58 Things I Learned While Being Home Alone: Nos. 9 – 1

It’s finally here! The moment you’ve all been waiting for! My final recap of the “58 Things I Learned While Being Home Alone”.

I have mixed feelings about it ending and they have solely to do with my writing, because after all I don’t like being single and home alone, without my wife and kids.

What will I write about now that my “58 Things” recaps are over? The “58 Things” kept me writing for two months and on a somewhat consistent basis, but now that they’re over what will I do? Perhaps I will have to enjoy my time with my wife and kids. Perhaps.

I will have one more post with my Top 10 Things I Learned along with the “Reader’s Top 10”, using LIKES and comments from my personal Facebook page. Aren’t you all thrilled? I ain’t done yet!

Our final recap ends with the final nine things I learned while my wife and our three kids were in Brazil. Let the countdown begin …

#9 – Don’t lean against your neighbor’s freshly painted, bright orange door, at least not while wearing your favorite blue dress shirt and while your family’s professional stain remover is on the bottom half of the world.

OK, I’ll be honest with you. This one, though not made up, happened a few weeks back and not on the day that I posted it. But I had posted something else instead and decided to use this as a filler. It was true, I did back against my office neighbor’s freshly painted door. It was true, it was painted bright orange. It was true, it was my favorite light-blue dress shirt. Thankfully Erik, who is my other office neighbor, quickly pointed out, “Why do you have orange all over your shirt?” I looked at my shirt puzzled before we both slowly glanced over at her newly painted door. Doh! I quickly took off my shirt revealing my Ryan Gosling torso (OK, this part’s a lie) and scrubbed the orange out of my shirt. Paint removed – for the most part!

#8 – I have to write some business so I have money when my family gets back home – and to keep a roof over our head, and to feed my family, and to play fantasy football, and to … call me!

You won’t be seeing this in the reader’s top 10 as nobody commented on my status. I guess they don’t like when you mix work with pleasure. Unfortunately it’s true. It’s been a struggle to get my feet off the ground and I was thinking and hoping I’d have a little more support from my Facebook “friends”, my Relay for Life connections and everyone else I’ve helped in the past years. Instead I’m having to dig down deep into the local folks and snag some business from them. Call me…maybe?

#7 – It’s not easy remembering to keep plants alive. RIP Plants No. 3, 5, 7, & 9.

I’ve never been a plant person. I’m going to admit it … I don’t understand them. I like them outside but inside? Not a big deal to me. In every place I’ve worked I’ve had “the ladies” get on my case because I’m not taken care of the plant on my desk. I didn’t ask for the plant on my desk and I don’t care if it’s there. Yes, I’m heartless when it comes to plants but plants don’t really have hearts so … Anyway, I may not have killed all those plants. They’ve been injured, but not killed. In fact the plant in my office looks rejuvenated!

These final six don’t need a lot of explaining …

#6 – I’m thankful for the wonderful family and friends for making me dinner, inviting me over for dinner, spending 4th of July with me, inviting me out to party with you, singing karaoke with me, inviting me over for movie nights, coming with me to movie nights, inviting me over for game nights, inviting me out for a day trip, taking me to sporting events, helping me with running events, helping me fix things around the house, inviting me to kids birthday parties, joining me in scratching something off my “99 Things to Do Before I Die” list and just being great friends!

Special thanks to my grandma for cleaning my house better than I could even imagine doing, and to my mom for mowing the lawn. Now before all you haters start hating, I didn’t ask them to do this they volunteered. I was perfectly fine with mowing and cleaning the day before Lis came home, but did I argue when they asked if I wanted help? Heck no!

#5 – I miss the toothy grin of my lil’ big fella. His chill attitude. His love for food and balls and his willingness to snuggle. When he gets home we gonna wrastle!

#4 – I miss hearing my favorite word “Daddy!” screamed from my Princess when I walk into the house. I miss having her around to make me laugh. I miss her questions, her kisses and her hugs! I miss my lil’ brown-eyed girl!

#3 – I miss having my lil’ buddy around to talk sports, Star Wars, video games, super heroes and to pester each other!

#2 – As much as I enjoyed our online conversations, I miss blabbing to my wife about everything, including stuff she doesn’t care about but does a good job pretending that she’s interested in like fantasy football, Peyton Manning and my family (I kid, I kid). I miss making her laugh, laughing at her, her cooking, her baking, her insane cleanliness, falling asleep next to her while watching movies on the couch, her quizzical looks when I break into a dance using only the music in my head, her punches when I say something stupid, and some material that may be inappropriate for children under 17. Heck, I miss my best friend!

I’m going to brag on myself for a second. I’ve written a lot of “love letters” to my wife for her birthday, our anniversary and Valentine’s Day. This may have played topper to them all! I almost felt like I was writing my favorite line from “When Harry, Met Sally…”

#1 – I’m actually going to miss posting my “58 Things”. I know most of you are probably excited that you don’t have to hear from me, but I wanted to thank those that followed my 58-day journey through “bachelorhood”. It was fun hearing from people from all over asking, “What day are you on?” and it was often followed by them sharing a post they liked. As someone who loves to write it’s an awesome feeling to know people are reading your stuff! But alas, my family has returned home so … THE END!

