Something.s Missing…

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Chris’s job isn’t like most other jobs. He is the general and production manager at a regional theater here in Orlando and a large part of his job is overseeing the technical aspects of the plays they produce. Normally, this job can be done in a typical 9-5 work day. When he was in grad school, he was the one who did the actual designing and building of scenery. And that job is time intensive. Lots of working through the night to get a set ready to for actors the following day. As a manager now, though, Chris doesn’t really have to put in those kinds of hours anymore. That’s actually the reason he took the job he has now. With two little kids at home, we were looking for a job where he wasn’t tied to the theater at all hours of the day and night and this position was the perfect fit.

But once a month, Chris has to work technical rehearsals. It’s called “working tech.” At these rehearsals, they aren’t running through the play itself, they are running through the play from the technical aspects. They go through all the lighting and sound cues, all the set movements, all the costume changes, etc. And that takes a LONG, LONG time. As the production manager, Chris is at most of these tech rehearsals, just in case there are problems with anything technical and to make sure everything goes smoothly. On those weekends, he works “ten out of twelves,” which means that out of twelve hours, he is working ten of them. And that goes on for two, three, sometimes four days. It’s a long process, even when things are running smoothly. But for the show they are working right now, things aren’t going so great and so an already long process has become grueling. He didn’t come home last night until 3:00am and then he was back up at the theater by 9:00 this morning.

It’s hard on all of us when he’s working these kinds of hours. I miss having him around, to help with dishes, to help put the kids to bed, to cozy up on the couch with after bedtime. The kids really miss having him around, too. Even though it’s just for a couple days, they only get to see him once or twice a day for half an hour or so. Bean asks about him when he’s gone and Gracie…well…she gets so excited when she finally sees him that it’s like she’s just been sitting there waiting for him to walk in the door.

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But out of all of us, it’s Chris who has it the worst during tech. Not only is he working really long hours, but he really misses us, too. He calls and texts me all day, asking what we’re doing. He comes home any time there is a chance, even if it’s just for 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes, it takes him longer to get home than he has to stay. Basically, he’s just beat.

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(Look, they have the same cowlick!)

Chris has one more day of tech left and I think we’re all ready for him to come home. When he’s working like this, I try to make things easy for him at home. I bought some of his favorite snacks at the grocery store today – pretzels, Barq’s Root Beer, Velveeta and chips for cheese dip. I make a lot of plans for me and the kids, so we’re not just sitting around waiting, because when I sit around and wait, I get pissed. Even when I have no reason to get pissed. So, we stay busy. My mom came down and spent all day with us Saturday and then she babysat Saturday night while I went out to a jewelry party with a new friend (post coming soon about my new awesome jewelry and my attempt to make friends…). Then, today we made rainbow rice and went for a two hour walk around our neighborhood. Tomorrow we have a play date. Busy, busy, busy.

Sometimes, marriage is about love and passion. Sometimes its about going through things together, side by side. And sometimes, it’s about being the safe place to come back to after life beats you up for a few days on a theater stage.

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28 thoughts on “Something.s Missing…

  1. ayejaydoubleyou

    Katie, I am a long time reader of your blog but a skiddish commenter. I really enjoyed this post. Both my dear fiance and I are in the theatre business. We met when he was a tech director and I was a stage manager. I have since taken a job in a more administrative and he works for a major scenic company in NY. But it is really nice to see from your’s and Chris’s relationship that your life doesn’t have to be the business. Yes, it takes over a few weekends a year, but it isn’t everything. This was just the reminder I needed today, thank you.

  2. Sarah H.

    aww. Nice post. I’m glad you’re staying busy. A 2 HOUR walk?? Wow. Impressive. But I assume it isn’t 33 and windy in Orlando 😉 I love Gracie’s smile. What a cutie! And tell Chris Barq’s Root Beer is my drink! I don’t drink coffee, so I do hot tea in the am and Barq’s in the afternoon.

  3. Nicole (piper_e)

    That cowlick! I love it!!! Picture is so adorable ♥

  4. Having a field-going job, I understand Chris’ point of view of how hard it can be not to be home for hours to days at a time. I’m usually gone four days out of the week for about 5-6 months. It was really hard at first, but after almost 4 years, I’m getting more used to it. I know my boyfriend misses me, too, when I’m gone. But he’s understanding, and it seems like you are too. That’s definitely important in any relationship.

  5. Kristin H

    I’m a lighting designer and my fiance is a sound designer, so “ten out of twelves” are our life. Right now we’re both in grad school at different schools, so we only see each other a couple of times a month. It’s hard – but we totally understand what the other person is going through, and we’re both so busy that the time goes somewhat quickly. I’m sure Chris really appreciates the things you do to make tech week more bearable!

  6. My husband’s just finishing up a trip that has literally taken him around the world–for almost two weeks. Family and friends have been great about taking care of pregnant me and our sixteen-month-old son, but this is a good reminder of how I can be there for John when he comes home. You are a good wife, lady. Thanks for helping me be the same 🙂

  7. Beth

    My husband is an accountant so I know how you feel… between Feb and April he’s gone 7 days a week for up to 12-14 hours a day. It is rough, but it is an honor to be that warm place he comes home to and is cherished and loved.

