Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Noticeably different in my life as you read this, I will be two thirds of the way to the airport to drop off my wife and daughter for a one month visit to the Philippines before Mrs. Abbey begins residency for the third time in her life. I'm not worried about them getting along over there but I am worried about the getting over there part. My wife is strong and will get the job done but I know I would be worried if I knew that I was going to be cooped up in a tin tube for nearly 24 hours with a two and a half year old that I need to keep entertained. My normal routine for long distance flying is taking lots of sedative type drugs so I sleep the time away. This option isn't available with a kid.

We made the decision for me to stay home last fall when we bought the plane tickets at perhaps the apex of their price. The same ticket is now $700 cheaper. We didn't want to spend the money for a third ticket (you know the whole economy thing) and I just didn't have the time off. Because this is my third job in a dozen years, I have restarted at the bottom of the scale three times. If I still have a job at the end of this year, I will have three weeks vacation for the first time in my adult life but for now I only have two. Because I hope Mrs. Abbey will be starting residency later this summer, I am going to have to be Mr. Mom which means when Little Abbey gets sick or the daycare lady needs a vacation, I have to spend days of vacation at home. So that left perhaps only a week to use on a trip to the Philippines and with essentially four of those days spent traveling there and back, it just didn't seem worth it. Plus, I think it will allow for a less stressed out mother-in-law when she doesn't have to entertain me or speak English.

This will be the first time in over five years that I have been alone. Thankfully I have tales of R. Sherman doing similar stints alone at home while the wife and kids are overseas so I know if is survivable. I know it will be easier to live alone for a month than keeping a kid entertained on a plane for 24 hours but I'm not looking forward to it. I will have to actually do the laundry instead of just help fold it and I'm going to have to cook all my meals instead of just the evening meals during the weekdays. Perhaps the biggest concerns will be going from having a noisy house full of the voice of a chattering two and a half year old to nothing at all.

I have thought this out and think the best solution is to stay busy and to do projects that would be hard to do while entertaining a chatty two and a half year old. Have I mentioned that my daughter likes to talk? So this narrowed things down to a home remodeling project and I only had three currently on my list. Two of them were to remodel the two bathrooms but getting close and personal with a toilet or shower just didn't seem like what I had in mind. So I am going with option three, remodeling the last part of the house that I can still call as my territory, the garage.

It serves its purpose of keeping two cars out of the snows of winter and rains of summer as well as housing other essentials of daily life such as bicycles, boats, strollers, tools, etc. It even had a small work bench that I made once upon a time when I lived in an apartment. But it is dark, dingy and getting kind of cluttered. So I am taking a $100 gift certificate that I got for Christmas and putting that into sprucing things up a bit and perhaps getting things better organized. My hope is that I will actually have some space to do some more projects without having to work around my wife's potting area, juggle power tools from storage to workspace and back again just to keep some space free. I'm sure I will have several posts with pictures as I progress with the project for the next month.


sage said...

May their travels be safe. Do you also have a stack of books to read?

Beau said...

Sounds like a great project. Hope the time passes quickly and constructively. I'm sure you'll miss the pitter-patter of little feet...

Murf said...

I have plenty of vacation time and can be quite chatty if you get that hard up. :-)

R. Sherman said...

To be honest, the first several days are Nirvana -- huge cheese burgers and pizza; loud stereo, then it get's tedious. I find that if I throw myself into work, the time flies and they're back before you know it.

As for the traveling part, I, too worried about my wife and kids, especially when she was traveling with all three. Although the total trip to Germany was only about 18 hours door to door, I worried about my middle son running off while my wife worked on the infant youngest.

Of course, everything turned out OK and those long airplane flights trained the kids to endure our endless drives out west.

So, you know, bonus! Little Abbey will be ready to drive to Utah when she returns!

Good luck, and cheers.

TC said...

Awww, this was so cute :) I'm sorry you're missing them. I hope they have a safe and relatively fast flight.

And ROFL at Murf :)

The Real Mother Hen said...

Feed Little Abbey some cough syrup and let her sleep all the way! Nah, that's mean, but I've heard that grape juice does the same trick :)

What about building another kayak in the next month?

Ed Abbey said...

Sage - Currently I am reading a monster of a book which happens to be book two in my goal to read a biography on each of the presidents in chronalogical order. I am reading David McCullough's John Adams which tops in at over 750 pages. I'm guessing that will keep me busy unless I finish up the garage project in record time.

Beau - I missed them within seconds of their departure through the terminal gate.

Murf - I'll keep that in mind when hell freezes over. ;)

R. Sherman - I really drew a lot of inspiration from your posts on this subject. I certainly hope this prepares her for the long car trips as we have one this winter when we head to Alabama for my brother's wedding.

TC - Thank you. I think I now have a second Murf in you.

Mother Hen - We talked about it some but just couldn't do something like that. It's one thing to do it to myself but to do it to her... well I just couldn't do it and neither could Mrs. Abbey. As to the kayak, I don't think I could possibly get one done in a month, especially with a disaster area I call my garage. Perhaps when the garage is more functional, I'll consider another one sooner than I had thought.

Murf said...

TC - Coming from Ed, that is the ultimate compliment.

Ed - Oh come on. Did I forget to include that I am quite potty trained?

TC said...

You meant that as a compliment, right? :)

Don't worry: we'll gang up on Sage first :-D

geri said...

Last time I talked to my husband he had a hundred errands to accomplish, half of them probably unneccessary :) Don't worry too much about Mrs. and Little Abbey, Elmo will keep Little Abbey happy. But I gotta say, based on our last trip, coming back to the US will be harder travel wise, esp the jetlag.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I've never done it by myself, but being a father and in the Air Force, I dragged my family all over the world on flights that took as long. In 82 we did it with three kids, all three still in diapers. Luckily, I had cute kids, they didn't whine and cry much, so everyone around us loved to help keep them occupied.