfire’s rule number one is this: any time humom or hudad sit down in a chair and make a lap, that lap may be sat upon by either Maddie or Bonfire or both.

I explained to Bernd that if he wants to eat in peace, he cannot sit anywhere that allows his lap to be occupied by either of the wee ones. Today, he forgot about that.

During the day, if I sit, I sit at a desk or on a stool at the breakfast bar. I will sometimes even eat standing up. If I can crochet standing up, I will. Sometimes I will read standing up. All to avoid having to disappoint the little beggars. That’s putting it diplomatically.

So where is Bernd right now? He is sitting in his recliner, having finished lunch quite some time ago, with both Maddie and Bonfire in his lap. He’ll get it figured out sooner or later. In the meantime, it’s really not a bad day to spend in your chair. It is raining off and on with some hail mixed into it. So a hot drink, a good book, and a couple of compliant lap warmers isn’t such a bad thing.

There will be other adjustments we will both have to make while spending all our time together. But we’ve made them in the past when we owned our own business for a few years (that was fairly interesting for a while and that’s putting that diplomatically). So I’m confident that we will be fine this time too. Eventually.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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