Now that Josh and I are settled into our own home, and working, our life seems to have become much richer and much less stressful. Our academic period is concluded (at least for now), the bar exam is over, the move back to the Midwest is behind us, living in temporary quarters is over, and we now have a routine that, while not perfect, pretty much accommodates us.
We are now alone together much of the time--for the first time since we met. While we were still in school, and while we were staying in my parents' home this past summer, we could not be alone together as much as we wanted or needed. Now, for the very first time, we have enough time to be alone together.
Monday through Friday, I rise at 5:00 a.m. and get cleaned up and leave the apartment at 5:45 a.m. I have to walk fifteen minutes to a bus stop to catch a bus that takes me to downtown Minneapolis. When the bus reaches my downtown stop, I walk to my office, generally arriving right at 7:00 a.m.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I work until 6:00 p.m., and take a bus back home after work. I generally walk in the door of our apartment a few minutes after 7:00 p.m.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, I work until 5:15 p.m., at which time I take the elevator downstairs and catch a ride home with my Dad, who picks me up in front of my building and drives me back to Edina. We generally get back shortly after 6:00 p.m.
On weekdays, Josh generally sleeps until 8:00 or 9:00 a.m., because he does not need to be at work until 12:00 Noon. He works from 12:00 Noon until 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at a bookstore in an adjacent suburb. Josh drives my car to work, and it takes him about 35 minutes to make the trip, so he leaves home at 11:15 a.m. each weekday, and he gets back home at 6:35 p.m. each weeknight.
Josh and I always stay home alone on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. This time alone is sacred for us.
On Monday evenings, we have my parents over for dinner. We do this for two reasons: to give my mother at least one night a week in which she does not have to prepare dinner; and to allow my parents to get accustomed to and to become comfortable in our apartment. My Dad and I get there first, just after 6:00 p.m., and my Mom drives over sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m., and Josh gets home at 6:35 p.m. Josh and I prepare a nice dinner for my parents, and we spend the rest of the evening visiting with them. Generally, we just talk and play canasta until 10:00 p.m. or so.
On Wednesday evenings, Josh and I have dinner at my parents' house. Once again, my Dad and I get there just after 6:00 p.m., and Josh arrives at 6:35 p.m. My mother always has an excellent dinner prepared for us. After dinner, we generally just sit in the kitchen and talk and watch television.
One weekend a month, my parents go to New York to see their new grandson, and on that weekend Josh and I keep the family dog, Rex, an enormous German Shepherd who looks frighteningly mean but in fact is as sweet as pie. We take Rex on errands with us, as we visit grocery stores and drug stores and Home Depots and such, and we take him to the park and we run with him and we play outdoor games with him. Rex is happy as long as he is participating in whatever we are doing. He seems to like our apartment, and he particularly enjoys sitting on our sofa, since my mother does not permit him to do that at home. Rex also enjoys a good meal thirty or forty times a day, so Josh and I cook things for him that he likes. One of his favorite foods is a cooked ham bone with lots of meat on it. When we give him one of those, he is occupied--quiet and content--for two hours. At night, he sleeps with us in our bed, and we like it, despite the fact that he spends much of the night sleeping on top of us or between us.
On other weekends, when my parents are in town, Josh and I generally go over to my parents' house on Saturday mornings and we spend the entire day and evening there. We help my Dad by doing the yardwork and taking care of the cars, and then we help my Mom in any way we can, whether it be cleaning and waxing the kitchen floor, polishing furniture, fighting tile grout, or washing windows or washing clothes or washing dishes or washing Rex. We enjoy this family time together very much, because we get to keep an eye on the football games and we get to eat good food and we get to chat with my Mom and Dad, and all of us seem to have an absolutely wonderful, relaxing time. By late Saturday afternoon, the work winds down and we all have a nice, quiet dinner and after dinner we watch a movie or play cards or just sit and talk. Josh and I generally stay until 11:00 p.m. or so, before we finally head home.
On Sunday mornings, Josh and I meet my parents at church, and we sit with them during service. On alternating Sundays, we part from my parents after church, and they spend the rest of the day with my mother's relatives, and Josh and I spend the rest of the day together, alone. On the other Sundays, Josh and I spend Sunday with my parents, too, and we generally eat lunch out and then do something special, whether it be attending a museum exhibition, a concert, a film or a theater performance. Afterward, we go back to my parents' house for a light supper, and then Josh and I go home.
This schedule suits us, and it suits us well. It gives us plenty of time to be together, alone, and it gives us plenty of family time, both of which are essential to us.