I have just arrived back in Japan after three weeks in the States with First Child and Second Child. We were on our annual homeland pilgrimage without Husband (someone in this family has to work!). Every year, Husband becomes increasingly morose in the days leading up to our departure. He envisions afternoons, evenings, and weekends spent alone, talking to no one but the neighborhood feral cats who occasionally peer in windows, and anyone who will answer when he Skypes them. He pictures days upon days with no home-cooked meals nor their resulting lunch-bound leftovers. He imagines our cold Japanese house as much more frigid than it usually is in reality.
He knows he and his social, family-loving self will become, for a few weeks, a bachelor.
This year, he found a new way to occupy his time and avoid the kitchen: he spent his evenings sorting through mounds of loose change (a great many five-and ten-yen coins!) and presenting said change as payment for convenience-store dinners. Never the slacker, he did photo-document his convenience-meals (so much better than they sound!) on his Facebook page, to the amusement of various friends and family members. And I am happy to report that he has not been banned forever from Family Mart (the checkers quickly wised up and began pulling out a change-counter when they saw him come through the door, though one of them wasn't too happy about it).
One night, he actually entertained: he invited over a handful of friends who all contributed to a Breakfast-for-Dinner meal. But he confessed to me that, true to his bachelor existence, he found someone's tub of butter sitting on our dining table--a week and a half later. Funny, because I'm guessing the table was less-cluttered than usual, when it's laden with the books, pens, candy wrappers, and miscellaneous papers of four individuals instead of one. But whatever--the butter tub was somehow mislaid.
He had a few meals with friends who took pity on him, in their homes or in restaurants. And he got to be the center of attention at dinner out with a group of teachers he calls the Golden Girls (though in reality none of them are senior citizens).
He disposed of trash, um--improperly, and I'm betting he didn't make the bed. But before we got home, he changed the sheets on our bed and vaccuumed. And bless his heart, he stopped by the grocery store and after our arrival insisted there was "plenty to eat" (carrots, yogurt, kimchi, and potatoes, anyone?).
Now that we're back together, all is right with the world. The bachelor is no more--at least until next year.