Absence does make the heart grow fonder. And then it makes the heart grumpy.

When I first started this gig, being an independent contractor for my old accounting firm and commuting from Denver to DC every week, life was great. I was getting paid hourly, plus we were getting credits for all my hotel stays at Marriott, in addition to racking up a lot of credit card points in general. I was gone for a week or two at a time, but when I came home I was always so over-the-moon ecstatic to see my husband that I wanted to spend every waking moment with him and I never got annoyed that he didn’t make the bed.

As our credit card points and hotel credits added up (we’ve already reached Platinum on Marriott for the next year and have earned the equivalent of a free one-week stay at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Paris) and I gorged myself on free Whole Foods and Starbucks, I thought – this is great! I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this!

The Imperial Suite at the Ritz Paris. I’d have to travel for 5 years straight to earn enough hotel points for this baby.

This week, though, I hit a wall. I don’t know if it was the work, the weather, or the sheer fact that I spent a total of 6 nights at home with my husband in the month of March. Whatever it is, it’s made me perpetually grumpy, unable to focus, and has left me seeking happiness in unhealthy ways.

For example, yesterday, on my mother’s Banana Republic credit card (which dangerously also works at Athleta, Old Navy, Gap, and Piperlime), I ordered $400 in bathing suits, coverups, and workout clothes. About half of that will be returned (I always order two sizes in bathing suit bottoms, because I’m forever right in between), and I’ll write my mom a check for the rest (maybe, it depends on how she feels and how closely she looks at the statement that month), but did I need any of those things? Absolutely not. The only purchase I can sort of justify is the bathing suit, because it’s far more modest than most of my other Victoria’s Secret suits from my college days and the closer I get to 30 (wahhh!) the more I feel the need to have something that covers my ass. At $44 for half of a bathing suit, it turns out that modesty is expensive.

After work, I decided I didn’t want to mope around in my hotel room. I would go out and be social and snap out of it! So I took myself down the street to Churchkey, where they have 55 beers on draft and 500 in cans or bottles. My favorite thing about Churchkey is that they have beers by the glass (duh), but they also offer every single draft in a four ounce “taster” pour for just a few bucks, and if you play your cards right (generally by being friendly and showing interest in their beer knowledge), you can get at least one taster for free. Yesterday was hot and muggy, so I stuck with lighter/crisper beers, until one, named “Spaghetti Western” caught my eye. I read the description and saw that it was aged with “cocoa nibs, coffee, and spaghetti in grappa barrels from Piedmont”. Intrigued, I asked the bar tender if it was actually as weird as it sounded. He shrugged, gave me a sideways smile that I took to mean “yes, but I can’t tell you it’s disgusting because I work here”, and let me have a glass for free. It definitely wasn’t my favorite (a little too strong on the coffee), but I drank it because you just don’t waste beer like that.

After drinking 12 ounces of pretty strong beer, I decided I should eat something. Fortunately for me, Churchkey also has a full menu, but out of all of their offerings, I chose to order tater tots. For dinner. With my beer.

I can’t tell you the last time I had something that blatantly unhealthy for dinner.

Which sent me into a spiral of I thought you were going to eat healthier, so why didn’t you order a salad – they had 3 on the menu and they looked great! You’re not in college any more, you can’t just do that to your body. And then I got back to my dingy hotel room, which isn’t dingy at all – it’s actually quite a nice room, large and with lots of windows, but it felt dark (probably because I had all the lights turned off) and all I wanted was for the day to be over so I could try again tomorrow. So I fell asleep at 8:30 pm without calling my husband to tell him goodnight. Because that’s how I deal with my emotions – I fall asleep and hope everything looks better in the morning.

And lo and behold, things are indeed, comparatively, better. The sun is shining. My Starbucks latte is delicious. And, if nothing else, I’m one step closer to going home for the weekend, and if I can make it through April, things should start slowing down and I can be gone two weeks a month instead of four.

I have no idea how to wrap up this post, other than to say that I’m going to yoga and I hope it gives me perspective, or at least makes me feel less guilty about my tater tot dinner last night. Someone tell me I’m not alone in eating and then sleeping off my feelings? Do you travel for work and has the novelty worn off yet? Any tips for maintaining what is, essentially, now a long distance relationship with my husband?

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