Time Off

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I was supposed to have a fabulous weekend away with my cousins.
We’d bought tickets to a great show and had reservations at a great
restaurant. Then Cousin A came down with the flu, as in H1N1 go to
the hospital flu. So the trip is off. It feels silly to rent a hotel room in
my own town, but I really did want a weekend without my hubby. I
have a writing studio it has taken me a year to set up, and it has a bed
too, I can’t be there 24/7. He is Mr. Clueless about personal space and
boundaries. I love him but I want:

Time Off

Dear Time Off:

One option is to send him away for the weekend and have the house
to yourself. But assuming that’s not a viable alternative, try explaining
that you are not home unless you say you are. Work out anything to
do with scheduling or joint meal planning (if any) or any contingency
details you can identify: Who’s walking the dog or feeding the pets?
When are you completely inaccessible and what signal will you give to
show you are conversational. When I worked with a herd of people all
day and had an ex who worked at home, hungry for conversation the
moment I walked in the door, the rule was “I’m not home until I say I
am.” You could have a pre-arranged signal like a cap you put on, to
signal contact is ok, or stick with the “Don’t talk to me unless I speak
first” rule.

I’m sure you don’t want to feel like a prisoner in your studio, but think
about stocking it with a teapot and snacks, your phone charger, a
great read for when you are feeling less productive. Plan to be there as
much of the time as you can, with a break for a lovely dinner with him
either Saturday or Sunday night. Short of a family emergency, he
should respect your privacy, and avoid knocking on your door just to
say hi. That holds true if you leave the house. No “Where are you
going?” or “When will you be home?” He should act like you are with
your cousins, which you should also do when she is recovered.