The ‘I’m not leaving the house’ blues

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Do you ever stay away so long you wonder why you even have a house? I mean, besides to have a spot for all your Christmas decorations and, oh yeah, those “family” people who live there? I haven’t stayed out that long in quite some time, and I really respect and have a lot of compassion for those who do it on the regs.

Unfortunately, I can’t always extend the compassion to my own driver, who makes the statement, “I am not leaving the house for three days,” every time he hits the door for home time. We all know this is a filthy lie. The dog looks at me, I look at the dog, we shrug our shoulders and let him have his moment before I tell him the dog has a vet appointment at 9 the next morning. He always goes to Buck’s vet appointments when he’s home. We don’t have long left with ol’ Buck. He’s got a real soft spot for the old boy, so he doesn’t miss doctor day.

We get up and leave the house less than 12 hours after he makes the statement “I am not leaving the house for three days.” We go to the vet, and stop at the pharmacy on the way home, which leads to stopping at the grocery for treats to wrap the medicine in. We get home around noon, and George flops on the couch and says, “I am not leaving the house for the next two days.”

I don’t have the heart to tell him our daughter has a doctor’s appointment the next day, in Cincinnati, and wants him to go with her. We’ve had some rough times with our daughter recently. She’s been really sick and recuperating from multiple surgeries, and her dad has been beside himself about it. He’s definitely not going to miss taking her to the doctor when he’s home. So I fix him a nice lunch, and let him rest a bit before I tell him.

He gets up the next day and goes to Cincinnati, which eats up half the day again. He comes in, flops on the couch and says, “I’m not leaving the house for the next 24 hours.”

And I tell him, “We’re going to make that happen, babe.” And I don’t have anything planned, but I know deep in my heart it’s a filthy lie.

We order his favorite food for dinner, have it delivered, and 20 minutes after we finish eating I get a text from our son: “Is dad home?”

Everyone knows how this part of the story goes. When mom gets the text, “Is dad home?” it either means they need help from dad or money from mom that they promise to pay back before dad gets home. You all do it, you know it, don’t lie.

He didn’t need money. Our kids don’t ask for money very often, but this time I really hoped it was as easy as transferring $50 to his bank account. It wasn’t: “I locked my keys in my car. Can dad come get them out for me?”

And because dad is the magic guy with every tool in the world, he gets up off the couch, takes his little window pump and saves the day again. (This is actually something George enjoys. Breaking into cars, not saving the day. And not really “breaking into cars” exactly, but opening the door when someone has locked the keys inside. We paid $56 one time to have ours opened, and he went straight home, ordered the tools to do it himself, and no one will ever pay again to have keys extracted from locked cars in our family. It’s a dad thing.)

He gets home about 10 p.m., about the same time he gets the text message that he has a run to Texas at 11 a.m. the next day. “I am not leaving the house for 12 hours …”

And this time, he really didn’t.