Friday, June 13, 2008

What Doesn’t Kill Us…

by Lisa Curry

Back in February, I blogged (perhaps “bragged” would be a better term) about my what a great housewife my unemployed husband made and how I had it made like a 1950s husband.

In March, Mr. Curry found gainful employment, so I had to resume taking care of some of the domestic duties around our household, such as grocery shopping, laundry and getting the little Currys fed and on the school bus in the morning. But still, he picked up the kids from their after-school sitter and handled the homework and pet feeding before I got home from work, so things weren’t so bad.

This past Saturday Mr. Curry left for a three-week business trip to his new employer’s headquarters in Germany.

Frankly, I don’t know how single parents who work full-time survive, because the first five days of this are killing me. My life is a blur from the moment I get up in the morning until I drop into exhausted sleep at night.

Feed the kids breakfast, rush them off to the sitter’s with their sports gear and packed lunches for sports camp, fly to work (which feels like a respite from stress these days, and that’s saying something), rush home to pick up kids, take care of pets, cook dinner, wash dishes, pack lunches for tomorrow, referee sibling squabbles, make sure everyone takes a shower and brushes teeth, fall into bed.

You might think Mr. Curry is having the time of his carefree, child-free, pet-free life in Germany, but you’d be wrong. He’s a homebody, and he doesn’t speak any German at all.

Nor is he an adventurous eater. He was convinced before he left that every meal served in Germany would be smothered in sauerkraut, which he detests, and that he’d starve for three weeks. Instead, he’s discovered that he can always order good pork or beef (sans sauerkraut) served with fries and a salad.

Alas, he can’t eat fries without ketchup, and the Germans in Hofheim, where he’s staying, only have Kraft ketchup – disgusting, he says. Not a bottle of Heinz, the only ketchup worth eating in his opinion, to be found. Further, they pile clover on top of their salads.

“It can’t be clover,” I said. “Cows eat clover. I don’t think humans can even digest it.”

“Well, it looks like clover,” he insisted. “And they put a whole pile of it on there. They even put a little bunch of it on my pork chop last night as garnish.”

I think it’s watercress, but it might as well be clover, for all he’s going to eat of it.

He can’t watch TV other than British CNN, which is the only English-language station on the hotel television, and all they talk about on there is South Africa, he says.

So for entertainment, Mr. Curry, who reads nothing but car and motorcycle magazines, is now reading books – novels I, his beleaguered wife, lovingly hand-selected with great care for him from my overflowing bookcases. He finished the first the other day and has now started on the second, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, a particular favorite of mine.

“Who’d have thought reading a book would ever become the highlight of my day?” he asked on the phone today.

Who indeed?

When he gets back from Germany, I’m going to curl up with a good book for an entire evening and let him deal with the kids, the pets and everything else.

That thought may just be enough to keep me going for the next sixteen days...


Tory said...

Congratulate your hubby on getting a new job! And congratulate yourself and getting his mind turned to more literary pursuits.

Gina said...

Lisa -
Tell Mr. Curry that he's missing one of the great joys of travel -- watching American tv shows dubbed in another language. It's a hoot.
- Gina

Annette said...

Oh, Lisa, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry for you. Forgive me for not feeling overly sympathetic to your hubby for being STUCK reading NOVELS while in Germany.

I know you find a way to survive this bout of single-parenthood. And when he gets home, I hope your evening of curling up with a book includes a long, uninterrupted bubblebath and some chocolate. You deserve it.

brenda said...

Hang in there Lisa!

Joyce said...

I'm sure you'll pull through just fine, Lisa. I certainly hope he's drinking lots of that good German beer.

Maybe you can get your employer to send you on a three week trip, like, maybe to Paris or Tuscany.

lisa curry said...

Joyce, Mr. Curry doesn't even drink -- at all, ever -- so all that good German beer is wasted on him. (I should be the one in Germany!) Meanwhile, I'm afraid he's going to come home with his teeth falling out from scurvy from eating nothing but meat for 3 weeks straight. :-)

Cathy said...

Since you've retained your sense of humor about you and your husband's latest learning experience, I'm sure you'll make it in style. There must be some Chicken Soup in this somewhere. (for non-beer drinkers in Germany? for single mother temps?)

Sending calming vibes your way.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Sounds like the husband AND the wife are going to have to get used to corporate travel.

Traveling internationally has it's ups and downs. Food can be tough. Believe me, I know. If you want to know how I know, check this out -

I marveled about how my wife does it and she is stuck at home all the time while I travel the globe.

lisa curry said...

Oh, Will, my favorite is the turtle in its shell! I'm going to make Mr. Curry look at these, so he can thank his lucky stars for clover salad and french fries with Kraft ketchup. :-)

Mr. Curry said...

Well at the risk of the girls club coming down down on me hard I'm going to comment. I'd rather be at home. As Lisa said I'm not a drinker. I also admit I'm not adventurous. I am a creature of habit and like things familiar to me. As Lisa said I didn't speak a word of German when I left home. I now know six no, seven words. It took me ten minutes with my German dictionary to tell the woman at the front desk of my hotel I needed to buy more internet time.
All that aside, traveling would not be as bad if it weren't for being homesick. If you looked at Will's link he summed it up much better than I could. I'm no writer. I miss Lisa and the boys and yes even our stupid dogs terribly. That said, I think the biggest reason I hate traveling for work is I realized some time ago how much I appreciate and care about my family and freinds. Would I trade 3 weeks in Germany(or anywhere)on the company's tab to not miss my boys baseball games or not see Lisa everynight You bet.

Annette said...


Lisa, I know you do, but...