THERE'S nothing quite as hard to deal with as a sad husband. Fortunately my husband doesn't get sad very often. Just when we move house.
The last time we moved house from Sydney to Auckland my husband was so sad I had to rush out and buy him a puppy.
I had moved ahead of him as he had to work out his contract. He arrived from the airport to a fully furnished house and a banner saying "Welcome home, Dad!" in the kitchen.
He looked at the banner, went outside and put his head in his hands.
"This is a good thing," I kept saying to him. "We're home where we belong."
"Mmm," was all he said.
Fortunately the puppy needed house training which gave him a reason to live and he was right as rain in a few weeks.
This week as we've packed and cleaned, ready to move, I've been a box of birds having dealt with all the emotional chaos of leaving my home of 12 years as we've sold our house, bought another two and organised my pants off. It has been a process, a journey, something I have willingly gone through. And now I'm at the end of the tunnel and the future looks bright.
My husband, meanwhile, has missed every clue I've given him to join me in my journey.
He got on with life as normal, pausing to pack his 3000 books in alphabetical order and only realised this week what it all meant. I first noticed something wasn't quite right when he started gazing longingly at the ceiling. Then the walls. He'd then do a great agonising sweep across the floor ending with the windows. Then he'd sigh. One long sigh, full of doom. The world was obviously about to end.
"Are you really only just processing the fact that we are moving out, the day before we move?" I asked.
"It's just I love this house. So many memories." Another sigh.
"Well we have known this was about to happen for a while. So, you might like to just, you know, get on with it."
"I suppose," he said wandering off to another room to get on with a bit more looking and sighing.
Nothing brings out the disconnect between the sexes more than life change and I have a theory that it dates back to the cave.
At the cave, all those thousands of years ago, my husband did not need to think ahead that much. He got up, went out, chased and killed something, then dragged it home for everyone to eat. Most days. Not a lot of planning required.
I had to plan. I had gardens to organise, harvests to preserve - I'm thinking I probably buried stuff in the ground or dried it in my cave. And then there was all the giving birth in a safe place and keeping the kids safe from marauding tigers and organising the old people to hurry up and die.
In this day and age it is still the woman who thinks ahead.
I'm the one who sat on the phone on hold for most of a day listening to Dave Dobbyn sing Welcome Home over and over while I changed the power, gas, telephone and insurance.
I'm also the one who organised the movers, organised an army of cleaners (myself and my daughter) and said our goodbyes to our two favourite neighbours.
Months ago I did my sighing and looking. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, rubbing its walls affectionately, saying my goodbyes.
At the time my husband rubbed my back and said, "There, there".
On our last night in our old house I had planned to set up a table in the garden, open a bottle of champagne and have our last meal as a symbolic gesture of "we are moving out, get over it".
Instead, I found my husband at the pub at 7pm, having organised a business meeting which went on a bit.
I realised that I was looking at another great difference between the sexes. The male's propensity for avoidance.