The Husband is pressuring me to take a babysitter on vacation so that we have more time to "relax" (relax=lay on the beach, etc. without having to actually have an parental responsibilities). When I revisited the reasons why this is probably not a good idea (having to get a different apartment, since our current one is only two bedrooms; additional expense; the fact that he chose to have children, so he needs to suck it up and actually take them in the water or build sandcastles with them or keep an eye on them so they don't run away...) he began to pressure me about having more "alone time" vacations, like the one we took for our anniversary a few years ago. Not necessarily big trips, maybe a weekend away to see a show, or a touristy trip to one of the local historical areas. Then he remembers that I have two out of town meetings every year. And he realizes that, while the Spring meeting is never at a time when it is feasible to take time off, the Fall one may be. And it's going to be in Florida this year! He'd like to go to Florida with me!
I'll be very busy, I warn him. I will be working 14 hour days, most likely. Some of the evenings will be dinners out that he can attend with me, but I will be on-call and not just be unwinding with him. No problem, The Husband, assures me. He is happy to go golfing while I am in meetings or working the registration desk. If I have to work an evening event and he is not included, he will fend for himself.
My mother agrees that accompanying me on my business trip will not be a "grown up vacation" for The Husband and me. That it seems that what he really wants is just a break from having to be a dad and be responsible for someone other than himself. That he may have an unrealistic expectation of how much time we'll get to spend together.
But she does not understand the real reason I do not like this proposal. Only one person is likely to understand, and she is the only one I can speak to about it.
"Natalie! The Husband wants to come to the meeting in September!"
"NO," she exclaims. "He can't!"
"I know," I reply dejectedly. "He thinks it will be a nice 'vacation' for us. That it will be fun to get to go to the dinners and stuff. That he'll just take his clubs and go golfing while I'm in meetings."
"But...but..." Natalie sputtered, "he...No! Tell him...no, you can't tell him that...Tell him...Oh, shit, I don't know."
"I know. I'm totally fine with taking a trip with him. But does he have to come to this one?!"
"We have got to talk him out of this," she said.
"Yeah, we seriously do," I agreed.
Because the conference is my time. It happy hour on a much larger scale. It's the hotel bar and the staff office and the foxhole mentality of setting up and running meetings and a booth and networking events. Work Dana is mingling and schmoozing, she's witty and flirty and poised. Wife Dana has school pictures in her wallet and rarely curses and stays away from hard liquor. She's got stretch marks under that business suit and she buys "Mom went to Florida and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" shirts.
Wife Dana doesn't hang out with the Marketing boys.