Jon and Kate didn’t actually share any screen time on Monday’s episode, titled “Beach and Kitchen Reveal,” but that didn’t exactly quash their war of words, either.

While Kate was vacationing with her eight kids in Bald Head Island, N.C., enjoying the beach, a bacon breakfast and chocolate pudding, which the kids used as body paint, Jon was home in Pennsylvania supervising construction of their new kitchen. And, let’s just say, he was happy to do it — alone.

“Kate and I needed a break from each other so it was nice that she could take the kids to the beach and I could oversee cabinet construction,” he said earlier in the episode, though he did acknowledge that he misses the kids when they’re gone.

“It was good they were all away,” he repeated again, later, “especially Kate who’d be yelling, like, ‘there’s a mess’ and ‘clean it up’ constantly which would be annoying.”

Kate, meanwhile, expressed some sadness that Jon wasn’t there to share the vacation. “It was weird to pack alone,” she said. “It was minus Jon any way you looked at it. We get to the beach house and I’m the sole one making all the decisions.” Still, the reality star said the experience was eventually empowering. “I am looking at the positive, seeing the memories I’m making with the kids and trying not to feel sorry for us and for myself,” she later said. And here’s a memory for the scrapbook: Kate, who admitted she loathed snakes, even pet one during an excursion at reptile sanctuary. She chalked her bravado up to her new, can-do attitude. Kate also donned a bikini while supervising her younger kids, who happily made sandcastles, on the beach.

Twins Mady and Cara had to pack up a bit earlier, though, to return home for their final days of school. When they arrived at home, they were greeted by dad Jon — who sported two pierced ears.

“What’s in your ears?’ Mady asked her dad.

Jon defended his choice of accessories simply. “I had my ears pierced since I was 15-years-old,” he said. “I just figured why not throw them back in? It’s not a midlife crisis. Everyone thinks it’s a midlife crisis. I’m nowhere near midlife. I’m 32-years-old.”

Crisis averted there, Kate and her six kids finally returned home to a newly renovated kitchen. And while she was initially less than enthusiastic, Gosselin admitted she was pleased with the progress. “I was grouchy that morning we arrived home,” she said. “It probably didn’t seem like I was very grateful that morning.”

“But the kitchen was beautiful,” she said. “It took me a little while to appreciate it.” — Brian Orloff