When you have been gone from home for several days, there is nothing worse than coming home to a sink of nasty dishes and a mountain of trash. It is bad enough when you are gone just a few hours. I have learned the best way to manage two households is to set hard rules for myself.
Dishes are Done:
Before we load up the truck and head out in either direction, the dishes are done. I stayed on the ranch for a couple of weeks while my husband did the commute alone. I had a horrible feeling I was not going to be happy with the condition of the house on the work end, and I was right. I knew I was in trouble when he begged me to go with him on the third week. Something was up. I walked in to discover he was out of silverware. Yup. It was all piled up in the sink and waiting on me. Now, I am strange in that it takes an awful lot to rile me, and this came close to getting me going, but rather than jumping on him, I checked out the rest of the house.
My husband is not known for his housekeeping skills and I can forgive him for that. In our world, he goes out and works 12 to 14 hour days five days a week. When he clocks out at the end of the week, his truck is already packed and he’s ready to head to the ranch. I have yet to see him wash a single dish, but I knew his weakness before we married and accepted this small flaw.
It took me about an hour to catch up the dishes and he was helpful by having a ramen noodle soup for supper rather than asking me to cook something. I suspect he knew he was on thin ice.
Another thing I insist on doing before we start the commute is to get the trash out of the house. I slipped up once when we started our weekly jaunts and came home to a house a person should never have to walk into. This was the easiest of my three tasks to adhere to. No matter which end we are vacating, the garbage is out the door before we leave.
After the two weeks without me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he did manage to take the garbage out before he left the previous weekend. I think I may be rubbing off on him after all.
Though this rule is not has difficult for me to overlook as the other two, I have found that it is much more pleasant to come home to a bed that is made. It just looks more inviting. This is another area I do not think my husband will ever learn, but as I said, I can overlook this character flaw relatively easily. I do make my bed before leaving and it really helps my mind to know that at least I have someplace comfortable to go home to.
Transitioning to the One Home Commute:
After seven years of this life style, we are now at the ranch on a nightly basis. I have discovered that the three simple rules I followed during our wandering days work wonders on the day to day living in our new circumstances. I still will not leave my house without making sure the dishes are done, the bed is made and the trash is out. By setting this firm rule for myself, I find I can actually complete the tasks in less than 30 minutes each morning.
At first, it was hard to commit to these small changes. I found by forcing myself to sacrifice my stop for coffee, or other early morning treat, to stay home and tackle my chores, that it was well worth the sacrifice when I come home to a house that is not in total chaos. It is actually nice to come home and fix supper then curl up on the couch with my husband after a hard day’s work. The entire day is much brighter just by doing these three small things.