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When You’re Strange

I never mind coming home. I’m a person for whom travel presents a great many challenges (too many and unpleasant to elaborate here). What I love is coming home and returning to my beloved rituals. Especially opening mail, separating the wheat from the chaff, the catalogues, the invitations to join AARP, the circulars from Best Buy. There was a royalty check, a check from giving a talk to graduate students at an esteemed university, just enough to keep me going in the fantasy of This Is Your Life as a writer/sock puppet. I am highly disciplined and will not crack my People until I get my fat ass back to the gym. I scan the contents of The New Yorker like a doctor reviewing a medical chart, interested and distracted at once. I put bills here. I put my husband’s bills there.  I have two letters from a friend from graduate school. THese I also put aside for later, only to savor.

What do you do when you get home?

40 Responses

  1. Clean the litter box.

  2. Hug my kids on the way to the bathroom.

    • Yup, straight to the bathroom. The kids are usually with me. If I’m living home home and not residing in a foreign country, the cat gets some loving. Then it’s off to the grocery store because there’s nothing in the fridge.

      Welcome back Betsy.

  3. Hug my dog. Wash my feet. Open the windows.

  4. i have yet to get there.

  5. Same exact thing as you. I only travel to say I’ve traveled and to let my kids experience “the world.” Two nights and three days is about all I can take of any place away from home. I literally get antsy and that turns to bitchy real fast. But when I get home I immediately go about putting my house back into order. I unpack all bags and start the first load of laundry. Then I open all of the mail and organize it accordingly. I make a list of things that need done because of being gone or they were put off because we were leaving. I literally do not rest until all is as it should be. Then I’m happy.

  6. Make tea, play the piano

  7. Put the kettle on.

    Welcome home Betsy.

  8. Ah, Betsy, I’ve missed you and the other kids here. Me love you long time.

    When I get off the boat, I always say “Cheated death again!”, an exercise in irony, since the boat has everything to do with life, and nothing to do with that other, hopefully.

    Home from lesser travels, I check on the cats, play with Beauregardless, check the plants, mail, and email, and take a shower.
    My most frequent travel involves ten hours or so behind the wheel, but now and then it’s a long day of ‘ports nad ‘planes, so that shower is very nice.

  9. don’t much like coming home
    Put the chocolate and macarons in the fridge (most fun)
    Plug in the laptop
    Try to unzip the suitcase immediately
    Do the mail
    Years ago when I lived in the village, I would go out and get a Nathan;s hot dog. Then I knew I was home.

  10. Let the dog out.
    I’m always amazed, that after being away, when I drive down my thousand-foot driveway my house is still there. We live in the woods in one of those big-ass houses. I used to drive by homes like mine and wonder how people afford to live in them; our opportunity was due to a serendipitous series of events, sort of like winning the lottery but not. I used to pinch myself…I couldn’t believe the gods allowed us such a nice cave with indoor plumbing.
    This weekend we told our kids we are downsizing. Their reactions were very positive, probably because these were not the digs they grew up in. My husband loves the solitude here and it’s sad that economics and age are leading us ‘over the hill’ where there’s less grass to mow and it’s financially greener. So now when I return home I walk from room to room, the hardwood sometimes creaking a welcome after not being stepped on for a while, and realize, it’s just a house; we make it a home.
    Home, real home, is where my husband waits, where my children gather, where the dog dish is. I don’t travel far from any of them anymore.
    Welcome home Betsy. Withdrawal from you, and this group of malcontents, is always difficult.

  11. Welcome back!

    First, I walk around checking to see if everything is “okay.” Are my flowers dead? Did the birds leave for good because the feeders stayed empty for more than two days? Does the yard look like it’s gone to hell? Did anyone try to break in? (we came home one year from a trip that lasted two weeks and found a big rock that had been used to try and break open a window – at least that’s what the police said. Our home security sticker helped. I guess that was comforting)

    Funny, how much we do to get ready to leave, …, and then, once we are back, the first step over the threshold and I notice that closed up smell and it seems the house needs cleaning – all over again. The laundry that was caught up, is backed up – again. All the bills that were paid before we left – well, new ones have arrived to be paid. Wash, rinse, repeat – and then I feel like I’m home.

  12. If your sock-puppet is related to Big Bird he may be out of a job in November.

  13. Maybe I should check out some meds because when I return home after being away, I see the huge stack of mail that has accumulated and immediately crash.

  14. Immediately dump the contents of my suitcase into the washer and set it to sanitize. As a former flight attendant, I can not stand the stale reek of airplane in my clothes.

  15. Take a walk (a ski if there’s snow. Soon…). Breathe in the quiet, fresh mountain air after visiting the stagnant flat lands. Anti-social me, I want to see the trees and some of my favorite rocks, thick moss covered glacial erratics as big as a house, before I see people. Oh yeah. Home.