It’s true! I kind of miss it! It was so neat hearing from people who I didn’t know actually read what I posted. I love to write and knowing I have an audience makes me want to write more and better – more better. Oh wait!

I had someone tell me that they looked forward to what I wrote when they woke up in the morning, “Grab some coffee, see what No. (whatever) is.”

I had people in Sultan, Monroe, Snohomish and Port Townsend ask me what day I was on.

I had people make jokes about whether this would make the list or even mock me in their own status updates or in pictures I posted.

I had people ask me when the book comes out (hmm…interesting idea).

Thank you to everyone that followed my posts and commented, liked or told me in person that they enjoyed reading what I posted. Knowing that there were people out there kept me motivated in writing, counting down the days and keeping positive! It was fun! Thank you!

Since then …

Some of you may be wondering how things are going now that Lis and the kids are back. For those of you that don’t care … you may close your browser’s window now.

Forty hours of travel! That’s right! By the time they left the in-law’s place in Brazil to arriving at our house in Sultan, Lis and the kids had been on the road or in the air (or sitting in an airport) for a little over 40 straight hours. You want to complain about how you can’t handle your kid or kids by yourself for a couple of hours … you may close your browser’s window now. You won’t find any sympathy from the Johnson camp.

It can be done and it can be done with no issues. Well no issues from the kids, that won’t stop the Brazilian Federal Police from not wanting to allow Lukas to leave the country because the authorization saying I allow Lis to travel to and from Brazil with my kids, and that I signed and had notarized was never stamped by the Brazilian Embassy. Hold out your thumb and your pointer and put them a small distance apart. This was how close Lukas was from not coming home Wednesday night. But Lis sweet talked her peeps, Lukas cried and prayed and cried some more, Lis possibly told a white lie and they were finally on their way to Northern America.

They changed planes in New York and headed to Los Angeles where an 8-hour layover awaited them. She attempted to get on standby but was told that she didn’t qualify. “I have three kids. How do I not qualify?” she asked. She returned to ask a different agent that had no idea what the prior agent was talking about other than she has to pay $25 for each traveler and they would get here a 1/2 hour earlier. Not worth it.

At 10:20pm I arrived at the airport anxious and excited to see my family. I went to where their baggage claim would be then thought I would meet them where the exit is to the gate they would be coming from. Turned out I went to the wrong one and at 11:15pm (they landed at 10:50pm) I sprinted back to the baggage claim to find them.

I did not want a repeat of what Lis and I went thru back in April 2003 – Lis you may close your browser now – when I wandered the Sao Paulo airport with three months worth of luggage, no knowledge of the Portuguese language and sweatpants in 90-degree weather wondering where my future wife was. What seemed like days later (but was actually closer to an hour or so) Lis arrived and I’ve never let her forget that day. She still hates when I bring it up.

So no, there were no “running through the airport with open-arms” moment that we all dreamed would happen. Instead I snuck up on my three exhausted looking kids waiting for their mom to get their luggage.

I swept Lia up and she got misty-eyed as she hugged me. She had sobbed when they left Brazil so it was nice that her dad got some tears as well.

Levi eventually looked over and said something in Baby Lingo (no Lis doesn’t speak this language at home) before Lukas noticed me there. He too got a little misty-eyed but not as much as I had hoped.

My wife finally arrived with all the baggage in tow. We shook hands and walked back to the car. 😉

Has anything changed? Actually a little bit. Lukas is taller. They called him “Kevinho”, which means “little Kevin”. I’ll take that as a complement, though I’m guessing it’s not meant to be.

Levi, who they called “Bam Bam”, is bigger and feels like a brand new kid. He left a barely-walking-talking 15-month old and came back an active 18-month old. I love this age! It’s fun and I’ll miss that we won’t experience this age again … probably.

Lia Maria Curica, missed her daddy! She snuggles up with me when she can. She hugs me all the time. Wants to hold my hand when she walks. She’s Daddy’s Girl and I love every bit of it. She’s also speaking solely Portuguese, though a week later it’s probably 95-percent Portuguese/5-percent English.

The part that’s cool is that Lukas and Lia are speaking Portuguese to each other and both are speaking it to their Mom. When they left only Lis was speaking it in the house, now 3-1/2 of us are speaking it (Levi says, “agua”, “papa”, “caiu”, “bolinha” and a few other words … that’d be “water”, “food”, “fell down” and “little ball” for those of you keeping score) in the house! It helps me learn the language as currently Lia tells me something in Portuguese and I’m answering it in Portu-glish. Lukas is like Lis, able to flip it on and off as he wishes.

What have I learned? That I missed my family. That I love having them around. I miss watching them sleep. I miss eating dinner together. I miss laughing together.  I miss raising my voice. OK, maybe not the last one. But it’s nice to be a family again! I like being a family.

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