Travel widow: The five-day trip

Guess who?
Guess who?

I’m often asked: “Is your husband away a lot?” The truth is, he’s home a lot more than most husbands who work 9-6 plus over-time and weekends. But, of course, the nature of his job means that every time he does leave, it’s for an overseas trip of varying lengths.

His favourite jollies jaunts are to Europe – about seven hours there and back, two days away in total and a European city, such as Munich or Paris, at his disposal (what’s not to like?). I think he rather enjoys Bangkok too (not too much I hope) and, naturally, he loves returning to his home country, the States.

This week, he’s on a five-day trip to Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been with him on this one, and so I know the 14-hour journey to Sydney, the onward flight to Auckland and the jet lag are tough. But, the hardest thing, in my opinion, is the distance: it honestly feels like he’s dropped off the end of the world.

Before he left, he said to me: “Y’know, when I’m away, especially when I’m gone so far, the children just get better and better in my mind.”

“YOU WHAT?” I retorted, not sure if I’d heard him properly. I looked at him quizzically, through disbelieving eyes – but he meant it. He misses them so much that, to him, they become little angels, and not the whirling dervishes that seem to visit every time he’s gone.

So, I can’t resist, this is a day-by-day summary of not just our children’s angelic ways, but the household frustrations that he’s missing this week.

Day 1:
All is calm. This isn’t so bad, I think. The boys and I really bond when DH is away and we eat boiled eggs for dinner.

Day 2:
BB develops an ear infection, complicated by whining and exacerbated ten-fold by his noisy brother, who starts shouting erratically as though he’s got Tourette’s. We see the doctor and start antibiotics.

Day 3:
BB’s well enough for school and is all ready at 7.15am, but the bus doesn’t turn up. I phone the mum in charge and find out there’s no school. Teacher training. Sigh. (I swear, they have so many days off here that mums might as well tell themselves there’s no school, and then be pleasantly surprised when there is.)

Day 4:
The gas runs out in the middle of cooking dinner – time to call a gas delivery company (such as ‘Al Boom’ – yes, that’s its name, really!). TV stops working.

Day 5:
The boys are fighting like gerbils. They’re desperately trying to get their hands on our electronic devices. I eventually hide the iPad, and they go for my iPhone, and when I take that away too, LB grabs my Kindle like an addict and starts tapping it furiously in the hope it might have Minecraft on it (this can only end in tears). At bedtime, he tells me petulantly, “I’m not closing my eyes, I’m NOT!”

Happy days! Hurry home DH (and by way of a full disclosure, I actually wouldn’t swap roles in a million years.)

PS: If your husband is on the road a lot, do check out this article, in which Gulf ‘Travel Widows’ (including me!) reveal how they cope with the lifestyle.

4 thoughts on “Travel widow: The five-day trip

  1. When the boys were small, MrL traveled frequently for work. It always seemed like that was when the dog and/or the children were ill and the internet went down/plumbing exploded/garage door stopped working. The worst part was that by the time he came back, everything was under control again, and I never felt like I could adequately convey how terrible things had been while he was gone – I just knew he didn’t believe me!

  2. The best part of a spouce working out of town is meal time with a house full of kids. I used to have to meet up with other adults during the week just to have a lunch or dinner suitable for adults.

    • That is so true! I just don’t bother cooking nice things when it’s just the kids and myself, because all they want is plain spaghetti! By the end of the week, it’s coming out my ears! x

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