Hot threesomes!

No, not really.  It’s always interesting to me how viscerally I react to CPOS’ returns home.  Probably 97% of me is happy to see him again, and of course I am pleased for Mr. Brooks as well. And yet that other 3% … it’s like the one kid in class who always acts up and requires an undue share of attention to settle down.

I have trouble believing that a disruption to the routine could bother me as much as it does, but it’s not just an issue of “oh, there’s a third person in the house, wah wah.”  It’s more about how those disruptions reverberate long after he’s back to D.C., or Denver, or volunteering overseas, or being conscripted overseas.

Example: The last time he was home, CPOS had the cat all over the house — cuddling in the living room, patrolling the hallways because the bedroom doors were left ajar or wide-open, basically giving it free rein. Which it got used to.

But it’s not SUPPOSED to have free rein. For one, I’m allergic to cats, and Mr. Brooks and I agreed that the cat had sufficient room to wander in the master suite, so I didn’t have to worry about it ending up under my bed — or on top of it, or on my couch.  Also, it’s going on 17 or 18, and it’s incontinent, and vomity, and those are the kinds of surprises that we don’t want to find all around the house.

So, after CPOS left, for weeks the cat would sit at the now-closed bedroom door and yowl incessantly, angry because he couldn’t get out.

There are unfinished projects around — a heap of dug-out soil sits at the head of the driveway, left over from a gravel project, and the front patio railing that started to get a sanding and repainting sits still unfinished, with the power tools and cords coiled in a corner of the foyer.

A few times before that, he filled dozens of black garbage bags with tree trimmings and assorted yard waste … then, instead of properly disposing of them (aka: taking them to the dump), he left them stacked next to a wall. It of course rained on them, and they rotted, and marinated in the Phoenix sun, and stank, and all sorts of roaches and other bugs made them their home. For months after he left, I had to hoist three of them (the maximum that would fit) into the dumpster each week, and as I tried to swing them so reeking juice didn’t spray out onto me, I would think: Fucking clean up after yourself.

I used to clean up such half-finished-project flotsam and jetsam, but finally realized: “You shouldn’t have to do this.” So after the last trip home, I specifically didn’t. When I opened the front door to get the mail, I’d walk past those tools and cords like they weren’t there. That pile of soil? Not mine to clean up. If anyone’s, it would be Mr. Brooks’ responsibility. Sort of like a husband incurring a wife’s debt upon marriage (or divorce).

It’s a weird tightrope — living in a house more than someone who owns it. When it comes to property rights, he’s the man. But when I make sure the power and water bills are paid, and there’s food in the refrigerator, a watered and mowed lawn, and a cleaning lady here every other week … it has become my house, too. Whose habits trump whose?

When he comes home, I can sense a wistfulness — not quite  jealousy, and instead of “competitiveness,” I’ll coin the word “comparativeness.”  Mr. Brooks mentions that a meal was good, CPOS says, “I made gluten-free meals and he never said anything about it.” At first, I was cautious to deflect any of it: “Oh, you weren’t here when I made that awful meat loaf!” or something. But why deprecate good work because it makes someone else unhappy? It’s not as if I’m bragging it up nonstop — I’m cooking food for dinner, and I’m not going to feel bad that I happen to be good in the kitchen. (Well, 97 percent of the time.)

So I spend a lot of time in my room. I’m also fortunate that I have work (and at night, the gym) to give me separation from this. That’s also why my dinner menus have screeched to a halt. (And, on the first night I cooked dinner for three, CPOS complained about the salmon and the vegetables, so I decided: “This is on hold until you leave, ungrateful one.”)

Expect the actual recipes to kick in next week sometime.  Maybe a few more venty-huffy posts in the interim — ooh, and a “Project Runway” recap!

In the grand scheme of things, these “issues” are just those — not really even important enough to not earn quotation marks.  I’m pretty lucky that something like a pile of dirt in a driveway can qualify as a hot-button issue in my life.

Or, maybe, just a little crazy.

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