Now that the kids are gone, we find ourselves breaking a lot of the house rules.
We don't always put our dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher. Sometimes we let them pile up in the sink and get hard and crusty overnight.
I occasionally hang in the refrigerator, letting the cold air escape while watching that little white bulb burn for no apparent reason. There's something about doing that that makes me feel rich.
Last night chair hang on to your chair we both left our shoes on the stairs WHERE ANYONE COULD TRIP OVER THEM!
I know, I know. Call us wild and crazy. He's Wild and I'm Crazy.
For some reason, we don't feel compelled to abide by the rules we imposed on the kids. This probably says something about democracy, fascism and benevolent dictatorships, but I'm not sure what.
I used to picture that, when we had the house to ourselves, the husband and I would linger over morning coffee together at the breakfast table. Never mind the fact that I'm not a coffee drinker, I envisioned us sipping java, tossing sections of the newspaper back and forth, pointing out items of note, laughing about cartoons, and marveling at how quickly I can solve the Jumble.
That scene rarely happens. Instead, in complete violation and total disregard of the Unplugged-While-You-Eat rule, we are more likely to have breakfast with our laptops.
There we sit. His and hers. Coffee, tea or PC?
The only things we toss across the table are power cords.
"Look at this picture from the game," the husband says, already browsing while my machine is still waking up.
"What? You want me to run around the table to look at a picture?" I ask.
We both laugh. At least we still know not to get up from our chairs before a meal is finished.
"Log on to instant messenger and send me the link," I say, clicking away, having finished the local paper on-line and now navigating through the Wall Street Journal.
"Whoa," I say. "You'd like this one. Hold on, I just e-mailed you an article."
"Hmmmm," the husband says with great concern.
"Lose your connection?" I ask.
"No, it looks like rain moving in," he says. "Go to Weather Undergound and zoom in on the regional radar."
Of course, that's much simpler than looking out the window where we would see ominous dark clouds gathering in the northwest, notice the wind whipping through the trees and a stray cat clawing at the back door seeking shelter. Who needs the outdoors when you have Weatherbug on your home page?
"Hey, did you remember I'll be out of town a few days?" I ask. "Go to the family Google calendar. I posted it on-line. Oh, and did you see the kids put new pictures of the condo renovation on Facebook?"
"Already seen them," he says. "You talked to any of them lately?"
"I received a lovely e-card from the youngest just yesterday."
I feel the husband's eyes boring into me but am now engrossed in the Drudge Report.
"I'm sorry. Did you say something?" I ask. "I was reading Walter Williams."
"I said I think we may have a problem," he says. "You know what they say. . ."
"The family that texts together, stays together?"
"No, we ought to stop meeting like this."