Tuesday, May 22, 2007

home again, home again, jiggety jig

Laura is back, exhausted! She traveled all day Saturday and slept half of Sunday. Yesterday her sinuses started a revolt, they apparently aren't pleased at their return to the land of pollen.

A few anecdotes from her trip:

They got locked in the Louvre. It was Friday and they were to leave on an afternoon train to return to England. Their only activity that day was their visit the Louvre. Having wandered through the museum for several hours time was drawing near for them to leave and they were making their way out. There were a few stragglers and they began to run behind schedule. Finally, everyone caught up and they were in the entrance area about to walk out the front doors when - the gates came down, locking them (and everyone else) in! No one could tell them why they were locked in nor when they would be able to leave. 30 tense minutes later they were released, facing a cross-city trip on the metro - in rush hour. They barely made their train.

They were touring London. They had just left the Tower of London and everyone was getting hungry. Laura was trying to convince them to cross the Tower Bridge, there were bound to be places to eat there. Nope. Everyone was dithering. Maybe they should go back to the tower grounds, there was a place there to get snacks. No one could make up their mind, no one would cross the bridge with Laura to look there, and after way to long Laura remembered a restaurant recommended by Antonia and she put her foot down - they were going to Chimes Restaurant. She wouldn't hear any more blather, she forced them to go. So after quite a trek (and a bazillion tube stops later) they finally arrive, tired and hungry. It was closed.

There were lots more stuff to happen, (apparently they severely flustered an english taxi driver (with an off-color joke) and several french youth almost lost their heads spinning 'round to see an ill-advised, form-fitting , cleavage displaying top Laura's sister wore to Versailles.) We are working on recording it in some form or fashion, pictures are forthcoming. While I didn't get the beefeater hat (nor a bearskin) I asked for, I did get a toby mug of a beefeater - so I guess I really did get my hat.

Meno had asked previously how I felt about being apart from Laura while traveling. I missed her terribly. Laura and I discussed this after she got home and we agreed that it is easier on the one traveling than the one staying home. The one traveling is outside of their normal environment, so the missing spouse - while not forgotten - is one more thing mixed in with the differences in the traveler's life. The spouse traveling is busy with whatever took them away from home, living in a temporary room, eating at restaurants, and either sightseeing if on vacation or working all day. I find if I'm the one gone I miss my wife mostly when I am eating (alone, usually) or going to bed (alone always!) . The spouse at home, however, is missing a large part of their daily existence. The traveling spouse is the only thing different, and so maybe the loneliness is magnified. While Laura was gone I found I thought of her more than usual during the day and the house seemed empty when I got home after work. Even though the kids were home ( my son works swings and is only home in the evenings for dinner or on the weekends, and while my daughter was usually there she was frequently in her room or gone to visit friends) it still felt wrong. This is our home, not just mine.

I am usually the one gone, but this isn't the first time Laura has been. Last year she spent 3 months in Missouri taking care of her mother. I had put that time behind me, but was reminded of how tough it was when Laura was in England. Maybe this time would've been a little easier if we hadn't spent that time apart last year. This trip has also made me much more sensitive to the effect my traveling has had on Laura. I went through a period from '96 through '98 where I was frequently gone two weeks, home two weeks, gone two weeks, etc. The kids were in grade school and one of them would usually sleep with Laura. I now understand why. It is hard getting into the bed alone that you share every night with your spouse.

I will soon be leaving for my own trips overseas, probably a month each. I have been eagerly anticipating going somewhere I've never been, experiencing cultures I've had little or no experience with. I am a bit less eager now, knowing what Laura will be feeling. I wish she could go, but I realize at a practical level that it wouldn't work. Being apart a day or two can be good, everyone needs a break every so often. You would think that the longer you are married, the older you get, the easier these separations get - and to a certain degree they are. But really, it doesn't get any easier to be apart from your life's partner.

21 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

thailandchani said...

Your relationship with Laura is inspirational. :)

Glad her trip went well though and that she was able to take a long visit there.



Bob said...

Chani - that's quite a complement! I'll remind Laura of that the next time I make her angry.

meno said...

i'm happy to hear that she is home safely.

