The contract says nothing about lunch....
Written by
Deborah Grabien
July 2009
Written by
Deborah Grabien
July 2009
So, how does one get some work done with a spouse who is always home? Seriously, this is One Of Those Questions. Like so many people in the current economy, my husband Nic (an alpha geek tech writer of 25 years experience, a Common Criteria certification specialist, and more) has been out of work for all except two months of the past two and a half years. That means he's home. Mind you, he's not obtrusive or intrusive. We have what we call the bowling alley - a good long room in our San Francisco Victorian that used to be separated by pocket doors, and which is now open. His office is at the south end, which is actually the formal dining room - we only use that at Thanksgiving, when we stash his computer for a day and open his desk, an Ikea dining table, out to seat eight for dinner. Mine is the actual office at the north end. He has his insane clutter, I have my reasonable tidiness. He has cats on his lap and desk, I have cats on mine. He has his towering bookcases, I have mine. We each have our music libraries and our speakers. He understands about the need to stay out of my airspace. Hell, he pretty much had to learn that one, to stay alive: he has a fondness for television whereas I, with the exception of an hour just before bedtime, am deep into "kill your television!" mode. The sound of voices droning down the hall from the family room when I'm trying to work makes me want to take a hostage. The solution for that one was a $20 pair of wireless headphones. He can now watch All Star Poker or Heroes or Stargate: Alpha Centauri or whatever is floating his boat, without risking me screaming at him. Marriage counselling for twenty bucks. No, the real issue is that he's here, all the time, constantly. Usually, he's at his computer, ten feet away, and I'm having trouble with it. I got used to having the house to myself during the day, cranking up my music, singing along at the top of my lungs. Now, with him ten feet away 24/7, that just won't work. Here's some math to illustrate the problem: Between 2005 and mid-2007 when he was laid off, I wrote six complete novels (three Kinkaids, two Haunted Ballads, and my first YA, "Dark's Tale), plus short stories and a couple of articles. Since then, the pace has slowed drastically. The bottom line is, he breathes a lot of air and, without meaning to, leaves a really big footprint. And the marriage vows, while covering sickness, health, richer, poorer, better and worse, said not a word about lunch. How does anyone cope?

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