  8. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    Glad it is almost over! I used to be a public accountant and we have a busy season from January through April where we work at least 60 hours a week and then a couple 80-90 weeks in there. It sucked. That’s why I switched. But my husband always tried his best to make home a nice, clean, friendly place to be when I was home. We always survived and it made us appreciate the time we did get to spend together. Glad this long one is almost over!

  9. cindy

    I definitely can feel for you. My hubby was out of town on business from Monday until Friday last week and will probably be again this week from Wednesday until Friday. It’s s especially hard because we havea3 year old and 13 year old that get in trouble for totally different reasons. I will say prayers for you, and you can say prayers for me.

  10. Marina H

    Sounds like you and Chris are well deserving of the Costa Rica trip. I’m always impressed as to how much you get your kids moving with just the simplest ideas. A two hour walk? Might impressive!

  11. nice post!
    I love the last paragraph. So true.

  12. I second what Marina said! And, I feel you on trying to not get pissed. I hate when I get frustrated and start to blame it on Mike when he really can’t help the situation 🙁

  13. I live in Altamonte and would LOVE to be your friend! Would love to do a play date or meet up at a Orlando meet & greet 🙂

  14. You inspire me, girl! I have a hard enough time when my husband doesn’t get home until 11pm, and there aren’t even kiddos in the picture yet. Thanks for this post!

  15. Bec

    Chris looks soo tired but Gracie looks like she’s ready to play!

  16. I feel your pain! My husband works long days almost every day but nothing like your husband’s hours. I don’t know which is worse – doing them for four day straight, or regularly working long days every day (10 hours every day). Neither one is fun I’m sure.

  17. Dang. Chris looks beat. Gracie on the other hand looks like a beaming ray of sunshine!

  18. Mariya

    Beautiful photos. I’m so impressed how you’re so self aware and the solutions you come up with. Love your blog.

  19. I can relate to this as a social worker. There are certain times where I just can’t get everything done that needs to be done between 9 & 5. Like when court reports are due, or a case review is coming up, or when clients are having mental breakdowns. I am thankful for a husband who is understanding and I’m sure that Chris is very thankful for you. Another commenter said she was impressed with how self aware you are and I am too!

  20. Katie, what a sweet wife! Sometimes you are the one that needs extra support and sometimes it’s your spouse. My hubby is at a job right now where he is having to be there 10 hours plus a 45 minute commute each way. Thanks for helping me put everything into perspective. Sometimes I find myself angry/upset with him when it’s really not his fault, it’s just the job. We are hoping he can find another job at the end of the school year where the hours aren’t quite so long. But, in the meantime I’m going to do my best to give him the support he needs and a few little special treats.

  21. It is so hard sometimes to recognize that you are mad at the situation and not your husband. Poor Chris looks so tired but look at that gorgeous smile on Gracie!

  22. You all must be missing each other a lot! I hope this last day of tech rehearsals goes by quickly and Chris can be home to spend time with you all.

  23. I can totally relate! My hubs has down time in the winter and that’s generally it. I try to stay busy when he’s working, too, but the kids sure do miss him!

  24. I absolutely agree. Some days there are passion, some days there are picking up each other’s slack.
    That’s life. But how nice is it to know that when you’re sick there is someone to cook dinner and clean the house for you? Or just make you coffee?

  25. Kathleen

    I hear you Katie! My fiance is a state trooper and there are nights he doesn’t hit the bed until 4 a.m. and is up and out the door again by 7 a.m. I try to stay busy too so I don’t worry about him and I try to keep telling myself that other people who are really hurting need him right now and I don’t so that’s why he isn’t home. Sometimes you just have to be a safe place to land.

  26. jenny-bird

    Oh! Posts like these remind me of when my time in theatre rehearsals back in high school. So much fun and so much mischief! Do you still wish the stage crew to “Break a leg!” rather than “Good luck!”? When you say that you sit and wait around and then get pissy I know exactly what you mean. It’s funny how our minds can run away with our thoughts.

  27. Being a “tech widow” is rough. Since Aaron’s job is mostly in the classroom, he only goes to one or two techs a month just to oversee his students who act as Technical Directors. There was a time back in our dating days when A and I would be in tech together, which was fun–but tech all in all is super boring 🙁 At least Chris doesn’t have to go every night. Just makes the time he doesn’t go much more precious, ya know?

  28. Sarah

    Man, as a former stage manager/techie/actor at a small university where I was the only real stage manager for three shows a semester one time, I feel his pain. It was worse for me because we were long distance too. After a hard hell week, all i wanted were cuddles.

    As a theatre couple for the past almost 10 years, it’s weird now to have a normal schedule.
    However, we had to sacrifice theatre to get it.
    We were very used to conflicting rehearsal schedules when I returned home for my Masters. And when we were both in Hell Week, forget it!

    And we are crazy enough to want to get back into it as we are going to start a family. The pull of theatre is strong and we are itching to get back into it. So bless Chris for being able and skilled enough to have that wonderful opportunity. Having done a masters, I can only imagine the work and sacrifice it took to do it at Yale.

    Sorry for turning your comments section into a mini blog. It’s the hubby’s 26th birthday and I met him at an audition at 16, so I am extra nostalgic today.

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