  16. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh home, I take my bra off and make a great cup of tea.

    • Am I the only one who got the image of a bra dunked in a cup of boiling hot water? I’m such a sick puppy, sorry.

      • Oops, I didn’t intend to be anonymous. I’d rather you hate me for being a smartass than to be an anonymous jerk, but I hope you don’t. I just couldn’t resist.

  17. Enjoy the smell of wood in my home that gets lost in the day to day.

  18. The ritual is the same whether I’ve been away an hour or a month and from that comfortable routine, the transition to whatever awaits past the foyer is rarely stressful.

    ps- welcome back! hope the journey allowed you time to finish your reading list.

  19. Welcome home, Betsy! You have real live letters from friends…. how great is that.

    Me, I leave my suitcase in the garage (for several days). Open all sliding doors and shutters and say out-loud how much I love living here. Take a hot bath. Check the fridge for familiar food, where there is none, so order a pie from Pizza My Heart. Put $30 by the front door for Jake the delivery guy. Pour a glass of wine. Turn on Sports Center.

  20. Take all the mail into the bathroom and sit there for an hour catching up in every sense.

  21. “What do you do when you get home?”

    Depends on where I’m getting home from. In nearly every instance, I unlock the door, open it, and enter through the doorway. What I do next can vary within a narrow range which includes checking the voicemail on my land-line (no one ever–ever–calls), checking my email, making appropriate adjustments to my attire, and giving civil and even affectionate greetings to the various other sentient beings with which I cohabitate.

    Welcome back, Betsy.

  22. I always put a bottle of champagne in the fridge before I leave home, to help process the trip when I get back. Also, it makes unpacking a lot more fun. But before I uncork, I go out in the back yard and roll call the cats to make sure the feral herd is still in tact. Then I check my mail to make sure that my anonymity as a writer has not been jeopardized by some sudden notice of unwanted attention such as a fawning fan letter from E. L. James or J. K. Rowling or P. G. Wodehouse (being dead is no reason not to LOVE my writing). Now it’s time to liberate the champagne.

    Welcome back, Betsy.

  23. Coming home is the best. I like to get up in the middle of the night and look at my son sleeping in his own bed. He’s 11, so I may not be able to do that much longer!

  24. Jump into grey sweatpants that no longer have a string but stay up. Hate it when they are in the wash.

    Welcome home!

  25. I sleep. Home after: I’ve gone to the bank, the beach for workouts, revised a story, edited my client’s draft, had one of my interns resign, drank a protein shake, shook my booty in the mirror, tossed my leggings on the floor–damn those leggings are cute, but ahhhh-legs=free, yes! Produced two new movies and a Facebook game by day/trying to get my writerly career off-the-ground-stumbling by night. Juggling a son, a boyfriend I’m fantastic about, and an MFA I’m finding something to do with, the grocery store-back and forth, and preparing a manuscript for review, when I get home: uh huh a little melatonin does the trick and… ZZzzZZzz

  26. Yes, Betsy. Coming home, kind of wonderful. I am thinking of those wanderers, who are still traveling around and wondering if there is a place called home.

  27. I wait anxiously for the next day when I can get the dogs from the kennel. While I wait I catch up on the mail, which is mostly bills, and I write a story about nothing.

  28. The ritual is mundane, but that’s my life: come home, say hello to the dog who has me firmly convinced I’m the best thing since doggie yums(the dog–easily the top three of the greatest gifts to mankind), greet the wife (a true goddess and god knows how I ever deserved her), exchange news of our day, gird myself for our brief discussion of our college frosh teenage daughter and what she’s been up to (you’d think I’d be used to it by now-not). Talk about dinner, what and where. Walk dog after. Watch my recorded shows, read book in bed until eyes glaze. Turn off light and crash. Repeat as needed.

  29. »What do you do when you get home?«

    I’ve lived in so many different places, I have no routines. I like to walk on the beach. I’m currently somewhere in the hills of Kentucky; I’ve been away for three weeks, also in NYC, New Jersey, and Philly. I barely remember that I have a home, but I’m ready to go there.

    My husband asked what he could bring when he meets me at the airport. I asked for hippie champagne: an ice-cold split of kombucha.

  30. I’m usually making the list a half hour before hitting the driveway. Last night, after a weekend away, it was making sure I disemboweled the Sunday Times and the local paper of their circulars and stashed them for Monday morning coffee time. Which I did. The mail, a depressing assortment of dental bills and crap like that, is still in the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” queue.

  31. I pet the dog and I kiss my husband. In that order.

  32. Crank up the heat or AC, sort the mail, make the grocery list and send the husband to the supermarket.

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