Ian is home—he got in last night around 2:00am and, because I had generously changed my schedule to coordinate with his Hawaii time zone, I was up and waiting for him. Spackle and Hoover had already been put to bed, but Hoover heard someone—felt someone?—enter the property—he was aware of Ian long before I could hear anything, although I was hanging over the back of the couch, watching out the living room window, and so saw him arrive—and came woofing out of the bedroom in time to leap on Ian at the door. Spackle was close behind, and I ultimately came in a distant third for hugs. We're glad to have him back.
I was really glad to have the week to myself in our home, though. There were a couple times when I found myself needing to take an extra bit of anti-anxiety medication . . . but that's why I have it. And there were certainly times when I really missed Ian, because we've made a life together that is ideal for two people. For example, it's nice to have someone else take care of at least one of the dog walks each day. Hoover's unknown-dog apeshitting is boring to deal with all on one's own, walk after walk, day after day. And I'm really slow at picking up the poop—removing my mitten, pulling the roll from the handy leash-tote, pulling the bag from the roll, finding I need to remove my other mitten, then finding the end of the bag that will open, opening the end and shaking the bag open, making sure it is, in fact, whole—and all the while the dogs are milling squeakily about, maypoling my legs and threatening to take me down.
Also, of course, when I was bubbling with anxiety, it would've been nice to have Ian accessible by more than phone, but I had him there in the back of my mind, and for 8 days, I could live with that.
AND, the house is cleaner! I won't add tedious detail to the list of accomplishments, but rest assured I kept very busy. It was liberating to wander around entirely of my own volition. I listened to two books while I worked; Treasure Island, and a new book by Cornelia Funke (who wrote Inkheart), Reckless. I spent only one evening watching any sort of movie, and it was one I owned, one of my favorite candy-coated teen fantasies, The Princess Diaries. The dogs adjusted to my schedule (aside from dinner time, which they began chittering about at 3:45pm almost every day regardless of how recently they'd enjoyed breakfast and, because they are spoiled, a light lunch) and happily took long strolls around the neighborhood at 10:30pm or later. Ian commented last night that, left to his own devices long enough, he would go to bed an hour later and wake up an hour later each day until he'd done a complete circuit of the clock. And we both remember reading somewhere that, if living in a cave with absolutely no indication of passing time, humans will ultimately work out a schedule of 25 hours, not 24.
Anyway, as I do the work to lighten my soul, I have enjoyed having a week to do some work to lighten my home. Deep, dark corners have been aired and lost things found and brought to light. In some cases, the lost things were recycled to become something new; in others, donated so that someone new could use them. And some things, having completed their lifespans, were merely tossed. The result is that my house feels lighter, even though much of the change has been internal, and wouldn't be noticed by the casual observer.
The trick will be—always is—to use this cleanse, this created breathing space, this new awareness—to change the habits that brought on the overflow in the first place.