This happens every time the Captain goes away. For the first few days, I'm dealing with a child with separation anxiety and trying to make things consistent. Then, for the bulk of the separation, I'm in my groove, getting things done, falling into comfortable routines, occasionally dropping Rosemary's Baby with a sitter so I can have a day to buy groceries and get a head start on the Christmas shopping. And then the last 3 weeks is upon me and my body realizes I'm in the home stretch and gives me permission to give in to the exhaustion. This is where the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan.
When my brain catches up and realizes my body is screaming "ENOUGH!!", it wants to help me out. And I love it for that. Unfortunately, in these situations (and many others), my brain is like a friend who means well with her indulge-yourself advice, but just ends up getting me into trouble, and lots of it. When I want to sit on the kitchen floor and blubber for an hour about how I just want the Captain to come home and take me on a date to Boston Pizza, instead of reminding me I'm mere DAYS away from sitting on the couch with him watching Dexter and eating cheesy popcorn, my brain says "You know what? I think you deserve a new wardrobe!" And that's no good.
And you know what I learned this evening? I'm not the only one.
Many, many moons ago, when the Captain and I were first married, he was working 60 hours a week at a local newspaper, making sweatshop wages, and I was in school full-time and working at a horrible little coffee shop in a mall until all hours and making next to nothing as well. We had rent to pay, tuition to scrape together and the dream that someday we'd be able to afford our very own acreage in the middle of nowhere. Some nights, he'd come pick me up and we'd hem and haw about whether we should go through the Wendy's Drive-Thru. We knew we shouldn't be spending the $8 (or eating greasy fries at 11PM), but when you're that tired and that demoralized, it's hard to be sensible. So we'd get our burgers and go back to our cruddy 70's throwback of an apartment (vinyl-cushioned walls and a pull-out shuffleboard, anyone?!), watch Letterman and wonder if it'd ever get better. And this is just like that.
The Captain told me tonight he was trying to keep his eating-out to once a week, but it wasn't hard to read between the lines. After nearly 2 months of heating himself up an instant Hamburger Helper in his depressing room every time he got hungry, his resistance was wearing thin. He misses us and he's exhausted too, and in the back of his mind, there's a voice telling him to give in and indulge in the only thing he has at his disposal to make it all better: delicious restaurant eats.
So, how to make it through the final few weeks without blowing the budget and creating even more stress when the Captain does finally waltz back in and dump his stuff everywhere? Sadly, it seems the only answer is boring old willpower.
But I have lots to do before the Captain returns. A house to clean, dogs to bathe, kids to keep alive. And if I can focus hard enough on this, I SHOULD be able to avoid the shopping spree that will undoubtedly work against me in the divorce proceedings. And then perhaps our military family reunion will be easy and pleasant.
That is, unless he's eating a porterhouse right now.