I got to leave town today, to sneak off on assignment for an article I'm writing, leaving the kids for 24 hours, and Thad for 24 hours, and life as I know it...for 24 hours. Which means I get to do the one thing I love to do more than anything in the world.
Listen to a murder mystery book-on-tape as I drive alone in my minivan.
In my previous life, there were far more devious things I loved to do more than anything in the world. But, that was before the minivan. Now, the thing that functions as currency in my marriage, the thing that my husband and I trade in, that we barter back and forth, is "alone time."
Because even showering is not alone time. Showering is me standing in the tub while my two-year-old climbs up on the toilet and turns on the water in the sink, which makes her sleeves soaking wet (sleeves of the shirt that I gymnastically dressed her in roughly six minutes before) and makes the water in the shower hot as exploding lava bubbling up directly from hell. And pooping? There is no "alone time" in pooping, considering my four-year-old inevitably barges in, stares at me the entire time, then asks, "Can I see it?" Even on weekends, when Thad and I sneak away for a little nooky when the kids are napping is not alone time. Because Thad is there.
So, we do what we can. We each take a turn sleeping in on one day over the weekend. It's not that I'm sleepy. It's that I get to be all by myself. He plays X-box late into the night. And, sometimes, I pretend I don't feel good on Sunday afternoons just so I have an excuse to "go lay down," like some kind of 1950s housewife who drinks too much.
I walked into the library this morning all giddy, like I suppose people feel when they're meeting a lover for an affair, and scan the books-on-tape. I pick a James Patterson book. He never lets me down. And this one seems like it can't fail. It's called "The Quickie." I literally can't wait to get in the car, to get on the road, and put the first CD in. The narrator is Mary Stuart Masterson (who had me at Some Kind of Wonderful.)
Halfway through my drive, as I switch from CD1 to CD2, sad that I'm actually that far through the story, it occurs to me--I think I prefer this "Quickie" to the other kind.
I know I do.