The Sunday routine has begun. Big brunch at home with one or more of our kids depending on who is home or awake before 10:00 am. This is followed by yard and house work that creeps up during the week and then trying to spend a couple of hours of downtime and planning for the upcoming week before the evening airport run.
When you are a couple who lives apart during the workweek, your weekends are crammed with trying to maintain normalcy at the same time you try to balance parenting, family and friends, household needs and strengthening a marriage. Nothing that 2 days can’t solve, right? As one half of a marriage of two professionals who support each other in their careers and education while also wanting the kids to have a “homebase” with their extended family and friends close, the choice to live in two different metro areas is one of the easiest and hardest decisions either of us has had to make.
The “Chicago Chapter” as we are now calling it began in March. We have had an Indianapolis Chapter and a Memphis Chapter all while maintaining our Kansas City home base. Google Hangouts and Skype have become a mainstay in our lives. There are absolute downsides of this type of modern arrangement, the least of which is me learning to kill spiders or deal with a flooded basement. Upsides? Fab new cities to get to know on an intimate basis without having to hassle with hotels. Having an entire bed to yourself 5 nights a week? Yes, that’s good and bad, but can lead to some of the best sleep or 2:00 am trash TV indulgences on nights when sleep is impossible.
“Flat Bob” appears on one of my electronic screens nightly and joins me when I’m folding laundry, paying bills or just hanging out with the kids. There are nights when we schedule a movie night and watch the same movie or show on Netflix at the same time. We’ve learned to amp up the experience by sharing the same wine. I would be afraid to guess at the amount of money we have spent on wine during these flat years… but it has been one thing that has allowed us to further explore our hometown of Kansas City and our other home away from home cities by choosing restaurants and local haunts based on their wine lists. It has become a common experience of pleasure and a definite sanity checkpoint on those nights when we question our sanity at dual households.
As one half of a Flat Marriage, I can definitely say it is not the easiest or preferred path. I miss having my person who would be there to give me that big hug after a rough day at work or be my personal Uber when I had an early morning flight. I love cooking together and doing the stupid stuff like grocery shopping or running to get ice cream at 10 o’clock at night. I run the risk of avoiding the conversation of minutia during our screen sessions as I’ve already buried the day deep and choose to talk only about what we will do on the next two days when he is home.
The Sunday routine is ending. It’s 10:00 pm and his plane has just landed. The text letting me know he is in his Uber ride home has arrived. I will try to wait the 45 minutes to an hour for the final ping to let me know he’s at our “Northside home” before I sleep. Flat Bob will be home again in six wake-ups.