The last time my husband left on a business trip, Bean was five months old and I was still getting my head, feet, and hands around this parenting thing. I had great trepidations about being a single parent for three weeks, but in the end it all went fine and Bean and I survived and dare I say, even thrived. However, when my husband recently left again, I felt secure in my parenting tasks, but it was the time-filling tasks where I had my doubts. So, lists were made, crafts were lined up, and Kuwait destinations for exploration were selected. We were set!
The first day of his absence didn’t start off well, though. Bean was a grump most of the day (either due to the arrival of four new teeth, or because she was missing Daddy), and after finally getting her to nap in the late morning, I happened to walk by the kitchen and saw it was flooded. There was water everywhere. I waded through it and tracked it back to our washing machine, which was happily spewing out waves. My first instinct was to grab towels; not the best idea (requires continued use of said-malfunctioning washing machine), but then I remembered the floor squeegee we have and I proceeded to fight back the waves and direct them to the drains in the floor.
I will admit that I did a second load after this. I wasn’t sure whether something was actually broken, or I had somehow over-loaded the machine. Following the next round of wave squeegeeing, I knew I hadn’t overloaded anything. Since I typically just call my husband when something breaks or needs repair in the apartment, I called his boss to get the number of the repairman. They were there within an hour and discovered a loose hose in back. They fixed it and suggested I let it dry fully for a few hours before using it again. I wasn’t taking any chances; I let it dry for 48 hours. The towels can wait.
Our time-filling list of things to do included “create Kuwait bucket list”, which I did, “visit malls”, which Bean and I did and you can read about all the excitement in my last mall posting, and “daily outings”. This last one was a bit nebulous, but I figured I had the car, I had a curious 10-month-old, and I had 12+ hours a day to entertain her; so we managed to go grocery shopping every few days by buying very little at a time, we walked along the Gulf and on our favorite shaded walking path in Mishref, we did quite a bit of mall walking, and we window-shopped and looked at things we couldn’t afford and wouldn’t know where to hang if we could afford them.
We did some pool-bobbing with a friend and her daughter, and Bean learned how to splash and pedaled her legs under the water like a budding Olympian (hey, high expectations are good for a child). I attempted to water our little garden three times, but for whatever reason the hose was always dry. I did manage to cart some watering-cans from a distant hose, but Bean’s patience level that day had been reached, so the garden only got a dribble. But regardless of the drought, I harvested seven pea pods and kept my eye on one small zucchini. However, based on the rate of growth, I wasn’t planning any large dinner parties anytime soon.
While at home, during Bean’s naptimes, I puttered around the house and attempted to address my list of tasks, crafts and other time-suckers. I bought some anti-slip decals for our shower and artfully peeled and stuck them down. During my next shower, as soon as the water hit them, I watched as seven of the nine decals wiggled loose, floated a bit and then gently rode the current to the drain where they all collided. Gotta love Chinese-made and Kuwait-bought products! I finally started to put together the mobile I designed for Bean’s room a year ago. And I attempted to burn down a jar candle that had broken during the move. So every day, for hours, we had geraniums and cedarwood wafting through the air. Yes, folks, that is the smell of expat-excitement.
All in all, it wasn’t horrible, but admittedly I was counting the minutes until my husband returned. It wasn’t that I needed his help with Bean, though it’s ALWAYS appreciated, and nothing unmanageable happened with the house, but my evenings were boring. And the last time I was bored I got a new job, self-published a book, and applied to grad school. And frankly, I just don’t have the time or energy for all that right now. So, welcome home, sweetie! Oh, and watch out for the safety decals in the shower.