It’s been a while since I was a bachelor. I had the scruffy, haven’t shaved since Spring semester, chin hair. I was still playing Beer Pong at a competitive level and participating in Power Hours. Weekends started after ‘Physical Geology 101’ on a Wednesday afternoon. The ‘Macarena‘ was heard on radio every 6 to 7 minutes. Part of everyday was devoted to a nap. I rarely showered and I had enough hair on my head to fool myself in to believing I wasn’t going bald. When I was a bachelor it was a glorious time indeed(of what I can remember of it).
I begin by telling you of this because this past week, my wife and daughters have been down in Orlando, Florida, leaving me, the cat, and the dog to our own devices and another shot at bachelorhood. This week away was going to give me an opportunity to revel in the past, if not forgotten, glory. I felt like Randy in a ‘Christmas Story’ playing with his toy Zepplin on Christmas morning. I didn’t know if I should be dancing around in my Fruit of the Looms to Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits or throwing a toga party with D-Day, Bluto, and Otis Day? All I knew was that the bachelor I had once been was going to have a coming out party. My imagination conjured visions of grandeur leading up to last Thursday when my girls were set to fly down to Orlando(I would giggle gleefully as I daydreamt about it).
So last Thursday came and my family went. I dropped my travelling gypsies off at the curb of the Southwest Airlines check in, backpacks, carry-ons in tow, at the Philadelphia airport.
Emma would not have even said goodbye to me had I not reminded her she was that excited.
Hannah sobbed because I wasn’t going along.
Alicia had the look of “What in the hell have I allowed myself to get into here?”
Par for the course for all three.
Admittedly it was sad to say goodbye and admittedly it was also exhilarating to think I would have the next 168 hours to myself(just the thought of being able to go to the bathroom without fielding questions about why I always lock the door was enough to get me geeked).
I sped down 95 South to the Blue Route, charting my next 7 days as if I were mapping out the surface of Mars with deliberate precision. Visions of late nights, debaucherous behavior, and binge drinking had me in reverie until I was at the 202N exit(I may or may not have run an old lady in a ‘K’ car off of 76 somewhere around the Philly Zoo exit).
As soon as I was past the King of Prussia mall I began texting friends to see who would like a ticket on my week long fun train. I wondered if any distributors would be open at 7:30 in the morning? By the Norristown exit I was wondering if I could drive in my underwear the rest of the way home. The Sanatoga exit brought with it the notion of my attendance at a strip club over the weekend. Passing Old Swede Road in Douglassville I contemplated ditching work just to begin the weekend early(If I was going to be a bachelor I was going to have to start thinking like one).
I came into Birdsboro and onto Pondview Drive. I pulled into my driveway and entered my quiet empty house. And the first thing I did?
I went to the bathroom because I had a 24 ounce Wawa coffee coursing through my digestive system waiting for me to release it since I left Philly.
I then got dressed and went to work(who was I kidding, I wasn’t skipping work). Little did I know the tame beginnings to my bachelor revisited week were just a preview of things to come. My premeditated schedule for my week home alone was going to play out vastly different than my mind’s eye had originally conceived it.
After work I came home to the same quiet empty house…well except for the dog. Penny is always good for a ball of fire ‘Welcome Home’ but my dog lapping my face wasn’t quite the same as getting a hug from my girls or a kiss from my wife. I began to realize I was missing my trio of ladies.
For fear of eating cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner(and too lazy to cook), I invited myself to my mom’s for dinner and then went back home. By 11:30pm I was snoring next to the dog. So night number one didn’t go according to plan but that was just one night. I had 6 more to go?
It’s Tuesday now and not one friend text me back about the fun train. Over the weekend I remembered if I were to drink any more than 3 beers my blood alcohol level reaches a point where I am legally not allowed to drive and I bagged the strip club idea because the only things I could think about were, ‘What if someone I know sees me walking in to a strip club with the rest of the perverts and their creased dollar bills?’ and ‘It’s a shame that girl with the triple D’s didn’t have a good father figure growing up'(plus if I really wanted to see boobs that badly, I would have just hopped online) and I didn’t miss one minute of work(in fact I have gotten there early every day).
I originally thought I had laid out what could have made for a Point Break type of week. The kind of week that could compare to Johnny Utah jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. What I came to quickly understand was I had no interest in being Johnny Utah(or Bodie for that matter…alright maybe Bodie). I only wanted to have my kids and wife back home. Sure being able to stretch out in bed was nice(only occasionally running into the dog), going to the bathroom with the door open was a breath of fresh air(in more ways than you can imagine) and being able to see the entire Phillies game without interrupting 4-6 innings of the game with ‘Suite Life on Deck’ or ‘iCarly‘ was great but in the end, I just missed my family.
I missed the noise and chaos a 7 and a 4 year old can generate. I missed the fun they make me have just by being around them. I missed the smell of my wife’s perfume. I missed her smile. I even missed the annoyance they can all tend to be from time to time. I shouldn’t have to tell you, having the dog to sleep next to doesn’t quite come close to Alicia next to me(and I don’t have to rub my wife’s belly to get her to settle down). Watching a Pedro Martinez start is nice but it can’t compare to getting a hug and an unsolicitated ‘I love you Daddy’ from my girls.
So what did the swinging bachelor that I am do for the past week? I had dinner with my mom, sister and father in law. I cut the grass. I did the wash. I ironed. I tried to arbitrate peace talks between the cat and the dog. I squeezed in a round of golf. I cleaned. I watched a lot of television and surfed the ocean known as the Internet. I ate cereal and some cold pizza. And I kept wishing for the week to come to an end by Sunday night.
I also came to a conclusion this week. I’m grateful the ‘Macarena‘, 212 ‘Power Hours'(a shot of beer every minute for an hour…you should try it sometime) and my life as a bachelor are in the past. That’s where they belong, in the past. They were fun at the time but times, as Bob Dylan wheezed, are a changin’. I look back on my former life with reverence and nostalgia but I just want to look back, not be back. I like my big boy ringtone on my cellphone. I don’t want to stop what I’m doing every minute to gulp another shot of beer. I stopped urinating in public a long time ago. I shower regularly. And I have no desire to be consumed by the hedonistic lifestyle I once had lived.
I want to be dad. I want to be a husband. I want to be a family man who has responsibilities and has those he is responsible for. Some respite time from the mayhem typically orbting my life is welcomed. And granted, I would be nice to be able to open the door to the bathroom every now and then but if to do it means I’ll have to be home alone? Then I’ll gladly shut it.