My husband didn't realize that it was harder on the one at home until i traveled several times one year. Now he is much more aware of how empty the house is.

One of our goals, after Em goes off to college, is to not spend any nights apart.

Hooker said...

"locked in the louvre" is a cool phrase.

i bring nothing to the table. sorry.

jen said...

oh, sigh. i love your love for laura.

and i love that she got locked in the louvre.

i louvre your love. hee hee.

Bob said...

Meno - I assume your pledge means accompanying TheMister(tm) on his business trips. I hope they are to big cities so you'll have plenty to do while he is working. Most of my trips were to small towns where there was literally nothing for a visitor to do.

hooked - it does get your attention, doesn't it?

Thanks for coming by and your comment!

Jen - a romantic lurks under the passionate activist exterior! I knew it all along.

gawd, you've been louvre'd!

Mir said...

Yeah, what Chani said. I think it's so sweet that you miss each other so much. :)

Bob said...

Mir - Aww, shucks.

I know how tough it is for you two right now. I know this summer seems way far off, but it will be here soon.

Mother of Invention said...

You are absolutely right about the person at home missing the partner who is gone way more. In fact, if you're the one gone, you feel guilty for not thinking of them more but you're just too busy with exciting stuff.

I like the space it gives you when at home alone, but I certainly don't like it at night. And I'm way more dependent on him if something to do with house maintenance comes up or sick pets etc.

Looking forward to some pics!

Oh, The Joys said...

I hate traveling without K. He's my best friend and companion. If he's not there I feel like half of myself is missing. I want to share it all with him and when I can't I'm frustrated.

Bob said...

MoI - Laura is the cat doctor here, so none of them are allowed to get sick while she's gone.

OtJ - It isn't the same when I go somewhere without her. When Laura got home, she told me the whole time she was in Paris she was thinking that we would have to go together.

Lee said...

I hope someday to maybe have a partnership like yours and Laura's. Right now I'm completely dissallusioned.

Bob said...

Lee - don't give up.

I am a lucky man to have Laura.

urban-urchin said...

Go to Paris with Laura, don't do it someday, because if you are like me sometimes someday never materializes.

Travelling alone stinks but it is nice to have the opportunity to miss someone (does that make sense?)

Sober Briquette said...

The joke. What was the joke?

When we were in England, a lot of sights we wanted to see were closed - short hours in the winter.

I hope you get to take a trip together soon. (I asked Tony to get my '77 CJ7 back on the road for my birthday this year - Sept. - and I want to get away for a kid-free weekend driving it.)

I used to travel for work, and although I enjoyed the places I visited, every experience was filtered through my idea of how Tony would see it. I was always missing him; he was always with me in my mind.

Susanne said...

How nice that you have been missing her. Just think about it, if you were married to someone you would gladly see gone...

My husband and I are never apart. We get itchy if one of us leaves the house for an evening out alone. We even work here.

Bob said...

Urban-Urchin - I agree, although our vacation budget needs a shot in the arm, so it will have to wait until next spring, I think.

Yep, it makes sense to me - I like having the opportunity to miss someone.

De - Everyone needs a break, especially when there are young-'uns in the house. I hope you get your birthday present.

I do the same as you, when I visit places by myself I notice things I know Laura would like.

Susanne - I have heard people say that they prefer to vacation w/o their spouse. It makes me wonder what kind of marriage they have.

Moogie said...

I'm glad that Laura made it home safe and sound. I agree with you, that, while on some levels, it's easier to be apart the longer you are married...it's sometimes so much harder because you are so much a part of each other's lives.

Enjoy. :)

Bob said...

moogie - yes, there is that dichotomy.

amusing said...

wow. So you mean it's really possible? But there are really only about 100 of you guys who actually want to be committed to someone, aren't there? And y'all are already committed, aren't you? So that means, for those of us who chose badly the first time around, we'll just be coping with the serial relationships from here on out....

This is my theory. (And note I didn't say serial "monogamous" relationships either....yeesh.)

Bob said...

Amusing - yes, believe it or not, there are a few of us around that want to be committed.......so someone. There are more of us, don't give up yet!

I did note you didn't say monogamous - the more the merrier?